This coming year, Colorado wedding trends can be summed up in a few words: intimate, clean and custom. While there is a continued focus on rustic and outdoor venues, the details are now sharper and more modern, giving an urban edge to the country vibe. Couples are also looking to tailor their weddings so the event becomes a timeless experience they can share with a special group of friends and family members.
1. Intimate Settings
Many couples this year will pass up big locations in favor of hosting fewer guests at venues like chateaus, barns and industrial lofts — anywhere the couple can create a unified theme that transports guests directly into their fantasy theme for the day, which we like to call “Single Day Theater.” The smaller and more intimate setting lets hosts lavish more resources on each individual guest while at the same time freeing up more of the budget for travel, live music and decor.
Intimate doesn’t necessarily mean small. Two more 2016 wedding trends reinforce this. One is the move away from round reception tables toward farm tables, notes Rachael Gardner with Crested Butte Events, which helps to shift the mood from conference hall to festive European dinner al fresco. “Lots of couples want [this] very communal style of seating,” adds Meredith Smith, Wedding and Banquet Coordinator at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.
Also expect to see fewer DJs this year, as couples opt for the warmth and intimacy of live music.
2. Visually Stunning Flavors
Forget about imports for this year’s reception. The trend is toward locally-sourced foods, according to popular Denver Magazine 5280. Freshly grown Colorado produce, game meats like elk and bison, wild caught trout, and delicious Western Slope Palisade peaches are all great choices.
Formal service is out as well. Instead, sumptuously arranged food stations that showcase the theme and colors of the event are in this year. If that sounds suspiciously like a buffet to you, think again. The focus is on detailed presentation here, creating a visual feast as guests move from one exquisite display of food to the next.
As for the cake, trends this year range from “naked” to painted, woodland to ruffled and lace. The focus overall is on visual interest achieved through unique combinations of color and texture.
3. Classic Design
Rustic no longer means busy. Watch as weddings fade (slowly) away from the wild garden look to favor minimalist and low table displays where the emphasis is on monochromatic colors and modern design. A tailored single flower treatment is fast becoming the new upscale look, says Cindy Ollig of The Perfect Petal in Denver, and though she hates to be the bearer of bad news, she’s clear on one front: “Mason jars are so out it hurts.”
The tailored focus continues in the choice of stems this year. Big open blooms, like amaryllis and tree peony, are trending in warm colors like apricot, burgundy and candy-cane stripe.
Expect wedding decor for 2016 to feature greenery and draping, with glittery accent points. “Lighting and more lighting” is the word from Heather Dwight, Owner, Principal Curator and Stylist at Calluna Events. Blush tones will continue to dominate the color palette, along with intimate vignette seating. The overall effect is classic, but the look is achieved through the use of skillfully blended contrasts rather than a field of matching things. You might, for instance, see found objects displayed like treasured artifacts or a combination of modern and eclectic touches quietly complementing a rustic-styled venue.
4. Blush and Bling
“Here in the mountains we seem to see trends a littler later than other locations,” notes Caitlin Caldwell of Vintage Magnolia. “We also find that brides are very visual, so things that were popular in years past get carried into future years after brides see images.” For that reason, Caldwell predicts that 2015’s Pantone Color of the Year, marsala, will continue to be in vogue for 2016. The year will also feature muted, neutral pastels that can blend seamlessly from bridal gowns to floral arrangements and bridesmaid mix and match dresses.
This subtle variation on a monochromatic palette is not the only rising star, though. “Metallic is in,” according to Heather Sengelmann at Crested Butte Events. The trend will be showing up in glittery table settings, sequined bridesmaid dresses, and even cakes embellished with deco metallic designs.
5. Custom Boutique
This year, the overall move is “getting back to the basics,” says Kevin O’Rourke, Director of Catering and Convention Services at the Sebastian Hotel in Vail. Weddings are not only becoming more intimate and less over the top, they are also becoming more personal. Couples are devoting fewer resources to the ceremony and reception and more on “extra-wedding” activities they can experience with a few close friends and family.
At the same time, couples are looking to create a unique event that tells their story and exemplifies that central theme down to the last detail, from the engagement announcement to honeymoon; from invitation to bouquet. Customizing the event may be one of the wedding trends in 2016, but it also just so happens to be the best way to avoid having an event that eventually becomes dated — since the details you select are based on your own personal history, they can never truly go out of style.