Photo booths, up-lighting, fake cakes and cascading bouquets filled with vibrant colors are all trends in nuptials in the upcoming year.
Brides (and willing grooms) can see these and more at two upcoming area bridal shows: the Bridal Showcase on Jan. 10 and 11 at the Naper Settlement in Naperville and the Bridal Expo on Jan. 19 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. Both shows will offer couples the chance to meet vendors and get ideas on how to make their upcoming special day truly memorable.
Becca Atkins is the coordinator of the Naper Settlement’s Bridal Showcase. The event will have more than 50 vendors, ranging from the traditional florists and caterers to officiants, chiropractors, personal trainers and even insurance companies.
“It’s going to be larger than in years past, and we’re excited for it,” Atkins said. “People are looking for something unique. They are trying to do something different than what other companies have done. They can find it all here.”
Susan Stockwell is the Renaissance Center’s Supervisor and Wedding Planner. The Renaissance Center in Joliet is a restaurant and banquet facility that hosts several weddings, and will be represented at the Rialto’s Bridal Expo.
The ‘in’ color
Denise Walden owns Walden Floral in Downers Grove. She decorated the Naper Settlement’s chapel for the winter weddings and its expo.
She is an Illinois certified professional florist and adjunct floral design instructor for the College of DuPage, and serves on the board of advisors for the horticulture department for the College of DuPage. She has had her store for 15 years, and her main business is wedding and event work.
“I’m pretty well hands-on with wedding trends and color,” she said. “Pantone is the organization that sets the colors for every year. The big color starting in spring of 2014 is Radiant Orchid. It’s a pretty (purple) color. We’re seeing more orchid, vivid blues, oranges and what’s called a cayenne; it’s kind of a paprika color.”
Those colorful bouquets pop against on-trend bridesmaid dresses in a champagne or sandy neutral color.
When it comes to bouquets and arrangements, she is seeing “a lot of garden, organic trends with succulents as an accent,” she said.
“Dusty miller is kind of a gray-toned foliage that is real lacy-looking. I’m seeing an uptick of that as well. Real fresh, happy designs.”
Bouquets are still round, although “cascading styles are just on the horizon. I’m doing more of those now. Not the formal teardrop, but the loose, cascading, abundant style I see on the horizon,” she said. “We’ve been waiting for it for awhile now.”
Bridesmaids will still carry the round style, she said. Centerpieces include a lot of candlelight and use of the bouquets, she said. Altar arrangements from the church are often used to decorate the head table.
“Whatever is used for the ceremony I like to use twice,” she said
The economy is starting to shift, she said.
“A few years ago, brides had a tighter budget, and what got eliminated were decorations at the church. Which is fine, because most churches are very pretty. But as I am doing more church arrangements, I see people budgeting more for aisle decorations as well as for the altar area.”
Just a few years ago, a lot of couples were too afraid that they were going to be unemployed by the time their wedding came around, so their spending did become very conservative, she said.
“But instead of the bride telling me, ‘I’m getting married in two months, can you do my flowers,’ I’m seeing trend go back to longer-range planning. I believe the couples and their families are more secure with their finances. I think people have become accustomed to how the economy is and they’ve planned for it.”
Ken Overbey at Sounds Abound in Naperville agreed that brides are planning further ahead.
“Sales are increasing for 2014, and it seems they are starting a little earlier, which is a good sign,” he said.
He’s been in the business 24 years, and has seen plenty of trends come and go. One trend that’s not showing any signs of going away any time soon is the photo booth, he said.
“I have more photo booths booked at this time of the year for next year than I ever had before,” he said. “Photo booths have been on the upswing for years. Fads come and go, but this seems like it has become a staple at wedding receptions. People like the idea of having a photo booth because it gives them a memento of the event to take with them. Not only that, but they have fun in the booth.”
Light up the room
Another trend he sees taking off at weddings is accent up-lighting.
“We’re able to take a room and totally change the colors by placing lights around the perimeter of the room, which will go with bride and groom’s colors and décor. Take a basic banquet room and we can really change it up by adding colored lighting around the rooms. That’s been a really good trend, too.”
Stockwell agrees that up-lighting has become a hot trend at receptions.
We are young
When it comes to music at the reception, most couples want a mixture of music that appeals to the broad age spectrum.
“We do see less focus on the parents-age music than we used to in the past,” he said. “We play more newer music at receptions today than we did a decade ago.”
Additionally, a decade or so ago DJs had to be very interactive; they had to haul out props and make sure people danced the Macarena and the YMCA.
“Nowadays, probably 95 percent of the people don’t want those sort of things,” he said. “People want a good emcee who plays fun music. Today, with technology, we have online planners and people can choose the music that they want right online.”
Surprisingly, he has been seeing less and less videography over the years, he said.
“That surprises me because we live in such a video world,” he said. “I don’t know if it is because of the economy that people are cutting that out, but I think they are missing something by not having a videographer.”
Suit up, guys
Another trend he’s spotted at receptions is fewer tuxedos on the grooms and groomsmen. Grooms and groomsmen are wearing dark or grey suits these days. Stockwell too has seen more suits instead of tuxes in colors of charcoal and black.
When it comes to formalwear, Stockwell advises brides to buck the notion of matching bridesmaid dresses and allow each bridesmaid to pick her own style of dress within the bride’s color scheme.
Bling and glitz
Monna Watchinski of M&M Specialties Custom Bake Shoppe in Morris will be at the Rialto’s Bridal Expo.
Bling and glitz will remain big trends for weddings, she said.
“There are pearls and lots of glitz and sparkle,” she said. “Another big thing is having the cake pearl glazed to give it a real shine. We have one coming up this year that is going to be all silver glazed … and it is going to have rhinestone ribbons around the base of each tier.”
What is real?
Despite what you see on television, local brides aren’t using fondant on their cakes.
“It’s expensive,” she said. “We can make our cakes with whipped icing to look almost exactly like a fondant cake. Brides like the smooth look, but they don’t like the fondant price.”
She’s seeing square cakes and cupcakes going to the wayside and round cakes making a comeback. Another trend is the fake cake — where the most of the cake is a prop except for what the bride and groom cut.
“We do lots of things to cut the bride’s cost. We do a kitchen cake, which is comprised the same as your wedding cake, which is four layers of cake and three layers of filling. It’s not decorated; it’s just iced and cut in the back. But Aunt Martha doesn’t know she didn’t have a piece of the wedding cake, and she doesn’t get upset.”
Grooms’ cakes are still as popular as ever, with themes ranging from golf to hunting to John Deere to professional sports.
Sweets tables are still a popular trend, along with cake pops and personalized cookies at each place setting, she said.
She thinks that brides are going back to using wedding planners, she said, either because of an uptick in the economy or better budgeting on their part.
Additionally, more and more couples are incorporating family history into their weddings, she said. For example, brides are using handmade tablecloths, runners and overlays that have been in their families at the coffee station or sweets table.
“Incorporate that into your wedding because that’s who you are it’s where you come from, it’s part of your history,” Stockwell said. “I love when they do our tablecloths with the overlays … and every table has a different overlay. That is who you are.”
Another personal touch she likes to employ calls a table each for the bride and groom filled with favorite candy, toys, books and pictures from their childhood. The tables meet at a middle table that is adorned with mementos from their life together now.
Let’s have cake first
Another trend she sees is more couples tackling the traditional reception trappings before the meal — like the first dance and cutting the cake.
“At the Renaissance Center, I have them cut their cake on the landing before they go up to the ballroom, because no one sees you cut your cake after dinner,” she said. “I see them doing to the dance before dinner, I see the video of the couple shown before dinner, so that after dinner it’s all about enjoying each other and the party.”
Another up and coming trend is doing a photo and video montage on a big screen at the reception of wedding guests offering congratulations to the bride and groom and enjoying the party.