Hot Wedding Trends for 2011

I’ve been in two minds about writing this post. On the one hand, it feels a little… presumptious. What do I know, right? But on the other, if I was newly engaged, it’s something I would be asking. What IS happening in weddings these days? And who better to ask than someone who reads hundreds of wedding blogs every day? (That’s me!) So here’s where I think things are going, and what I think South African brides can expect to see more of in the coming year.

1. The Royal Wedding
There’s no getting away from it – this will be a game changer. And that may mean that we haven’t seen the last of the tiara, or that royal touches like monograms and dramatic ballgowns will be big news again. However, indications from the palace are that Kate & Wills will have some modern elements (maybe even a slinkier gown?), and these are likely to be the ones that will be in our collective wedding consciousness for years to come.

Boudoir image via The Knotty Bride

2. High end photography is a HUGE trend, because it’s affected everything else about weddings. And it’s no surprise that this is something couples are choosing to spend more of their budget on. After all, we live in a celeb and social media-obsessed culture. We like to see pictures of ourselves, and not all Facebook-self-portrait-style (thank God). We all secretly want to get in touch with our inner schmodel, so these days wedding photography has a lot in common with fashion and editorial shoots. This means more styled engagement shoots (a trend that really hit South Africa in 2010) and I also think we’ll be seeing a trend towards beautiful boudoir photography as has already happened in the States.

This leads on to two other big trends…

Engagement shoot by Annemari Ruthven via The Pretty Blog

3. First, props. Yes, I know, they can be completely cringeworthy and they can totally date your pictures (Just Married suitcase, anyone?), but you don’t have to look far to find gorgeous, fun use of props for both engagement shoots and couple sessions. Think scrabble tiles, or paper cranes, or balloons, or bicycles. A bed in a field of daisies. An old piano. Think big or think small (and definitely think meaningful to your relationship), but think props.

Photo by Lauren Kriedemann

4. A consequence of extended creative sessions for the bride and groom is guests that need to be kept busy for longer before the festivities begin, and pre-reception entertainment is a great way to add something fun and personal to your celebration and engage your guests. Lawn games like croquet or petanque are already popular (I am DYING to see someone with a giant chess set!) and so are musical options, but I think we’ll see even more creative, even outrageous ideas coming through here in the coming year. Don’t be surprised to see grooms getting in on the act, with casino games, cigar corners and even Playstations (gulp!) making an appearance. And let’s not forget photo booths – already a hot trend, these are set to become a given at any Cape Town reception!

5. Colours
These are going one of three ways. With the massive move towards vintage, think either muted, sunwashed earth colours or soft metallics (especially with a rising 1920s vintage trend). Or, at the other end of the spectrum, cool tropical brights, including Pantone colour of the moment honeysuckle. (For more on these colours, see here.) One thing’s for sure – grey is the key neutral right now and it’s not going anywhere. But don’t be surprised to see navy hot on its heels. Another colour trend that’s taking a hold is having more than one or two colours (often a range, following the mismatched bridesmaid dress trend). Love this!

Photo by Ian Mitchinson

6. Outdoor weddings
I almost hate that this is a trend now because eventually it’ll run itself out, but how could we not love outdoor weddings? They’re gorgeous. There’s something whimsical and relaxed about toasting your future under trees or under stars, or on a beach. And it’s the perfect way to show off the rustic chic details that are so hot right now.

7. Personalisation
Again, you already know this, since this has been the key movement in weddings for 2010. I think it’ll only get bigger in 2011, with couples challenging the order and conventions of traditional weddings and venues having to be flexible enough to allow this. Some arguably unnecessary traditions (especially the bouquet and garter toss) will start to fall away, while more eclectic ideas will take their place. Anything could happen!

Faux embroidery hoop via Design Sponge

8. DIY & Craft
No kidding. DIY has been a massive trend in weddings for a while, and it’s still going. As vintage also takes prominence, expect to see the rise of some crafts you thought were long gone – crochet has already re-emerged, but I think knitting and cross stitch will also find their places. If you don’t have a hobby, it’s definitely time to learn one.

Yellow bowtie via Once Wed

9. Bowties
Oh yes, that’s right. Our American friends have gone there first and trust me, South African grooms will ultimately follow suit. And how can you not love a bowtie? (Just leave the cummerbund at home, ‘kay?)

Paper flower bouquet via 100 Layer Cake

10. Finally, a word about flowers. In South Africa there’s been a LOT of brides carrying proteas (hurrah!) and with this being our national flower I think we’ll continue to, but expect to see more indigenous and wild flowers and foliage in bouquets as well. Carnations and tulips are also big news, so you’ll see these showing up where roses used to dominate. And we’ll also see lots more paper and fabric flowers, and button, brooch and other non-traditional bouquets. These are never going to be mainstream, but they’re too adorable not to consider!

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