Themed After Parties

This Year’s Top Ten Wedding Trends

May 29, 2014
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Destination Hotels and Resorts

The folks over at Destination Hotels and Resorts rounded-up their talented and seasoned wedding planners and experts from across their properties to get the inside scoop on destination wedding trends. Wedding and event planners from more than 40 properties were polled to find out this year’s Top Ten Wedding Trends. What did they find out? Read on and see if you agree and where you fall amidst the top trends of the season.

1.       “Never Ending Wedding Weekend”

In the year ahead, wedding experts expect couples to expand upon the traditional wedding timeline and encourage their guests to “make a weekend of it.” More and more newlyweds are adding elements such as after parties, day-after breakfasts and brunches and increasing the size and scale of rehearsal dinners. At Wild Dunes Resort, located on the stunning oceanfront of Charleston, South Carolina, many clients are creating a full weekend of activities for their guests such as special welcome parties. Planners at Vermont’s picturesque Stowe Mountain Lodge and Tarrytown House Estate and Conference Center, in New York, have also seen the additions of larger rehearsal dinner events, next-day breakfasts, after parties and longer guests stays.

2.       “Traditional is Out, Imaginative is In”

The days of stuffy rehearsal dinners, regimented plated meals and suit-and-tie norms are numbered according to wedding experts at Destination Hotels & Resorts. Couples are shaking up the concept of a rehearsal dinner with new ideas such as dessert and champagne receptions or even an elaborate “Lowcountry Luau” featuring oysters, shrimp and grits, a whole roasted pig and tiki torches. The master chef at Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center has created a wildly interactive and imaginative liquid nitrogen ice cream station to spice up any dessert service and planners at Wild Dunes Resort have redefined poolside chic with a luxuriously sophisticated yet informal tapas menu. One couple of wine enthusiasts at The Carolina Inn, a historically charming institution in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, celebrated their wedding with an elaborate wine tasting menu.

3.       “Communal, Family-Style Meals Replace Old-School Catering Hall Staples”

Modern couples are rebelling against the catering-hall norms of decades past with menus to match their more casual, informal lifestyles. With the popularity of family-style restaurants and renewed importance of families dining together as a whole, planners have seen an influx of requests for family-style meals. One couple at The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Denver, Colorado, recently held a warm and welcoming family-style rehearsal dinner with big bowls of hearty pasta, assorted salads and freely flowing house wines to create an intimate evening. Weddings at Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California and Rizzo Conference Center in North Carolina have also seen an increase in family-style concepts from rustic shared dishes, to high-top tables and furniture arrangements designed to boost informal flow and mingling.

4.       “Food Trucks and Bar-B-Que Are In, Your Grandparents Prime Rib is Out!”

Custom menus are all the rage at Destination Hotels & Resorts’ collection of outstanding wedding venues and chefs and planners have become increasingly creative when it comes to concepts, options and offerings. In recent years, food trucks continue to be popular and trendy, popping up in cities across the country, landing on the pages of magazines and ranking in prestigious restaurant guides. It’s no surprise then that weddings at properties such as The Carolina Inn and Hotel Derek in Houston, Texas, have included a selection of food trucks serving up unique cuisine for guests. Bar-B-Que is also an emerging trend with more and more couples opting for informal yet delicious smoked, grilled and interactive entrees. Chefs at Tarrytown House Estate and Conference Center and Skamania Lodge, located on the majestic Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland, Oregon, have mastered the art of the fire pit for weddings throughout the year serving guests incredible down-home food, and for dessert, S’mores of course!

5.       “Themed After Parties”

Gone are the days of surreptitious cocktails at the lobby bar, couples today are paying attention to the after party with whimsical themes and paying extra attention to this guest favorite. Newlyweds at L’Auberge Del Mar recently planned a unique piano bar-themed after party to celebrate their nuptials into the night, while the Boardwalk Inn Club Room at Wild Dunes Resort is a hit for its jazzy house music, lounge furniture, local beer selections and french fry bar.

6.       “Interactive is King”

Destination Hotels & Resorts experts have seen an influx of interactive ideas and DIY involvement from their wedding clients. From group cooking classes at Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center as rehearsal dinners to home-made elements, couples are increasingly apt to leave their own personal stamp on their special day.

7.       “Intimate is In, Crowds are Out”

As online social circles continue to expand, people increasingly long for genuine relationships with those closest to them. Properties such as Miramonte Resort & Spa and The Gant have seen a recent resurgence of smaller, intimate affairs.

8.       “Embrace the Individual”

Couples are increasingly apt to choose menus and themes that are personally meaningful to them. From ethnic cuisine to vegan menus and everything in between, Destination Hotels & Resorts’ team of experts can make nearly any culinary vision a reality. Hotel Derek and Terranea Resort have created full Indian and Chinese menus for their clients in the past year, while Stowe Mountain Lodge has executed completely vegetarian affairs for couples.

9.       “#Weddings”

Social media has become a massive part of people’s lives and a primary source of information. Couples are continuing to create unique hashtags and to crowd source photos from their guests’ posts. While planners at L’Auberge Del Mar, The Carolina Inn and Suncadia Resort, point to Pinterest as being critical and important to their clientele.

10.   “Craft Breweries, Wine Tastings and Bespoke Spirits”

The foodie culture permeating the country has found its way to the bar. Couples today are more intimately involved with choosing unique spirits, wines and beers to be served to their guests with an emphasis on local offerings, boutique labels and inspired tastes. Over the past year, properties such as The Carolina Inn have seen a boom in local tastings from rehearsal dinners to receptions.

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