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Don’t be shocked if the groom isn’t wearing a black tux, the bride wears a be-dazzled pants suit and nearly everything, including the plates and giveaway gifts, are biodegradable. These are some of the new wedding trends making their way to South Jersey.

Planning a wedding in 2020 – or any time in the next decade – means rethinking old traditions, being flexible and making the day truly reflect your style, say industry insiders. Here are four trends you need to know to plan a truly spectacular event.

 

 

1. Be yourself, not Cinderella (unless you want that).

More than ever before, brides don’t necessarily want a dress fit for a princess but one that matches their lifestyle. That means low-key looks for the no-fuss bride, vintage cocktail dresses if your thing is retro or all-out princess glam for the bride who has no shame in being “extra.”

Florist Michael Bruce, who is often asked to design bouquets to accentuate a bride’s look, says he has a lot to work with these days.

“I thank Vera Wang for this,” he gushes. “There are options for everyone, and every bride I see looks more and more amazing.”

Wedding runway looks for 2020 are full of floral prints, ruffles, iridescent “airy” fabric, puffy sleeves and sparkly fabric, along with dramatic tiered skirts and lots of tulle. On the other end of the spectrum, dresses with pockets – for functionality’s sake – pant suits and non-traditional bridal looks are also in. (Call it the Meghan Markle effect.)

But Marlene Gagliardi, who owns Marlene’s Dress Shop in Collingswood, cautions against buying into what fashion magazines dictate.

“There is a big difference between what’s on the runways and what’s in the community,” says Gagliardi, who has seen countless dress trends in her 36 years in business. “Most people in this area really ‘dress.’ From here up to New York, it’s very formal.”

Although Marlene’s doesn’t carry formal bridal gowns, she outfits a fair number of brides.

“Brides are coming in looking for a second dress to wear to the reception,” she says. “They’re looking for something a little more sexy or short for the party.”

 

2. Let your bridal party chill.

The function of a bridal party is still to serve the woman of the hour’s needs and to help her shine. But there’s more room for flexibility these days.

“Brides are often ok with letting their party choose their own dress, and just telling them what color they want them to wear,” says Gagliardi. “I think that’s a good idea. Then each person looks like they’re in the right dress for their body.”

The mother of the bride in South Jersey still reigns, often in formal attire. Nowadays however she may break an old taboo and wear black, which used to be considered a sign of objection to the nuptials, says Gagliardi.

“Some of the more old-fashioned people can’t believe it,” she says. “But there’s nothing wrong with it. Everyone looks good in it. Everybody likes it.”

 

 

3. Go big or go simple. Both work.

For reception-room design, you’ll see more exaggerated, oversized elements, like large balloons.
“We’re starting to see not just round tables for guests, but long tables,” says Bruce. “It’s a fun way to mix it up for the reception.”

Tall, sculptural centerpieces are having their day too, and a great way to pull it off is with larger-than-life floral arrangements. Natural textures – from burlap and wood, hanging florals and greenery installations – create the “boho chic” look that’s gaining popularity, says Bruce, noting that one trend inching its way to local weddings is the use of dried plants and flowers in blended, soft and muted, sun-drenched tones.

And with Marie Kondo dictating closet clean-outs and capsule wardrobes, minimalism has been a buzzword in weddings, too. That doesn’t necessarily mean spare, or lacking design.

“Minimalism can be done really well and if it is, it probably costs more than you think it does,” Bruce warns. “The allure of simplicity needs to be tempered with the eye of an artist.”
Some well-worn trends that are starting to fray include the notorious mason jars that seemed to show up at every rustic-themed wedding over the past few years.

Put simply, brides are inching away from a homespun, DIY wedding, says Bruce.

“When the economy went downhill a few years ago, the ‘do-it-yourself’ idea came into play in a major way,” he says. “Now people are starting to realize, ‘Maybe my cousin can’t pull off my flowers and wedding cake.’”

 

4. Go Green, every way you can.

A growing number of millennial brides and grooms are going green when given the option, says Bruce, noting that wedding florals have recently tended toward literal greens, with wild mint and eucalyptus showing up almost everywhere. But most bridal flowers are not exactly local.

“It’s hard to do organic when it comes to flowers, but people try,” he says. “It’s very hard to actually go eco-friendly with bouquets, because if you do it’s going to be dandelions and mown grass.”

However, shopping local and keeping flowers simple are doable green trends. Brides can also ask for a general color palette, rather than specific flowers, which allows a florist to choose blooms that come from closer to home, he says.

Other sustainable options include email save-the-dates and invitations, or using recyclable paper. Using a keg for beer, rather than bottles or cans, can cut down on some waste, says Jonathan Young, a Camden County Freeholder who is the county’s sustainability liaison.

Camden County officials are making a big push toward conservation, having eliminated all plastics from offices and county-sponsored events. Although the ruling doesn’t formally include weddings at the county’s popular Cooper River Boathouse venue, Young says it’s encouraged.

“It’s usually the after-effects of a wedding that create a problem,” Young says. “Donating leftover food to a food pantry can help. If you are giving away gifts, try reusable bags.”

Another green idea: Simplify table settings with electronic sign boards instead of paper place cards, he adds.

Over time, Young says he hopes the county’s lead will influence local venues and everyone in the wedding planning business to build green strategies into party options.

Whatever the method, the overarching message for this new decade is to stay true to your own style, whether it’s home spun, high-maintenance or green.

Special Advertising Section, February 2020
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