2017 Destination Wedding Trends
February 16, 2017 | Wedding Trends
2017 Destination Wedding Trends by Nancy Hellmrich The Next Wave Tying the knot in a faraway land has always been daring, avant-garde, and unique. But this year, there’s a fresh wave of unconventional weddings on the rise. It’s no longer enough to skip the traditional hometown ceremony and run off to a beach. Now, expressing […]
2017 Destination Wedding Trends
by Nancy Hellmrich
The Next Wave
Tying the knot in a faraway land has always been daring, avant-garde, and unique. But this year, there’s a fresh wave of unconventional weddings on the rise. It’s no longer enough to skip the traditional hometown ceremony and run off to a beach. Now, expressing one’s individuality is being plumbed to new depths.
Instead of asking, “What are the cool kids doing?” today’s rebellious lovebirds are asking, “What is no one doing?” Then, they’re going with that.
How far will you go for love?
Today’s travel-happy brides and grooms are marrying in autumn instead of spring — and they’re choosing destinations that are farther away from home. While beach resorts and tropical islands are still popular, some are opting for locales that don’t have that “done before” feel. The result is swoon-worthy affairs in achingly beautiful Chilean vineyards, atop rugged Icelandic cliffs, set against minimalist desert landscapes, amongst Mediterranean ruins, and beyond.
Mixing and matching traditions
Another growing trend with a twist is the reinterpretation of ethnic and cultural practices. Today’s couples are celebrating their heritage in exciting, new ways. Often, mixing Western customs with meaningful rituals and practices from their respective family backgrounds.
More adventurous pairs who have traveled together before marriage are handpicking customs that hold special meaning for them. A couple who took a trip to Ireland, for example, might decide to incorporate Celtic hand-fasting into their ceremony. Others might include a tea ceremony from Vietnam, the Chinese double happiness symbol, henna painting, or Polynesian flower leis.
The return of the demure dress
Conservative grandmothers are breathing a sigh of relief as the lingerie-dress phenomenon wanes and more modest designs make a comeback. You can thank the Duchess of Cambridge for the re-emergence of long sleeves. On the bridal fashion runways, we saw out-sized sleeves on Vera Wang’s Filomena dress, lacy elegance on Carolina Herrera’s Emilie, peek-a-boo sleeves on Ines di Santo’s Madeleine, and Pronovias’ feather cuffed Nuria.
Plus, did you notice? The dresses have names! While a few designers are sticking to numbers, others are giving their gowns actual personalities. The Hallie from Monique Lhuillier was a big hit on the catwalks. With a whopping 2.5 million pins, the most popular wedding dress on Pinterest was the Hollie 2.0, by Australian label Grace Loves Lace.
Other dress design twists include a wider range of chic pantsuits, long peplum tops, gorgeous petal-like capes, and halter styles with high necklines like those on Wang’s Bess and Dagmar or Pronovias’ Noa. Though sheaths are easier to pack, some brides are finding the feminine allure of tulle too much to resist. This year, the tulle awards go to Vera Wang’s Alden and Sigourney, Jenny Packham’s Dixie, and Hayley Paige’s Arlo.
Authenticity is in the hair
When it comes to traveling brides and beauty routines, we’re living in a post-Kardashian world. In stark contrast to the facial contouring and dramatic hairstyles happening back home, au courant destination brides are keeping it simple with healthy-looking, natural makeup; soft, romantic hair; and sweet, blush-pink nails. We’re seeing less of the black eyeliner and finely sprayed up-dos and more bohemian braids, loose beach waves, and easy yet sophisticated chignons. Those with thick or curly locks are livening things up with sparkling headbands and bejeweled headpieces.
Men are getting more stylish
For the men, bolder style choices are in. Courageous grooms are sporting solid colored ensembles or black suits with strong, jewel-hued ties. The trend seems to be single-breasted, one-button jackets that draw the eye to the waist, à la everything Tom Ford ever designed. Stylish standouts include sharp, dandy-style tuxedos with a snow-white shirts and cravats or suits made from patterned brocade fabrics that give the vest and jacket a visual pop. In refreshed ethnic ceremonies, we’re seeing gold-embroidered dashikis with matching kufi hats and handsome Mughal-era sherwanis with stunning combinations of brocade, velvet, rich silks, and more.
Photography is center stage
Today, professional wedding photographers are playing a more central role, acting as visual consultants, even participating in the planning of the actual event. Which location works best as a backdrop? What sort of lighting are we after? Some couples are scaling back elsewhere so they can spring for a team of photographers and videographers who work together to tell the wedding story.
Documentary-style action shots, images that set the scene, are the key to storytelling. Savvy pros aim for in-the-moment shots like carved wooden doors opening to reveal the bride. A tear being wiped away from a father’s cheek. The groom, pacing. The maid of honor getting choked up when it’s her turn for a speech.
Social media is playing a big role too. Many wedding photographers are publicizing their portfolios and travel schedules on Instagram and Facebook. Fun, sharable images trending now include newlyweds jumping in the air, guests photo-bombing the happy couple, day-after shots, and grid formats. In addition to wedding videos, photographers are also delivering highlight films and animated GIFs that can be shared right away.
The bold and the beautiful
Pantone’s fashion color report for Spring 2017 offers a wide range with evocative names like Niagara, Lapis, Primrose, Flame, Island Paradise, Pale Dogwood, Greenery, Yarrow, Hazelnut, and Kale. And some couples are going with their flow. Others are shunning the corporate color overlords and going their own way. Bold, jewel tones – Venetian red, sapphire blue, and purple hues – are replacing traditional pinks and blues. And black and white is making a comeback as destination couples work to simplify, simplify, simplify.
Let’s cake that up a notch
Naked (un-iced) and semi-naked cakes are still big this year, many decorated with fresh fruits or flowers and laser-cut toppers that spell out “love” … “better together” … or “Mr. & Mrs.” Making a comeback, are three-tiered cakes iced in soft, white buttercream swirls and decorated with locally sourced flowers or edible accents, like sugar shells and starfish.
We’re also seeing glamorous metallic touches, cakes covered in sugar ruffles or roses, white fondant cakes with sugar-veil lace details, and outdoorsy cakes accented with green succulents or herbs. When it comes to geometrics, designers are moving away from dots and toward bold squares and triangles.
Local eats and drinks
Where it’s available, fresh, healthy, organic food and farm-to-table fare is still in demand. Places like the Hawaiian Islands are coming through with tantalizing dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. In other locations, highlighting the cuisine of the region — serving roasted lamb and Arctic char in Iceland, for example – augments the destination wedding experience.
With an uptick in daytime weddings, many couples are going with brunch instead of dinner or creating gorgeous buffets with garden-party-style finger sandwiches and fountains of champagne. Speaking of drinks, signature cocktails are all the rage and artisan ingredients are in. From sparkling sangrias and maple bourbon Old Fashioneds to elderflower and honey martinis and passion fruit punch, individuality is the name of the game.
Is our wedding trending yet?
With professional-level web sites, interactive invites, awesome planning apps, and the wonders of crowdsourcing, pulling a destination celebration together is easier than ever. Top picks for today’s best wedding apps include: Paperless Post, WeddingWire/WedSocial, Look Book by The Knot, Appy Couple, Zola Registry, Honeyfund, I Do Foundation, Zank You, CrowdRise, WedSocial, Spotify, LiveLens, WedPics, and more. Want a secret space just for the two of you? Check out Duet, Couple, Avocado, and Between.
When it comes to social media, many are choosing unplugged weddings that allow guests to enjoy the ceremony while professional photographers capture sophisticated images and an unobtrusive social media concierge live-tweets the event. At the reception, smartphones get turned back on and the sharing begins. Don’t forget the custom hashtag, a crowd sourced playlist, charging stations, selfie sticks, SnapChat filters, and live streaming screens.