"I think they will want to find something that is very similar," he said. "The royal wedding is a big thing. It's been so long since many have seen a royal wedding, they don't know what it's like."

The wedding industry is also keeping close tabs on the event. Many are looking for whatever pieces of information they can get about the wedding, which has been extremely difficult to come by because royal protocol dictates that no details about the gown are released until Middleton appears the day of the wedding.

"She [Middleton] can definitely inspire brides in more ways than one," said Lee-Tidball, who has not wasted any time jumping on the royal bandwagon. At a recent bridal fashion show, "Style to the Aisle ... A Bride's Runway," Lee-Tidball handed out blue sapphire cocktail rings. Her inspiration? Middleton's engagement ring — a blue sapphire and diamond ring that belonged to the late Princess Diana.

Lee-Tidball mentioned Nicole Richie's December wedding to Joel Madden as a recent standout.

"It was over the top," she said. "She had an elephant!"

Former first child Chelsea Clinton's wedding attracted a lot of media attention, but it didn't drive brides-to-be to copy her look. Jessica Simpson's 2002 wedding to Nick Lachey, on the other hand, inspired a number of couples that year. One wedding planner said Simpson's white bouquet was repeated in hundreds of weddings.

But the most influential wedding of all time was probably that of Prince William's mother, the late Diana, to Prince Charles in 1981. The event revolutionized the wedding industry, according to Betsy Robinson, owner of Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection in Pikesville.

Before Diana's wedding, smaller ceremonies and celebrations were more commonplace, Robinson said.

"When she got married, it put weddings in the spotlight," Robinson said. "Yes, there were weddings [before it], but nothing like that."

Besides changing the scope of weddings, the event also spawned bridal fashion changes, thanks to Diana's iconic style sense.

"Fashion-wise, things were quite simple before her wedding," Robinson recalled. "And then Lady Di comes along with the silk sleeves and long train. It really did change how the brides wanted to look."

Robinson remembers being stocked with four variations of Diana's wedding dress about 10 days after the 1981 ceremony, and she expects to see knockoffs of Middleton's dress shortly after April 29, too.

Middleton "will definitely have an impact on the future dresses," said Robinson.

She added that her shop has been abuzz with talk of the royal wedding since the engagement.

"For the generation growing up with Disney princesses, this is the real one. It's kind of neat," said Robinson, who is planning some type of "watching party" the day of the wedding. "For some reason people are just drawn to the royals."

Vanlandingham expects to see the "royal effect" carrying into 2012.

"They [brides] aren't going to want the same thing — but they are going to want the same look, and to make sure they can afford it," he said.

Ehehalt, the bride-to-be from Federal Hill, hopes that Middleton's dress stays true to her classy and fashionable style — maybe like something Vera Wang would design, she said.

She will be watching the wedding — with her girlfriends — for entertainment and for inspiration.

"I've been following it a little bit," she said with a laugh. "I won't be surprised if we get together and watch it with a couple of my friends in Federal Hill with a bottle of wine."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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