Cover Photography by Michelle Beller. Image courtesy of Bash Please

Event planners share unique concepts for the ceremony, colour theme and more to make your big day especially memorable

More Customised Elements In The Ceremony

When it comes to weddings, personalised touches are usually reserved for the evening reception and the pre and post-wedding festivities, but planners are seeing a trend for the ceremony to be held in outdoor locations that are - sometimes quite literally - off the beaten path. And with more unique elements incorporated into it.

"We are seeing a rise in interest for personalised ceremonies, the idea of creating something more personal and free flowing, and often in more awe-inspiring backdrops and environments. We have created weddings in forests, fields, beaches, even deserts. We recently organised a stunning wedding in the Serengeti desert where the ceremony took place around a watering hole."
Sophie Fleming, director of Events and Weddings, Quintessentially Weddings (London, Dubai, Hong Kong and New York), @quintessentiallyweddings

"A ceremony in the round. Ceremonies in the round are a popular trend not only for their 360-degree views but also for their ability to create intimacy and warmth in an otherwise vast setting.  Every guest will feel like they have the best seat in the house, being up close and personal as they witness your vows."
Lisa Vorce, founder, Lisa Vorce Co (Santa Ana, California), @lisavorce

"We organised a well-known poet to write a set of vows for the couple—who were married in a romantic circle ceremony. We’ve sourced a celebrity stand-up comedian to be an officiant for another couple who wanted a ceremony full of laughter and surprises; and created a sand blessing for one ceremony where the couples mixed coloured sand together. At a wedding on the Amalfi Coast, we organised for all the guests to write blessings to the couple, which were attached to eco-friendly helium balloons and released into the sky."
Sophie Fleming, Quintessentially Weddings

Use of Bright, Bold Colours

Couples are being more adventurous with colour and are not shy about picking bold, bright tones over the more traditional range of soft pink and peach shades.

"We’ve seen many contrasting colours, such as soft pinks against navy blues. But colours are going bolder. Think your bold primary colours mixed with pastels.  Blue, whites and reds… greens with orange."
Mark Niemierko, founder, Niemierko Events & Weddings (London), @niemierko

"Colourful pattern play! Another great way to have fun with the trend even if you’re not feeling quite so bold is to set a simpler colour palette, by using a mix of patterns in one or two colours (and play with different shade variations) to infuse some extra personality.  Bonus points for using the Pantone colour of the year—classic blue."
Julie Savage Parekh, creative director, Strawberry Milk Events (Washington, DC), @strawberrymilkevents

"Bold fruit and florals make for unforgettable tablescapes. The combination of vibrant coloured fruit juxtaposed with decorative textiles and jewel-toned florals make a strong celebratory statement that your guests will not soon forget! Integrating vibrant hues in floral and decor allows for more natural textures like terra cotta, stone or slate to really make an impact."
Lisa Vorce, Lisa Vorce Co

Unexpected Elements in the Decor

From different ways to light the room to unusual fabric choices for the tabletop, here are some ways to add that wow factor to your evening reception and have all the guests reaching for their phones.

"Play with different textures for the table setting and step outside the constructs of tradition. Interactive displays at the table, such as textured wraps on flatware that are tied from one seat to the next, create a connected energy between all the guests. Explore new textiles that aren't traditionally used, like tulle or crepe."
Sunna Yassin, Bash Please (Berkeley and Los Angeles), @bashplease

"After years of low floral arrangements with coloured tapered candles, the candelabra is back. But only in a lush, luxe setting. Think crystal candelabras and hanging chandeliers—bringing your wedding dinner to full-on crystal sparkling sensation."
Mark Niemierko, Niemierko Events & Weddings

"Clients are increasingly drawn towards design elements that play tricks on the eye—and creative illumination is an interesting way to achieve this. Think about layers of lights in a way that plays with dimension. It's challenging to drape an entire tent skeleton with hanging lights, but it created an astounding environment."
Sunna Yassin, Bash Please

"Some couples are always going to gravitate to natural, outdoor weddings but more and more, rather than going with the obvious design options such as a rustic or organic aesthetic, our couples are choosing to go a bit more unexpected with modern design elements, such as glass-topped tables and chairs in mid-century modern style."
Beth Helmstetter, founder, Beth Helmstetter Events (Los Angeles), @bethhelmstetter

Magazine-Worthy Photographs

Posed and candid photos will always have their place in a wedding album, but event planners are introducing a new style as an alternative to the photo booth—a photo shoot set-up to create shots in the similar style and tone as editorial images in magazines.

"Vanity Fair-inspired portrait booths over a more traditional photo booth. This is especially great for a black-tie wedding. Guests love being professionally posed and walking away with an editorial-worthy image from the wedding."
Beth Helmstetter, Beth Helmstetter Events

"Taking a cue from the celebrity-studded Vanity Fair party, glamorous portrait lounges are all the rage. This is a keepsake guests will want to keep (and maybe even frame) as a memento of the occasion. The key here is hiring the right photographer to get the right look (fashion or editorial, usually a different photographer than your main event photographer). You’ll also want to brainstorm ideas for creative sets with your planner or production company, with interesting seating options such as chaises and barstools."
Julie Savage Parekh, Strawberry Milk Events

Add Fun Elements to the Post-Wedding Brunch

After all the dressing up, photo taking and festivities during the main event, wind it down with a more relaxed and casual setting for the post-wedding brunch.

"Instead of having a sit-down brunch, opt for comfy lounge seating for more intimate conversations and a relaxed vibe. You can serve finger foods such as mini eggs benedict and have a Champagne bar complete with fruit juices, liqueurs and garnishes for guests to make their own Champagne cocktails. If you prefer a sit-down meal, then have some fun with whimsical place settings, with food to match."
Julie Savage Parekh, Strawberry Milk Events

"Rather than having guests get dressed and attend another obligatory event during the wedding weekend, many of our couples are opting for casual pool parties with simple snacks or even food trucks, depending on the venue and vibe."
Beth Helmstetter, Beth Helmstetter Events

"Create a carnival-themed post-wedding brunch—along with glasses of Bloody Mary cocktails and full English breakfasts to help guests recover from the celebrations the day and night prior. And a carnival carousel for the children!"
Mark Niemierko, Niemierko Events & Weddings