According to a recent New York Times article detailing a United States Census data report, the marriage rate is the lowest since 1970, however, marriages and weddings continue to occur on a regular basis (and in NJ, there are an average of 35,000 to 50,000 marriages per year throughout the Garden State, according to New Jersey marriage statistics). Despite the fluctuation in marriage, a wedding in New Jersey will often contain certain elements, and certain trends will emerge from year to year.
To celebrate “Wedding Wednesday” (a “trend topic,” known as #WeddingWednesday or #WW on Twitter), I asked many NJ wedding professionals for their thoughts on what type of trend in weddings to expect this year, and here’s what they had to say:
One trend in weddings is finding a unique location to create a truly personalized event
, from Bella Bridal Consultants, stated that “there has been a huge influx toward Indie weddings. Couples want their wedding day to truly reflect who they are, and they want to WOW their guests now more than ever. This is evident in some of the fashion, decor, and location trends we’ve seen lately. I personally think it’s partially attributed to the overabundance of online media available to brides. They’re reading the blogs and they’re seeing all these real weddings, inspiration shoots, and other ideas that brides ten years ago didn’t have exposure to. So perhaps couples feel they need to get a little crazier, a little more “them” with their own wedding to keep it unique.”
Richard O’Malley, from The O’Malley Project, agrees, adding “from what I hear from couples, many are tired of the “same old format.” They’re looking to change seating, food, entertainment and styles. They feel they aren’t getting their money’s worth with all these “cut & paste” type of events.”
Jess Lara, from Plan Your Memories, thinks that “brides and grooms are looking for unique locations rather than the traditional ballroom weddings. Choosing these unique venues are for either reason: budget concerns and avoiding the norm. Brides want to be different and want the “I’ve never seen this done before” factor. More brides are opting for intimate weddings and dinner receptions to follow. Another trend is having pies instead of wedding cakes, displaying bold colors and smaller dramatic table pieces.”
Carina Castro, a wedding planner from Luxe Events NJ, LLC, says “brides definitely seem to be looking for unique venues vs. the traditional ballroom. I don’t think it has anything to do with price (some of these are even more expensive) but more with avoiding a cookie cutter wedding. Editor’s note, Carina admitted she’s getting married on a Thursday night and saved a lot of money!
Heather Sconza, All The Rave Events by Heather, added a wide variety of wedding trends to the discussion, stating that one growing trend is “Definitely photo booths, whether you have a custom backdrop or the old-fashioned kind. The strips of photos are great to include for guest books and favors at the same time! Also, I’m noticing that grooms are definitely more involved, which is great! In addition, I see that a lot of the brides and grooms are seeing each other before the ceremony. When it comes to money-saving ways trends, weddings are definitely not just Saturday nights anymore! Many smart couples are lending extra money to things like lighting, plasma screens for montages, and unique musicians like bagpipers! Brides have also become more daring with their photos, which I love! I’ve always been a huge fan of the journalistic photography and we are moving more away from traditional poses which I love because you are now able to tell your story through candid pictures and it becomes just that…a story!”
Kimberley Geraghty, Food Company Catering & Special Events, with experience in catered events, sees a trend with the “cocktail hour occurring before the ceremony.”
John Martin, from Martin’s Videography, added that “we are seeing more and more off season and Friday, Sunday even weekday weddings to save money!”
Andrea Wright Fennelli, from Fennelli Design Group, Inc. feels that “grooms are more and more involved every year, it seems. For several of my current couples I have the groom as the primary contact for their invitation design. And that’s a great thing! It’s their wedding, too, after all.”
Irina Feygin, a beauty and makeup specialist with IMpeccable IMage, Inc. sees “lots of Friday weddings and even did two of Thursday weddings over the past year! Beauty-wise, brides request either “natural look” or “Kim Kardashian” style, intense and dramatic look. Accessory-wise, brides are leaning more towards headbands or side hair ornaments or hair flower rather than traditional tiara. Veils remain strong. More requests for either shorter veils (elbow) or exact opposite (cathedral). Less requests for “fingertip” veils.”
Becky Guida Vanderbeck, from Simply Chic Wedding and Event Design, noticed that “a lot of my clients are interested in is the concept of the “midnight snack.” At the end of the night there are bite size snacks available for the guests, (like slider burgers, milk shake shots, etc.). It’s a cute end to the evening and a fun way to incorporate comfort food, and it looks cute in pictures!”
Julie Goldman, The Original Runner Company, added to the discussion on trends, to say that “we are seeing a trend in our aisle runners for summer 2011. Full coverage patterns like damask and Swarovski crystals are going to be huge.”
Rev. Deborah Kalinowski, a minister with Weddings On Wheels, is “seeing a trend toward short, no frills ceremonies in the home and at unique locations. Elopements are also up. I think this is due to the poor economy and couples not having enough money to spend on a big wedding.” Editor’s note, Rev. Kalinowski recently performed a marriage ceremony in a Southern NJ location of Dunkin’ Donuts, and while we don’t necessarily agree that these “fast food” weddings are a growing trend, they’re definitely unique! We do agree that marriages can happen anywhere and anytime, so perhaps some couples are tying the knot on a smaller scale and then having an intimate gathering of friends and family at a local restaurant instead of a larger affair that they can’t afford at this time.
Gregg Hollmann of Ambient DJ Service, says he has “noticed that engaged couples are conducting deeper and more intensive research related to wedding DJ entertainment. Online reviews, a great website and an informative blog are just the first step to get your foot in the door, with the brides then meeting with 3-5 companies for in-person interviews.”
Charitable giving is a growing trend for couples and vendors, and organizations are being formed to help engaged couples in need
Another trend on the rise is the concept of charitable giving
(and receiving!). Jimmy Silvestri & Marah Winkler of Forked River, NJ won their February 12, 2011 wedding at The Villa of Mountain Lakes as a result of competing with 10 other couples in the “Roman Jewelers Wedding Contest
.” The project? To implement “Good Deed Plans” to raise money and awareness for a specific charity (in their case, the Special Olympics of New Jersey). The Association of Bridal Consultants
– New Jersey branch, became aware of the special needs of Tina Tinervia and Paul Velez from Freehold, NJ, who sincerely wanted to be married in the summer of 2010, and subsequently mobilized a team of ABC member wedding professionals from throughout New Jersey to come to their aid (Tina was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer and her health was ailing). Tina and Paul had their wedding of their dreams on June 26, 2010 and Tina passed away a few months later. And “Wish Upon A Wedding
,” a national charity with chapters in 16 states, is launching a New Jersey chapter on Tuesday, January 18th to put a program in place to grant “wedding wishes” to couples with hardship (see recent post about WUW-NJ
). In addition, couples are looking to donate more to charitable organizations, or by contributing in some personal way that will make a difference for others in need (and also make a statement as to who the bride and groom are as a couple and what is important to them when it comes to philanthropy).
Marie Danielle Vil Young, a wedding planner from A Votre Service Events, LLC, offered the following points as trends to look for in the year ahead:
Signature Drinks: Redefining the idea of the signature drink; gone are the days that one would mix 2-3 liquors together and served! In 2011 signature drinks can (will) be much highly stylized. Presentation is key, i.e. pay special attention to stemware, add an interesting twist with edible flowers; signature drinks can also be designed using champagne for toasting.
Catering / Menu / Dessert: One interesting trend with food is again a focus on creativity and presentation, infusion of culture. For a while now, more brides are receptive to the idea of a cocktail style reception. But why not have the best of both worlds- elegant sit-down affair, but the food and beverage can be served in more creative ways. How about a round of interesting shots passed while your guests are on the dance floor; large Venetian dessert tables are becoming obsolete: how about small tray / display of fruits on each table after dinner, or passing bite-size, yummy treats (cookies, ice pops) while your guests continue to dance the night away!
Venue: In 2011 more and more couples are moving away from traditions and opting for more unique, eclectic venues that are reflective of their personalities. While it may appear overwhelming and quite an intimidating feat to host the perfect wedding, with the assistance of a professional Wedding Designer, it can be quite beautiful. An experienced designer can start with a raw space, and produce a sophisticated and memorable affair! A good wedding designer will be able to capture your vision, and bring it to life while accounting for every detail. And if you are like our clients – couples with discerning taste, nothing but the best will do. How about a rooftop in NYC? Maybe a sculpture garden in NJ? A destination wedding along the Jersey shore? Or perhaps a private mansion, where you can enjoy a wedding weekend with family and friends?
Social Media and Phone Apps: Couples are spending more time on facebook, twitter, and other interactive media. More and more couples are keeping family, friends in the loop with constant update on these media outlets. With everyone’s busy schedule, the wedding planning process itself is undergoing changes as more couples are using different apps to stay connected, research, and to stay organized.
Fridays are the new Saturdays: With an eye on the economy, many couples are choosing to have their weddings on Fridays, which traditionally have savings associated.
Sharon Naylor, author of wedding planning books on various topics, offers her thoughts on 2011 trends...
We also asked nationally-known writer Sharon Naylor
, a New Jersey resident and author of over 30 wedding planning books on various topics, her opinion on trends to look for, and here is what she added:
* Fall weddings are picking up in popularity even more. According to TheWeddingReport.com‘s newest survey results, September, October and November account for about 35% of weddings, while June July and August weddings tally up to about 37%…so fall is gaining!
* There’s a growing return to two-location weddings, with couples marrying at one location and having a reception in another location. This trend is very slight, just 3%-4%, and the trend is moving back to indoor ceremonies at a church or place of worship.
* A very fun trend is a growing number of couples holding at-home weddings, either at their own homes or at a home of a relative or friend. So those beach houses are coming into play as ideal settings for wedding weekends!
* The big wedding colors are blue and purple, with pink also remaining a strong wedding hue choice. Couples are looking more at bright, bold, vibrant colors, encouraging their floral designers to make their bouquets and centerpieces ‘pop,’ as opposed to more muted, softer pastel colors…and the trend is carrying into bridesmaid dresses, especially in vibrant jewel-tones of purple (one of my favorite bridesmaid dresses right now is in the Kathy Ireland 2Be Bride collection with Mon Cheri Bridal. It’s a jewel purple dress with ruching and a criss-cross back. Just gorgeous!).
* Bridal parties are getting smaller again, which means that bridesmaids are going to carry a larger percentage of bridal shower expenses. In my book Bridesmaid on a Budget, I cover all the ways that bridesmaids can stylishly plan parties without breaking the bank, and the trend for a smaller number of people to split costs with means they’re going to be planning smaller showers, more brunch showers, dessert and champagne showers, and the at-home party comes into play more with self-catered cocktail parties and buffets.
* A wonderful trend is for designers to offer more affordable lines of bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses, and stores like The Limited are getting into the action with their own wedding dress choices.
* Daisies and carnations are going to be the flower of choice this year, since they are among the most affordable, and their bright and vivid colors fit in with the theme of the vibrant color scheme for weddings. I’m seeing amazing bouquets made of orange, yellow and red carnations that look gorgeous…the cliche of carnations being ‘cheap-looking’ is done. Carnations are once again having their day in the sun!
* DIY projects are going to play a bigger part in wedding projects, with brides and their volunteers taking on the fun of personalizing favors, programs, making food for pre-wedding parties and making thank you gifts for their bridal party and parents.
* One-time-use cameras are getting prettier and are growing in popularity. Look at the new red floral, blue floral and purple floral one-time-use cameras from Kodak, and it’s no wonder these useful items are once again finding their way back to guest tables at the reception!
* Brides and grooms are planning two spotlight dances, the first dance of the evening and the last dance of the evening.
* Wedding menus are getting healthier and lighter-fare-based with more lush salads and veggie sushi on the cocktail party list. Guests want to enjoy their wedding food without guilt…and we’re also seeing a wider range of specialty menu foods for those who eat gluten-free and vegetarian. Chefs and caterers are doing wonderful things with sauces, too, to make inexpensive menu options like chicken and pasta crowd-pleasing tastes.
Above are a variety of trends in weddings, offered by a variety of wedding specialists in New Jersey. What are some growing trends that YOU are seeing around you? We would enjoy your feedback on this topic…just comment below!