Oh, those crazy Brits! They're no longer the reserved traditionalists we Americans thought them to be. Somewhere along the way, England's adventurous spirit emerged and shot past our own, at least where weddings are concerned. I recently wrote a blog about America's 2008 wedding trends, which included brides changing gowns and hairstyles for the reception, color trends that hyped gray and white as the “in" colors, opting for vintage or Victorian-style wedding gowns and honeymoon-hopping to three or more locations. Pretty tame stuff compared to these 20 wedding trends sweeping England these days, according to Deborah Joseph, editor of Brides magazine in the UK!
- Black orchids are rare, exclusive, quite expensive and in vogue across the big pond. One black orchid centerpiece in the US would run about $800, give or take a few dollars.
- Red, red, red is the color of the day. Red tents, red tablecloths, red lips. Good news here, though. Compared to some of their other trends, this one is least likely to put you “in the red. "
- They're promoting “couture" wedding cakes with black-and-white icing, gilded patterns, sequins, pearls and frills somewhere among lots of polka dots.
- Tent villages! Instead of one big, white tent in your backyard or on the grounds of the country club, the Brits are doing a number of smaller, more intimate tents, which they call “marquees. " I can't help but think it would look more like an art show or county fair than a wedding, but I'll reserve my comments until I see it.
- Here's where it starts getting interesting. Instead of Jordan almonds as a wedding favor, give each wedding guest an iPod Nano preloaded with the couple's favorite songs. Admittedly, it's a unique wedding favor but, unless it's a very small wedding (maybe six people including the bride and groom, ) you might have to take a second mortgage just for your wedding favors.
- Rent the Savoy's dance floor apparently on which Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra tapped a toe or two. Just $1000, plus shipping to the states and back, if you're interested.
- Something that's popular in the US as well these days is monogramming. Monogramming invitations, wallpaper, dinner plates and the groom's buttocks, no doubt.
- Wild honeymoons are “in", like an igloo in the Canadian wilderness or a hut on stilts along the Amazon. The Brits call them “Bespoke" honeymoons. I'll have to get back to you on “bespoke".
- I actually like this one. Let's call it family-feud prevention. Instead of having a dais with multiple seating that's sure to incur hurt feelings and grudges among those who miss the cut, have a “sweetheart" table just the two of you.
- They're hanging chandeliers over each table or a huge one in the middle of the room all the better to impress you with, my dear.
- Hire concert-style entertainment, and I quote: “Fly in your band from the Continent and your DJ from America. " Why not??
- Here's another one that's caught on in the states, too. Replace a sit-down dinner with “grazing, " where you have several food stations with a variety of foods, like sushi, a pudding bar, a crepe station, a mashed-potato martini station, etc.
- Make a grand entrance! Arrive at your reception in style - Cleopatra-style, that is - reclining on a sedan chair held aloft on the shoulders of your groomsmen.
- Make a “green" entrance. Arrive at the church and reception in a rickshaw. Use electric generators, grow your own bouquet and wear Auntie Ethel's wedding dress.
- They're hand-delivering invitations. (If you have a lot of relatives in Australia, Asia and any tropical island, I'm available and ready to deliver. )
- Take a tip from the Harry Potter books. The British are turning their wedding receptions into woodland fantasies, complete with trees sprayed purple and each centerpiece looking like a scene from the enchanted forest.
- Break up the white in your décor and wedding gown with flashes of “brights, " like turquoise, icy blue, orange or purple. OK.
- They're planning “progressive" weddings over there. Joseph's example starts with a Russian drinks reception, an Asian-themed lunch, a circus school for after-dinner entertainment and a Moroccan afternoon tea. Cocktails and clowns, anyone?
- Black wedding dresses. Works for me! At least, in this day and age, it's honest.
- The final trend is opting for a small, decadent wedding - pay for everyone's flight to Italy, rent a yacht for the weekend, sail into debt. . .
We have to hand it to the British. They've really sent wedding planning into another sphere. But this is the United States of America, land of one-upmanship!
American wedding planners, brides, bored housewives - please send your ideas for 2009 wedding trends to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Rolls Royces for wedding favors? I like it!
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