It’s that time of year again- time to say farewell to the trends of the past and usher in the new era of what’s "in." With that, I've asked some wedding professionals what they were seeing on the horizon, and it seems like we have quite the exciting wedding season in store for us.
Here’s what I expect to see:
With today’s interconnectivity, it may not be a surprise that couples are becoming increasingly tech-oriented when it comes to planning their weddings. "Couples aren’t just planning online, but they have gone fully mobile as well,” says Li Zhou of LadyMarry. “Today’s to-be-weds are looking for instant gratification, so they want their wedding planning right at their fingertips at any given moment. Whether they get some inspiration while out for lunch or they meet a potential vendor and want to store their contact information, it’s important for them to be able to do all of that while on the go.” With that in mind, it’s time to orient your business to meet their needs with mobile-friendly sites and active social media accounts.
This trend is heavily influenced by the guest experience, as couples look for ways to truly wow their guests and give them a fresh, new-to-them experience. While there are many ways to do this, it all goes back to making sure guests feel welcomed and entertained. “Couples are looking for ways to engage their guests throughout the wedding day,” explains Fabrice Orlando of Cocoon Events Management Group. “It could be through ice-breaker games when the festivities start, or they could have their caterer set up interactive food stations for guests.” The possibilities for interactivity are endless, so it’s up to the couples to keep their guests in mind and get creative.
Food isn’t just for filling guests’ stomachs anymore- it’s a way for couples to customize their wedding day and provide guests with a menu that really showcases their personalities. “We’ve seen that people are adding an additional course to dinner,” shares Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services. “It’s not just salad and an entree anymore; there’s usually an extra course in there to broaden the menu. In addition, late-night snacks aren’t just an add-on anymore--they’re expected!”
Above and beyond
More and more, couples are looking to go above expectations to provide a truly unique and memorable experience for their guests. This could be in the form of luxury accommodations, personalized favors, or a group activity that doubles as an icebreaker. “The wedding industry is heavily focused on guest experience currently and, with destination weddings, there is no better way to maximize guests' enjoyment than scheduling a group excursion for everyone to get to know one another and explore the destination together,” says Megan Velez of DestinationWeddings.com. “Of course, every locale offers different types of excursions, but those that are especially popular right now include catamaran dinner cruises, mountain treks, snorkeling, and historic tours.”
Switch it up
Today’s weddings are no longer cookie-cutter celebrations with identical details and time lines--this we know. However, couples will continue to go above and beyond with their wedding design in an effort to be unique and plan a day that truly captures their relationship. From the color palette to the actual day of the wedding, there is always room to try something new. “There will always be a place for the traditional wedding cake,” says Jamie Chang of Passport to Joy, an online wedding planning program that takes couples step by step through the entire process. “But more and more couples are embracing alternative cakes and desserts, from cheese to doughnuts to cookies.”
Sure, anyone could put a candle in a vase and surround it with flowers. On the note of creating a unique wedding, couples are taking their decor to the next level with creative designs that are anything but standard. “Couples are looking up for inspiration,” expresses Audrey Isaac of 100Candles.com. “They’re using the vertical space above the tables in order to make a statement--expect to see hanging LED lights, tall tapers and elaborate chandeliers.” That’s right--decor can be beautiful and useful!
While some trends may come and go, it’s safe to say that these are here to stay. Today’s weddings are all about blending customization with guest experience, so take note and get ready for 2017!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting, which specializes in getting wedding professionals their brides. She is a highly sought-after industry speaker and serves as a public relations adjunct professor for Virginia Commonwealth University.
Photo by Aaron Watson Photography