Heather Burns Bridal
Erica and Ryan have planned a wedding that’s all about fun! The wedding and reception will be close together, both in timing and location. They’ve chosen bridesmaid dresses in a bright teal, and the groomsmen will be in traditional black tuxedos. The wedding ceremony will be a traditional Catholic affair, but with lots of musicians — an organist and soloist, accompanied by a trumpet trio. Guests at the reception will be greeted with champagne upon entry to cocktail hour and will nosh on soup shooters and shrimp cocktail. The cocktail hour décor is stark white, a contrast to the reception décor of silver shimmer linens and teal runners. Simple flower arrangements are adorned with crystals and lots of bling. After dinner, dancing is aplenty … and then the late-night lounge opens — a separate area with bright teal and purple lighting, with an ice sculpture at the bar and white leather lounge furniture where guests can mingle.
A couple years ago, this sort of wedding would’ve been “out there,” but today, it’s typical of the weddings I’m coordinating. Take color, for example. My wedding nine years ago was basically a white wedding, but at my sister’s wedding last year, we did cool linens, mirrors, lots of bling — it was totally hip!
Today’s bride is lucky because anything really does go. And each wedding is completely different — no cookie-cutter weddings! Don’t get me wrong. Some people still want the traditional, but they want it the way they want it — which, again, is very individualized. It’s traditional, but with a twist.
For 2011, I see 11 trends that are bringing new spark to old standbys. I’ve also included my professional “best guess” for how each trend will evolve next.
Trend #1: Paper Products
Traditional: The way to purchase wedding invitations was to visit a stationery store and look through the “books” — what most wedding professionals call the 10-pound books that house dozens of invitation options. Many companies put these books together, and these invitations are mass-produced for clientele.
Trend: Today, many brides are working with a designer to create custom paper products that incorporate the color and theme of the wedding into the design. Many weddings are featuring Save the Dates, Invitations, Programs, Menus, Out of Town Bag letters, Valet Cards, Place Cards, Table Numbers and Thank You notes that all carry the same concept in color, theme and motif. The other big trend in paper products is eliminating Place Cards for guests and using Guest Boards instead — in essence, guests go to a beautifully framed board and find their names alphabetically with their table assignments.
What’s Next: Out: Pocket invitations, which have been trendy for a few years, are on their way out because of the cost of mailing and the bulk of the invites. In: According to Laura Woofter, founder of Paper Allure, a Canton, OH-based couture invitation company: “Bright colors in invitations and wording are going to continue to be in — with purple and aqua being hot colors once again. Brides being more creative on the wording of paper products — thinking out of the box — is also going to be big in the future.”
Trend #2: Food & Drink
Traditional: Guests walk into a cocktail hour and are immediately welcomed by a large display of cheese, crackers, vegetables, fruit and dips. Most wedding dinners are either sit-down meals or large buffets of pasta and chicken. Drinks typically consist of a full bar — beer, wine, mixed drinks and sodas. The wedding cake is typically the main dessert, sometimes accompanied by the ethnic family’s cookies. Italians (like me!) especially love their cookie displays!
Trend: Food stations, ethnic stations, small plate dinners instead of large sit downs, and family-style dinners are all becoming popular. The biggest trend in wedding cuisine is the presentation — treating food like art. Specialty drinks are also in, in combination with full bars, or with just wine and beer.
What’s Next: In many ways, it’s already here: creatively designed cuisine displayed in an artful manner. Informal wedding cuisine may also make a bigger appearance — i.e. ice cream stations, casual tapas plates — to create a casual feel and more enjoyment for guests.
Trend #3: Music/Entertainment
Traditional: Brides often pick a DJ or band for their reception and trust them with making sure the crowd is entertained.
Trend: “Brides are becoming more selective in the music that’s played for their special day, taking the task of selecting just the right songs very seriously, almost like planning out their own iPod wedding,” says DJ Scott Jones of Jerry Bruno Productions in Cleveland. The playing of Top 40 music throughout the celebration is also becoming more popular; for DJ’s, that’s simple to accommodate, but for bands, it means hours of rehearsal. Another trend is the exclusion of specialty dances, like the father/daughter dance and the mother/son dance; others are combining these two dances so it’s one song instead of two. Many brides want to have their first dance and then let the party begin. Out: the garter and bouquet toss. In: the Anniversary Dance, which honors the longest married couple in attendance.
What’s Next: multiple performance weddings — weddings that have string quartets for cocktail hour, jazz groups for dinner music and a band for dancing.
Trend #4: Photography
Traditional: Wedding photographers have traditionally focused on posed shots of family and friends. Guests would be stopped here and there to pose for a photo, and the bridal party would be stuck for hours in photo sessions. After the wedding, most brides would be presented with a traditional wedding album — with cutouts for each photo to be placed.
Trend: Wedding photography has evolved dramatically over the last several years, and the days of the classically posed are gone. “Nowadays, the poses are more fashionable, casual and interactive,” says Genevieve Nisly, of Genevieve Nisly Photography in Canton. “Photography studios are developing distinct styles where the photographer is more of an artist than a simple camera operator.” Today, wedding photography is all about the word, “Photojournalistic” — candid pictures of anything, and everything! Photographers are all over the place at today’s weddings, gathering detail photos and pictures of emotions; they’re truly capturing the day’s events. Afterward, a bride often designs a Wedding Coffee Table Book — a beautiful album in bright colors with an artistic flair, which allows the bride and groom to relive their day.
What’s Next: The dramatic changes in photography over the last few years won’t be reversed anytime soon. We’ll continue to see more and more artistic photographs from weddings. Wedding photography continues to become more about art and less about point-and-click.
Trend #5: Videography
Traditional: The wedding video is a two-hour production of the entire wedding day. Most begin with a photo montage of the bride and groom growing up and end with the bride and groom waving goodbye at the end of their day.
Trend: Technology has taken wedding videos to a completely new level. Today, they’re more of a documentary of the day and are edited in an artistic fashion to truly show the emotion and details. The end video is approximately 30 minutes and sometimes has separate chapters for toasts and the full wedding ceremony. Same Day Edits are also becoming popular (and are done by only a handful of videographers). These clips show the wedding day from makeup/hair/preparations to the ceremony to the post-ceremony bridal party photo shoot leading right into the reception. A select few videographers can take the footage they filmed from say, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and edit it down right there (during cocktail hour and dinner) into a one-song video. Then they’ll play it to guests after dinner. Talk about a “Wow!” moment.
What’s Next: “While TV and movies are headed for 3D, this won’t be the direction for wedding videos,” says Brian Morris, co-owner of 2nd Mile Productions based in Malvern. “Instead, the artistic nature of the video will become more and more like a movie. It’ll be more about the narrative of the entire day and the story leading up to the day than of just ‘Event A, Event B.’”
Trend #6: Colors
Traditional: White, white and more white. Brides use accent colors such as gold, silver and maybe a touch of true color on dresses, ribbon, sashes and such.
Trend: Though white will always be a primary wedding color and a true “White Wedding” may never completely go out of style, for today’s wedding, the more color, the better! Today’s brides aren’t afraid of color and use it in everything from linens to lighting. Many shades of purple and blue have been very popular lately and show signs of sticking around for awhile.
What’s Next: Colors that will be hot in 2011: lilac, Clementine orange, sangria, amethyst, coral, emerald and yellow.
Trend #7: Setup
Traditional: The wedding reception setup consists of round tables for guests with a straight, long head table for the bridal party. Most reception facilities own the types of tables needed for this setup, so it’s the easy option for planning.
Trend: Many brides are adding a modern flair to their reception setups by renting a combination of different-shaped tables — some square, some round, some rectangle — to add interest. The bridal table or head table is also changing. The traditional straight head tables are somewhat out of style. Instead, brides are choosing to sit at Sweetheart Tables for Two, at rounds with their families or at King’s Tables, which can be made as large as desired to accommodate even the dates of the bridal party.
What’s Next: Different-shaped tables are continuing to be designed and used more often in our area. Larger square tables are going to be used more frequently, as well as different configurations of tables to accommodate more guests. For example, putting four six-foot tables together seats 16 guests and leaves an interesting hole in the middle for a creative floral designer.
Trend #8: Décor
Traditional: Brides concentrated their décor efforts on flowers. White was the primary color in linens, and décor with accent colors was used to enhance.
Trend: Today’s weddings are all about color and texture. Many brides are taking advantage of the beautiful color options available in linens today. Also, flowers are no longer in simple vases. Wonderful floral designers in our area can take your flower design to the next level. Incorporating beading, feathers, fruit and other textural pieces into arrangements has become very popular. Lighting has become essential and adds a completely different dimension to weddings. And no more white walls; they’re now uplit in mocha, pink, red, amber and more. Today’s weddings can be classic, modern, artistic or off the wall — you can showcase your personality like never before.
What’s Next: the continuation of great floral design. Says Neil Leeson, of Neil Leeson Décor Floral in Akron: “It’s all about personality. As long as you walk into the reception and see the bride’s personality in the design, then you know you did it. This year, being daring with linens and lighting is going to continue. Mixing up the centerpieces is also continuing to be popular; three and four different centerpieces allow the infusion of different ideas from the bride and add personality to the design.”
Trend #9: Details
Traditional: Weddings are often remembered for their details. In the past, details consisted of the food, beverages, flowers and possibly a favor. Favors traditionally were candies and candles.
Trend: Today’s weddings are packed with details and special touches that make each wedding unique. (And finding the details that a bride wants to include in her day can take months of research.) Today, favors are actually falling out of favor; instead, many brides make a donation to a charity in the name of their guests. (Placing that information on a menu card or place seating board is perfect for letting the guests know.) Candy buffets are another detail that have been popular for a few years now. Having an actual photobooth at the wedding to capture guests pictures (which can then be placed in a scrapbook for the bride and groom) is another detail trend that has really grown in popularity recently. Also popular, incorporating the detail of your wedding dress into other facets of the day, such as cake design, motif on the invitation, etc.
What’s Next: Eco-friendly weddings are going to become more and more popular. “Green” weddings with recycled paper, LED lighting and donations instead of gifts may make a bigger appearance.
Trend #10: Late-Night Action
Traditional: After dancing, most guests exited at a fast pace. Some might linger and grab a cookie from the large cookie table, but many would head home to bed.
Trend: Create a late-night party. After dinner, many weddings open a “lounge” area for guests who don’t want to dance. This area can be decorated with bright linens, ice bars (literally, a bar made of ice), white lounge furniture — no rules! The late-night cookie displays may never go away thanks to our wonderful aunts and grandmothers, but why limit the guests to sweet treats? Late-night food is becoming more and more popular; after dancing begins, out comes the sliders, pizzas and Oreos (with a milk shooter)!
What’s Next: Actual “after parties” may make a showing — ending the reception a bit earlier and moving the party to another location, either at a hotel or within the reception facility, to continue the party with guests who are night owls!
Trend #11: Attire
Traditional: Is there such a thing as “traditional” wedding attire? Fashion changes so radically from decade to decade that the only thing I can say about traditional attire is that most wedding gowns are white or ivory and the groom wears a tuxedo.
Trend: Today’s bride has more options than ever before. Strapless gowns have continued to be the norm, but if that style doesn’t suit you, try something else! A fun trend I’ve seen more and more of is the bride wearing two dresses — one for the ceremony and formal part of the reception, and then a more playful cocktail wedding dress for dinner and dancing. Brides are also wearing a bit of color; brightly colored shoes under the stark white dress are hip and fun! Dramatic veils have been popular for a few seasons now, but I’m also seeing brides use feathers, jewels and flowers for headpieces. For the groom, a black tuxedo is always in, but suits are also making a comeback. A wedding’s formality can often be gauged by the attire of the groom.
What’s Next: Sleeves and straps may make a comeback, especially one-shoulder dresses. Vintage will continue to be in, with lace remaining popular. Shorter dresses will pop up more and more, but I’m betting we’ll see those more as a second dress for late-evening dancing. And dresses with pockets — genius!
/ Tricia Dever is a full-service wedding coordinator in the Northeast Ohio market with more than 10 years of event experience. Dever was an event planner at the Pro Football Hall of Fame for several years before becoming the wedding planner for Glenmoor Country Club in Canton. In 2004, she started her own company, Always Eventful, Inc., which specializes in full-service wedding coordination and day-of-wedding assistance. Dever lives in North Canton with her husband, Rich, and their daughter, Katie.
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