As couples out there get ready for their weddings in spring 2017 (and beyond), we reached out to some of the country’s leading experts on wedding planning. From caterers to stylists to wedding planners and everything in between, these 25 event planners can help your day to be as on-trend as possible for the upcoming year.
Think a mountain-like elegance feel or enchanted forest look. For indoor weddings, bring the outside in with potted trees, shrubbery, lots of wood and stone, and lots of greens everywhere. Get a woodsy feel for table settings.
— Cristen Faherty, Cristen & Co
Flowers are one of the most luxurious aspects of decor. Now, couples are taking it to the next level: a hanging floral/hothouse/botanical garden effect. From chandeliers and wire frames to acrylic bases and any other fixtures that can be manipulated by the florists, these arrangements enhance the ambience to a true wonderland experience. This design element broadens the scope of florals that can be incorporated into the design, outside of the standard roses, peonies, and hydrangeas.
— Renée Strauss, WEDAWAYS
This spring, think about ways to incorporate greenery (Pantone's color of the year) in unexpected places throughout your wedding. We often request extra greenery or blooms from the florist to garnish hors d’oeuvre passing trays, serving as an extension of the couple's decor by adding interest and a pop of color to the food presentation. Extra sprigs can also be placed on top of the napkins at the head table, giving a special touch for your wedding party as they take their seats.
— Elinor Brown, Blue Plate Catering sales director
Forget the standard shiny gold and silver: this year is all about the softer and brushed metals with an emphasis on rose gold. Different materials from cement and marble to agate will make their way into weddings through escort card displays, table numbers, and cakes. In addition, highlighting the bar is going to be big! Instead of going with standard tables and linens, couples are opting towards custom built or vintage bars.
— Nora Sheils, Bridal Bliss
Choose a color that speaks to the theme of your big day and create your bouquet entirely out of florals of that particular color. You can stick to a single floral variety or mix-and-match differing florals all in the same hue to complete this look.
— Bronwen Smith, owner and lead designer of B Floral
As wedding planners in Cincinnati, we know the rustic/boho trend is still going strong. What started out as mason jars wrapped in burlap filled with wildflowers has evolved into more sophisticated styles. At the heart of this trend is a desire to be authentic and simple yet still elegant. Simple flowers, lots of wood, and local, sustainable products focus attention on all things handcrafted and home-grown.
— Brigid Horne-Nestor, i-Do Weddings & Events
This means that at your venue, the ceremony, dinner, and dancing occur in different locations. This is the perfect way to utilize your outdoor ceremony backup locations or unique rooms that would otherwise go unused. It provides the perfect experience-building — allowing for a different experience for each event.
— Terrica, chief event planner & designer, Cocktails & Details
Couples are requesting highly curated experiences. Tantalizing tastes and sights to behold were already popular. This year, they're elevating things with textured elements: velvet linens or couches draped in faux furs, sequin photo booth backdrops, etc. This also extends to the reception. From personal poem writers to caricature artists, couples want to give their guests something to talk about and a meaningful keepsake. Goodbye Jordan almonds!
— Andrea Freeman of Andrea Freeman Events
Big floral prints made their way onto the wedding trend scene via those adorable robes for bridesmaids to get ready in, and now they are making their way onto bridesmaid dresses, cake art, and getaway outfits. Nothing is as feminine and springy as a soft floral print!
— Elena Balkcom, Laurel Ave
Gone are the days of the same dress for every girl in your bridal party — besides, not everyone has the same body type and looks the best in one particular style. We will continue seeing more mismatched fashion for bridesmaids, which I am a huge advocate of and even modeled my new bridesmaid collection, David Tutera for Gather and Gown, after. Mixing various styles, textures, or shades of the same color family is what it’s all about.
— David Tutera
Bridal crowns are hot and can be created to achieve almost any look, from a romantic floral crown to a glamorous crown of jewels. Brides have embraced crowns for their flattering look and because they’re a departure from the expected.
— Nicole Ettenhofer, director of marketing and public relations for George Street
First-time brides are going for a much sexier look this spring. Think cutouts, very low backs, and flirty panels. Meanwhile, second-time brides are doing pastel color gowns or Sex and the City-style tuxedos and pantsuits.
— Emore Campbell, wedding experience curator based in Charlotte, North Carolina
Couples are getting more and more creative with their dessert selections. The traditional tiered wedding cake is becoming less popular. Instead, couples are choosing options such as assorted mini-desserts, cupcakes, cake pops, candy bars, and more. Couples are also starting to fuse their dessert selections with other elements of their reception, such as the bar or late night snack with offerings like boozy popsicles and spiked milkshakes.
— Christina Gau, Radisson Blu Mall of America
Our couples are eschewing the safe and traditional steak-or-chicken entrees in favor of flavors that remind them of their families' heritage, their own travels, or just their own preferences. If there is a food trend, it's to surprise and delight guests with personal details. We've recently seen chicken and waffles (inspired by our couple's late-night hangout while they were dating), an all-vegetarian Middle Eastern buffet (simply because it's our couple's favorite cuisine), and a rehearsal dinner burger and hotdog cookout complete with ice cream and s'mores (for a couple who met at summer camp).
— Stephanie Aspinwall, Pretty Entertaining
One major trend is "floating" food that doubles as decor. For example, donut walls and hors d'oeuvres suspended on shelves hanging from tree branches or "clothes lines" of candied bacon and late-night pretzel noshes. Brides are using the food stations as design focal points, providing double the benefits at half the cost. This kind of display is also more interactive and fun, infusing the wedding with a unique vibe that guests will talk about for months to come.
— Kelly Masten, Four Seasons Hotel Austin
Caviar bars on carved ice with chef-crafted blinis, fresh beautiful seafood displays with lobster tails, crab claws, beautiful oysters, and stone crab, and chef-seared scallop stations are all the rage.
— Rhea Merrill, sales and catering manager at Lurcat Catering and Naples Botanical Garden
This year, brides are opting to involve guests as much as possible by adding interactive elements. This could include a fun self-serve food bar, or a place where out-of-town guests can collect some goodies for their stay.
— Courtney Geigle, My Wed Style
I have seen my couples trending towards smaller guests lists with a bigger focus on guest experience. My couples in 2017 want food that guests will remember, and things that are more refined and unique. Couples getting married are more experienced with food, and while I used to hear all the time that they didn't care about how the food tasted, I now regularly see it being one of their top five most important aspects for the wedding. They not only want it to taste good, but they also want it to look good.
— Amanda Felsman, Tailored Engagements
Bourbon bar and/or whiskey bars are being trended by grooms. We are seeing varieties of liquors that some of the grooms (and brides) prefer. Getting a rustic setup for the bar is key, and then providing the specialty glassware, chipped ice, and an expert in the bourbon or whiskey is now a huge hit, and it is great for the upcoming wedding season this spring.
— Brandi Hamerstone, All Events Planned
There is noticeable move away from the traditional three-course plated meals. In recent events, we have done a combination of alternatives, such as food displays, tapas-style sharing plates, and sushi platters for the main meal or family-style meals.
— Tessler Events
You only get one chance to make a first impression; this logic should be carried throughout your entire wedding, the entrance to your ceremony, and the entrance to your reception. Create a show-stopping element to welcome your guests to each part of your wedding that gets them excited about what's to come.
— Becky Baker, owner of Becky's Brides
It’s important to engage your guests, and a great way to do that is with interactive entertainment. I’m seeing a lot of interest in eye-catching entertainment, ranging from aerialists and acrobats to live artist illustrators. Everyone loves a good photo, and slow-motion photo booths and interactive photo walls are going to be all the rage. Additionally, unexpected musical moments, such as gospel choirs, are sure to wow. I had a client that had a gospel choir pop out from around the corner as soon as the ceremony ended to sing “Oh Happy Day.”
— Jennifer Earnest, Chef’s Garden Catering and Events
One of the biggest trends we have noticed is personalization. Wedding day "rules" are holding less weight with recent couples, and they are branching out to put their individual stamp on their big day. From a shotgun shell boutonnière & personalized Coca-Cola bottles to an F/A-18 ice luge and everything in-between, our couples are truly thinking about who they are when it comes to their wedding day. We believe that an authentic wedding that speaks to the couple's true character is always in style!
— Kate Freeman, The Emily Weddings Team
Ceremonies are moving away from tradition in a lot of aspects such as venues, music, vows, and more. We are currently seeing a lot of ceremonies at beaches, parks, or off-beat places for vows, and seeing very few church weddings. Couples are also moving away from traditional instrumental ceremonial music and using more current music. I’ve even seen weddings where they used R. Kelly for ceremonial music — yes, it’s happening!
— The Wedding Establishment