By RITA KUEBER
When it comes to weddings, plans for 2023 and beyond are full steam ahead. Engaged couples are creating their own special experience filled with family and friends, flowers and cake, and putting their own unique stamp on these celebrations. Here are several stand-out trends that HeatherLily and Kirkbrides have noticed will be popular options in the upcoming months.
First, let’s talk numbers. “Weddings are back and bigger than ever. More couples are having a larger number of guests,” says Heather Thomas, founder and owner of HeatherLily, an event and floral design company. “Most of our conversations with clients are about maximizing the venue space for guest seating.” On the other hand, the wedding party itself is shrinking. “This is very intentional – we’ve noticed there are rarely six to eight attendants on each side anymore. A larger group does bring more chaos, but it’s up to the client. They may have a really large family or a big social life, it’s case by case. We are seeing a more intimate group – maybe three or four on a side, and now the sides don’t even have to have the same amount.”
“I think this comes from younger couples who don’t want to be told what to do,” Thomas continues. “The tradition is still there, but now it’s about creating a day that’s more about their style and their personality, rather than following rules
set by society in the past. It’s much more about the personalization of the event.”
Speaking of personalizing the process, the next trend is that couples are designing a logo, almost like a brand for their wedding. Once created, the logo is incorporated everywhere: invitations, programs, cocktail napkins, gift tags, and more. “We’re seeing full decals for the dance floor,” says Valarie Falvey, owner/founder of Kirkbrides, a wedding planning and design company. “Rather than renting a different dance floor or using the plain floor the venue provides, a decal matches the décor, and uses that monogram or logo the couple created.”
An additional thought on personalization, Falvey says, is including a detail that speaks directly to the couples’ experience or history. “Some fun things we’re seeing are a hot chocolate bar and pashmina wraps as gifts for a winter wedding. There are whiskey bars, tropical drinks bars, then there are late-night pizza snacks – in the style of pizza the couple had in college, that kind of thing. People like to include special, unique aspects to make their wedding stand out to their friends.” Falvey also mentions a return to some classic, if not old-fashioned details in today’s weddings including a champagne tower (sometimes a martini or spritz tower), serving oysters and caviar, and having an ice sculpture/centerpiece. True old-world glam is coming back.
Maybe the biggest thing trend-wise is the explosion of florals. No doubt this comes directly from the push for visuals to be Instagram or Pinterest-worthy, but floral used to mean bouquets and centerpieces. Now it means so much more. “We’ve been doing this for a while now, this heavy floral embellishment,” Thomas says. “It’s not just about the table, it’s about the grand entrance – the first visual impression, and carrying that through every detail at the reception.” Thomas describes how at the next wedding you attend you’ll probably notice “bespoke large floral displays, backdrops, and displays for ceremony spaces – aisles lined with lush, garden-inspired foliage, jaw-dropping floral chuppahs and archways, and impressive entryways.”
“We are seeing a lot of greenery; we’re bringing the outdoors inside,” says Falvey. “It’s draped from the ceiling, there’s green in the linens, it’s almost a neutral like gold and silver. Fifteen years ago we would never have seen so much green. There’s even greenery and florals around the cake, creating a cake garden, which again, matches the décor and carries out the theme.”
As for colors, both wedding professionals talk about seeing mostly neutral tones over the past few years. “While classic neutral color palettes won’t go out of style any time soon, we’re seeing couples embrace more vibrant tones to punch things up a bit with their design,” Thomas says. “Blush has been a dominant color for many, many years, along with the whites and creams that embrace the classic, modern look,” she adds. Falvey notes she would like to see more color in the wedding theme but acknowledges a change like that takes a few years. “We are seeing more black being used as an accent color. Not in the wedding party, but in the table linens, invitations, and in the florals – anemones have a black center, for example, and we’re seeing more of them,” Falvey says.
Both professionals talk about the need for prioritizing, as it’s so easy to get caught up in details. For brides, the priority is often the band and entertaining friends. For parents, the main concern most often is the menu and presentation. There’s always a bit of give and take to make everyone happy. “When newly engaged couples start to envision the overall day, they should write down their top priorities and non-negotiables,” Thomas says. “Defining wedding expectations from the start will help keep everything on track; it’s like creating a mission statement for your wedding.”
Thomas also highly recommends something couples may not think about. “This is a must for the couple: communicate to your photographer, planner, and venue that you want ten to fifteen minutes for a first look at the reception space to take it all in without anybody in the area,” she says. “The day passes so quickly, setting aside this time really helps the bride and groom appreciate all the important details in creating a memorable moment in time.”