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The Top 16 Wedding Trends For 2016

11/23/2015 12:11 pm ET | Updated Nov 23, 2015

It's going to be a great year for weddings! We've got the most exciting new ideas for décor, flowers, cakes, music and more.

  • 1 Metallic Color Palettes
  • Metallics are surprisingly versatile, says New York City event-planning guru Harriette Rose Katz. “Depending on how and where you bring them into your celebration,” she says, “they can be elegant, whimsical, ethereal or even very natural.” (Think glitzy golds to pop out room decor at a black-tie wedding, copper lanterns at an outdoor reception or on a rustic tablescape.)

    No matter the venue or theme, designers across the country say rose gold will show up on everything from rings to table linens. Even the food and drink get in on the trend, with shiny blush icings on desserts and rose-hued cocktails. One metallic that is on the wane, however, is silver.
  • 2 Hometown Heroes
  • In a trend that Alison Laesser-Keck of VLD Events calls “the new destination wedding,” couples are increasingly looking for ways to bring in elements of places that hold special memories — no matter where the actual wedding is being held. For example, a couple who got engaged in Paris might bring in vintage street lamps to light the reception, have Edith Piaf songs playing during dinner and use bistro signage for the bar.

    “The idea is that you can have guests feel like they’re in Nashville, New York, your alma mater — whatever spot is close to your heart — and enjoying little bits of those places that have brought you joy,” she says.
  • 3 Lighting Galore
    Photo courtesy of Creative Edge Parties
  • The key to setting a romantic mood? Ambience. “Every couple wants to create a more romantic and intimate environment,” says Los Angeles–based event designer Trish Stevens of Classic Party Rentals. “Wedding lighting is the best — and simplest — way to establish both.” Event designers say they’re using more pendant lights with bare “Edison” bulbs, chandeliers (both vintage and modern) and candelabras to cast a soft glow.
  • 4 Creative Seating Plans
  • Couples are moving away from a reception layout based on large round tables, which has a tendency to feel too much like a conference event, and are instead opting for either very long, rectangular tables or a mix of long tables surrounded by smaller square and round tables — all for a more intimate vibe. And lounge areas, complete with comfortable seating options, remain a crucial part of the cocktail and after-party hours.
  • 5 Just-Picked Flowers
    Photo courtesy of Flower Duet
  • Arrangements that feature both whatever is in season and whatever is local are gaining traction. Sometimes couples request a “wild” look, say Casey Schwartz and Kit Wertz of Flower Duet in Los Angeles. “What they’re after are freshly picked blooms.”

    These free-form bouquets and centerpieces often include a mix of big and small blossoms in more than one color, and might use spiky flowers or fruiting vines to serve as exclamation points.

  • 6 Non-Floral Centerpieces
    Photo Credit: Bob and Dawn Davis
  • Potted trees, succulents, ferns, lavender sprigs and decorative leaves (such as magnolia, begonia) are no longer reserved for anchoring flower arrangements — these days they can become the focal point of the décor. Flowering plants and blooming branches (think flowering quince, crab apple or cherry blossom) also work well as creative centerpieces. And a budget-friendly elegant idea is to adorn bare branches with crepe-paper flowers or sparkly jewels.
  • 7 Glitzy Invitations
    Photo courtesy of Wedding Paper Divas
  • “Shimmer, sparkle, glitter — across the board everyone loves high shine,” says Amber Harrison, style expert for Wedding Paper Divas. Warm tones like rose gold and copper are the most requested metallic shades for 2016. And the trend is showing up on stamped and foil-pressed lettering and in shimmery papers.
  • 8 Funky Fonts
    Photo courtesy of Gourmet Invitations
  • There’s such a strong cultural interest in words and graphics that it couldn’t help but spill over into the world of wedding invitations. “Using multiple fonts on an all-type invitation adds fresh personality,” says Tifany Wunschl of Gourmet Invitations.
  • 9 His and Hers Cocktails
    Photo courtesy of Bash Events
  • What better way to give your guests a glimpse of who you are than by serving them your favorite libations? Event planner Alison Laesser-Keck of VLD Events points out that this trend is not only easier on the budget (no more guesstimating for an open bar) but it’s an instant conversation starter.
  • 10 Gueridon Service
    Photo courtesy of Creative Edge Parties
  • Food stations that were all the rage even up to last year have conceded to the classic sit-down dinner. “But that doesn’t mean guests are stuck in their seats,” says Carla Ruben, founder of New York City’s Creative Edge Parties. To keep things interesting, caterers are bringing back gueridon service, where servers arrive at the dinner table with a cart filled with all the makings for customizable appetizers and desserts — everything from caesar salads, pastas and tartares to gelato, doughnuts and milk-and-cookies.
  • 11 Perfect Pairings
    Photo Credit: peppermintbliss.com
  • It’s common to pair wine with food, but “why not cocktails with food?” says Ruben. Some ideas for your cocktail hour: one-bite tacos with margarita shooters; pretzel bites with a local craft beer; caviar spoons and vodka shots; or Italian meatballs with a mini glass of chianti. And for dessert try apple pie with Moscato d’Asti or brownie bites with frozen espresso shooters.
  • 12 "Naked" Cakes
  • “Naked” cakes, which are unfrosted (or partially frosted) and simply adorned with berries or fresh flowers, are trending from coast to coast — and at both relaxed receptions and more formal affairs, says Nataly from the Great Dane Baking Company in Long Beach, California.
  • Hand painting is another versatile trend, lending itself to a bohemian vibe or something more luxe and elegant. This is a great way to pick up the motif of your dress or your invitations (especially if they’re also hand painted). Or try it just for the wow factor.

    Cake by Perfect Wedding Cake
  • 14 Multiple Music Options
    Photo Credit: Erin Johnson Photography
  • The days of picking between a DJ or a band are over. “Couples are viewing each aspect of their wedding celebration as an opportunity to bring in different entertainment options,” says Antonia Christianson, founder of Antonia Christianson Events in Virginia Beach.

    For example: a cabaret singer to serenade guests during the cocktail hour, a retro orchestra to add to the ambiance at dinner and a rocking dance band or DJ to keep people moving well into the night.
  • 15 Epic Action Shots
  • Couples are requesting shots like doors slowly opening for a bride to walk down the aisle, a mom or dad wiping their tears or an aerial shot of the dance floor, say Joann and Mark Anthony of Nineteen Studios. “These are the images that really tell a story,” they say.
  • 16 Just the Highlights
  • “Sharing has become such a hot commodity, so more couples are valuing the short highlight films that are easily shared online,” says Shannon Acevedo of Hoo Films. These are snippets that videographers turn around soon after the celebration, while everything’s still fresh in guests’ minds. The fully edited film comes later.

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By Debra Witt for Bridal Guide

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