First let me start this blog by telling you what it won’t be. I won’t be discussing trends in fashion, food or flowers because, A) there are tons of blogs and articles available that cover those things and B) that’s not my forte. What I will discuss in this blog are the new and unique things I (and the rest of the Elite staff) have seen in 2016 and assume will continue into the new year. One of the things we emphasize with every couple we work with is to feel free to break the mold, do things your own way. First and foremost that’s probably the biggest “trend” we are seeing, the lack of trends. Sometimes I’ll DJ three weddings in a weekend and all three will be completely different and have their own style and theme and look and feel. I think that’s an awesome thing and I hope it continues.
So here goes, here’s our list of New Wedding Trends for 2017. Enjoy:
First Looks I wrote a whole separate blog about this because it’s become such a huge and accepted trend so I won’t belabor the point here but suffice to say if you are getting married at your reception site you should seriously consider seeing each other well before the ceremony takes place so you can take all your pictures and not miss your entire cocktail hour. Sure tradition says the bride and groom shouldn’t see each other before the ceremony but how many other traditions have we already put aside? It’s hard to even call the first look a trend at this point. It’s almost become the new tradition.
Personal Officiants. More and more we are seeing couples ask a friend or family member to officiate their wedding. I even dedicated an entire blog post to this recently. It is so easy nowadays to get “ordained” online (which then gives you the legal right to marry a couple) and a first-time officiant can easily research how to put together a script for a ceremony with one Google search so I believe this trend will only continue and become even more prevalent. My advice to couples is to pick someone who has a little public speaking experience because I have witnessed a few first-time officiants fold under the pressure. And my advice to new officiants is stay away from the bar till after the ceremony is over.
Signature Cocktails. Speaking of the bar, the next trend we see often now is the signature cocktail. Couples are creating their own drink, naming it after themselves or something to do with their wedding, and displaying it prominently at their bar. I’ve spoken to some bartenders about this and they love the trend, as long as the drink doesn’t require like fifteen steps to make. If there’s a blender involved along with crushed mint leaves, three minutes of shaking and four straws and an umbrella, the line is going to get long at the bar. But Signature Cocktails are an awesome way to put a personal spin on a reception and I often see them matching the color theme of the wedding.
Décor Lighting Speaking of color themes, décor lighting is almost a must nowadays at weddings, especially since so many banquet halls have already installed it in their rooms so it’s just a matter of telling your location what hue you want. And if your banquet hall doesn’t have it, almost any entertainment company you look at will offer some kind of Uplighting package to enhance your room and pull in your theme color. It’s just another way to put your personal stamp on your day.
Personalized Hashtags and Geofilters. Brides and grooms want to see all the photos and videos captured on their day. That goes for the images that were taken professionally as well as all the shots that were taken by their friends and family members. Using a personalized hashtag is a great way to find all those posts on Instagram and Facebook. The key is create something unique. For example, #OurWedding is going to pull up over 100,000 pictures on Instragram (I checked) but yours will be lost in the mix. So use your names and wedding date or something clever that ties into your day (for example: one of my couples last year were April and Richard and their hashtag was #AprilGetsRich) but then you have to get the word out to your guests. If you create the hashtag early enough you should include it on your wedding invitation and encourage your guests to use it even prior to your wedding day. This way, when you search that hashtag, you might even find shots of your bridal shower or bachelorette party (appropriate ones of
course!) and it can become a whole documentation of everything leading up to and including your wedding day. There are apps that accomplish the same thing as a hashtag (like Wedpics) but the problem with these is all your guests have to download them and many would rather just use their existing social media platforms.
Geofilters are special overlays that communicate the “where and when” of a post on Snapchat and many couples are creating them to use at their wedding. They are inexpensive and fun to use and can show your younger, social-media savvy guests how cool you are. The Huffington post did an article this year entitled “5 Signs You’re At a Millennial Wedding” and they discussed these trends as well.
Unplugged Weddings. If I remember from High School physics it was Isaac Newton who theorized “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Just as there is a trend to use hashtags and encourage guests to post everything they capture to social media, there is an opposite trend towards unplugged weddings. If you decide to go this route, where you ask your guests to refrain from cell phone use and “be in the moment” at your wedding, there are a number of different ways to convey this to your guests. It can be included on your invitation (with polite wording to the effect of “we’ve hired professional photographers so please refrain from taking pictures at our wedding. In fact, we’d love to see your face all day so if you could stay off your phone completely it would mean the world to us”) and reminders can be placed around your reception (another Huffington post article offered some great suggestions for this). I’m a big Prince fan and in the last few years of his life, when he played live he would make similar announcements at his concerts, asking everyone not to take pictures, to put their phones away and enjoy the moment. It’s something we could all probably focus on more and more so if you chose to go this route with your wedding, more power to you!
DIY Photo Booths It’s been amazing to witness the evolution of photo booths in the last decade. I can clearly remember the first few times I had one at a wedding I would have to get on the microphone and explain to all the guests what that big box was over in the corner of the room. It was a new thing and no one expected them. Since then they’ve become so ubiquitous some guests actually walk into the reception and look for the photo booth. And now, I’ve been seeing more and more “Do It Yourself” photo booths that consist of nothing more than a backdrop, some props and the wedding hashtag to use when you post your photos. Personally I still think a traditional photo booth that prints out a strip of pictures is better but that also might be a generational thing. For many millennials they don’t care about a printed picture nearly as much as they care about a cool post on social media.
Personalized Music and Edits This is a trend we started seeing a few years ago and it only continues. Some couples want their first dance to be a mashup of a few songs, usually going from a traditional slow song into
something upbeat and fun. Any entertainment company you work with should be able to make a mix like that for you and get it to you early enough so you can rehearse it and make it a fun moment. There have been a handful of couples who have “gone viral” when videos like this make their way to Youtube so if that’s your ultimate goal, good luck! You may just be the next online sensation.
Individual Song for Introductions Another sign that couples are trying to personalize things as much as possible is the trend of selecting a separate song for each couple (or even each individual) in their bridal party to be introduced to. Most DJ companies you consider with will be happy to work with you on this. The key is playing the best part of the song as the couple or person is introduced.
Organized Dances It’s funny how some people hate line dances (we see “The Macarena” and “The Electric Slide” on a lot of “Do Not Play Lists”) and yet every year a new organized dance emerges. Last year it was “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” and this year “Ju Ju on that Beat” has become a trend. Personally, I’ve always loved what we call “audience participation” and this year I got to lead a lot of them, from “The Wobble” to “The Cupid Shuffle,” so I always like when a new one pops on the scene. It’s yet to be seen if “Ju Ju” has any staying power but while it’s hot, I’ll be “running man on that beat” whenever it’s requested.
Food for the Road I know I said I wasn’t going to discuss food trends but this one has become so popular I felt the need. Whether it’s coffee and donuts or pork roll, egg and cheese sandwiches in the lobby for your guests to grab on the way out, I’m seeing this at so many weddings. It’s a great final send-off for your guests (even if pork roll isn’t the healthiest thing to eat that late at night).
No (or a Delayed) Honeymoon The main reason we’re aware of this trend is that we ask all the couples we work with about their honeymoon and then often mention it late in the reception. On the microphone I might say something like “they’re going to Hawaii!” and that often gets a big reaction. But we’ve worked with a lot of couples recently who either weren’t taking a big trip at all or were waiting a while before they went away. The significance of a honeymoon has obviously changed through the years so it’s understandable. But as you plan your big day, if you start thinking about not getting on a plane immediately after, just know you’re not alone. There are plenty of couples who aren’t traveling right away or have already taken their “dream vacation” before the wedding.
So those are the trends we’ve seen and predict will continue. One of the things we know to be constant though is that everyone wants to have a great time at their reception. Celebrations are made memorable when everyone from the guests of honor to all the invited guests has fun. And that can mean different things for different people. Some people define a fun party by how much they danced, some by how good the food was. Still others just want to catch up with loved ones they haven’t seen in a while. So creating an environment where all those things (and more) can happen will always be the key to success at any wedding.