5 Trends to Consider for your 2016 Wedding

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I remember as a kid, discovering my parents’ wedding album in the bookcase of our living room. When no one was watching, I would sneak the album out and flip through the pages, trying to imagine the time my parents were younger and not Mom and Dad. But I also remember flipping through the photos thinking how funny their wedding looked: it was outdated, with paper garlands and white doves, tacky decorations, and outfits.

As a planner, I often think about my days viewing “the album” – my goal with my clients is to create a unique, memorable day that is timeless. If I can create scenes for a photographer to document that are timeless, and won’t be seen in 20+ years and viewed as “tacky,” then I’ve done my job well. You see, there’s a fine line between trend and fad. Today I want to share a list of Five Trends to Consider for your 2016 Wedding. These are things I see as safe, timeless options that have gained popularity in the wedding industry, and personally, I don’t see them as fads (like the candy buffet, for example).

Disclaimer: I’m a planner, not a psychic/time traveler, so I may not necessarily have these all correct. Continue reading to view our list of Wedding Trends to Consider in 2016:

The First Look:

As a planner, I love when clients tell me they are planning a first look. I always encourage my clients to do whatever they want on their wedding day, and sometimes, that means breaking age-old traditions like not seeing each other before the ceremony. No offense to those who still observe the tradition, but it’s rooted in a rather dark history. Originally, the groom wasn’t allowed to see the bride because back in the day, weddings were arranged and seen as more of a business transaction – fathers arranged for their daughter to marry wealthy, landowning men, but they didn’t want to risk the groom changing his mind based on appearance, so the tradition of not seeing each other was born. Oh and the bride’s veil? That was, so the groom didn’t have any chance – with the bride’s face hidden, the groom didn’t know what his bride truly looked like until it was too late to run.

Long story short: unless you’re planning an arranged marriage and are fearful your happily ever after will depend on looks alone, it’s safe to plan a first look if you want to. We’ve found for our couples that it not only can alleviate stress before the big day, but it also offers a chance for your photographer to capture intimate moments and document the pre-wedding excitement.

Simply put: we love first look photos, like this one of Ally and DJ. These photos just make us smile!

Lyman Estate Waltham Wedding by Contagious Events - Boston Wedding Planners, Provincetown Wedding Planners, New England Wedding Planners


Ring Warming Ceremony:

True story: Ring Warming Ceremonies make me as your planner, really, really anxious. But I’m putting it on the list because I would probably consider having it at my own wedding someday.

Ring Warming Ceremonies have gained popularity over the past few years but are still generally not well-known. I’ve noticed a lot of same-sex couples who don’t necessarily have an outline of wedding traditions to consider/follow like what the ring warming ceremony is all about: your officiant informs the guests, at the beginning of your ceremony, that your wedding bands will be passed through the guests. They are instructed to hold the rings, and say a wishing, prayer or blessing for you as they hold your rings. As the rings make their way up to the front, they are warmed with blessings and well-wishes from each of your guests.

Logistically, a lot can go wrong here: the timing is always a risk, so if you have a large audience and planning a super short ceremony, this may not be an option for you. If you have guests who you don’t necessarily trust, you’ll want to have someone keep an eye on your rings at all times. If you don’t like the idea of getting fingerprints all over your new bands, you can put them in a decorative pouch or box. But in general, the idea is touching, and it’s a great way to get your friends and family involved in the ceremony instead of just sitting through it.


No Cake:

I know, crazy right? Not having a wedding cake at a wedding? It’s almost… a sin.

Well, brace yourself because I’m willing to bet we will be seeing less traditional wedding cake and more variety when it comes to wedding day sweets. Cupcakes have made the rounds for a few years, but joining the ranks of favorite wedding desserts are donuts, macaroons, cookies, pies, cake pops and more. If you have fond memories of baking with a family member, you could ask them to help you with your wedding by baking treats for your guests! Friends and family love enjoying homemade treats. For extra credit, you can give guests the recipe, or share a story about your memories baking as a child on a framed sign to display on the dessert table.

Wedding Cake Alternative


Food Stations:

If you’re serving a full meal for your guests, it comes down to three serving options: traditional plated dinner, served by a wait staff, buffet style where guests are free to help themselves, or family-style, where platters are placed on tables for guests to share. Food stations offer guests a variety of meal choices without forcing all of your guests to stand in single-line formation with a plate waiting to be served dinner. These stations also offer versatility: they can be done by region (think: Indian food at one station, Italian at another, etc.), cuisine (pasta, gourmet sliders), or even action stations manned by chefs where guests can “create” their own dinner, adding ingredients to create their own unique dish. We’re also seeing things like mashed potato bars (where guests add their toppings) as a favorite among wedding clients looking the break the mold of traditional options for wedding day dinner.


Edible Favors:

Confession: as a planner who is vigilant about wedding budgets and making sure clients don’t break the bank to plan their wedding day, I don’t think there is a word in the English language strong enough to describe my displeasure with wedding favors. Remember back in the day when you would do something not so smart, and mom would say “I’m not mad at you, I’m disappointed in you”? Like, mom has passed the level of anger and is just straight up going in for the kill?

Well, that’s how I feel about wedding favors. I’m disappointed in them.

Let’s be honest: no one, not even your best friend or the great-aunt Sally you didn’t know you had until mom insisted she be invited to the wedding wants a candle with your initials on it. And your thirteen-year-old cousin has absolutely no use for a bottle opener for the next… eight years. Couples spend upwards of $5-$10 per guest on generic favors. My advice here is probably a little untraditional, but I say scrap it. Take the $2k and invest in better entertainment for your guests to enjoy, or better food/beverage. But if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of not having something for your guests to take, offer an edible favor for the ride home: things like cookies with custom labels, hangover kits with sports juice and meal replacement bars for the next morning are popular options. Just please, no more chachkies that no one has a use for.

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