Whether you're in the midst of planning your own wedding, a rehearsal dinner, or a bridal shower for a dear friend, you're likely on the hunt for new, innovative ways to create an unforgettable event. From scouring Pinterest to reading blogs, you'll be inundated with ideas -- but sometimes it feels like you're seeing the same old details over and over (and over!) again.
To make your event feel fresh, consider the following eight ideas I've curated from the latest trends in event planning (many of which I've had the pleasure of experiencing firsthand). These are sure to wow your guests and help you create a soiree that truly stands out.
Serve "cheese" cake.
With so many people discovering food sensitivities to everything from gluten to sugar, a traditional cake may not be preferable or even edible for your guests (and maybe even for the bride or groom). An alternative I really love is a "cheese" cake: An incredible tiered creation made from wheels of cheese festooned with grapes and figs rather than flowers. While I wouldn't suggest this for a black tie wedding, it would certainly work well for a brunch or lunch affair, or even a bridal shower.
Use parasols in your decor.
Having umbrellas or parasols on-hand for a wedding ceremony is a great way to ensure guests' comfort. But they can also lend flair to your event's overall look. Planning a bridal shower? Umbrellas add beautiful dimension to the decor and the motif can be repeated in the cupcakes and even given as favors to the guests. For a vintage theme, use lace parasols, or for a modern twist use brightly colored umbrellas. (You can also add extra glam by trimming the edges with lush florals.)
Enlist a live event artist.
Here's something few people have seen before: A live event artist who will actually paint your wedding (or wedding-related event) as it happens, creating a piece of artwork you can cherish for generations to come. Los Angeles-based artist Greg Kalamar specializes in this type of artwork -- check out his website for more information on how you can incorporate this incredible feature into your celebration.
Let guests go hands-free at cocktail hour.
Wedding guests always look forward to cocktail hour but they typically have trouble drinking, eating, and mingling at the same time. To keep them comfortable (and satiated), order personalized wine glass plate clips so that each guests can hold his or her plate and wine glass easily in one hand. This takeaway can be a great touch for an informal rehearsal dinner as well.
Personalize your photo booth.
Having a photo booth at your event is a huge trend that's here to stay. Make yours stand out by personalizing your booth with a custom wrap: You can use an engagement photo, a monogram, or even a pattern that coordinates with your event's décor. Then, set up the booth with your wedding hashtag so you can program the images to upload to Instagram and Facebook with the tag pre-populated in your guest's posts.
Make your parents feel royal.
At your wedding, rent plush chairs for your parents and position them at the head of the dance floor so they can enjoy your first dance from a special perspective. Then, they can join you on the floor once you've finished your first dance. This detail will not only highlight your parents as the guests of honor, but such a surprise will make them feel even more special to be witnessing this exciting moment in your lives. After all, if it weren't for them, you wouldn't be here!
Hire a same-day edit videographer.
There is nothing as gratifying as same-day edit videography. From pre-ceremony interviews with friends and family, to fun getting-ready b-roll, to special moments from the ceremony itself, this video can be played at dinner or at the end of your reception, allowing everyone to reminisce over the highlights of the day while it's still unfolding. Check with your videographer to see if this is a service he or she can provide for you.
Let your cake tell a story.
Cake mapping is a new trend that allows your cake to double as entertainment. Rather than decorating your cake with flowers and elaborate icing, have your baker create a blank slate of white fondant. Then, using a projector (and working with your lighting team), broadcast images or video onto the cake itself--it could tell the story of your relationship or simply reflect a pretty pattern or animation. Either way, it will look stunning.