Couples are finding ways to make the wedding uniquely their own, from reading beloved poems as part of the the ceremony to serving their favorite cocktails at the reception. Brides are also looking to put more of their personal beauty stamp on the look of their bridal party and reception. “Brides are trying to be extremely creative. They’re doing a ton of research on Pinterest and Facebook because they want their wedding to be different from any other,” Wayland says. “Today’s weddings are all about custom, custom, custom.”
To distinguish themselves, brides are starting with their own look, seeking gowns that are different from other brides. Designers are responding with more variety. The necklines, sleeves and backs on bridal gowns are showing greater diversity than in years past, when strapless was de rigueur.
“Some people attribute it to the royal wedding,” Hauser says. “Kate was more covered up, so people are following that.” Hauser notes that brides can now find bateau necklines, V-necks and cap sleeves in addition to strapless looks.
“The strapless gown is still our most popular, but it has been for a few years, so brides want something a little different,” Lawrence says.
Every bride wants her look to be distinctive, and that extends to hair and makeup. “This is the bride’s one day to shine, so she wants her makeup to be special, but she should also feel comfortable,” Freebery says. She advises every bride to have a pre-wedding hair and makeup consultation. “If the bride isn’t completely happy, then the look isn’t the right one for her, and she and her makeup consultant should try something else,” Freebery says.
Many brides are giving their bridesmaids more leeway in selecting a dress or gown, so that every woman can find a style that flatters her and suits her personality. It also brings more interest to the look of the wedding party.
“We’re not seeing as much of the perfectly matching one color, one style,” Kieffer says. “It’s more mixed with different styles and different hues of the same color.”
Some brides are getting even more creative by foregoing traditional floral bouquets. Kieffer recently planned several weddings in which the brides made their own bouquets. One of the brides attached a variety of broaches to floral wire to create a bouquet. Another used earring studs of different colored stones to create her bouquet and the men’s boutonnieres.
Couples want to be more original with their reception flowers, too, and they are choosing more unusual varieties to add texture and interest to table centerpieces and bouquets.
“Roses and carnations are going by the wayside, and brides are trying to bring in more untraditional flowers and accents. One bride even used artichokes as an accent in her centerpieces,” says Wayland.
One Deerfield bride had her baker create individual wedding cakes to match the main cake, and used those as the centerpiece on every table. Another way to personalize is to scatter framed photos of the wedding couple throughout the room.
Even the food can be personalized. Kieffer suggests that couples can have their caterer make one or two of their favorite foods or family dishes, and then share the recipes with their guests.
Couples can also set themselves apart with unique invitations, guest books, place cards and favors. Wayland, for example, has a graphic designer on staff to create custom invitations. Ferris notes that one couple, who married in August, had their ceremony program printed on a paper fan.
Instead of a guest book, the Kings had guests sign an oversized K with Sharpies of various colors. Others combine the outdoors and unique themes by having guests ink their thumbprints as the leaves on a paper tree, which can later be framed.
Place cards and favors can represent the bride and groom and their interests. Kieffer recalls a couple, seafood lovers from Maryland, who gave out personalized crab mallets with a packet of Old Bay seasoning attached.