What’s inspired and innovative in weddings
by Cheryl Kimball
The phrase “simple elegance” permeates all aspects of the wedding world today, from flowers to food. Cake decorator extraordinaire Owen Dyer, owner of confectionArt in York, Maine, describes the current cake scene as one without lots of detail. “Oh, we occasionally get the over-the-top request,” he says, his voice wistful for how much fun he has with these, “but those are few and far between these days.” Owen’s signature “staggered square” continues to be popular. This personal spin on square layers offers the classic wedding cake silhouette with a modern touch. And the classic round is still always in.
ConfectionArt’s Owen Dyer is not seeing rolling-pin-over-the-head trends but more subtle things. For instance, cakes are being ordered much closer to the wedding. Where in the past he would get wedding cake orders six months to a year in advance of the wedding date, orders now often come in more like weeks instead of months ahead. He assumes this is economy-related and that this trend will eventually change. While he tries to be accommodating, like in all matters wedding-related, Owen reminds brides, especially those that do want more complex designs, that in order to get exactly what you want you need to plan enough ahead. John Hutchins of Leavitt & Parris, rental company extraordinaire in Portland, Maine, where you can get everything you need to make your wedding venue picture perfect, concurs. “Even good-sized jobs and ones where we have already met with them are still waiting until last minute,” he says. “Don’t think you are going to get a bargain by waiting last minute. We end up already booked and can’t do the event.” To help meet this trend, they have created a 100-guest turnkey rental package that includes some color customizing. This can help make decisions easier and quicker.
RUBY SLIPPERS CLICK
These days, Dorothy would be able to follow Glenda-the-Good-Witch’s advice to never let those ruby slippers leave her feet, including on their way down the aisle! Boldly colored shoes—red, hot pink, orange—are walking to the altar. What’s going on? Do girls just wanna have fun? That’s a little of it, says Elizabeth Dirom of Madeleine’s Daughter, the esteemed Portsmouth bridal shop. “Bridal shoes are undergoing changes. We are definitely seeing a decrease in the traditional shoe this fitting season. Brides are willing to spend more money on a high-quality shoe. And they may be looking for shoes they can use again.”
The daytime or casual outdoor wedding is still witnessing the “natural bride” with more of a “polish up” than a “make up.” But for those weddings after 4pm, watch out—glam is back! “This went away for a couple years,” says veteran make-up artist Annie Loomis, owner of Making Faces in Portsmouth. Brighter lipstick, shimmers, false lashes may have faded for a while but things are getting flashier again. One of the challenges, Annie says, is that wedding make-up often has to last all day, from initial application to evening dancing. This means that even for the bride who chooses to go more natural, a primer is always in style—even the natural bride will be having pictures taken! Meltproof and waterproof (does anyone not cry at their wedding?) is critical especially for those weddings in the heat of July and August. “We have not seen significant effects from the economy,” Loomis says. “No matter what their overall budget, brides are still splurging a little. We are an affordable luxury—we are the last to go.” She even offers consultations that result in the bride purchasing recommended products and learning to do the make-up herself. And make-up is also economic-minded in a different way—after spending part of their budget on professional photography, the right make-up helps ensure that pictures look as good as possible. And quality make-up products last long after the wedding, and can be used until they are gone.
PARTY ALL NIGHT LONG
Unique and personal are wedding themes that come up in all aspects of the latest wedding trends. The reception is no exception. Daniel Dumont, corporate chef for Ocean Properties, Hotels, and Resorts, has seen the dinner portion of the wedding move from formal sit-down dinners to a more continuous reception-like atmosphere. To offset the lessening of formality comes an increase in drama—Dumont says they are seeing an interest in more dramatic food stations with ice bowl displays, incorporating dry ice, and other creative touches. And receptions that lean toward a party atmosphere with extensive appetizers rather than a sit-down dinner allow the gathering to get very personal. There’s room on the dance floor and the happy couple have a chance to interact with everyone before they whisk themselves off to the honeymoon suite.
Even brides who aren’t on a tight budget are money mindful these days. John Hutchins of Leavitt & Parris in Portland, Maine, says even customers with higher incomes are “toning things down a bit and keeping some splashy things more quiet. We are not seeing unusual requests like Lucite chairs and custom chair pads, for example. Brides are not over-glamorizing but are settling for more conservative choices.” However, “most women have been dreaming about their wedding for some time,” says Samantha Finigan of Gus & Ruby Letterpress in Portsmouth. “They aren’t willing to give up their dream that easily. Nor,” she continues, “do they have to.” Everyone has a budget. Whether that budget is large or not-so-large, couples continue to want their weddings to reflect their values and be personal in every way possible. These days, they are finding ways to do that in all aspects of their wedding, tightened nuptial purse strings or not. When it comes to invitations, the handcrafted process of letterpress printing offers a unique and luxurious style to printed pieces. Even though this hands-on printing process is more expensive than mass-produced invitations, Samantha and her business partner Whitney Swaffield have found ways to work with their customers to achieve their vision no matter what their budget. One way to do that, for instance is to have the key paper piece—the invitation itself—printed via letterpress while doing the other pieces using less-expensive offset printing. Samantha and Whitney will help you tie it all together with colors, style, and design choices woven throughout the invitation, envelopes, and RSVP card. You can definitely get the look you want without sacrificing your budget!
Brides and grooms are coming to the wedding planning process more informed than ever before. The folks at Madeleine’s Event Central, the Chamber of Commerce of the wedding industry located in Portsmouth, welcome this higher level of knowledge from the wedding party. “Brides come in asking the questions that we want to answer,” says MEC’s Crystal Brazie. “People are being taught in general to ‘read the labels.’ Consumers are more educated.” And they are educating themselves in everything they do, including planning their wedding. A lot of that information is coming from the internet, a contemporary tool that has become indispensable in planning almost anything. Not a fad in the least, the use of the internet in wedding planning is a definite trend that is only going to increase (be sure to check out our newly redesigned website at www.seacoastbride.com!). But use your internet research as a basis to consult with your expert vendors on ideas and then let them use their vast experience to be the professional expert you hired them to be! This includes valuing the professional hands-on experience you get with dealing with someone in person. As Crystal Brazie says, “If I tell you this is a good cake, it is because we have tasted this cakemaker’s cakes. You can’t taste a cake on the internet.” Our feature beginning on page 91 provides you with some great behind-the-scenes tips that will help you get the most out of all of your wedding information sources, from your vendors to the internet to your mother-in-law-to-be’s massage therapist to your professional photographer to the newly married woman who sits five cubicles down from your best friend’s stepsister. You can take their advice with a grain of salt or you can hang on their every word—but just do either as informed as you can be!
THE TUX HAS EVOLVED
Relax, guys! Tuxedos have evolved from über-formal into a more relaxed yet still polished look. How? First, says Crystal Brazie of Madeleine’s Event Central, the stand-up collar has been run out of town in favor of a laydown collar. Next, the bowtie has taken a backseat to the Windsor tie. The stiff stripe down the sides of the pants and the shiny lapels—gone! Cumberbunds have been replaced by full vests. And the vests themselves have upgraded from “clip-on” backs to full-backed vests allowing for the groom and groomsmen to be able to remove their jackets as the night wears on and still feel stylishly dressed. But even with all that, a tux is still a tux and the guys will look sharp and handsome for the big event. Renting from Madeleine’s Tuxedo affords men in the bridal party that attention to detail that comes from years of experience—for instance, to ensure that those expensive professional wedding photos look picture perfect literally from head to toe, MEC sticks a pair of complimentary black socks in each tux garment bag. No surprises like having the pictures come back with the Best Man’s white gym socks showing. The attendants at Madeleine’s Event Central know the trends and have you covered!
GRAY IS THE NEW BROWN
Chocolate as the trendy color for bridesmaids’ dresses is being upstaged by not just gray but other muted tones like Tiffany blue and even a sandy color that is essentially a muted chocolate, says Elizabeth Dirom of Madeleine’s Daughter. But the muted tones aren’t left at that. Brides are mixing in vibrant colors, says Elizabeth. Orange, canary yellow, and cobalt blue are all colors she saw at the New York shows for the upcoming bridal season. And while the wedding gown itself is still predominantly ivory, colors like light pink, pale green, and beige are creeping their way in. And the close silhouette is being overtaken by three-dimensional touches like cabbage roses and large appliqués. Essentially, “the ball gown is trying to make its way back,” Elizabeth says.
TRASH THE DRESS
If there is anyone who is up on bridal trends, it’s our illustrious advisory board member, Kate Parker of Kate Parker Weddings. The trend she alerted us to that’s slowly making its way to the seacoast is Trash the Dress. You may tiptoe around in your wedding dress careful not to get a wrinkle or mud spot on your gown on the big day, but not for this special photo shoot! At some time after the wedding, brides are slipping back into their oh-so-perfect gowns and making them oh-so-messy—lounge in the river, traipse through a city fountain, frolic in the mud, drape yourself over a steel girder, ride a horse, climb a tree, use your imagination to come up with come creative photos contrasting elegant bridal wear in a down-and-dirty environment. Sometimes the bride goes it alone, sometimes the groom comes along to Trash the Tux, sometimes the whole wedding party gets involves—your choice. Whatever you do, let loose and follow this fun trend!
FORMAL PORTRAITS GO INFORMAL
“When I started in wedding photography over ten years ago, it was just ‘line ‘em up.’ But a lot of couples I work with these days ask for more relaxed, informal photography,” says Tara Hamer, a member of our editorial advisory board whose wedding photographs have been described as “brilliant” and “creative.” “These informal shots are some of my favorite of the day, where the energy among their closest friends and family is vibrant and palpable,” Tara says, “but I encourage them to go for both types of portraits. the informal and the more traditional. The 'informal formals' are perfect for the album and as prints and gifts, but parents and grandparents usually still appreciate the more formal portraits." For those who want more spontaneous group portraits, Tara has a few key suggestions. You need to be willing to allot a bit more time than you would for the line-‘em-up style of portrait. Candid shots with different groupings, movement, and settings can take more time. Consider having your photographer do an engagement portrait or "E-Session," something that has also become a popular trend. This allows couples to get used to the photographer’s style and they know what to expect when in front of the camera. And these photos are great to use in your Save the Dates and in the new Reception Book designs. Relax! Being comfortable with the photography plan and familiar with your photographer is directly linked to more relaxed, natural, spontaneous photos.