What To Expect At Weddings: 2018 Bridal Trends
It’s the season of love, and there’s no better way to express that love than with the ultimate wedding. From ball gowns topped with leather jackets to interactive drink stations, the 2018 bride is all about staying true to herself—and these trends will help make that happen.
Bridal fashion trends change every year, and with wedding-day wear options continuing to expand, saying yes to the dress has become even harder. Ball gowns have disappeared with the decades, making way for the reappearance of lace, and even a little color. But this year the biggest trend in bridal fashion is authenticity. “Brides are feeling more and more comfortable letting go of the traditions that don’t support their lifestyles,” says Dara Lynn Smith, owner of The First Look, a wedding blog and marketing and events company. “This could manifest into seeing fewer veils and white dresses and more non-traditional fabrics, styles, colors and accessories.”
Finding a dress that matches the bride’s personality has changed wedding dresses shopping. “Brides are replacing large brands and corporations with small mom-and-pop shops,” Smith says. “[They] are gravitating toward more local and artisanal designers when it comes to their bridal fashion.” Inside those local shops, brides will find everything from classic gowns to dresses in vibrant colors, plus accessories that wouldn’t be available in big box stores, allowing for more creative, tailored looks. “From pairing a dress with a hip leather jacket to rocking some killer flats or statement earrings, brides are taking more influence from their everyday looks and carrying it over to their bridal styles,” Smith says.
For brides searching for something a bit more daring, we’ll see sheer materials and open-back styles coming out in full force. “For the sophisticated/bohemian bride, you’ll see more of an elegant, white silk dress with no lace, and no beading, with a high neckline, and a daring open back,” says Diana Bartomeu, managing partner of LeBlanc Events. Bartomeu also predicts metallic silver, off-the-shoulder styles and sparkles for the elegant, dramatic bride.
For bridesmaids, floral prints and antique styles will be filing down the aisles, and for brides who want their own looks to be more classic, they can use their bridesmaids’ dresses to show more of their personality. The best way to do this is by adding in trends, like bright colors, or fabrics, like fringe—the biggest trend to hit the bridal world in quite some time. “Fringe is the trend I’m most surprised about,” Bartomeu says. “It’s back in a big way.”
This year, we will also say goodbye to bridesmaid dresses that are only worn once. “Large bridal parties and uniform bridesmaid dresses are going out of style,” Smith says. “No more wasted money on a dress you’ll never wear again.”
The lean toward authenticity in fashion is also apparent in the wedding design. With a push away from the classics, brides and grooms are eager to create an event that feels tailored to them. “Brides are looking for quality over quantity,” Smith says. “This applies to guest size, venue location and even florals, by opting for more local and seasonal varieties rather than the dramatic rose and hydrangea installations we’ve been seeing for the past few years.” This push for quality calls for less of a focus on size and more of a focus on the little details—little details that add up to create a low-key, yet elegant and beautiful event. “I have seen more and more requests for elopements and small backyard weddings,” Smith says. “Many brides are allocating their budgets to a beautiful set-up and photography rather than wining and dining the whole town.”
But just because they want the event to feel low-key doesn’t mean the planning is any less thorough. In fact, this push toward genuine gatherings is creating a much more in-depth process for brides and grooms. “Today’s couples are really looking at the full 360-degree view of the wedding rather than just crossing vendors off their to-book lists. They’re visually branding their day for a cohesive aesthetic from the save-the-date to the thank you note and everything in between.”
Couples are finding that cohesion by mixing new and old elements. Just as trends in home décor have been leaning toward antiques, weddings are following suit with refurbished items and vintage elements becoming the stars of the show.
“I am really excited about the increasing emphasis on unique décor [because], for me, that’s where the magic happens,” Smith says. I’m loving how many custom event décor businesses have popped up that restore old and antique items, and transform them into the most beautiful event decorations—whether it’s old clocks, artwork or vintage doors, there’s more and more opportunity to individualize your day.” Bartomeu agrees, stating that, “the newest crave is antique, not rustic—but antique. I have come across many brides [who feel] that if they can do their wedding in an antique store, they would be in heaven.”
THE MAIN EVENT
Changing with the times are venues that host wedding ceremonies and receptions. At the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the property has made changes to its ballroom to allow the space to be more customizable. “The room has transformed from deep golden tones to a lighter color scheme,” says Deanna DeCraepeo, senior wedding catering sales manager and wedding specialist at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. “This has not only enhanced the size of the room, but has allowed for a whole new clientele’s style and taste.”
Keeping things personal starts with the ceremony. Crystal Prante, director of catering at The Seagate Hotel & Spa, has seen many couples throw the customary layout out the door. “Clients are looking to stray from the traditional rows,” she says. “Circular, or a ceremony in the round, gives guests a more intimate connection with [the couple] and their vows, and a great view of them saying ‘I do.’” Many South Florida couples hope to say their vows outdoors. “Brides are looking for unique venues with picturesque backdrops [and] outdoor ceremony options,” says Melanie De Vito, marketing director at The Addison. “[We want to] provide the perfect backdrop for those looking for elegant, romantic, and vintage-inspired charm and character.”
During the reception, tradition is pushed aside to make room for more time on the dance floor. “More couples are deciding to ditch some formalities and stick to only the intro, first dance and parent dances, [and] I’m seeing less garter and bouquet tosses, toasts and announcements for cake cutting,” says DeCraepeo of the Boca Raton Resort & Club. “Couples prefer to spend more time with their guests or enjoy the dance floor longer.” Many brides and grooms have taken it a step further, nixing the sit-down dinner, providing fewer tables and chairs, and cutting down speeches to keep people on their feet. “If a couple wants to do nothing but party, they go light on the food or avoid a sit-down meal altogether,” Smith says. “If the thought of listening to friends and family talk about them for 30 minutes makes them cringe, they avoid speeches entirely or delegate it to the rehearsal dinner.”
Quite possibly at the top of many 2018 couples’ lists is the food. From tasting menus to gourmet cocktail hours, run-of-the-mill menus with fish or chicken as the options will be seen less and less. “A trend I’ve witnessed in weddings lately is to have food and drink pairings during cocktail hour, which gives it a ‘foodie’ vibe,” DeCraepeo says. “The Boca Raton Resort & Club has a unique menu for weddings that you won’t find on our standard menus, and there are a lot of upgraded selections, which our couples love.” Outside of the main menu, couples are also using food to make their weddings stand out. “Interactive specialty food and drink stations are a very popular request right now,” says De Vito of The Addison. “The raw bars, doughnut bars, farmer’s tables, late-night munchie stations, ice cream sandwich stations and specialty cocktail bars (like the Moscow Mule bar) are most popular.”
Whether you consider yourself a traditional bride or one who will pull all the stops to wow your guests, 2018 is about staying true to yourself through dresses, décor, event spaces and food.