Each new season brings new trends to the wedding industry, from the decorations to the food to the style of the wedding dress.
But the biggest trend may be the move away from a traditional wedding and toward a ceremony that is unique and memorable to the bride and groom.
“I see the whole wedding industry moving in that direction — fewer people are doing the traditional flow to the reception and the first dances and the garter toss and the traditional activities you have during your reception,” said Emily Sullivan, the founder of Prudence and Sage, an event planning company in Marysville. “It’s making it more memorable and enjoyable for the couple.”
Here are some of the trends that local wedding planners and venue staff are seeing in and around Snohomish County:
Outdoor ceremonies. More couples are having their weddings outdoors. Favorite spots include in tree clearings or next to ponds at parks, among the plants in botanical gardens and on decks with panoramic views of the water and mountains. Sullivan said wedding venues that offer both an outdoor setting for the ceremony and a covered area for the reception are popular.
Elopements. Lisa Watkins, owner and innkeeper of River Rock Inn in Arlington, has seen more spur-of-the-moment weddings. “They have been engaged for a year and then all of a sudden they say, ‘Let’s just get it done,’ ” she said.
Maybe they’re stressed from planning or don’t want to spend the money. Watkins said the trend is especially popular among couples who don’t have family in Washington. They don’t want to burden their families with the cost of plane tickets and hotel stays, so they elope and make plans to celebrate with their loved ones later.
Food trucks. Instead of catered meals — with the traditional choice of chicken, beef or fish — more couples are bringing in food trucks to feed their wedding guests. Not only does it add variety to the menu, but the wedding venue doesn’t need to have a kitchen. If you go the food-truck route, Sullivan recommends that the bride and groom hire a few bussers to help clear and clean tables.
Greenery. Fewer couples are decorating with flowers and more are choosing to work with other foliage such as leaves and branches.
The most popular leaf? Eucalyptus. Nikki Coryer, special events and member relations manager at the Mill Creek Country Club, has seen the koala’s favorite snack in table centerpieces, in place of table runners and woven into wedding arches. “Terrariums, where you would put succulents and other greenery in, also are really big right now,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of copper ones with geometric shapes.”
No cake. Instead of the traditional tiered wedding cake, couples are opting for other types of desserts. Think cookies, pies, ice cream, popcorn. The hottest dessert trend? Doughnut walls. Diane Toney, rental manager at the Meadowdale Community Club, has also seen several couples go with s’mores because the club’s wedding amenities include fire pits.
Artsy photography. Lauren Woodmansee, cultural arts supervisor at the Marysville Opera House, said that more couples are incorporating non-traditional camera techniques, angles and settings into their wedding photos. Think fish-eye lenses, dramatic low- and high-angled shots and pictures that highlight the architecture of the venue — an interesting chandelier, rooftop or balcony.
Colored wedding dresses. White wedding dresses are seeing some competition. Some brides are choosing to wear a nontraditional dress that adds a pop of color to their wedding. Popular colors seen at recent bridal fashion shows include baby blue, mint green and blush pink. Woodmansee has seen a few brides choose a gown with a particular shade of blue or yellow so that they look like their favorite Disney princess.
“Every girl’s wedding is her personal fairy tale, but brides are literally taking that to the next level,” she said.
Do-it-yourself. More couples are choosing to plan their weddings themselves or forego vendors to save money. They buy and make their own decorations, add traditional family dishes to the menu and pick up flowers at the local market. Family and friends pitch in to help. Sullivan works with couples who have planned their wedding but still need some assistance. She also offers an online wedding planning class for those who can’t afford to hire a wedding planner.
When planning your wedding, no matter what trends you follow or forge, Sullivan recommends that couples make a list of priorities and to allocate your money accordingly.
She also has some advice for what a couple’s top priority should be.
“Keep the relationship as the No. 1 priority,” she said. “You’re having a wedding because you’re getting married, not because you just want to throw a party.”
Washington North Coast Magazine
This article is featured in the spring issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine.
Each issue is $3.99. Subscribe to receive all four editions for $14 per year. Call 425-339-3200 or go to www.washingtonnorthcoast.com for more information.