Photo-illustration by John Kuczala
Every bride-to-be loves a good trend. It’s new and exciting and daring…until everyone and their matron-of-honor has done it and suddenly it becomes overplayed (hello, cupcakes!). Of course, some trends fizzle quickly, while others have staying power. How’s a bride to know the difference? Here’s your guide for which reception trends to keep, which to toss, and which to trailblaze in 2015.
The Dish on Decor
We hate to snub the beloved Mason jar, but its moment of glory has come and gone. “We’re starting to see a counterculture to the DIY movement,” says planner Michelle Kinne of Blue Dahlia Events.
But if you love the rustic-chic look and can’t imagine your reception anywhere but in a barn, go for antique milk bottles, upcycled wine crates, or mercury glass vases as a trendier take on the Mason jar movement. For flowers, the just-picked-from-the-garden look is still on point, but try incorporating something new and unexpected into your bundle, like cotton stems.
If glam is your jam, opt for big and bold blooms this year—and plenty of them. “Brides are going for an ethereal aesthetic,” says Kinne. “Pale, muted palettes of ivory and blush tones are popping up everywhere.” We can thank Kim and Kanye for the excessive flower fad, but you don’t have to drop $100K to snag their style. Simply display burgeoning flower arrangements in creative places: hanging from the ceiling, cascading from dessert tables, or overflowing from centerpieces. In 2015, you can’t have too many flowers.
Let Me Entertain You
Keeping guests entertained is an art—on and off the dance floor. Though the days of disposable cameras are long gone, photo booths still have a pulse. But instead of the oh-so-typical pink feather boa, stock your prop box with a quirky theme like Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, or holiday. The possibilities are endless!
If space isn’t an issue, life-sized board games will keep guests busy during the cocktail hour and give your reception a laid-back vibe. Giant Jenga, bocce ball, and cornhole are favorites.
When guests need a break from dancing, or for those who would rather watch than participate, give them something cushier to crash on than those stiff chiavaris. Frame the dance floor with stylish leather couches or create a cozy lounge in a corner.
To capture Kodak moments in the modern world, encourage guests to use a custom hashtag (i.e.,#WoodsTieTheKnot) to link their photos on Instagram and Facebook. Print the hashtag on your wedding website, in the wedding program, or on place cards in the reception so that all your guests are in the loop.
Doing a send-off? It’s true that sparklers are bright and magical, but also overplayed, so try something original like bubbles, noisemakers, glow sticks, or rose petals.
So You Think You Can Dance?
Traditional Midwest weddings have a predictable progression of events: cocktail hour, dinner, toasts, cake, dancing. But East Coasters have been doing it differently for years, and the rest of the country is catching on. Instead of saving all the dancing for the end, an East Coast–style reception incorporates pockets of dancing throughout the evening.
For example, as guests are finding their tables after the cocktail hour, the band revs up and everyone heads to the dance floor. A few upbeat numbers are played, and everyone is released to their seats for salads. Then another round of dancing. Then the main course. And so on.
If you’re a traditionalist but still want some flair on your dance floor, get people involved in the father-daughter dance by having all the father-daughter duos join you halfway through your dance with dad. Do the same for your hubby and his mom.
Just Eat It
We get it: Wedding cakes are so 2008. But guess what? So are cupcakes and candy bars. If you really want to make a sweet statement with your dessert, go for something interactive, like a roast-your-own s’mores bar or a top-your-own waffle bar. Have some fun with the fixings. (Bacon and crunchy peanut butter, perhaps?)
If you’re not daring enough to forego the cake entirely, try a trendy “naked” version without the outer frosting, which showcases all the beautiful layers and creates an au naturale presentation.
Did someone say late-night munchies? Enter the popcorn bar—we suggest Patty’s Old Fashioned Popcorn in Hyde Park—or a make-your-own-coney Skyline bar in the final hour of the evening.
Also, because supporting local businesses is still entirely on trend, incorporate your hometown faves. Stock a few cases of Cincinnati-based brew (like MadTree Brewing Company, Mt. Carmel Brewing Company, or Rivertown Brewing Company), or hire a food truck to make a post-reception appearance.
Remember, a well-fed guest is always a happy guest.
Photo-illustration by John Kuczala
Originally published in the Cincinnati Wedding Winter 2015 issue