Fewer guests, lighting and photo booths are popular options among modern brides
One thing that doesn’t change during an economic downturn is love. It’s a consistent phenomenon regardless of the status of Wall Street, and it’s the driving force of the weddings industry.
What do change with the times are bridal budgets. Although they may be tight, love is still bringing couples to plan nuptials, albeit with a few less frills this year, according to local wedding industry vendors.
“I am seeing smaller guest counts,” said Ami Wheeler, social catering manager at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary. In the years before we saw a lot of weddings reach a guest count of 150 to 200, and now it is more like 90 to 125.”
Fewer couples are providing favors for their guests and instead are seeing the value of adding specialty lighting to their reception.
“Mainly in the form of pin spot lighting the seating tables or up lighting in a color of their wedding,” Wheeler said.
Joe Bunn, owner of Joe Bunn DJ Company, echoed the same sentiments and has diversified his company to offer more services like lighting. “We are doing up lighting, monogram projection and dance floor lighting, and it is selling great,” he said. “Lighting can transform an ordinary ballroom into a winter wonderland, a nightclub or just color to match your linens. It is the way to give guests the ‘wow factor’ when they first enter the reception.”
Bunn is also seeing success in offering his clients a photo booth since he first offered it in August 2008. “We’ve found that couples are foregoing party favors and instead getting the photo booth at their event. The photo strips come out in duplicate and the guests keep one and leave one, usually in a scrapbook, for the bride and groom,” Bunn said. “Everyone loves it!”
Popular wedding colors are always changing and evolving. Shades of lilac, purple and eggplant are in for 2010. Green is also the new craze.
“Environmental concerns are important to couples,” said Barbara S. Clark, an accredited bridal consultant and owner of An Elegant Affair. “Many use recycled, tree-free or processed chlorine-free (PCF) paper, choosing organic and local products. Many of my brides are buying kits and making their own “save the dates” and/or invitations.
“The overall feeling is ‘less is more’ for weddings in 2010. Couples are becoming more creative and realizing that you can have a wonderful wedding with close family and friends without breaking the bank.
“Because of the economy, over-the-top weddings are considered in poor taste,” Clark said. “I don’t think that we will see a return to lavish weddings for a long, long time.”
Clark suggests couples cut costs by opting for a cocktail reception, lunch or brunch rather than a sit-down dinner. When possible, brides are choosing to have their wedding and reception at their parents’ home and even willing to buy a pre-owned wedding dress. Clark said, “After all, they reason, ‘I’m only going to wear it for one day.’”
But if brides insist on buying the gown of their dreams, then two hot styles for 2010 are slinky silhouettes and ball gowns, according to Tre Bella, a bridal couture, floral and gifts boutique in Durham owned and operated by the Price sisters.
“The mermaid and sheath dress are the hottest of the slinky silhouettes out right now. This is perfect for the bride who wants to show off her figure,” said Rachael Price. “For those brides that have dreamed of their wedding since they were little girls, the ball gown is back! Big puffy skirts with modern twists made with tulle, ruching, vertical ruffles, tucks and more.”
Birdcage veils and hats with short veils have modern brides going for a more playful vintage look. Brides looking to be more dramatic should lose the single strand of pearls and look for big, brightly colored or metallic necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
Couples can maximize the use of their florals with these trend suggestions from Tre Bella:
- Upgrade favors with flowers and integrate them into your centerpiece.
- Small bud vases with single flowers and a thank-you tag.
- Potted herb with their place card.
- A single flower on their napkins with the menu.
Metallic is everywhere this year! Add a splash of gold in your centerpieces:
- Use accent gold ribbon.
- Spray-paint tropical leaves or seeded eucalyptus gold.
- Add gold accent pieces to your centerpiece.
Personal is the way to go for bridesmaids by customizing jewelry and bags. Price recommends working with designers to create a piece of jewelry or a bag for each bridesmaid, showing them how they are appreciated.
Tre Bella is a presenting sponsor of the Cary Magazine Elegant Weddings Gala on March 4 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at the Umstead Hotel and Spa, the grand sponsor of the gala. Tre Bella will be offering an exclusive designer bridal couture trunk show with Melissa Sweet and Priscilla of Boston to brides looking for their fairy-tale wedding gown at the gala. Brides interesting in fittings on location are encouraged to book an appointment online at www.carymagazine.com/weddings when they register as there are a limited number of available time slots and fittings are expected to book up fast.