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We spoke with Teresa Pickering, a certified wedding planner and the founder and president of Allegro Events, about the surprising new trends of the wedding scene this summer.
1. Themed wedding
Whether you were inspired by the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, last spring or have always dreamed of a medieval setting for your vows, don't be afraid to think beyond white tablecloths and tulle.
"Themed weddings and receptions are definitely gaining in popularity," says Pickering. "For instance, we recently did a Rat Pack–style Las Vegas reception, which featured roulette, poker chips on the tables and fun details such as tables named for iconic casinos in Las Vegas. It was very classy and totally non-traditional."
Choosing a theme can also make the overall planning so much easier. "When the bride and groom know what they want, the theme informs the style and colours," says Pickering. Choose a theme that reflects your personality as a couple and that will be memorable and meaningful to you.
2. Splash of colour
Although Vera Wang recently presented a fall 2012 wedding collection that included black dresses, Pickering doesn't see Canadian brides embracing their dark sides on their big day.
"I have yet to see black on a bride, but definitely for the bridesmaids. Some brides worry that it's bad luck to wear black themselves, but want to choose something for their attendants that they can wear again," she says. "Another big trend in colour is bridesmaids having their choice of footwear. They can really show off their personalities with bright-coloured unique shoes that look really fun and attractive in photos."
3. Unconventional wedding locations
Couples have often gravitated toward outdoor ceremonies, but they're now looking beyond a simple arch on a well-manicured lawn. "Couples are asking for unconventional locations, moving away from the golf course or a perfectly landscaped backyard and more toward scenic venues," Pickering says. "They envision getting married overlooking a lake or a mountain, and prefer natural settings, such as converted barns and simpler venues that have historical influence."
Choose a location or venue with meaning and don't be afraid to book your ceremony somewhere unconventional.
Page 1 of 2 -- From the bride's "man of honour" to the groom's "best woman," discover three more unique wedding trends on page 2.
4. Wedding party role reversal
"We are seeing more couples who have attendants of the opposite gender standing up for them on both the bride and groom's side," notes Pickering.
"Reverse roles are becoming common, where instead of a maid of honour, the bride will have a man of honour, and the groom may have a best woman. It's a very interesting turn and it's certainly more reflective of our current reality," she explains.
Another trend gaining popularity is brides who have more than one maid of honour. "If they can't decide between a family member and a close friend, they will sometimes choose both," Pickering says.
5. Winter-themed summer wedding
If you love snow, there's no reason not to plan a cold-weather wedding. "Winter weddings are becoming almost as popular now as summer ceremonies. I think it's the romanticism of the snow," says Pickering. "Who wouldn't love a beautiful plain, simple white gown with a gorgeous faux-fur jacket, a muff and a matching hat? Plus, bridesmaids look so chic in matching jackets or capes and muffs.
"At one wedding we did recently, the bride arrived in a horse-drawn sleigh, which was also the couple's mode of departure," Pickering says. "The theme of a winter wonderland just lends itself so well to a wedding."
6. Nouveau gifting
Online wedding registries, alternative registries for charities and websites where a couple can direct guests to donate money to a honeymoon trip are becoming much more popular with Canadian couples.
"Registries that are not for material items are definitely a trend," says Pickering. "But couples need to think about their guests. Will they be OK with giving a donation to a cause on your behalf? If you think they will, then I definitely encourage it."
7. Wedding name tags
It's not uncommon these days for couples to come from different cities or even different countries, having met while travelling, working or even online. When the two merging families or wedding guests have not met more than a few times -- or at all! -- Pickering is seeing a name-tag trend popping up as an alternative to stuffy place cards.
"Name tags are a great ice breaker -- they take the pressure off of guests who may not know one another very well," she explains. "We do lovely little magnets in two pieces -- front and back -- so guests don't have to poke a pin through their ensemble. It's a simple way for people to get to know one another and makes a nice personalized take-home favour as well."
Marriage-minded couples these days are eschewing formality, traditional attendants and registries full of hand towels and mixing bowls in favour of some surprising alternatives. Today's brides and grooms are focusing on letting their personalities shine through in every aspect of the big day.
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