Northwest weddings are making a bold statement about individuality with this year’s opulent botanical themes, and romantic, vintage-inspired dresses. Couples are picking and choosing from the timeless elements of weddings while incorporating their lifestyles, special interests, and family traditions. In the Northwest, we’re in love with nature, local food, and one-of-a-kind celebrations. If you’re planning a wedding in 2016, look for these top trends. And schedule a visit by an ice cream man.
Dresses are opulent with vintage details. Lace sleeves, jeweled shoulders, sheer floral skirts, and ornate appliqué all dress 2016’s bride. The backs of dresses are in focus with sparkling strings of crystals and pearls cascading behind. Bold brides can choose from options like bare midriffs, feathers, tailored pantsuits, tea-length dresses, and blush-colored gowns. Color made it onto the bridal runways; brides can carry their botanical themes right onto their dresses. Former Bachelorette TV star Desiree Hartsock sees the runway influence taking center stage. “Fashion in general is really shaping the styles for bridal,” she said. Hartsock designed a nature-inspired Maggie Sottero gown for her 2015 wedding to Chris Siegfried, with a sparkling vintage-style dress for her reception. Bridesmaids are choosing sophisticated dresses with coordinating designs or colors for unique looks that suit their own style. For the grooms, it’s fashion-forward suits with shots of color and fine tailoring.
For rings, Northwest couples are choosing classic styles with an eye to jewelry’s latest trends. In the South Sound, Brandon Moak, principal buyer at Federal Way Custom Jewelers, said couples are choosing between classic diamonds, and alternative looks. “People want something unique. They now see engagement rings as more of a personal expression than ever before,” he said. “Blush pinks, like, morganite, sapphires, and other gemstones, have the most growth and excitement this year,” he added. Antique art deco-style rings are all the rave, too. “Couples like the simplicity and elegance of the vintage look.” Right now the most popular are oval-cut diamonds, especially set in halo styles. Gordon Raine, owner of Gordon Fine Diamonds in Bellevue, agreed that vintage and oval-shaped diamonds, as well as pear-shaped, are gaining in popularity. And at Dacel’s Jewelers in Factoria, couples are bringing their unique ideas to life with custom rings created in any style, from bold to vintage. “We do a lot of custom work, combining different parts or pieces from their ideas,” owner Ryan Michael said.
Wedding coordinator Rebecca Grant of New Creations Weddings is seeing the return of dramatic and romantic weddings in the Northwest. Bold details and organic elements are popular for 2016. “Without a doubt, romance is back in weddings,” Grant said. Northwest couples looking for romantic outdoor venues with an intimate, stylish feel are heading to wineries for their ceremonies and receptions. Woodinville Wine Country’s many acclaimed wineries and event spaces are hosting celebrations with a sophisticated vibe. Some are heading to Eastern Washington for the wineries — and a better chance at sunshine. “Classic elegance is definitely having a big comeback,” wedding planner Jacky Grotle of Event Success said. Grotle sees couples choosing Woodinville wineries to share their love of wine and good food with their guests. Northwest couples looking to share their lifestyle interests with their guests are creating destination wedding weekends complete with wine-tasting tours, bike rides, and outdoor concerts. Other top options include Alderbrook Resort & Spa on Hood Canal, classic settings like Sanders Estate in Kent, Seabrook on the coast, a swanky San Juan Island wedding at Roche Harbor Resort, and the abundant outdoor spaces and activities at Lake Chelan.
Couples are incorporating their personal interests into every aspect of their weddings, including the food and drinks. Having one signature cocktail is on trend. At Heritage Distilling Co. in Gig Harbor, they often get requests to incorporate flavors from family memories. “They’re looking for signature cocktails that remind them of their neighborhoods or where they grew up,” Hannah Hanley of Heritage Distilling said. For 2016, Hanley sees an uptick in requests for gin drinks. Celebrity Cake Studio in Tacoma and Cakeitecture in Olympia are known for their elaborate and delicious wedding cakes (pink champagne cake at Celebrity is too good for words). Corina Bakery, also in Tacoma, is another local favorite. At Midori Bakery in Redmond, owner Morgan Gadouas sees couples influenced by ideas collected online, along with requests for very individual details like artistic monograms and images of treasured pets. “We work with the couple so that the cake feels unique to them,” Gadouas said. For 2016, she sees more botanical elements like sugar flowers, and continued use of a display wedding cake accompanied by a dessert table filled with other sweet options.
Sought-after caterer Lisa Dupar sees more couples celebrating their heritages with family recipes mixed in with nontraditional flavors for a one-of-a-kind food experience. Couples are including casual and innovative food into even the most upscale weddings. Dupar sees menu requests such as miniature chicken and waffle sandwiches, mac and cheese poppers, an outdoor pig roast, deviled egg or pimento cheese sandwiches, and al fresco salad with charcuterie. Her staff also works with couples on conscious menu plans that include gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian celebrations.
Comfort food and childhood favorites play a starring role in wedding menus in the Northwest right now. For many couples, it’s fresh and indulgent to enjoy food that brings back memories. At Famous Dave’s BBQ, couples often choose their menu together with an eye to the foods that they’ve always enjoyed. “It’s their wedding. It’s their time,” said Paula Lehmiller, catering manager. Couples choose from their favorite backyard barbeque classics or request special wedding options like brisket sliders or grilled salmon. Couples are also treating guests to childhood treats by incorporating candy buffets, seasonal pie bars, doughnuts, and ice cream stations. Imagine the smiles from wedding guests when the Ben & Jerry’s Catering ice cream truck comes rolling in.
Desiree Hartsock’s tips
Local Bachelorette star Desiree Hartsock’s book, My Fairytale Wedding — Planning Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank, is due out in May. She plans to expand her work as a wedding designer, providing inspiration to couples on her blog, and with a wedding dress line of her own. Her advice when wedding planning gets stressful: “There are so many decisions to make, all in the matter of a few months,” she said. “It’s important to keep the ‘why’ in mind.”