By Olive Taylor
Photo by Joel Ross Photography – http://www.joelross.com
If you’re planning a 2015 or 2016 wedding, chances are you’ve been bombarded with advice from well-meaning friends and family. You’ve probably also been perusing wedding magazines and photos on the Internet.
There’s a dizzying array of options to make your big day special, but it’s important you stay true to who you are as a couple and create a day you will want to look back on the rest of your lives.
Before you even start thinking about some of the season’s hottest trends, such as floral-patterned lace dresses, a muted colour palette or a bouquet of romantic blooms, you need to start with the basics.
Tammy Ouellet, owner of Divine Weddings and Events, urges every couple to sit down with a wedding planner before the planning goes too far. You don’t have to engage the full services of a wedding planner — but even just a few consultations can save you time and money.
“Every bride knows that the research component for planning a wedding is huge,” says Ouellet. “Even when she’s at work, she’s on the Internet researching venues and photographers — and it continues into the evening. They say it takes the average bride 250 hours to plan her wedding if she’s doing everything herself.”
You don’t have to do it all alone. A wedding planner will be able to tell you if your budget and your vision for your wedding align. Oftentimes a bride and groom get into the wedding planning and then discover they have planned a $50,000 wedding on a $30,000 budget.
“From the outset you need to decide if you’re going to have a sit-down dinner or food stations,” explains Ouellet. “A wedding planner can steer you in the right direction with respect to appropriate venues, photographers, florists and bridal boutiques — and get you on the right track.”
Selecting a venue is probably the biggest decision you will have to make when planning your wedding. You will want to contact several venues and let them know your budget to find out if their offerings are a good fit. If you’re planning a destination wedding, you will need to do extensive research and chat with couples who got married at the venues you’re considering.
The Internet is a labyrinth of wedding ideas and photography. Every wedding-themed page you visit, you’ll encounter “inspirational” ideas and images that will make your wedding unique. Be wary though, of incorporating too many trends.
“Some couples are simply copying the pictures they see on Pinterest. After a while, you start to lose sight of who you are as a couple. Sit down, talk with your groom, and choose things that really suit who you are as a couple,” explains Ouellet. “Look around at how you decorate and your lifestyle. Are you a rustic couple? Are you an elegant couple? Are you outdoorsy? Whoever you are as a couple, stay true to that on your wedding day.”
Once you’ve got a clear sense of who you are as a couple, you can start to draw on some of the season’s hottest trends. For bridal gowns, lace is still hot and the 2015 gowns feature glamorous rose and floral patterns. Some grooms still go with the traditional tuxedo, but Ouellet has noticed that an increasing number of them want more custom clothing. “The men are speaking up more. Some are choosing to go with something more casual like khakis and a white shirt. Others choose to go with a stylish suit and tie.”
For the 2015 palette, gold, copper and muted pastels continue to be popular, but some couples opt for a pop of colour like purple, red or pink. You’ll see shimmery gold dresses for bridesmaids and lavish gold table settings or more muted colours in shades of cream, pink and soft brown.
The formal, sit-down dinner never really goes out of style, but food stations have become increasingly popular. The stations generally have a theme, such as pasta with a variety of noodles and sauces, the baked potato with all the fixings or a seafood station, and guests can choose what they like. That particular style offers a more relaxed feel to the wedding. Another trend is the “family style” dinner. “Trays of food are placed on the tables and guests help themselves as opposed to a standard plated meal,” says Ouellet.
Although many couples still choose a traditional open bar, Ouellet has seen a rise in cocktail-themed stations. “Some of the weddings we’ve planned have included champagne stations with make-your-own mimosas, martini bars, whiskey bar or a variety of beers, lagers and ales.”
For dessert, a recent trend is for brides to choose sweet tables that feature decadent cupcakes and cookies, but the traditional wedding cake has made a comeback with a vengeance — it’s more opulent and elaborate than ever. Cakes with lace, water colours and lavish ruffles are all hot right now.
Although wedding trends come and go, marriage is for a lifetime. It is important to not lose sight of the end goal — building a life together. The biggest piece of advice Ouellet offers couples is to not let the wedding plans become bigger than the relationship. “I tell couples to focus on each other and the reason they’re planning this party in the first place. Go out a couple times a month and enjoy each other’s company without talking about it,” she advises. If all is well with the relationship, the wedding details will come together.