One of the things I find most interesting about my job is researching wedding trends. Finding out where different traditions and details originate is fascinating, and gives you such an appreciation for the tiny things at a wedding you might not otherwise consider. Over the last year, I've seen so many weddings that are reaching within, or even beyond, their own cultures to incorporate details from around the world. Here are some trends from 5 countries that we think have a place in just about every wedding!
British weddings definitely influence our own trends, especially when it comes to bridal style. Bespoke lace gowns, anyone? And we owe the return to opulent, glam details, at least in part, to the elegance seen in each episode of Downton Abbey. However, some British trends are much smaller, such as the crackers shown above. Traditionally given at Christmas, these crackers are filled with trinkets and candy (and usually the much beloved paper crown). Your reception venue will be filled with pops and shrieks of delight as everyone snaps theirs open.
Weddings are nothing if not events surrounded by superstitions, whether it's about something borrowed and something blue, or wearing a veil down the aisle in order to ward off evil spirits (those must have been really sturdy veils). One British superstition is placing a "lucky" sixpence in the bride's shoe. This ingenious bride (below) chose a more comfortable option--one sewed to her wedding garter.
The wedding fashion trend we owe most to our British friends? The fascinator. These delightful veil alternatives make just as much a statement and fit in beautifully with modern and vintage weddings alike (below). Sported by the bride and guests, this very ladylike accessory has us smitten.
From vibrant, technicolor palettes to our favorite cocktails, Mexico has made quite an impact in 2014 weddings. The most popular detail has been papel picado. These cut paper flags (below) have been seen everywhere from save-the-dates to ceremony altar garland. With bold designs and bright colors, they're a gorgeous and festive touch.
It seems like liquors run in just as much of a trend cycle as fashion sometimes. Last year, all about the whiskey. 2014 seems to have been the year of tequila. My favorite example is this very clever passed appetizer (above) of bite size tacos served on limes beside mini-bottles of Patron.
Mexico's influence is also revealed in the vibrant color palettes we see in Southwest-inspired weddings (below). With pops of pink and citrus, mixed in with desert flowers, these warm weather weddings are just as cool as can be.
Francophiles will be quick to agree that you can't have an elegant wedding without a little French influence. As the country most often identified with romance, France has given us plenty of our most memorable wedding details. Take the mighty croquembouche (below), for example. This towering dessert is constructed from cream puffs and topped with spun sugar. Surely, few desserts are quite this sweet (or impressive).
And the French pretty much invented shabby chic (below), so if you are throwing a garden wedding filled with mismatched floral china, soft and pale flowers in glass jars, and loads of lace, then you owe them a big merci.
When my friends travel to Paris, there is pretty much only rule: return with macarons. These deliciously delicate confections are available in such a wide variety of hues and flavors that many Americans use them as sweets or favors to match their color palette (below).
Those bistro-style menus that we are all so fond of now? Yep, those are French-inspired as well. Especially when done in a large cafe chalkboard or surrounded by topiaries (below), these menus represent France's love of cuisine and dining.
Even if you aren't Indian, that doesn't mean you can't adopt some of their style! In India, the mendhi (or henna) celebration is a moment to share with female relative and friends, and for those women to wish the bride good luck and fortune. While you might not wear henna on your wedding day, it would make for a meaningful activity for an bachelorette party or bridal shower. Make sure to hire an expert, as this is such an amazing art form, and will stay on your skin for weeks.
Flower garlands (below) similar to those found at Indian weddings have been popping up at all sorts of weddings during 2014, most often behind altars, welcome tables, and to create colorful photo booth backdrops.
Chinese weddings have been influencing American trends for quite awhile, from red wedding dresses to an emphasis on lucky symbols. During 2014, we saw even more Chinese trends being incorporated into events, such as the release of paper lanterns (below). Writing well wishes on a lantern and then releasing it with so many others into the night sky is such an amazing moment that guests will remember it for years to come.
Although fortune cookies are more of a Chinese-American tradition, we continue to see them at many fusion weddings on sweet tables, or even in illustrations on invitations. Especially when paired with more authentic Chinese sweets and treats, these cookies can be a whimsical hit at the party.