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Mehgan Ely Photo by Aaron Watson

2016 International Wedding Trends: Midyear Check-in

Meghan Ely


Photo by Aaron Watson Photography

One of the most exciting things about the event industry is that the trends are constantly changing.

It requires diligence to follow what’s in and what’s out, but that knowledge can be the key to pushing your business to the next level.

With that, let’s take a look at some of this year’s biggest international wedding trends that we’re seeing pop up at weddings all over the world.

As weddings become more of a personal statement for many couples, we’re seeing more and more distinctive wedding styles--from vintage glam to fairy tale-themed

The Wedding and Event Institute’s 2016 International Wedding Trend Report shares that European luxury-style and festival-style are both popular choices for wedding themes in 2016.

Festival weddings incorporate bright colors, touches of nature, and a laid-back vibe, whereas European luxury-style brings together glamour and romance for an unbeatable match.

Many couples are choosing their themes based off of their chosen event spaces, which are increasingly unique. “In Australia, we’re seeing a lot of weddings in venues that have never seen a wedding before,” says "Ms. Polka Dot" of Polka Dot Bride. “Think industrial-style warehouses, blank-canvas campsites and greenhouses--anything unique!” Other popular options are wineries, museums and teepees, which keep with the festival theme.

On that note, outside is "in" as al fresco ceremonies and receptions are increasingly prevalent.

“Evoking that ‘under the Tuscan moon’ feeling is popular in the U.S.,” says Esther Friedrich of Belle & Chic. “However, many couples decide to go for the real thing and tie the knot directly in Italy.”

No matter where the wedding, regional flavors are all the rage as caterers strive to incorporate ingredients that are locally sourced. Not only is this a more sustainable option, but it truly captures the wedding locale, be it in Italy or Mexico.

“Much of the themes infused into European events are location-centric,” says Harmony Walton of Jet Fete. “Food has become a focal point and serving local cuisine is almost a must.” Of course, local beverages go hand in hand with a delicious menu, and signature cocktails are moving away from old-school choices and embracing nearby favorites such as fine wines and regional liquors.

As for cakes, the naked cake is here to stay in Europe, Australia and the United States. Not only a budget-conscious option, naked cakes also pair well with the perennially popular rustic look.

Today’s weddings are seeing a blend of traditional decor with more modern touches for a fun and eclectic vibe.

Hanging installations and greenery take the stage as more and more couples are looking to go big with floral design. “Quotes and signage are also huge,” says Ms. Polka Dot. “Keep an eye out for dance floor decals, custom neon hashtags, and really any piece used in a bold fashion.”

On thebold note, luxury-minded couples are embracing opulent decor for their nuptials. “White continues to be a prevalent color in destination weddings in Morocco,” explains Fabrice Orlando of Cocoon Events Group. “Our couples take advantage of this by incorporating pops of rich color around the event space for a dazzling effect.”

The destination celebration is making its mark, as couples desire getting away from the pressure of throwing traditional weddings.

“A huge trend is having a destination elopement or intimate wedding,” says Friedrich. “Couples come to the Mediterranean to escape the 150-plus ballroom wedding they feel obliged to have back home.”

Although destination weddings are not exactly new to the scene, the chosen locales are shifting away from typical sandy shores to places that are off the beaten path. “Couples are flocking to more exotic destinations these days,” explains Rebecca Hochreiter of Destination Weddings Travel Group. “Places such as South Africa, New Zealand and British Columbia offer a blend of adventure and relaxation--not to mention the opportunity for amazing photos that the couple will cherish in the years to come.”

Walton echoes these thoughts, sharing that “destination weddings aren’t just tropical or beach weddings anymore. Old World wedding venues like ancient churches, ruins and even 11th century Tuscan villages are setting the stage for destination 'I dos' with a different type of experience, environment and thus decor style.”

As important as it is to stay on top of what’s relevant in your area, you’ll often find inspiration from seeing what your colleagues are doing around the world so don’t limit yourself to your backyard. Keep your ear to the ground and continue observing the wedding industry at large--that way, you’ll pick up on trends before they go mainstream!

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 sought-after industry speaker and serves as a public relations adjunct professor for Virginia Commonwealth University.

Photo by Aaron Watson Photography


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