Unique touches and guest experiences are trends for the year
When it comes to wedding trends, some aspects of what’s hot and what’s not can change quicker than you can say “I do.” But one thing that never goes out of style is the love that fuels these events in the first place.
After COVID emerged, couples concentrated more on what – and who – truly mattered on their wedding day. With that foundation set, couples are focused on celebrating their way in 2022.
“Couples are ditching aspects of the event that don’t feel like ‘them’ and focusing on creating an ambiance that’s full of personality and will be sure to give their guests an experience, unlike anything they’ve attended in the past,” says MELISSA BURTON, owner and principal event planner of Knot Too Shabby Events (knottooshabbyeventplanning.com). “At the end of the day, a wedding is meant to be a celebration of a commitment to love, surrounded by the people most excited to see it.”
RAY BACA, owner and event manager at downtown Wilmington venues Pave’ (eventsatpave.com) and Belle Vue Wilmington (bellevuewilmington.com), echoes Burton’s sentiments. “One thing I am noticing is that couples are having the wedding ‘they want’ versus what is or was expected,” he says. “Weddings are more personal, eclectic and fun – that reflects their personalities (and values).”
One way couples are achieving this is by choosing unconventional venues. Think sites and settings that hold meaning, as tops in 2022.
“With an intimate guest list, couples are thinking outside of the box by marrying in nontraditional wedding venues and transforming some of their favorite neighborhood places into lasting memories on their wedding day,” notes BRITTANIE PATE, owner and lead wedding planner of Wilmington-based Brittanie Raquel Events (brittanieraquelevents.com). “This can make your wedding day all the more special by choosing a location that truly has meaning behind it for the two of you.”
For example, one recent couple that Pate worked with held their nuptials at a coffee roaster, Wilmington’s Casa Blanca.
“The couple wanted a location that was unique and special to them. They love long talks over coffee and share the love of trying out new coffee locations together,” Pate says. “It was fitting that Casa Blanca’s slogan is ‘I look forward to coffee with you.’”
Here to stay in 2022 are more intimately sized celebrations.
That can give couples’ budgets a quality over quantity advantage, too.
“With a smaller guest list brides have more money to create the wedding of their dreams,” Baca says. “Brides are hiring top-notch professionals to help plan and organize their wedding … They are spending more on fine wines, better IPAs, high-end (appetizers) and better entrees versus basic buffets.”
Elevating the guest – and couples’ – experience is on Burton’s radar this year, too.
“We’re seeing couples seek interactive, experience-based extras at their events like cigar rolling stations, oyster shuckers during cocktail hour, personalized mixology, interactive guest books, made-to-order food stations, livestock for selfies, and so much more.”
Pate notes that food at weddings is taking on an individualized approach, as well. That includes the serving style by caterers.
“Think individual plates and cones in lieu of charcuterie boards and family-style meals – this creates an even more intimate and custom dinner experience that most of your guests most likely haven’t seen before,” she says. “You could even double the cone-style food display as a party favor for your guests to take home with them.”
Also on tap in 2022: weekday weddings. As demand continues to rise for vendors and venues, weddings on a Thursday or Friday have become normalized.
As for décor, neutral and monochromatic color palettes are on trend, along with bold and deeper colors, Burton says.
“Blush, gold, white, and green have had their time in the spotlight,” she says. “We’re seeing couples opt for more saturated color palettes – vibrant, bright, color choices or, conversely, moody deep colors.”
Pampas grass is also big this year. Its versatility, says Pate, makes it ideal for a variety of style themes.
“Pampas are easy to maintain, and their neutral colors make it easy to pair them with many other florals,” Pate says. “They make stunning centerpieces, add texture to bouquets, and are a wonderful way to dress up your ceremony and reception.”
Just as the phrase “new normal” has morphed into “the norm,” the same holds true with weddings. Rule books are going out the window in 2022 as these unprecedented – and evolving – times simply continue.
“Have a brunch wedding; choose the ‘messy,’ unstructured floral arrangements; wear a pantsuit with an epic cape; have a last dance instead of a first dance; order that Taco Bell for late-night snacks,” Burton says. “We’ve all learned how to adapt over the last two years – weddings should, too.”
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