Not very long ago, in a reception hall not very far away, brides had to wear white, serve tiered cake for dessert and give their guests matchbooks as favors.
Thank heavens that's all behind us. The wedding season is not that far off — bridal expos abound this month — and brides and grooms have lots of options when it comes to their Big Day.
Besides the year's most obvious wedding trend — same-sex nuptials — planners and retailers see interest in colorful bridal gowns, lounge areas and vintage styles this year. Here's a look at the top 10 trends in Baltimore.
We know it's all about you. And when it comes to what guests experience, expect to see more ways to express that "you-ness." "Couples want to have fun weddings that represent their lifestyle and relationship," says Briana Dixon, founder of Baltimore-based Nouvelle Weddings and Events, "so we'll see a lot of new food ideas, from food trucks (for hors d'oeuvres, entrees, as well as desserts) to carnival foods such as cotton candy and popcorn."
Drew Vanlandingham, owner of Vanlandingham Events, sees the trend playing out in favors such as cold cups with lemonade mix in summer, scarves in winter or homemade preserves. "So many people hand out things at a wedding that guests might not ever want to look at or much less use," he says. "The types of things I mentioned are things they can take home and think of you when they use them, and they are somewhat practical gifts."
Vera Wang's black wedding dresses were one sign. Jessica Biel on the cover of People in a pink gown was another. Now designer samples are popping up in delicate hues of peach, pink, champagne, gold, beige, gray and blue.
"Brides looking to be 'different and fun' on their wedding days are searching out gowns in new, fun colors," says Leah Tutnauer, a bridal consultant at Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection in Pikesville who recommends soft colors that preserve a romantic feel.
Aubrey Canale, co-owner of Columbia-based Simply Created Events, describes the appeal: "Brides are really going for a soft, flowy feel, and neutral colors like nudes, blushes and mint are popping up everywhere. Many brides love it because it feels comfortable and photographs gorgeously."
If you're counting in Leonardo DiCaprio time, think "The Great Gatsby" to late in "The Aviator" period.
"Vintage '30s, '40s, 'Great Gatsby'-themed events are making a comeback," says Stephanie Bradshaw, owner of Bradshaw Styling.
Dixon thinks vintage elegance will supplant vintage rustic. We'll throw sleeves into that category, too. (Didn't Lady Mary rock sleeves in the "Downton Abbey" wedding?)
Says Vanlandingham: "Girls are really starting to look at options for sleeves on a dress." The royal nuptials of 2011 probably started it. "When we saw Kate and Will wed, she revived the sleeve on the beautiful gown," he says.
Lounges have been making inroads at cocktail hours and after-parties. Diana Venditto of eventi planning, a Baltimore firm, notes the slow creep: "It started a little in 2011 and 2012, but more and more people are making them a priority."
Dixon sees it as another means of helping guests feel at home and have fun: "A great way to ensure that will happen is to create a lounge area with couches, ottomans and great lighting, to give a comfortable place for guests to relax."