7 modern wedding trends couples are embracing

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From the romantic first dance to the awe-inspiring wedding cake and crisp white linen tablecloths, there are many lovely time-honoured traditions that brides have stuck to over the years. However, this coming season will see brides step away from convention and put a unique spin on things, as we can see from some of the upcoming wedding trends for 2015-2016.

We had a chat with Stefanie Lance, events co-ordinator at The Landing at Dockside in Brisbane, about what brides are now planning for their big day this season.

Overlooking the beautiful Brisbane River, The Landing has hosted a range of different kinds of events over the years, both big and small (including one with up to 1500 guests) and has won multiple awards over the years for excellence in service.


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During her many years at The Landing, Stefanie has helped co-ordinate some wonderful weddings, but, she says, it’s the emotional ones that she remembers best, especially the time a groom sang his heart out to his new bride.

“It was a few years ago when the groom’s speech was a song for his bride. He had changed the words to Taylor Swift’s song Love story to be about them and it had everyone in tears, including all of the girls who were working that night,” recalls Stefanie.

Here, she shares some of the most popular trends in weddings right now.

Cocktail weddings

Not a fan of a big, extravagant wedding when you’re the centre of attention and you need to make it through a formal sit-down dinner?

Cocktail weddings are often seen as being just a cheaper alternative to traditional weddings and receptions. However, more people are choosing them so they can offer their guests the opportunity to happily mingle among themselves while enjoying delicious canapes in a less formal setting, explains Stefanie.

She also reassures brides and grooms that their guests will also be more than satisfied with the wide range of menu options available. 

“All of our cocktail wedding packages are jam-packed with different food options, so the guests will never leave hungry, as that is the most common myth we see with cocktail weddings.”

Supper stations

Another example of brides and grooms breaking away from the typical three-course sit-down meal is the increasing popularity of supper stations, comments Stefanie.

Stations are ideal as they allows guests to create their own platters and pick and choose whatever they’d like to eat during the course of the reception. They can also be incorporated into any event, even if you choose to have it in addition to a two or three-course meal.

The Landing offers supper stations tailored to whatever their clients wish, although the most common station offers guests a variety of cheeses, fresh seasonal fruits, mezze-style platters, and petite sweets, explains Stefanie.

“We have also started doing dessert buffets and have a variety of different desserts served alongside the wedding cake, such as mini lemon meringue tarts, Portuguese tarts and chocolate brownies,” she says, adding that these stations are often seen as an alternative to a typical wedding cake or lolly buffet for dessert.

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Luxe table linen

Say goodbye to standard black and white tablecloths and co-ordinating napery and say hello to new luxury table linen, says Stefanie, as clients are now unleashing their creativity in other surprising ways during the reception.

There are boundless options available, from crushed taffeta and sophisticated pintuck fabrics to floral prints and sequins to every colour of the rainbow. Now’s the time to let your imagination run wild.

“Adding this unique element to your wedding reception will make more of an impact than you think,” says Stefanie.

Foodie-driven signature menus

From MasterChef to My Kitchen Rules and the rise of celebrity chefs and trendy influential food blogs, brides and grooms are becoming more discerning when it comes to their reception menus and often possess impressive culinary know-how, notes Stefanie Lance, events co-ordinator.

While The Landing offer clients delicious menus designed by their executive chef, the venue also offers clients the opportunity to create a bespoke menu, where they can put their own personal stamp on their wedding.

“Our head chef is passionate about using local produce. He is also very conscious of sustainability so our wastage is extremely low. Our menus regularly change to reflect the seasons and the current trends, too,” says Stefanie.

Perhaps you and your partner ate a mouth-watering woodfired pizza on your first date together or he proposed to you while sharing a slice of salted caramel cheesecake – what better to celebrate those wonderful memories than to feature them in your menu at the reception?

“We recently did a wedding for a couple who had travelled the world together for many years and wanted their menu designed around food from their favourite countries,” explains Stefanie.

The couple’s bespoke menu included cuisines ranging from South Africa and French to Italian and German.

“Our chef really enjoyed designing a menu based around different cuisines and cultures and the couple really appreciated the special touch.”

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A break in tradition

While certain wedding traditions have been around for many years, don’t be afraid to mix things up when it comes to planning your reception or wedding, advises Stefanie, who notes that more couples are trying to put their own personal spin on things during the reception.

“We do a lot of planning with our couples and like to make each wedding unique. We have an open mind with how the ceremony or reception should be and definitely take on ideas from the client. More and more couples are breaking away from tradition with how the reception should run,” she says.

“For example, one of our couples went straight into the first dance after the formal entry, as they wanted to this to be the first formality of the night. There is absolutely no harm in doing something different to everyone else and in fact, it will make more your wedding even more memorable for your guests.”

Meanwhile, some couples have decided that instead of giving their guests bomboniere at the end of the night, they will donate that money towards a charity instead, then give their guests a thank you card to provide some information on the organisation, adds Stefanie. Others have decided to ditch a traditional wedding cake in favour of a dessert course.

So don’t think you have to stick to certain guidelines during your reception. After all, it’s your wedding – do it your way.

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Surprise dance routines

We’ve all seen them on social media – the videos of groomsmen suddenly breaking into a Britney Spears dance routine on the dancefloor for the bride, or the wedding party that recreated Thriller altogether.

“There are thousands of videos on the internet of the bride and groom or bridal party doing a surprise choreographed dance that usually involve props and, most of the time, some very uncoordinated groomsmen,” observes Stefanie. “Although these are fun and everyone has a laugh, there is something so beautiful in going back to tradition and doing a first dance.”

“Do not be ashamed to take dance lessons together to surprise all of your loved ones with how well you can dance together. Especially for the grooms-to-be, I can’t put into words how much your mum would love to see you on the dancefloor.”

Getting crafty

From whipping up whimsical fabric bunting and painstakingly painted wooden place settings, to creating special handmade bomboniere for guests, brides are really embracing the DIY movement, says Stefanie.

However, just because you know how to use a glue gun does not make you Martha Stewart.

“DIY weddings are hugely trending at the moment but sometimes the execution is overlooked. It is great to do your own centrepieces and make beautiful decorations for your wedding, but not many people consider how long this actually takes to set up on the day,” she warns.  

After all, the last thing you want to do on the morning of your wedding day is stressing about getting your handmade centrepieces to the venue on time, when you could be kicking back with a glass of champagne with your bridesmaids or groomsmen.

“There are many companies that offer DIY set-up services, which is something we strongly recommend. This means you can drop everything with us the day before of your event with clear instructions and even photos of how you want it set up and not worry about a thing. This also means that you can be surprised and see the finished product at its best a bit later when you enter your reception.”

Visit The Landing at Dockside’s profile on Easy Weddings.

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