Unexpected and inspiring elements at a wedding can be anything from neon lights and acrylic detailings to watercolor invitations and donut decor, and these latest wedding trends provide an opportunity to get creative on your big day. Most weddings maintain a timeless and traditional feel with of-the-moment elements infused here and there. Not only do trends allow brides to bring personality to the celebration, they have the ability to enhance the aesthetic and create memorable moments for guests as well. With insider intel, we explore eight wedding trends you are likely to come across, regardless of whether you are making the wedding circuit this season or you’re planning your own momentous occasion.
Trend: Personalized reception maps and seating charts
Trendspotter: Betsy Comella McKay, Director of Sales/Owner of Bon Ton Café, Cadre Building, Downtown Dish Catering and Salt Style & Events
“Out of all of the new recent wedding trends I’ve seen this year, my all-time favorite are personalized reception maps and seating charts,” shares Betsy McKay of Salt Style & Events. “As a planner I love anything that gives special attention to organization, easy logistics and beauty! With personalized stationery items clients are able to highlight fun features at their wedding event such as a photo booth, food station, late night DJ, party favors, sparkler exit and more. We take so much time in planning out each special detail and this ensures that nothing is missed. If you are having a seated, served reception or dinner party, a custom printed seating chart on an easel makes the seating process enjoyable and seamless.”
Trend: Natural-style cakes
Trendspotter: Leland Riggan, Owner of Dessert Designs
“Where cakes are concerned, we are continuing to see a trend toward a more natural style, a cake that looks ready to dive right into and says, ‘all you need is a fork,’” Leland explains of this growing trend. When it comes to natural-style cakes, there has been a rise in the use of fresh flowers, but accents of gold and silver are increasing in popularity as well.
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For flavors, Leland notes sour cream pound cake, chocolate truffle cake, Hallelujah! Cake, cream cheese pound cake with raspberry filling, caramel cake and vanilla bean cake as regular requests. “The choices in flavors of cakes are broadening and can be incorporated easily by having different flavors for each tier. Having a moist, delicious cake is still everyone’s priority, however, so having a tasting is very important and is an enjoyable part of the planning process for the couple as well. The tasting can also allow the groom to feel more included in the decision making. I’ve seen the groom’s eyes glaze over during the designing of the cake, but when the tasting samples come out, his eyes light up and enjoyment takes over.”
Trend: Artwork on invitations
Trendspotter: Jessica Clark, Owner of Ink Nashville
“’Trend’ is a word we tend to shy away from at Ink; we encourage brides to be more traditional with wedding invitations. Beyond pictures, invitations are the only permanent keepsake from the wedding,” Jessica explains of the importance of invitations. “That said, Pinterest and Instagram have created a whole world of wedding trends. For the last couple of years, many brides have chosen to incorporate artwork into the invitations that can continue through their wedding day papers. We have had some really talented brides who have created their own artwork; others have commissioned local artists to create custom artwork.”
Jessica continues, “Brides are embracing the idea of watercolor in particular because they can keep a more traditional invitation and add elements that go with the invitation suite but do not distract from the actual invitation. They can be used as a liner, a wrap, cocktail napkins, a backer or belly bands.” Brides also use the artwork for welcome boxes, escort cards, menus, table numbers, place cards, wedding programs and the like. “There are so many fun ways to take art and then incorporate it throughout the wedding weekend,” Jessica adds.
Trend: Backyard Weddings
Trendspotter: Amos Gott. Owner of AmosEvents
Backyard weddings are nothing new (We all saw Father of the Bride, didn’t we?), but they still merit mentioning because of their continued popularity. “Whether in her parents’ backyard or on the grounds of a local venue, there’s something very romantic about getting married on a lawn surrounded by tall shaded trees and lush landscaping,” Amos says. “Brides often want their wedding day to be elegant and inviting, and a backyard wedding provides a soothing environment that is both lovely and comfortable, but also unique and special to them. On the most stressful day of your life, what could be more comforting than getting married at the place where you grew up and have so many memories? Granted, it might bring some stress to the parents in getting the yard in tip-top shape, but that’s why venues with lawns are also available to give a similar look and feel.”
Trends: Unique lighting and acrylic details
Trendspotter: Ashley Hayden, Creative Director of Infinity Hospitality Group
Proper lighting is an essential part of every event, and trendy, modern approaches can include neon installations, tapered candles or basket chandeliers. “A huge trend we’re seeing right now is unique lighting,” Ashley says. “Custom lighting is a way to really set the mood and add a hint of personality to a wedding.”
Another trend Ashley and her team have spotted is the incorporation of acrylic and Lucite details. “From Lucite furniture to acrylic seating charts and table numbers, it’s a fairly versatile way to incorporate style and character into an event,” she shares.
Trend: Donut décor and late-night snacks
Trendspotter: Kristen Winston, Owner of Kristen Winston Catering
Donuts have been increasingly more popular at receptions, and a trendy way to incorporate the sweet treat is with a doughnut wall. “Donuts are universally popular with any age group,” Kristen shares, “and the donut wall is an especially photogenic display. They’re custom-made for the Instagram age!”
After dinner, dessert and dancing, newlyweds often offer late-night snacks to the guests, and this trend isn’t disappearing anytime soon either. “Couples really love this personal way to share a treat from their childhood or their courtship. We’ve passed chocolate milkshakes and French fries, mini chicken and waffles, and sausage biscuits,” Kristen tells us. “The theme is always ‘whimsical and indulgent.’”
Trend: Ambiance-heavy reception spaces
Trendspotter: Beth White, Co-Owner of White Door Events
The team at White Door Events is loving — and seeing a lot of — reception spaces with curated decorative elements that emphasize an overall customized aesthetic and original experience. “Brides are starting to shy away from the traditional dinner receptions and opting for a cool, transitional space with cohesive décor that allows for their personality to shine through and simply makes guests excited to celebrate and enjoy the evening’s festivities,” says Beth. Reception spaces are amped up by the incorporation of “unique soft seating and furnishings and mixing layers of textures, patterns and colors for dimensional interest.”
The bar is another area to elevate, with decorative backdrops and shelving displays or monogrammed decals to give a personal touch. “With no limit on decorations, an innovative atmosphere is guaranteed to be a lifelong trend,” Beth promises.
Trendspotters: Sue Valenti, Owner of The Paper Place
Brides do not veer too far from the traditional when it comes to wedding invitations, but there are ways to incorporate modern elements without sacrificing tradition. Sue points to floral motifs, French blue, moss inks and duograms — the bride’s and groom’s first names — as popular choices when selecting invitations, with the latter being the most desired. “We create duograms, and that trend moves all the way to napkins, programs and wedding cakes.”
When it comes to invitations, Sue says, “It’s all about the look, the finances and the creativity.” Brides typically walk into The Paper Place with a budget, and Sue loves when they bring an inspiration board because it can quickly narrow the direction of the design. Between typestyle, ink, print method and paper color, there are many decisions to be made!
Keep your eyes out for these trends and more this wedding season!
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