Wedding Trends for 2012

Happy new year, friends! Hope you had a lovely holiday, and are ready for another year of wedding planning. And a big welcome to all of you new readers who have had holiday proposals – congratulations! I’m kicking off the new year with a roundup of the trends for 2012 as I see them. Reading back through last year’s post, there’s only one trend I got wrong (so much for bowties, eh?) and I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year brings! Here’s my top ten predictions…

Images: Watters; Southern Weddings; BHLDN

1. Colour on wedding dresses
This is one of those trends that has finally jumped the catwalk to start showing up in real weddings, and I believe we’ll see many more brides with a splash of colour on their dresses to match their colour schemes. For most brides, this means a coloured (or black) sash or belt or even a coloured veil (although for winter brides, cardigans are another way to bring colour in). Another option is a coloured dress – blush pink has become a popular alternative to white, or even silver or grey. Designers are creating black dresses more and more, but as beautiful as they are, I don’t see many brides getting on board.

Images: Cheryl McEwan; OK! Magazine

2. Hair up/hair down
After a year of braids, the two big hair trends we’ll be seeing a lot of this year for brides are ballerina buns and loose hair down. Ballet has been a growing trend in weddings in general, affecting silhouettes and shoes, but I think the biggest legacy will be gorgeous Hepburn-esque buns. High up or at the nape of the neck, they’re a beautiful, elegant choice. On the other end of the scale, I’m seeing a lot of brides choose to go natural, with a lustrous blow-dried version of their daily style. Just gorgeous!

Images: Riekert Cloete

3. Veils
Just a year ago, one of my friends got married. In the run up, we’d always spoken about her wearing a flower in her hair – a veil wasn’t even on the cards. Then we went for her final dress fitting and the shop owner put a mid-length veil on her. And OMG waterworks. And I immediately changed my view on veils being a bit old fashioned. I guess a lot of brides have felt the same way, or maybe it was Kates Middleton and Moss that refreshed our view of the veil. Either way, there’s a definite movement back towards them for 2012.

Image: Christine Meintjes

4. Bijoux weddings
So it’s a recession. Sucks to be us! But instead of resulting in scaled back affairs, today’s brides and grooms don’t want to compromise on luxury or quality for their big day. So instead, many are organised small but perfectly-formed weddings (as Louise of b.loved would call them), with top notch styling but a much smaller guest list. It’s difficult to narrow down the guest list, but it does mean that you and your fiance are forced to really think about the people that matter in your lives. Besides, I find that most potential guests are very understanding about being left off the list when there are only a few people invited. I wonder if this means that South African brides will adopt the practice so common here in the UK of having a second tier of guests arrive after dinner for the evening session. Honestly? I hope not. As much as I understand the thought (and finance!) behind it, this is something that has never sat comfortably with me.

Image via Style Me Pretty

5. Flowergirls
Last year I said that the Royal Wedding would have a lasting effect on weddings for the future, and while it wasn’t through horse drawn carriages, tiaras and monograms, that certainly has proved true in more subtle ways. One of these is the return of flower girls. Once a relic of the ’80s, I’m seeing stylish little ladies popping up in more and more weddings now. Great news for little girls, and great news for brides who want to include younger members of their friends and family in their big day. I’m not seeing a corresponding trend for page boys, but who knows, it could happen.

6. Orange
Yep, I said it. Orange. And don’t get me wrong – I don’t think you all are going to orange it up en masse, but there’s no doubt that this is a colour we’ll be seeing a lot more of this year. The folks at Pantone clearly agree, since they’ve just made Tangerine Tango their colour of the year. The funny thing about orange is that, even though it’s so powerful, it actually combines beautifully with a lot of other colours and (especially in judicious doses) can add warmth and depth to your colour palette. Coral has already made inroads, and with pincushion proteas a big flower trend, I think we’ll be seeing more brides introducing versions of orange into their plans.

Once Upon a Time inspiration board (credits here)

7. Sparkle and metallics
Last year I mentioned metallics as a growing trend, but I had no idea just how big they would be. Seems we’re all just a bunch of magpies! The great thing about bling is that a little goes a very long way. Be it a metallic cake, a sparkly belt, a sequinned bolero, or glittery table decorations, glitz goes with just about any style of wedding and we’ll see lots of it in the year to come.

Image: Nastassja Harvey

8. 1920s-1930s vintage
It’s no secret that vintage is here to stay for a while, but recently there’s been a bit of a shift from Victorian-style/shabby chic vintage to designs that come from the art deco and art nouveau periods. We’ve seen quite a few Gatsby-esque weddings in 2011 and with dress designers producing a wide range of dresses that would make Daisy Buchanan proud, this trend is set to grow and grow in 2012. See here for some ’20s inspiration, and here for a Boardwalk Empire styled hen party if you like this look.

Image: Catherine Mac

9. First looks
This is a photography trend that has been growing in the US for a while, and I’m starting to see it in South Africa more and more as well. For those who aren’t clear, a first look is when the couple have their main photography session before the ceremony. Although that means they’ll see each other before the bride walks down the aisle, the photographer is still able to capture on film that magic moment where they first see one another (hence: first look). Logistically, this can make a LOT of sense (especially if you can’t afford to have your photographer for the whole day) and, although I know a lot of you won’t want to lose out on the moment as you walk down the aisle (or mess with the ‘don’t see each other before the wedding’ superstition), brides who have done this have told me that the benefit was an incredible, intimate moment and none of the excitement lost for the ceremony. Up to you, but we’ll definitely see more of this in the next year I reckon.

Image: Sunday Suppers

10. Food stations
Dessert alternatives are nothing new – last year saw a move away from cakes toward cheese, pies, you name it! Candy and dessert or bars are also popular (and a great way to bring extra colour and visual interest to the reception) and will continue to be so. But I think we’ll also see more brides and grooms getting creative with the concept. Think cheese tables instead of cheese cakes, with a wide range of breads, chutneys and fruit. Or food stations, with items options ranging around a central food type or theme for starters, desserts – even drinks. Breakfast buffet tables or omelette bars. Burger bars. Cocktail stations. Ice cream stations with a range of toppings and other delicious additions. Popcorn bars. Soup stations. Hot chocolate bars. You name it, pretty much. I’m really looking forward to seeing how couples adapt this to personalise their weddings and share their favourite foods and drinks with their guests.

On another note, Cap Classique will be quiet for a little while as I finish off the new site for relaunch. Thanks for your patience! If you’d like to know as soon as the new site goes live, sign up for our newsletter right here. See you soon!

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