In: off-beat locales, pie, alternatives to guestbooks. Out: meaningless traditions, cupcakes, and one-band weddings.
I always tend to be kind of skeptical when it comes to articles that offer wedding advice. I expect to hear about how I absolutely must have adorably stacked cupcakes and cute sodas and owls and certain types of dresses, etc. Instead, this article focuses on how to create meaningful, simple, and memorable wedding.
I recently spoke with wedding planners Paige Appel and Kelly Harris of Bash, Please and authors of The New-Fashioned Wedding about how to give your wedding a unique edge. The creative duo is also behind the hugely popular The Cream wedding event that I recently attended in LA, a gathering of the hottest professionals and trendsetting up-and-comers in the industry. With their fingers on the pulse of what’s next in weddings, Paige and Kelly shared with me fresh trends that can make each element of your big day come together into an unforgettable experience for your guests.
When it comes to your big day, remember to KISS: keep it simple silly. Paige and Kelly said that after years of vintage-inspired weddings filled with curated items like typewriters and kitschy knickknacks, the trend is moving toward simplicity. For some brides, simple style means a more modern take, while for others, it’s just “vintage sensibility,” meaning brides are more careful with the quantity and quality of their decorative elements.
Instead of having to add unique style to traditional spaces, modern brides will be happy to hear that this year there are more and more nontraditional venues opening up. The duo shares that open fields, Not a Corn Field in LA, and desert spaces in Joshua Tree are all growing in popularity. The venues gaining momentum all have one thing in common: they are natural and open — a blank canvas to paint your dream wedding onto. Paige and Kelly said that it’s about “bringing that space alive.”
“Brides just want to have an experience that they’ve never seen before. With all the blogs and all the resources out there, it seems like everything has been done. So creating a new space out of something that didn’t exist before seems to be really popular now.”
Cream-of-the-Crop Guest List
The girls emphasize that a guest list filled with people invested in your relationship and being at your wedding is integral to its success. “Your guests really make the event soar.” It may be tough, but you’ve got to go over that guest list with a fine-tooth comb if you want your crowd to bring the right energy to the day.
Paige and Kelly explain: “Some people invite 400 of their parents’ business colleagues, and it doesn’t feel like a wedding, it feel likes a corporate hobnobbing event. The guest count is really important to make sure that there’s a feeling of intimacy and love.” They add, “We always tell our clients if you’re not going to see this person five, 10, 20 years from now and if you don’t want to see this person in your wedding album when you’re 75 years old, don’t invite them.”
Videos Worth Watching
Long gone are the days of stiff, hours-longwedding videos that end up collecting dust in your attic. The girls agreed that videography is making a comeback and has a whole new look. “There are so many great artists working in film that are creating something unique with music vignettes, mashups of different points in the wedding weekend, and it’s something that everybody wants to see from the wedding.” They added that thanks to the bells and whistles of today’s cameras, videographers are taking a more passionate and artistic approach, creating “something that looks very romantic and fun and captures the whole feeling of the day.”
With the growing popularity of wedding blogs and Pinterest, there are a number of themed wedding shoots out there. But if you’re drawing inspiration from a theme, how do you keep it from being cheesy or over-the-top? The Bash, Please ladies spell it out: “choose a non-theme-y theme.” While it’s often easiest to jump off a color scheme, they add that it’s not necessarily the what but the where.
“The venue is such a major part of how we come up with the entire design concept. We’re not the type of planners where the wedding’s at a barn and we’re going to say let’s drape the barn in satin and make it look like a ballroom. We really like to work with the environment that we’re in.” Their reasoning is simple: “People can tell right away when something seems staged. It just feels off to everybody and doesn’t feel comfortable.”
Not only do Paige and Kelly say that more live music is being implemented into weddings, but it’s also a lot more diverse than the traditional ceremony harpist plus reception DJ. They said the new trend is to bring all different types of musical elements into your wedding, such as a gospel choir for the ceremony, a jazz band for cocktail hour, an ’80s cover band for dancing, and then the late-night DJ.
According to Paige and Kelly, the key to keeping your guests happy and comfortable comes down to music and cocktails. Food has been the focus in the past, but now it’s all about the libations. And the new trend in cocktail culture involves adding an interactive element to the bar. The pair had a recent wedding with a make-your-own Champagne cocktail bar complete with an array of bitters for the guests to choose from. It gets everyone interacting with each other, having fun, and, most importantly, loosening up for the dance floor.
Wedding desserts have evolved over the years from the standard white cake to cupcakes to elaborate dessert displays. But according to Paige and Kelly, “dessert tables are on their way out,” and a combo of wheeled offerings and simple treats are on their way in. On one side there’s night ice cream trucks, food carts, and doughnuts. And then on the other is a return to pass-around cake and pie and even plated desserts. But it’s bye-bye to stylized sweets tables topped with a variety of options.
Home-Worthy Guest Books
Signed guest books may be sentimental, but often they’re a bit boring. How often do you really go back and reread it? The ladies of Bash, Please say the answer is to get more creative with what constitutes a “guest book.” They just had awedding where the couple had their friends and family sign a fox statue that will be prominently displayed in their home. If it’s a piece of your home decor that you’ll actually enjoy looking at every day, then it’s a memento that makes sense, and not something tucked away on a bookcase.
One of the things Paige and Kelly are not really into is “unconscious traditions,” aka when couples just go through the motions of traditions like the garter toss and bouquet toss because they’re supposed to do them. But they shared an idea for making one common tradition — the cake cutting — work at your wedding. “A lot of times the cake cutting puts an end to a really great dance party,” the duo said. So instead, they pull aside the bride and groom, along with their closest friends and family, so that the photographer can capture the moment while allowing the party to go on.
More POPSUGAR Links:
Photo credit: Flickr / Lori Photography