What’s in vogue for nontraditional weddings
By definition, nontraditional wedding themes require imagination. As a retailer, you never know what merchandise might help a future bride and groom fulfill their unique vision of the perfect wedding.
“Nontraditional weddings are becoming more mainstream,” said Eddy Martinez, owner of Natural Impression Design. “Creating new traditions and ways to celebrate unions are proliferating to traditional wedding couples as they create unique and more intimate ceremonies and receptions. Couples are opting to spend more per guest, while keeping their guest count down.”
With many of today’s couples footing the bill for their own weddings — or at least a higher percentage of the bill — more people are looking for ways to get creative. That often includes do-it-yourself decorations, floral arrangements or unique wedding favors.
The personal touch
Ariel Meadow Stallings, author of “Offbeat Bride: Alternatives for Independent Brides” and publisher of OffbeatBride.com, cited bold colors and pop culture references as popular in nontraditional nuptials.
“I’m seeing lots of TARDIS blue elements as a subtle nod to ‘Doctor Who,’” Stallings said in reference to the time machine on the popular British television show. One of the most interesting weddings Stallings has seen took place at a Wisconsin camp last summer. It had a medieval “Game of Thrones” feel, all the way down to the tableware. “I loved (it). No one died!” Stallings quipped.
West Michigan-based wedding planner Chelsea Lauren also sees couples putting more personality into their weddings, whether through pop culture references, food and beverages they serve or engaging activities.
“People are putting more of themselves into their weddings. They want it to be a memorable experience for them and their guests,” Lauren said. “I have a carnival-themed wedding, where there is going to be an ice bar and a lot of booths where guests can play games … It’s not just going to a wedding, they want their guests to be involved.”
Lauren also talked about a log cabin wedding with picnic tables for seating and a gourmet pizza bar with a slew of options of pie options. “They wanted their guests to be comfortable. When you think about it, almost everyone likes pizza.”
The outside-the-box thinking extends to the venue. It’s not uncommon for couples to get married at a park or beach, but they may see something in businesses that may not usual host such events.
“Interestingly, nontraditional couples seem to be looking for and creating unique venues to help define the wedding style,” Martinez said. “One couple selected a little known restaurant at a marina and transformed it into a Miami Beach-style nightclub for their reception that followed a wedding on the dock.”
Colors and designs
Stallings noted she is seeing more bold colors, and so is Lauren. “I know pastels have been big in the past, but I’m seeing more darker colors — darker purples, darker blues and darker reds,” Lauren said.
While she’s seeing color schemes get darker, Lauren, as well as Martinez, also are seeing a fair amount of couples going the opposite direction back to the traditional white, gold or silver combinations, whether with designs or invitations. “The trends seems to stay in the classical, natural pallet of ivory, champagne, silver and white tones, which are always in style with your typical scripted lettering,” Martinez said.
Sequin designs are popping up more and more, Lauren said. “Sequins are really coming into style now ... Whether the design is very small or giant, you can put with the classic gold and silver look. I’m also seeing plenty of gold flatware.”
Helping your customers
Whether it’s from looking to keep costs down or simple practicality, Stallings said consumers are much more likely to commit to merchandise if they see use for it beyond the wedding day.
“Think of products that couples can reuse after the wedding — it makes it easier for couples to spend money if they know they might have a purpose after the wedding day is over,” Stallings said.
When customers enter your store looking for materials for their wedding or reception, take the time to get to know them a bit before you start suggesting products.
“For couples, weddings today have become much more deeply individualized events,” Martinez said. “As industry professionals, we tend to forget that couples typically only plan a wedding once. Start with an informal interview, which typically helps break the ice and helps retailers understand the couples needs. You don't need to dig too deep these days for couples to offer up their opinion on and what they feel is right for them.”
Of the couples married last year, 44 percent said they used ivory as a primary color in their wedding, followed by blue (37 percent), pink (28), metallics (26) and purple (23).
Only 28 percent held their wedding in a religious institution, down from 41 percent in 2009. Forty percent said they prefer nontraditional venues that better represents their personality, including historic buildings and farms.
The average couple spent $275 on wedding favors, down from $281 in 2013.
— Source: The Knot
— By Zeke Jennings, Managing Editor
Photo courtesy of Fornear Photo