Wedding season is right around the corner, so naturally, we’re wondering what noteworthy trends we’ll see this year. We asked some of our favorite local wedding experts to share their observations and predictions for the most significant trends to keep an eye out for, and — from bold colors to sustainability — here’s what we can look forward to.
9 Inspiring Wedding Trends for 2020
Color Trend: Bold Colors
“Color is one of the more exciting trends,” says Ashley Hayden of Infinity Hospitality’s The Bell Tower. “We’ve been seeing a lot of neutrals and subdued hues, which will always be timeless, but we’re excited to see some more personality with vibrant colors incorporated throughout the day.” And those dynamic hues are permeating every detail: “Colorful invitation suites; bright, whimsical floral arrangements; and fun linens are just a few ways to take advantage of this trend,” she says.
Hugh Howser, one-half of the event-planning duo behind H Three Events, confirms the bold color trend, saying that vivid colors are taking weddings by storm. “Brides are venturing away from neutral and tiptoeing slowly into jewel tones and bright weddings,” he says. “I believe they, too, have been to so many white weddings that they want theirs to be memorable.” He also adds that, for the moment, white and blush are gone. “They’re basically the leggings and flowy tops of weddings!” he quips.
Even makeup is getting in on the bold color action. “Right now I’m loving some of the softer makeup looks with bold lips that brides are going for,” says Karissa Paulk, store manager at The Blowout Co. in The Gulch. Mandy Burnett, owner of Harper and Olive Boutique Salon seconds that, adding, “Deep cranberries and purples, such as Tom Ford’s lipstick ‘Ingrid,’ are an absolute win for this year!”
Guest List/Invitation Trend: Personalized Touch
With more weddings gravitating toward exclusive guests lists with only a couple’s nearest and dearest, we’re seeing a significant rise in the sort of personal touches that boost a wedding’s memorability factor. According to Graham Harlin, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Fairlane Hotel, that means “smaller, more intimate ‘micro’ weddings with meaningful details and ‘Instagrammable’ visual features.”
Jenny Morris, Special Events Manager at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, agrees. She’s seeing a tendency toward small-scale guest lists that stay under 50 people. “These brides have the same budgets as other larger ones,” she tells us, “but they are putting more dollars towards giving each guest a more elevated and personal experience. And an elevated, intimate experience means more room for customized touches that are unique to the bride and groom.”
What sort of personal touches in invitations are trending? “Like the invitation suite with a nod to fly fishing, where the couple met,” suggests Valorie Cole of Valorie Ward Cole Calligraphy, referring to a client’s request. “Incorporating flowers with wedding colors or a painting or drawing of the [wedding] venue somewhere in the invitation suite has become very popular this past year, and I see that continuing.”
Food Trend: Non-Traditional Menus
“Late-night snacks are still going strong,” says Kristen Winston of Kristen Winston Catering. “Couples want to make sure their guests are happy and well-fed for the duration of the evening. This is an opportunity to bring out those decadent bites and be creative, such as an elevated twist on a childhood favorite or guilty pleasure food.” She also says we’ll be seeing “more customized and non-traditional menus, giving guests plenty of variety to please many preferences and diets. Couples are being thoughtful when planning their menus.”
Hair Trend: “Bouquets” and Unique Accessories
While past wedding hair trends have leaned more traditional and meticulously coiffed, 2020 is looking at dreamier down-dos. “Sleek polished updos seem to have exited the wedding scene and have been replaced by loose, tousled looks,” offers Karissa Paulk of the Blowout Co. “I feel like we’re seeing brides and bridesmaids wearing their hair down more than we ever have. And the romantic waves are making a comeback,” she adds.
“The days of structured updos and very cemented hair are gone!” agrees Harper & Olive’s Mandy Burnett. She also notes the accessories that accompany that vision. “Large bows, pearl headbands, glam clips and bobby pins steal the show for this year’s bridal hairstyles. These looks have been seen on the runway as well as magazines, and add such a unique flair to any hairstyle.” She’s also getting plenty of requests for hair bouquets and hair accessories, such as bows and berets. “Hair bouquets on the runway this season came in all shapes and sizes,” Mandy says. “My personal favorite is the crown. Both fresh flowers and dried flowers, these crowns add a beautiful and romantic edge to your ensemble.”
Dress Trend: Letting Go of Classic Stereotypes
The 2020 wedding scene adds an element of outside-the-box thinking — especially as it pertains to bridal couture. “The top trends that we are seeing in wedding dresses right now are sparkle and black wedding dresses,” says Jillian Porter, Bridal Manager and Buyer for Brides by Glitz. “Whether sequins or sparkly fabric, there is shimmer everywhere — even in veils. The brides are loving the ability to add some subtle glimmer to their dresses without the need of beading.”
And what about those black dresses? “We started to see the trend last year,” explains Jillian, “but it has definitely gained even more speed this year. The dresses can vary from being all-over black to having black lace details.”
Drink Trend: Craft/Custom Cocktails
As we move into more customized weddings, we are also moving toward intriguing new cocktail options. Kristen Winston of Kristen Winston Catering says, “Couples are planning cocktails reflecting their style, tastes and heritage, which adds a personal touch.” Graham Harlin of the Fairlane Hotel adds that fermented beverages such as kombucha and makgeolli (a lightly sparkling Korean rice wine) can add an exceptional element to the big day.
Gift Trend: Thoughtful Sustainability
In general, we see the continued growth of a more eco-conscious, thoughtful mindset — even in weddings. “Couples are looking at what impact they’re making on the environment and taking steps to reduce their ‘wedding footprint,’ so to speak,” says Ashley Hayden of Infinity Hospitality’s Bridge Building. “It will be important to work with vendors who also take strides to reduce waste, like working with florists who don’t use floral foam blocks or caterers who source their food locally and organically. Another way to make your wedding more sustainable is by opting out of paper goods and coming up with unique alternatives for table numbers, ceremony programs and escort cards. Eliminating any plasticware will also be a big priority, so no more personalized plastic cups or straws on the bar. Similarly, instead of personalized party favors, couples are opting to make charitable donations in honor of their guests. Every effort — no matter how small — makes an impact, so it’s important to focus on what’s most meaningful to you as a couple.”
Floral Trend: Raw, Natural Greenery
From bouquets to major foliage installations, the outdoors is finding its way into wedding ceremonies and receptions everywhere. “Organic and overrun foliage will be highlighted and requested, especially when it comes to arches and ceremony backdrops,” says Sara-Jane Kerstetter of Selah-Vié. “Vibrant and rich natural greens will be emphasized and play a key role as they are incorporated in abundance this year. We love how this trend looks like a forest casually crept into your ceremony. Placing raw greens in spaces beyond the table allows for elements to be connected from floor to ceiling, creating a more aesthetically cohesive setting.”
Other trends include arch installs and even tree installations, bringing elevated, nature-inspired decor to a whole new, floral-forward level.
Planning Trend: Using Social Media as a Planning Resource
Wedding planning is taking on a slightly different spin as social media helps brides weigh in on everything from cake design to venue decor. “Brides today are exposed to a whole lot more. They’re studying up. They investigate, know what they want and come in with it,” says Johnny Haffner of Johnny Haffner Catering. “I did a brie soup with a seared scallop on top for a first course because the bride saw it on Instagram.”
Johnny also notes the fact that this generation of brides tends to eat out more, which broadens their menu horizons and expands their palates. He chalks this up to a somewhat older audience than in past wedding seasons. “28 is the average age of my brides so far this year, so they know what they want,” he says. “When I got married a hundred years ago, we just showed up. Our parents took care of everything.”
From floral design to venue decor, wedding trends in 2020 promise to impress. Enjoy this year’s wedding season!
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