Guest biogs, drones photographing from above and banquet feasting: 2017’s HOTTEST wedding trends
Sponsored by M&S
Do you ever get a wedding invitation in the post and think you're in for a long day, with a lot of waiting around, a boring meal, and the same old tired clichés?
Well for 2017, forget what you know! Now, weddings are becoming fun-filled, laid-back affairs, with less pomp and formality and more emphasis on guests having a fabulous time. Which is great news for those planning weddings this year (and yes Pippa, Miranda Kerr, and Tom Daley, we're looking at you, too!)
Even better - you can find everything you're looking for in M&S' new online wedding shop. From food and drink to flowers, stationery, bridesmaids' dresses and pageboy outfits, clothes for the groom and his ushers, and the ultimate in wedding cakes, it makes planning for a wedding so easy, all you have to do is concentrate on the fun stuff!
The M&S wedding expert Claire Hodgson says: 'Planning a wedding can be such a daunting experience but with our new wedding shop we’ve made it easy for even the busiest of brides, and there are even handy pages with top tips for wedding planning.'
Less pomp, more fun: The weddings of 2017 are all about making sure guests have as much fun as possible
But while a more casual approach is in this year, it doesn't mean there's any less of a wow factor. Brides and grooms are investing more in dazzling their guests with jaw-dropping flower and lighting displays, and even drones for aerial photography.
Pippa and her boyfriend, James Matthews, are due to marry in Berkshire this summer
And rather than leaving guests to wait around with tummies grumbling while the formalities take place, couples are keeping guests well fed throughout the day, with grazing tables, food stations, and midnight snacks.
2017 is a hot year for celebrity marriages, with Pippa Middleton marrying her financial trader James Matthews, Miranda Kerr marrying Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, Kate Upton marrying baseball star Justin Verlander, and Tom Daley marrying American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Oh yes, and M&S cake icon Colin the Caterpillar is tying the knot with his true love, Connie!
We reckon they'll be reading this, so for their benefit as well as yours, here are the hottest wedding trends that YOU can look forward to in 2017. Make that RSVP a 'Yes'!
Miranda Kerr is set to marry her fiance, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel this year
Celebs due to tie the knot this year include diver Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black and Kate Upton and Justin Verlander
STREET FOOD AND FEASTING
Brides and grooms are ensuring their friends and family have sustenance throughout the day with plenty of food options beyond the traditional starters, main, and cake.
Interactive food stations will be available during the cocktails, with grazing antipasti tables and food trucks, as well as roaming canapes. Menus are becoming more laid back too: think mini burgers, cheeseboards and sushi.
Feasting: Tables of antipasti and canapes will keep guests fuelled during cocktail hour
Long banquet tables, groaning with sharing platters is hot right now, and if you want to do this at your wedding, M&S has a fabulous food to order section on its website where you can order as much as you fancy of lots of different tastes.
Pulled pork, salmon, slow cooked lamb, and a plethora of salads make the tables look plentiful and encourage guests to chat as they pass the food around. M&S has a fabulous soy, ginger and chilli-marinated side of Scottish salmon which is adds a modern twist to a wedding feast - serve it with their Mediterranean orzo salad for a light but flavour-filled treat.
Later into the evening, when a night of dancing means tummies are rumbling, it's time to get inventive. Pizza trucks, taco or bao buns stations, and make-your-own sundae bars will soak up the alcohol. We love the M&S bacon and cheese twists and mini posh dogs - who wouldn't want to be offered a tray of them late at night?!
Graze: Menus are becoming more laid back (left: Taste of the British Isles Cheese Selection, £15, right: 20 Bacon & Cheese Twists, £16)
Banquet: Alternating mains will be ditched in favour of sharing platters that encourage guests to interact (left: Soy, Chilli & Ginger Marinated Scottish Lochmuir™ Side of Salmon, £25, right: Mediterranean Orzo Salad, £8)
NEW CAKE TRENDS
The naked cake (sans icing) trend that kicked off in 2016 isn't going anywhere, so if you're not a fan of traditional fondant, this style is a surefire winner. M&S has a Naked Style Chocolate and Vanilla Cake, a pretty confection of chocolate sponge and hand-piped vanilla buttercream which is available to pre-order now and serves 42 portions.
For a more rustic, earthier wedding, brides are choosing to adorn their cakes with foliage rather than flowers. Simple greenery draped across your wedding cake creates an understated look, perfect if frills and flounce are not your thing. Oh yes, and if you're after a gluten-free cake, that's no problem - M&S has several to choose from in a range of yummy styles.
Or maybe you'd like to go savoury? In this case, you and your guests are sure to love the Tiered Celebration Pork Pie cake from M&S, which costs £99 and serves 30-40 guests. (And if you've any left over, it's just the thing for sore heads the next day!) Another winner is their Cheese Celebration Cake, which comprises five deliciously different cheeses including Gould's Cheddar, Blacksticks Blue, and Gould's Oak Goat's Cheese.
Rustic style: Couples who aren't fans of traditional cakes opt for cheese or naked style (left: Cheese Celebration Cake, £155, right: Naked Style Chocolate & Vanilla Cake, £130)
Finally, if breaking the mould is your style, M&S has a super-clever hidden centre wedding cake which they believe is the first on the high street. The Serene Heart Cake Sponge is a three-tier sponge cake available in all-butter sponge or chocolate with a hidden red heart in the top tier. Clever, eh? It serves 95 portions, costs £199, and is available for pre-order from February 27.
And oh yes, we couldn't not tell you about the new Colin the Groom and Connie the Bride chocolate caterpillar cakes from M&S. Each one costs £50 and provides 40 portions of everyone's favourite cult chocolate cake - they're available to order now on the M&S Food to Order website. And while you're there, they also have some brilliant tips on how to choose the right wedding cake for you - there are even video tutorials on how to assemble it!
M&S wedding cake supremo Claire Hodgson says: 'All of our exclusive wedding cakes are hand-made to order, and with such a big collection there’s a dream cake to suit every taste and budget.
'Couples can choose super trendy naked or monochrome cakes, or opt for more traditional styles, and with a choice of different layers you can mix and match flavours. We’ve noticed a real trend towards chocolate in recent years and this spring we’ve made every chocolate loving couples’ dream come true with the launch of Colin the Groom and Connie the Bride.'
Classic: Understated elegance and foliage adornments are also key trends (left: Orchid Elegance Wedding Cake, £349, right: Five-tier Ivory Wedding Cake with Lace and Foliage)
Colin the Groom and Connie the Bride cakes are now available to order on the M&S Food to Order website - they cost £50 each and provide 40 portions of the cult chocolate cake
Some couples choose to forego the traditional wedding cake altogether, opting instead for a dessert bar.
In keeping with the more casual menus that are trending for weddings, a bar covered in macaroons, cupcakes, fruit tartlets, and brownies guarantees there is a sweet treat to suit everyone's tastes. Add some sweeties to keep everyone going - M&S has fun new bags of Percy Pigs which are just the ticket. Or why not present the bride to be with a bag of 'Good luck' Percys as she goes away?
Sweet treats for all tastes: Guests who don't like cake will be able to choose from a dessert bar (left: 24 classic macaroon, £12.00, right: 24 Mini Salted Caramel Brownie Slices, £14.00)
Add a modern twist to your wedding with a sweet table filled with Percy Pigs from M&S!
Traditional bouquet centre pieces are beautiful, but it's all about jaw-dropping installations in 2017. Couples are investing more of their budget in dazzling their guests with flowers and foliage, and you'll probably see a wall of flowers or two on the wedding circuit this summer.
Brides and grooms are opting to say their vows in front of a lush arbour draped with florals, or a wall of cascading greenery. Guests are welcomed into receptions beneath a canopy of branches strung with fairly lights, a ceiling of blooms, or a hanging garden installation.
Whichever they choose, it's all about the wow factor, and giving guests something to remember.
Look up: Guests are welcomed into receptions beneath a canopy of branches strung with fairly lights, a ceiling of blooms, or a hanging garden installation (image by Dan O'Day Photography)
LETTING THE BRIDESMAIDS BE THEMSELVES
Long gone are the days of a gaggle of girls wearing the exact same carbon copy dress - regardless of whether it suits or flatters them.
A strapless, knee length dress is going to look very different on your athletic, curvy, petite, tall and big-chested friends. Often, there is at least one bridesmaid who feels self-conscious and uncomfortable.
So it's time to mix and match - a trend M&S has embraced this year, with a range of bridesmaids' dresses offering everything from short strappy swing dresses to more formal maxi dresses to suit every figure.
Mismatched bridesmaids dresses: Gone are the days of carbon copy bridesmaids, with the bridal party instead choosing frocks that suit their style and flatter their shape
Contrasting style: If brides are set on a more cohesive look, they can choose one style and have bridesmaids pick their favourite colour, or vice versa
Give the bridesmaids a colour palette to choose from, and guidance on formality (cocktail, black tie), and have them choose a style true to them.
Communicating with each other throughout the process is key, so that the end look is cohesive rather than clashing. The result? A beautiful assortment of bridesmaids who feel and look their best.
Timeless: Grecian and lace are both bridesmaid dress staples - and can easily be mixed and matched to form a beautiful, complementary assortment of dresses
DOUBLE THE DRESS
Some brides choose to wow with a costume change during the reception, but two wedding dresses is an extravagance many can't afford.
A more budget-friendly alternative is to choose a dress with a detachable skirt.
Brides are wearing a more traditional silhouette for the ceremony, before removing the skirt or overlay for something slinkier and sexy to dance the night away in later.
NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR CAPTURING AND SHARING
If you're attending a wedding this year, don't be surprised to hear a faint humming coming from above, as a drone flies around catching aerial video and photography of the wedding.
While a personalised wedding hashtag has become standard over the past couple of years, expect to see more custom SnapChat geofilters. Users pay to design their own custom filter that covers an allocated radius and time period.
Finally, ceremonies will be live streamed on social media so that family and friends overseas who can't attend can watch in real time.
Hashtags are so 2016: This year, it will be all about the custom SnapChat geofilter for guests to use during the event
Live stream: Ceremonies will be streamed live on social media so family and friends overseas can watch in real time
A COLOUR EXPLOSION
A fear of looking back on your wedding pictures and cringeing has led many brides to choose a classic, neutral colour scheme for their big day.
Pastels with hints of silver or gold, or white with contrasting tones have always dominated, and if that's your chosen colour palette, have a look at the wedding stationery in M&S' online wedding shop where they have some stunning and classic Save the Date cards and wedding invitations.
M&S has an elegant and classic range of wedding stationery such as these white and gold cards (£5 for 10)
But brides are also getting bolder, and completely embracing the rainbow.
Expect to see vibrant jewel tones, and splashes of colour in bouquets, balloons and festoon lighting. M&S has a range of vibrantly coloured flowers, such as their Pink & Lilac Rose & Freesia Wedding Flowers, which include a bridal bouquet, two bridesmaids' bouquets, and four buttonhole arrangements.
Rainbow weddings: Expect to see classic blushes and metallics making way for explosions of colour (image by Lara Hotz)
MEET THE GUESTS
Attending a wedding where you don't know many people can be awkward. Increasingly, couples are breaking the ice by ensuring their guests have plenty to discuss and laugh about while they wait for proceedings to kick off.
Biographies of the bridal party or even trivia about each guest are appearing in welcome booklets alongside table plans and order of events. Learning about the bride's aunt's penchant for ABBA, or a cousin's football team obsession provides an excellent conversation starter.
Knowing the bride and groom took the time to share something unique to them also makes each guest feel included and special.
DITCH THE CAKE CUT FOR THE CHAMPAGNE POUR
The champagne coupe tower is back in fashion, so expect to see them take centre stage at a wedding this summer.
With the aforementioned dessert bar trend on the rise, couples who choose to skip a cake but still want a special moment during the reception are opting for a champagne pour.
Couples are pushing the boat out by using a magnum of champagne or sparkling wine to impress their guests during the celebratory pour. M&S now sell magnums and even jeroboams – the ultimate show-stopper for each table. And the best news (whether you are getting hitched or not!)? Both are in the ‘buy 2 save 25%’ deal this week.
Celebratory pour: The champagne coupe tower is back in fashion, so expect to see them take centre stage at a wedding this summer
Go large: Couples will impress their guests by using a magnum of champagne or prosecco (left: Oudinot Brut Magnum, £52, right: Monticella DOCG Prosecco Jeroboam, £50)
Remember the days when guests were sent off to the local pub to cool their heels for an hour or two until the reception started? No more.
With an increasing number of couples choosing venues that host both the ceremony and reception, guests are able to stay onsite for the whole day, with the cocktails commencing straight after the ceremony.
Lawn games such as bowls, croquet, bocce ball, giant jenga and horseshoes give guests an opportunity to interact, share a few laughs and pass the time while the bridal party are off having their pictures taken before dinner.
Keep them entertained: Ice breakers such as lawn games will keep the guests busy and mingling while the bridal party have their pictures taken
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