The Biggest Wedding Trends for 2015 – Part 2

Get up-to-the-nanosecond news on the latest trends in all things bridal: from canapés to cakes, flowers to favors and invitations to midnight snacks.

The Invitations

Buttons and ribbons and gems. Oh, my! couples will be generating excitement for their celebration by wowing guests with an invitation suite that’s delivered in attention-grabbing style: wrapped in shimmery cellophane; boxed in decorative paper; tied up with ribbon, leather rope or baker’s twine; studded with crystals; or adorned with dried flowers.

Photo courtesy of Ellen Weldon Design

Perfect penmanship. The ink palette is swinging away from neon brights toward more subdued tones, says Ellen Weldon of Ellen Weldon Design. She’s working with high-gloss, tone-on-tone printing and pale shades, such as brushed gold, blush, champagne and pewter. “Last year, there was much more color but now i’m doing more in the way of very elegant, minimalist designs,” she says.

Selfie-sational. “Couples are spending money on fun, professional engagement photos so why not use more of them?” says Angela Ferrara, of Pear Tree Greetings. She’s noted a significant uptick in couples choosing invitations and save-the-dates that feature photography — anything from formal portraits to action shots to quirky set-ups.

Photo courtesy of Pear Tree Greetings

Not your mother’s paper. The selection of paper choices continues to grow, says Weldon. She’s expecting to see more laser cut-outs, more handmade paper with silk threads, more textured paper and more embroidered or stitched paper. “Brides still like the idea of bringing elements of their gown into their stationery suite,” says Weldon. “That’s where the wide assortment of paper options really shines.”

The Drink Report

Photo Credit: Abby Jiu

Champagne with a twist. Champagne towers have returned — big time — for formal affairs. A more casual, colorful option: mixing in fruit purées to create a signature cocktail that matches your palette.

Smaller sips. Be the flights of craft beer; shots of different bourbons; wine samplings; sangria that goes from white to pink to deep red; or even a lemonade or fizzy soda bar, couples are letting guests sample an array of beverages. These types of different drink stations are yet another way to let guests peek into your personal tastes, with the added bonus of helping you keep your bar budget in check.

Open bar not required. Planners are seeing more couples offering wine, beer and liquor that has a theme. For some, that means serving only local labels, for others it means showcasing drinks from their home states or from their favorite vacation getaway. “You never want guests to feel like they’re going through the wedding motions,” Laesser-Keck says. So while you may be limiting their choices, you’re doing it in a creative way that adds to the fun and excitement.

The Taste

Photo Credit: Andrew Chan

Family-style dining. Guest interaction is a big goal for today’s couples. And nothing gets a conversation started quite like a meal served family style, with guests passing beautifully plated entrées and sides. “It’s relaxing and works well with both upscale and laid-back settings,” says Dan Stacy, executive chef of Royal Fig Catering in Austin, Texas.

Just a taste, please. Tasting stations have taken over the cocktail hour, with couples showing off their favorite foods in manageable portions. From oyster shucking stations and mac ’n cheese bars, to make-it-your-own taco stands to local food trucks pulling right up to the patio, the idea is to surprise your guests with an unexpected assortment of party food.

Locally sourced and seasonal. Farm-to-table dining has gained so much solid footing that it’s almost expected these days. At Royal Fig, for example, Stacy likes to keep the menu “chefs choice” until the farmers he works with tell him what ingredients will be available that week. So in the winter that might mean roasted trout with parsley bacon salad and in the summer smoked brisket with peach BBQ sauce.

Photo Credit: Liz Banfield

Snack attack. Just when it seems like the party’s about to wind down, couples rev up the energy with late-night snack trays brought right to the dance floor. Milkshakes, snow cones, warm cookies, even pizza are just a few of the trending midnight munchies.

Re-imagined classic cuisine. While you can rarely go wrong offering steak, chicken and a hearty vegetarian option, caterers say couples are asking for lighter, healthier versions of traditional entrées. “Couples want their guests to enjoy a yummy, balanced meal that gives them energy to dance the night away, not weigh them down,” says Antonia Christianson, of Antonia Christianson Events in Virginia Beach, Virginia. That means grilled flank steak vs. filet mignon, roasted free-range chicken breasts vs. chicken cordon bleu, and grilled or roasted vegetables (Brussel sprouts and cauliflower are the current “it” vegetables) vs. baked potatoes and steamed carrots.

The Cake

Photo Credit: Tess Pace Photo (left); Abby Rose (right)

Shine on. Metallic icing and dustings of glitter will be strong again this year. New for 2015, however, will be the mixing of gold with silver on one cake, says Rachel Teufel, owner and designer of Intricate Icings Cake Design in Denver.

Tempting to touch texture, especially ruffled and tulle looks, will be very important in 2015. Lace patterns, pleats, and textured buttercream frosting also remain strong trends for brides going for a vintage or soft, romantic feel. For a modern wedding, the texture might be a three-dimensional lattice, herringbone or other geometric pattern. Another tactile approach is to have your designer roll out black fondant and hand-paint it to look like a chalkboard.

Draw second glances. For weddings with a more eclectic concept, Allyson Levine says bare aka “naked” cakes (as in no or minimal frosting) are trending. She’s also seeing couples opt for several vastly different kinds of cakes that they’ll arrange together in a cake bar.

Special flavors. Couples are choosing cake flavors that are rooted in their hometowns or family heritage, where they began dating or a favorite destination. Honey lavender, coconut, and zucchini lime are just a few that Teufel offers. Elsewhere across the country, we’re hearing about blueberry, chai tea latté, aztec hot chocolate, caramel apple cider and more. Yum!

Story-telling. You can tell your story with fondant and flavorful tiers, says Heather Anne Leavitt, who specializes in wow-worthy confections at Sweet Heather Anne in Ann Arbor, Mi. Her cake was created with textures inspired by design elements of her couple’s wedding, a mix of rustic elements (barn wood, pressed tin) and feminine details (lace and lush blooms). Says Laesser-Keck, “I tell my brides to go big with the cake —not necessarily the size but the design. Cakes play an integral role in carrying out the theme.”

Pies, macaron towers, doughnuts and cake-flavored ice cream — there’s no rule that says you have to cut into an actual cake at your wedding. Check out these non-traditional tiered desserts >>

The Music Report

Photo courtesy of La Diva Events: Someplace Wild Photography

What’s old is new. Couples are requesting updated renditions of wedding classics. Instead of Etta James’s soulful “At Last,” for example, they might choose the acoustic version by Jason Mraz. or swap Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with indie-pop sensation Ingrid Michaelson’s re-interpretation.

’70s style bands, aka “yacht rock.” Think Hall & Oates, Kenny Loggins, the Doobie Brothers. What started as an underground music movement based on the comedic TV/online series “Yacht Rock,” this musical genre is gaining major play at weddings. “We’re not the typical wedding band,” says Nicholas Niespodziani of Atlanta’s Yacht Rock Revue (Yrr). “But the dance floor is always full.” Like Yrr, most of these style bands dress in period garb, complete with polyester suits and Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Party on!

Get song ideas for every part of your wedding day >>

The Favor Report

By far the biggest news here continues to be edible favors. Not just mini-jars of jam, but food kits — boxes stuffed with all the fixings for a yummy late-night snack or a morning-after brunch. Check out 25 edible favors your guests won’t leave behind >>

Framed for the occasion. An artisanal, artistic twist on the photo booth, couples are hiring an onsite silhouette artist. Guests can pose for a short sitting and leave with a very personal memento.

Paying it forward. Couples are pairing causes with their wedding themes — ocean preservation for a beachside bash, say, or blankets for the homeless for a winter wedding. A new twist is to select three or four causes, set up a jar for each, and give guests a handful of decorative chips worth $1 each to toss into the jars as a donation vote. The couple later divvies up the donation money based on how guests voted.