Above Photo by Oh, Darling! Photography
Hot Tips & Trends in Today's Wedding World
by Cheryl Kimball
TIP: TRIMMING THE BUDGET
The Seacoast Weddings advisory board (see page 11) offers the following tips to stretch your budget:
• Start your planning and budgeting early.
• Make a priority list at the very beginning—is music most important? A large guest list? Know where you want to spend the bulk of your budget.
• Talk with recently married friends about their budgeting experiences.
• Ask wedding vendors LOTS of questions.
• If you aren’t using a wedding planner, at least pay for a consultation with one.
TREND: HELP WITH THE PLAYLIST
Engage your guests in the music at your reception. Ask them to include with their RSVP favorites from their personal playlists.
TREND: BAND AND DJ AT RECEPTION
Leslie Barbini of The Wedding Belle in Portsmouth is seeing weddings where a band plays during dinner and for the traditional toasts and formal dances. But then the music is handed off to a DJ for a more nightclub feel for the rest of the evening.
TIP: HIGH-END GOWN DESIGNERS WITH BUDGET LINES
Vera Wang, Isaac Mizrahi, Monique Lhuillier, and others offer accessibly priced gowns in places like David’s Bridal and Ann Taylor. Mall stores like Urban Outfitters and J. Crew are carrying wedding dresses as well.
TREND: BRIDES GOING SOLO
Brides are often going it alone down the aisle, not being “given away” by dad, step-dad, brother, or accompanied by any male escort at all. Walking with a best friend or flanked by attendants are also possibilities.
TIP: CUSTOMER SERVICE IS WORTH MONEY!
When your gown needs an eleventh-hour refitting or a morning rainstorm shorts out all the lighting to your tented wedding that evening, you will be glad you spent that little extra to use the highest quality vendors you can afford. They know how to keep their customers happy. Your gown will be refitted, your lights will be reconnected, you won’t need to stress out, and guests will not be the wiser.
TREND: OLD-SCHOOL INVITATIONS
Hi-level coffee service later in the reception is a growing trend, says master of all aspects of the wedding industry, Jay Bishop, owner of Madeleine’s Event Central in Portsmouth and Seacoast Bride advisory board member. As Americans have become more sophisticated in their coffee selections, expectations are for exceptional coffee. This has the added benefit of slowing down the liquor consumption before the end of the evening which can mean less cost in the case of an open bar and can aid in making sure guests leave the party sober (provided the coffees don’t include liqueurs!).
TREND: CHARCOAL GRAY IS IN
Attendant dresses and men’s suits and tuxes look great in charcoal gray—and it’s a lovely backdrop for colored accessories such as yellow flowers, lilac ties, or white sashes.
TIP: USE YOUR ENGAGEMENT PHOTO SESSION IN YOUR WEDDING
Seacoast Wedding’s advisory board highly recommends an engagement photo session—it lets your photographer get to know you as a couple and helps you get comfortable with being photographed before the Big Day. Use those photos somewhere in your wedding—for example, one couple used them on name cards with a different shot representing each table.
Lace, feathers, asymmetrical draping, beaded belts, layers, raw edges—texture is in for bridal gowns, says Elizabeth Dirom of Madeleine’s Daughter in Portsmouth. Leslie Barbini of The Wedding Belle concurs—texture is showing up everywhere from table linens to paper products to flowers.
TIP: DO-IT-YOURSELF SUCCESS
Do-it-yourself doesn’t have to mean do-it-ALL-yourself—you should enjoy the day, not add stress! Pick one element of your wedding—place cards, menus, welcome bags—to do on your own. Choose something you are good at and enjoy doing, and leave the rest to the experts.
TREND: COUPLES LESS TIED TO TRADITION
“Couples are showing a fearlessness in doing what they want with no apologies,” says Kathe Mickunas of Passionflower Farm in Bath, Maine. They are making their wedding their own and not feeling compelled to follow tradition for tradition’s sake. This is showing up in other ways as well—couples, says Leslie Barbini of the Wedding Belle, “are embracing the idea that every tabletop does not have to look the same. Having two or three different tabletop designs all with the same color scheme creates a unique and interesting look.”
TREND: CANDY BAR
Although we’re not sure why guests might want to indulge in a sugar high late in the night (how about some late night greasy mini-burgers?), candy tables are a trend. Espresso Dave (www.espressodave.com) sees lots of personalized candies in tables set up next to his espresso bar. The Wedding Belle’s Leslie Barbini says that couples are often creating one signature table with a huge “wow! factor” that guests will leave talking about—like an over-the-top candy bar, a raw bar, or incredibly unique entrance or place card table.
TREND: MORE IMAGINATIVE CAKES
The trend in cakes continues to be more concerned with looks than taste—which makes fondant still popular. “The popularity of baking shows has been great for the wedding cake industry,” says Kristyn Reza of Quintessentially Cakes in Newburyport. She finds that clients are having higher expectations after seeing what can be done on these shows. But if you get more imaginative, be prepared—anything is possible but “anything” is also costly! And remember, a lot of whimsy and imagination can come in the form of the cake topper.
TIP: ALTERATIONS COUNT
Helen Dionne, owner of A Day to Remember Bridal Boutique on Main Street in Concord, NH, reminds brides not to forget the cost of alterations in the budget for their gown. Professional alterations—and she does advise using a professional—can significantly add to the overall cost of your gown.
TREND: FOCUS ON GUESTS
Jessika Brooks Brewer, event planner and CEO of The Retreat at French’s Point in Stockton Springs, Maine, has observed a subtle but powerful shift in the focus of wedding planning. “These days, couples deflect a fair amount of the attention that normally falls on them on their wedding day onto their guests. The celebration becomes a truly shared experience.” They are including, she explains, “fantastic, meaningful details” that are often not things but experiences—these details “can come from the toast, or the moments the couple takes with their guests.”
Trying to figure out the best catering option for your wedding? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (June 14, 2011 by Sumathi Reddy), you might consider the growing trend in food trucks. They come to you, and you might even be able to have two or three that offer different types of foods or a truck that matches the theme of your wedding. One man, the story says, “rented the CupcakeStop truck to propose to his wife.” Who wouldn’t say yes to that?!
TREND: SHOPPING ON ETSY.COM
In case you aren’t familiar with this popular website, etsy.com is an online source of vintage and handmade items. Etsy is a great place to find unique and clever wedding accessories. A recent search of the “weddings” category on etsy popped up with a mere 235,963 items! Browse etsy for great cake toppers, interesting jewelry, clutches, hair fascinators, table and escort card holders, and all sorts of personalized items.