Wedding Trends Fall 2008

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New (and traditional) ideas for dresses, flowers, venues and more.

Beachside nuptials or an elegant garden wedding? Roses or lilies? So many choices! Ever since girlhood, the bride has dreamt of what her wedding day would be like, but the reality of planning a wedding can leave many feeling indecisive and frazzled. Here are some inspiring, hot new trends to help with wedding planning.

The Dress

Friends and family will anxiously be waiting to see the bride as she walks down the aisle, so finding the perfect wedding dress is possibly the biggest decision she will make. It reflects personal style, along with the theme and mood of the wedding ceremony and reception. With so many possibilities to choose from, check out these current wedding dress trends:

Step back into time
Wedding DressVintage-inspired looks with beading and lace are popular this year. Flowing chiffon, one-shoulder gowns with slender bodices give an elegant Greek-goddess look. Hemlines are hiked up; creating shorter-length, frilly wedding dresses that are perfect for garden or beach nuptials.

True colors

Bold colors are coming into play with many wedding designers. This season, Vera Wang offers a beautiful strapless, mermaid-style gown in deep purple, designed for a bride craving a non-traditional look. And, brides are requesting wardrobe changes from the ceremony to the reception – so making a fun entrance in a colorful gown will certainly wow the wedding guests.

Bridesmaid dresses sparkle with color this year. Hot colors for bridesmaid dresses are various blue shades. From deep navy to icy cobalt, these bridesmaid dresses are ideal for a wedding by the sea or an elegant winter wedding.

It’s all in the details
Intricate beading and corsages are two of the big hits of this year’s wedding runway – corsages are modeled on one-shoulder gowns or symmetrically placed in the middle of an empire waist gown.

A right to bare arms…no more?
Sleeves are making a big comeback in time for a fall or winter wedding. Vintage-inspired dresses with mini capped sleeves and draping to the wrist are hot – and they can be detachable. This trend shows designers are certainly heading in the direction of a more modest style.

The Rings

Choosing the perfect wedding ring set is essential – many agree it’s the most meaningful piece of jewelry one will ever own. It should reflect personal style, and it should be comfortable and fit within a budget. Trends this year exude elegance and grace, with the eternity band still being a top choice for brides. The plain band often encircled with diamonds is available in many different styles and metals.

For the non-traditional bride, colored diamonds – once a rarity – are now hugely popular in dazzling colors from canary yellow to blue or pink. Brides are requesting more personalized rings with vintage-inspired and handcrafted designs that create a one-of-a-kind appeal.

While choosing the ultimate ring for the bride is essential, don’t forget about the groom! Many men tend to be just as picky about jewelry as their bride to be. Since they aren’t used to wearing any jewelry at all, comfort and durability are important. And because they’re looking for comfort, men are requesting bands with rounded edges. Although plain wedding bands for the groom have been the standard for decades, many are now requesting stylish, modern rings adorned with one or multiple black diamonds.

The Cake

The wedding cake should flow with the style of your wedding. For 2008, it’s all about height. The taller, the better. Placing the cake on a pedestal gives an illusion of height.

And cake colors are subtle but depend on the season. For fall and winter, warm shades of red and brown are popular. A polished look can be achieved using one main color such as white-on-white with subtle hints of silver or blue.

As for icing on the cake – the old-fashioned vanilla cake is out. Each tier can be a different flavor with fruits served on the side. Every flavor imaginable can be made – pineapple, raspberry liqueur, orange marmalade, and more.

A chocolate tier is a must have. Plain chocolate is out with more decadent flavors being requested like Káhlua mocha or Mexican chocolate. Chocolate fountains are still being highly requested for those who need an extra chocolate kick.

Wedding Themes

Green Weddings
Leading a green lifestyle is more than just a trend; it’s becoming a standard way of living. It’s not surprising to see green making its way into wedding themes. Bridal consultants are seeing more requests for eco-friendly weddings, which is also a great way to educate guests on the lifestyle. So how do you have a green wedding?

Choose wedding favors like bamboo plants or other flowers for guests to replant. Or, instead of sending favors home with your guests that can be easily forgotten, donate money to a charity for each attending guest.

As for the food, many caterers are introducing organic fare as a tasty option, while the venue of an outdoor wedding eliminates the use of lighting, particularly in a garden or on the beach. Also, have the wedding and reception at the same location, which saves guests from spending so much money on gas.

Go green with a dress by buying vintage, or better yet, create a new gown from your mother’s former wedding dress.

Get creative when it comes to recycling and using recycled products. All of those cute little napkins can produce tons of trash. Purchase recycled napkins or use cloth napkins that can be reused and use recycled invitations. Provide a reply postcard to save paper and money.

Beach Weddings
The beach is still a hot location for nuptials – and it creates an unforgettable backdrop. Planners are seeing requests for outdoor receptions in the same location as the ceremony.

“Winter Wonderland” Weddings
This fantasy wedding transcends the ages. Brides commonly request icy colors of blues and deep reds for dresses and flowers, while white-on-white creates a magical snowy feeling and exudes elegance. And a horse-drawn carriage is the perfect element to make the day even more memorable.

The Flowers

Following the eco-friendly trend, brides are requesting more greenery. Bamboo centerpieces in tall, slender vases can be replanted and offered to guests as favors. Lush plants such as ferns are ideal for flower arrangements and won’t hurt your budget.

Stemmed, hand-tied bouquets are popular and can be ideal for a beach wedding. Also for beach weddings – mix in shells or starfish with and arrangement of sunflowers, gardenias or daises.

For more traditional weddings, florists are seeing a big request for hydrangeas, lilacs and gardenias mixed with heavier green plants, reflective of a timeless and graceful style.

Another growing trend in floral arrangements is using unusual vases for centerpieces. Ceramic pots and hand-painted, vintage containers are ideal for garden weddings. Using various containers in different sizes and colors reflect an eclectic, stylish appeal.

By Brooke Crichton