Come With Me to the Sea
While the whole world is atwitter about the newest royal couple secretly meeting for tea with the Queen, the rest of us are bucking protocol and getting out of town. In the last twelve months, destination weddings took off in a major way. We saw musicians, athletes, actors, bachelors and bachelorettes, dancers with the stars, and even OITNB inmates exchange vows everywhere from Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert to Palm Springs, Puerto Vallarta, Tuscany, Ibiza, and Marrakech. And pretty much everyone announced on Instagram. All that glitter has definitely had an impact on destination wedding trends.
Where To, My Love?
Seaside and sandy is still the first choice for couples who want to get away for their big day. But more and more pairs are opting for less-obvious venues in sun-blessed destinations. Instead of a big resort with a finely honed margaritas and maracas package, they’re sharing nuptials on a quiet beach beside a boutique hotel in Antigua, a hacienda in San Miguel de Allende (the real Mexico), an orchid garden on Kauai, and off-the-grid locales that feel more original and unique.
Those going the Old World route are doing the same, foregoing palaces and fancy hotels in favor of medieval buildings, rustic ruins, and dramatic cliffs in Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece.
We Did It Our Way
If you’re breaking with tradition by getting away, why stop there? Today’s traveling brides and grooms are reimagining the actual wedding ceremony in wonderful, new ways. A little of this, a little of that and making up your own rules is the trend du jour with couples mixing and matching religious rituals, cultural customs, and family traditions that are meaningful to them. Examples include sake sipped from Japanese nuptial cups, reciting multilingual poems, reading an Apache blessing, or fully embracing the destination with regional wines, sand sculpture ceremonies, local traditions, and more.
GoPros, Drones & Live Feeds
Used to be, getting high tech with your wedding required having a savvy friend willing to share the latest gadgets or spending big bucks on a super geeked-out photographer. While we still can’t travel a lot of places with hover boards, the latest Go Pros, video drones, and smartphone apps are practically a requirement. A soaring birds-eye view of your first married kiss? Yes, please! Insta-photo booths with groovy backdrops? Absolutely. Live-feed videos for friends and family back home? You bet.
On The Tip of My Tongue
As resort and hotel chefs up their culinary game, couples are having more input into the dishes they serve their guests, resulting in tantalizing menus that mix cultural cuisine styles or tell the story of love affair through food. Many are skipping the s it-down dinner altogether and opting instead for lighter, healthier fare served at “grazing” tables so that guests can mix and mingle, eating as little or as much as they like. Sweets stations are getting more sophisticated. And savory stations, such as cheese and charcuterie tables, are coming into their own. While signature cocktails and non-alcoholic “mocktails” are still trending, top wedding planners are hinting that sugary drinks are waning and we’re returning to lighthearted wines, such as rosé.
The long-honored tradition of multi-tiered cakes is holding strong, especially now that hotels and resorts are getting on board with more highly skilled pastry chefs. This year’s icing trends include bright fuschia, electric turquoise, and regal purple, often with a metallic flourish. The hottest new trend for grooms is “smash cakes,” which have a hard outer shell that cracks open to reveal candies and goodies hidden inside.
Bold Renaissance Hues
Good news. Musty pink is out. Deep purple, bold blues, velvety reds, and bright magentas are in, in an oh-so-sophisticated way. Think buxom peonies and plump roses – with woody, natural foliage like eucalyptus and olive leaves – in a chiaroscuro (light to dark) Renaissance style, where the pop of light against dark, rich colors adds drama to the day. Rembrandt would be proud.
Over-the-dance-floor hanging flowers are having their day. And eco-minded couples are choosing live greenery – trees, botanicals, succulents – as opposed to cut flowers to liven up the venue.
Adding an Industrial Edge
Complementing those bold Renaissance hues are cool, industrial metallic touches. While avant garde couples at home are choosing rustic warehouses for their wedding venues, destination brides and grooms are following the edgy industrial curve with tastefully chosen metallic touches sprinkled throughout their décor. Copper is the new rose gold. Silver is adding an edge to rich navy blues, which are apparently the new black. From foil embossed invitations and copper-anointed centerpieces to geometric hair pins and body jewelry, a little edge is just enough.
You’re Wearing What?
Gone are the days when conservative parents and fashion designers dictated our choices. While the wedding runways continue to push cover-up capes, high necklines, and long sleeves, today’s single-minded destination brides simply aren’t going for it. Strapless gowns with sweetheart necklines and mermaid-inspired trains; silky backless sheaths that garner oohs and aahs; and loose bohemian gowns with metallic necklaces are all in vogue.
Destination brides aren’t letting a little plane flight get in the way of their choices either. With savvy planning, even the most voluminous skirts are making their way around the world …and into the deep blue sea. One bride took her gown out on to El Cielo sandbar in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Another pair exchanged vows in an underwater scuba ceremony near Monte Carlo, Monaco … voile skirt and all!
All About the After Party
For couples in their 20s and early 30s, there’s been a surge in huge, after parties. Some are paring back the wedding ceremony and placing most of the focus (and the budget) on hypnotic all-night bashes. We’re getting creative with honeymoons too. “Earlymoons” are a chance for the bride and groom to pre-test the wedding destination months or even a year before the actual event. Most of us, by now, have heard of “babymoons,” taken before the first child is born. The newest moon on the block is the “start-anew moon,” during which recently uncoupled singles and their friends can celebrate a fresh start.
Save the First Dance for Me
Classical music lovers are revving things up with electric string quartets. The wilder set are steaming up the dance floor with Despacito by Luis Fonzi & Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Beiber. And Millennials are getting weird with Love by Lana Del Rey, Beck’s quirky rendition of Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, and Cat Power’s Sea of Love.
In the end, playlists are a personal choice that can travel just about anywhere with you. Here’s a list of recent choices by jet setting brides and grooms…
500 Miles by Sleeping at Last
All of Me by John Legend
Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
The One by Kodaline
XO by Beyonce
400 Lux by Lorde
Dancing in the Moonlight by Toplander
Love on the Brain by Rihanna
The Glory of True Love by John Prine
I Will Be There by Odessa
One and Only by the newlywed Adele
Falling, from Twin Peaks, by Julee Cruise
Free by Zach Brown Band
They Bring Me to You by Joshua Radin
The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani
For the nostalgic set …
Si Tu Vois Ma Mere by Sidney Bechet
Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You by Frankie Valli
Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney
Sea of Love by Cat Power
Tema d’Amore, from Cinema Paradiso, by Ennio Morricone
You Send Me by Sam Cooke