It's your big day! You want to make your wedding wonderful and memorable, so you searched through all the bridal magazines and found some of the biggest trends. But the problem with trends is that they can fade almost as quickly as a week-old wedding bouquet. For example, candy bars were hot – until they weren't.
Or, as they like to say on Project Runway (which doesn't feel very trendy anymore), "one day you're in, and the next day, you're out!"
So, how do you identify the wedding trends that are on the rise, rather than picking ones that are falling flat? We turned to North Oaks Director of Membership and Catering, Kay Zeigler, who works with all our wedding couples, to see what they're really planning this season.
Make it Personal
It's your day, so why wouldn't you make it personal? Realistically, finding a way to leave the bride and groom's personal mark on the event is the driving force behind many trendy ideas. The key is finding something unique or memorable from your own personality or relationship and bringing it into the event.
One of the most creative ways Kay has seen a couple bring their personality to the party – quite literally – was the couple who carried their family cats down the aisle, and then placed them in pet beds for the ceremony. She also remembers an accomplished dancer who had a full costume change before the reception and "did a little ballerina number for her groom."
Signature cocktails continue to be popular, as well as specialty drink bars (like margarita bars). They are a great way to personalize the drinks for the bride and broom – one version has a special mix for the bride and the other for the groom.
But you aren't limited to cocktails. "One wedding, it was for draft beer," Kay notes. "If they requested their beer the 'Jackie way,' it was served with a lime. If they requested it the 'Isaac way,' it was served with an olive."
Work With "Walls"
Doughnut walls are a fun way to get away from the traditional wedding cake, but they are starting to feel a little "day old." Instead, Kay says sweet rolls are on the rise. Think caramel rolls or mini-cinnamon rolls on a wall. "That's good," she says, "because the donuts dry out pretty quickly and then they don't look all that tasty."
But another kind of "wall" has her really excited. Shrub walls! Picture a patio entrance with a hand coming through the wall of greenery to give each guest a glass of champagne. "Now that's cool," she says.
Games, Games, Games
In essence, everybody wants to make their event an experience, and there is nothing better (or more popular these days) than lawn games. "Ladder golf, bags, we've even had croquet brought in," says Kay. "If you have a patio and grounds like ours, it's a great way to make the cocktail hour memorable."
In one of her favorite takes on the "games" idea, Kay says the couple updated the old tradition of clinking glassware to get the bride and groom to kiss by having their guests make a putt before they kissed. "A putting game was set up on the dance floor during dinner and it was a lot of fun."
Make It Interactive
Beyond the games, photo booths continue to be a popular way to engage guests and make the party interactive. Never underestimate the ability for guests to entertain themselves with mustaches, props, and some time to pose for pictures.
Yet the opportunities to make the day interactive start long before the wedding begins. Interactive invitations and wedding pages have revolutionized the entire experience, with websites to RSVP and pick food, not to mention learn the wedding's hashtag. Kay also suggests asking for music requests online. "That way you know everybody will be comfortable and get up on the dance floor and enjoy themselves," she says. "It certainly streamlines things, so you can collect all the information in one spot a spreadsheet."
Smaller Guest Lists
Along with the trends to make weddings more personalized and memorable for the guests, Kay sees a trend toward smaller guest lists.
Instead of throwing a big, broad-based party for 300 or more people, couples are using the same (or even a smaller) budget to give 150 people a more personal, memorable experience.
Bring on the Breweries
And what about barn weddings? They are being replaced by vineyards, but Kay says that's even starting to wane. The trendy places for those kinds of rustic weddings are breweries – in part to match the craft beer trend and match the tastes of the couple.
Still, Kay has some advice for couples who look into weddings at those kinds of boutique venues. "Couples are getting really tired of all the add-ons," she says. "A lot of brides are surprised by what’s not included such as linen and place settings, or mandating security guards and charging extra for them as well as surcharging if you use your own vendors versus the ones on their preferred list.
For comparison, those costs are typically included as part of the room rental at North Oaks and other more traditional wedding venues. She also warns that some venues will add up to a 20% surcharge if you go outside of their vendor list, which can have a huge impact on your budget.