By Marianna Barbrey
Photography by Thomas Love and Rob Kaufman
Personalize your wedding by creating sub-areas of your reception that are geared toward specific demographics. For example, since weddings are primarily feminine affairs, it’s becoming popular to include a “Man Cave” for the gentlemen. Make it an adjacent room (or area) and stock it with cigars, brandy, scotch and a flatscreen with the game on — you know, guy stuff.
If your guest list includes a lot of families, consider holding a minireception for the mini-guests. A kid-only reception can be separate from its adult counterpart and feature babysitters, pizza, movies, music and maybe even a special cake. This kind of reception can help put parents at ease, while allowing kids to have a great time in a comfortable environment — one way more fun than a grown-up party.
Lace has always played an important role in bridal attire. But after Kate Middleton donned a mostly lace long-sleeved dress by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen for her wedding to Prince William, lace roared back — as did the the textile’s new best friend, long sleeves. Expect to see more arm coverage in wedding gowns for some time.
Specialty lighting rentals can easily enhance your venue. These days, lighting companies can arrive days before your wedding to install custom up-lighting to everything from the live oaks surrounding your venue to the ceiling in your ballroom. They point down, too: Try emblazoning the floor with the married couple’s new initials.
Even if you’re having a traditional meal, you can put a twist on it: Serve food in unexpected dishes and glassware for a creative and interesting display. If you’re thinking Southern, serve shrimp and grits — or mashed potatoes in martini glasses or stemless margarita glasses. On the dessert side, think of serving layer cake in champagne glasses, and give your guests long spoons and extra icing dolloped in the bottom.
Mason jars are very popular right now — especially since caterers can serve just about anything out of them, such as layered salads, lasagna or even pecan pie!
These days, outdoor games are making the scene in a big way. Many couples have taken to purchasing full cornhole game sets featuring their monograms, silhouettes, wedding date or college logo. Other outdoor games include ladder ball, bocce ball and croquet — you can even go so far as to include a small putting green for golf enthusiasts.
These days, of course, the state of the economy is forcing people to stretch their money further than ever before. As such, favors are doing triple-duty as not just a fun wedding takeaway but also a piece of décor and, sometimes, a place card. Put out bottles of wine with table numbers and guest names on the labels — they can not only direct people to their seats, but be uncorked during the reception. And a beautifully framed place card at each seat will enhance the décor — and serve as a favor that can be enjoyed for years.
Hair trends are all about the natural look these days; the days of the tight updos or super-tight corkscrew curls are behind us. Brides are opting for relaxed, romantic sweeping updos or smooth flowing curls if they wear their hair down. Many hairstyles are incorporating braids, creative layering and asymmetry.
One thing that’s remained constant over the years: the trend of allowing guests to create a wedding memento that they can display in their homes. Having guests sign an oversized wooden cutout of the first letter of a surname, for instance, easily creates a cool piece of wall art.
Many brides and grooms are opting for very small wedding cakes, so they can offer another dessert option. Caterers now provide a large array of options, including Make Your Own S’mores Bars, cotton candy bars and even popsicles served with champagne! If you are not a big cake fan, think outside the pan.
Couples can now register for services they need for the wedding itself — and even aspects of their honeymoon. Many photographers have begun offering registry options so that guests may purchase additional prints or packages of wedding images as a gift for the bride and groom.
Personal handmade touches are making a modern comeback. Websites such as etsy.com are allowing talented crafters all over the world to sell their items for a minimal fee. Moreover, artists on such sites are often willing to work with brides to brainstorm, create and ship items all over the world. These can include everything from custom flower-girl dresses to table linens to even the rings.
The traditional rose boutonniere is becoming a rare sight, as grooms and groomsmen get more personal with their flower choices. Many guys opt for berries or sprigs of greenery, though some eschew floral items at all and opt instead for found objects such as fishing lures, feathers, seashells or buttons.