Current wedding trends. A view through the lens
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
An insight from a wedding photographer and friends into what was big in weddings in 2018 and what will be big in 2019.
In this last year shooting weddings, I have seen a lot of beautiful weddings, crafty weddings, vintage weddings, alternative weddings and It got me pondering how wedding trends have changed in such a short space of time since I got married 5 years ago. If you're wondering what's hot in the world of weddings or you're looking for a little inspiration, look no further. This article is peppered with ideas from real weddings and tips from local recommended suppliers that will get your creative juices flowing.
Gone are the days of wedding photography consisting of purely posed photographs and endless group shots. Today's happy couples are more inclined to go for lifestyle/ candid, natural style shots and this suits me down to the ground. This style of photography documents the events of the day in a story book fashion and allows guests to enjoy the evening but only when the photographer is careful to take an unobtrusive approach. The trick is to either blend in and take shots from further away with longer lenses or engage with guests, join in the joke and when you come to photograph their crazy antics, they won't bat an eyelid.
Wedding books have replaced wedding albums. Photo books in general have come back in fashion in recent years. In a digital age where photographs are not printed but kept on computers where no one can see them or shared on social media and then forgotten, coffee table books are a great way to preserve your precious memories and share them whenever guests come to visit. I work with a number of photo book suppliers and there is such a variety of finishes to be found, from lay flat and lustre paper to leather, acrylic and linen covers. I often find couples booking packages with a standard book and upgrading upon receiving their photographs!
Group shots are no longer dominating weddings and I say good riddance! It's rare that a massive, long list of group shots is bestowed upon me anymore and I've found that on the occasions I have been given a scroll, not only have all the guests lost their patience but the bride and groom have too. Nobody wants to spend their wedding searching for AWOL aunties or reassuring friends that they really did make the cut for group shots while whispering to me to add another group to my photograph list. Save yourself the hassle and if you must, keep it to a few essential shots that no one can argue with: 1) The shot of everybody at the wedding 2) The bride and groom with the parents 3) The bride and groom with the bride's immediate family 4) the bride and groom with grooms immediate family 5) the bride and groom with bridesmaids and best-men/ushers (these can be together or separate).
You would think in the days of digital photography and accessible DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, the photographer’s job would become obsolete. Well you would be wrong. Sure, we don't need dark rooms anymore but photo software such as Lightroom and Photoshop has made photography more of an art form with so many opportunities to be creative. Not only this but clients have higher expectations of photographers now with magazines setting the bar. Re-touching is now a common request of myself from clients and standard re-touching requests includes teeth whitening, spot removal and skin softening.
The second shooter #secondshooter has become more and more popular with a quarter of my brides choosing to have one for either a half or a whole day. I have a regular second shooter I work with. Her name is Lucy, she is also a professional photographer and we just gel. This is great because we can anticipate each other which allows us to capture the perfect shot. I recommend second shooters for capturing the groom prep when the bride and groom are preparing in locations that are too far to travel between
I also think second shooters are great for capturing alternative angles for example when the bride enters the Church, we can capture the Bride walking down the aisle and the Groom’s reaction over her shoulder simultaneously. Second shooters are a useful backup for those essential shots such as the first kiss. I once had a bride's relative step in front of me at the crucial moment and was relieved to find that my second shooter had caught the kiss from the side. Second shooters won't cost as much as the main photographer as they are just paid for their shooting time as the editing is done by the main photographer.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence.... Most brides I photograph still like this tradition and find that the something old is a lovely way to work heirlooms of departed loved ones into their special day. However, it has been my experience that many of the old traditions such as the bouquet toss and the groom removing the garter are losing favour with today's brides and grooms. in 2018 I only photographed two bouquet tosses and zero garter removals, although most brides chose to still have a garter as their something blue. While I understand why fewer Brides are keen to have what is essentially their underwear thrown at a crowd of single eligible bachelor and possibly removed using their new husband's teeth, I'm disappointed that the traditional bouquet toss is also waning in popularity. When I asked Brides why this was, I was surprised to hear that it was less to do with a dislike of the tradition and more about the wish to re-use the bouquet for another purpose. One Bride I spoke to said that she wished to place the bouquet on her mother’s grave so that she could bring the wedding to her. I thought this was a lovely gesture and completely understand why this would take precedence over the bouquet toss. Another Bride wished to dry the flowers out to use as confetti for her best friend’s wedding and another bride wanted a love the dress shoot a couple of days after the wedding so was saving it for that.
Spending the night before the wedding apart. This tradition is still popular, and It has been my observation that this brief absence does heighten the anticipation and the emotion when the moment finally arrives where the happy couple first set eyes on each other at the ceremony
There seem to have been fewer cupcake towers in 2018 and the traditional 3 tier cake has definitely enjoyed a resurgence. Traditional style, regal, opulent cakes are taking centre stage with traditional monograms. Not everything about the wedding cakes are traditional though! Fruit cake and marzipan has been ousted and brides are opting for a multitude of interesting flavours, usually a different one for each tier. Naked cakes were also still popular in 2018 lending themselves nicely to vintage and Boho style weddings. Red velvet has been the choice filling of 2018 with many of my brides choosing this as one of their 3 tiers.
Mandy Black from Emsleigh cake's has also observed steady orders for naked cakes but has noticed a marked demand for dramatic cakes in darker colours with gold, marble and ones where the couples want themselves reflected more into the cake design, things like highland cow bride and groom, pig bride and groom.
"Cheese towers are again growing in popularity, but that’s been growing year on year for the last few years."
With all these royal weddings recently, bride's and designers are taking ques from role models such as Meghan Markle. With Kate Middleton bringing lace and illusion necklines back a few years ago, Meghan Markle has brought back simple, understated and classic. Traditional, longer and cathedral veils are featuring more and more in today's wedding and guess what? They are great for a swishy veil shot!
Local dress shop owner (and recommended supplier), Lesley from Something old something new bridal boutique had this advice to share with the newly engaged ladies in search of their perfect dress.
" Always try on as many different styles as they can as this can help them decide on what suits them best. Trust their bridal consultant who will know that a hanger ugly gown can be transformed once it has a body inside it. Never take too many people along to an appointment as all those different opinions can be totally overwhelming and in a large bridal party there will always be the one who likes to tell you all about her wedding when it's not her day "
I've seen a lot of British seasonal flowers this past year. Boho flower crowns are a popular alternative to a tiara and I've noticed wrist corsages being worn in lieu of bridesmaid bouquets and creative touches such as homemade wreaths using embroidery hoops.
I asked my recommended florist, Elaine from Floral Fleurtations for her thoughts on recent wedding flower trends and here is what she had to say:
"Big, bold designs - filled with personality and enough of a visual impact to seriously wow guests - were top of the hit list in 2018. Following on from 2017's Pantone Colour of the Year being green, there was a distinct increase in couples wanting designs full of foliage and, in some cases, using only greenery. Building on the 2017 trends, mixed botanicals and fragrant garden-inspired designs were in demand in 2018, with overall the look much more British than tropical. The blooms we loved were fabulous scented garden roses, veronica, fragrant stocks and rosemary"
TOP TRENDS OF 2018
Love the dress/trash the dress (post wedding shoots)
These are a wonderful idea and the great thing about them is that the bride can don her dress once more. These kinds of shoots have already been popular in eastern European countries for many years now and are starting to become more requested in the UK. I always try and fit in a mini photo shoot for the bride and groom into the wedding day itinerary, however this may not always be possible if the weather is horrendous or there are other time constraints imposed so in these cases couples will often approach me to have an extra post wedding shoot. I took the first picture in the gallery above during a post wedding shoot as the couple, Hayley & Marty had a wedding throughout which it rained heavily and constantly. They were very pleased with the result of this shoot which we did a week later.
Everyone is doing them at the moment. Kids love them as well as big kids and I usually see them being thoroughly enjoyed.
Photo booths are a fun option that many couples are going for now. I know I'm going to shoot myself in the foot here because I could easily branch out into this with very little effort, but I do find them a little bit gimmicky and I actually think the homemade booths can be just as effective. You have a professional photographer at your wedding and the props are what make the booths fun so why don't you invest in a few goofy hats and oversized glasses and invest your spare entertainment budget in something alternative like a magician or illusionist?
An old school friend of mine Alfie the illusionist is pictured in my gallery above and I have had the great pleasure to watch him at work as well as several other illusionists. I am a great advocate for magicians at weddings as they really bring people out of their shells and for a lifestyle photographer this is a real godsend. To capture the expression on peoples faces as they are amazed or perplexed or as they are in fits of laughter watching others being amazed is a real treasure for someone like me. More magicians please!!
Making it more about the groom!
Now we all know a marriage should be 50/50, right? But we also know that the wedding tends to be all about the bride... or it used to! I love the fact that weddings have are becoming more about either the joint identity of the couple or an incorporation of both personalities. the greatest example I saw of this in 2018 was at Kim & Dan's wedding whether they had a half comic book, half elegant girly wedding and it really worked. They used Lego DC and Marvel figures to represent each of their guests the table and the bridal bouquet had both real roses and comic book roses within it.
Bride & Groom gifts
engraved tie pins, socks for "cold feet", a tipple for last minute nerves are all the sorts of gifts I've seen grooms receive and brides tend to be given jewellery. It seems most popular now for fiancés to give each other a gift on the morning of their wedding delivered by a family member and it's up to me to capture the moment the gift is received.
Polaroid style instant camera's have made a come back. There are all sorts of innovative guest book alternatives out there including tree prints that guests stamp their fingerprint on and frames filled with wooden hearts with guest messages, but the Polaroid guest book is becoming more common . Guests are encouraged to take a selfie and write their message to the happy couple alongside their picture.
Charms on bouquets
A really thoughtful way of including a loved one that has passed in the ceremony and keeping them close is by adding a charm such as a locket with a small photograph to the bouquet. I have seen this on a few occasions this year and thought it was a lovely idea.
Sparklers Sparklers have been popular for quite a few years now and make a fantastic photograph when scheduled at the right time. Talk to your photographer and your venue and see whether this would make a worthwhile addition to your wedding. You should consider that he best time for photographing sparklers is just after the sun has set. Is there room in your itinerary for this? Bride's often idealize the sparkler exit at midnight but should consider the practicalities, firstly it is unlikely that your photographer will be there until the bitter end. Secondly, I have been there toward the end of the night and guests are usually in no fit state for a sparkler shot (they are usually trying to set the bride's hair on fire!!" and thirdly, the light at this time is non-existent and the ambient light will not be enough so invariably flashes and all sorts have to be introduced and the look is less natural!
DIY weddings are very a la mode. Bride's and groom's are really getting in touch with their crafty side and roping in any talented friends. I've seen some really innovative table decorations in 2018 and am looking forward to seeing more this Year!
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2019
THE GIFT OF BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY
It's big over the pond and it's going to be big here. This is my big prediction for 2019. Every time a photography trend gains momentum in America it's not long before I get requests for it over here. Lately 1-year old cake smashes have been all the rage and now I have started to get inquiries from Bride's regarding boudoir photography. I've already touched on the fact that gifts from Brides to her Groom and Groom's to his Bride, Brides to their bride and grooms to their groom are increasing in popularity so, what to give the man or woman that has everything? How about a subtle taster of what he/she might expect on the wedding night? Now if you're being traditional you haven't seen each other the night before so many fiancés enjoy the idea of reminding their husband or Bride to be of one of the many reasons for marrying them.
BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS TO ANTICIPATE THIS WEDDING SEASON
Here are Elaine's predictions for wedding flowers in 2019:
With two royal weddings under its belt, 2018 felt like the year of weddings, so 2019 has some work to do.
It’s off to a great start with Pantone announcing it's colour of 2019 is a bright, sunny, pinky-orange named 'Living Coral'. A cheery tone that's perfect for weddings, coral is a fantastic hue to incorporate into a wedding that works with so many different combinations.
For 2019 weddings, greenery continues to be popular with flowers and foliage becoming more organic and lush. Florals will be natural, whimsical and romantic, think British grown florals, again fragrant garden roses, stocks and sweet peas.
Thank you for reading my blog article. I hope you found it useful and informative and if you haven't found your perfect photographer yet please consider me! Hayley Szczecinski