When I’m not being a fitness coach, I am a church organist! Yes, I know. You probably expected an 80-year old named Marilyn to play your church organ, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, I’ve been working at a church that is famously centered in our city to house beautiful, panoramic views. As a result (along with a fabulous church culture), we have a lot of weddings each year.
I calculate that since I started at this church 8 years ago, I have played about 450 weddings. This year alone I played for 83 weddings. Yes….Eighty. Three.
I meet with almost every single bride that gets married at my church. I help them through the last 3 months of their wedding, and end up playing the music as she walks down the aisle. The entire process is a responsibility I don’t take lightly.
As an organist for so many brides (and a bride myself in 2015), I’ve seen a lot of things. It’s true. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed as trends coming in, trends leaving, and advice for any 2017-2018 brides. Read onward, and email it to anyone who got engaged over the holiday season!
Things that are trending (in a good way)
- Bridesmaids trends: think pink (not necessarily matching)
The color of this year was blush pink, especially in summer bridesmaid dresses. There was a weekend when I saw the same shade of blush on two separate set of bridesmaids! Brides still love the look of having different styles in the bridal party. This allows for the bridesmaid to pick the silhouette that they think is most flattering.
Blush definitely had its moment this year!
- Wedding Dress trends: Sleeved wedding dresses, less strapless, low backs and lace. One of my favorite personal trends! Wedding dresses are becoming more and more modest, and unique sleeves made its hayday this year. Low-backed dresses with form-fitting silhouettes stole the show this year, combined with a more modest look in front. From intricate beading to the demand of lace, wedding dresses definitely don’t look cookie-cutter these days.
- Bridal Party Trend: “bridesmen”, “men of honor” and “best women”. Bridal parties are catering more towards the bridesmaids as the bride’s friends, and the groomsmen as the groom’s friends.
- Ceremony Music: Bach Cello Suite no. 1 made a huge statement this year. I had three brides hire a cellist just to have this song at their wedding! It’s a beautiful piece, and if it speaks to you, consider investing in a cellist for your ceremony so it can be done:
- “Please don’t take pictures during the ceremony”: I think this came after the previous years filled with people holding up their huge iPads during ceremonies. It became comical:
And lastly, the most interesting thing I’ve seen all year:
- Streaming your Wedding Ceremony on Facebook Live: This one was kind of surprising to me, as historically you invited the people that you wanted to witness your wedding ceremony. However, I’ve seen it used several times when family members couldn’t attend (or people loved sharing their joy). Here’s an example from a wedding where the bride was from Lebanon. Part of her family couldn’t be there, so she streamed it on Facebook so they could watch it from home. (Note that the ceremony was in English and Arabic to accommodate both families):
Things that may be on its way out (or you may not need)
- Ceremony Music: Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” and Mendelssohn’s “Bridal March”. These two songs have been used so many times in TV commercials, movies, and everything in-between. In fact, many Catholic Dioceses do not allow the use of these songs because of their completely secular (non-sacred) nature. Ask your ceremony musician for some joyous, “fresher” takes on the bridal entrance and departure:
- The Unity Candle: There was a definite decrease in use of the Unity Candle in weddings over the past two years. While it has no liturgical significance in a Catholic wedding, it is a nice symbol for those who want to use it. However, you are still married either way!
- Aisle Runners: Aisle runners used to be a way of announcing a bride’s entrance; however, they have since become liability issues and end up getting torn easily and quickly. This might be one that you can skip in the budget.
- Short, Teeny Bridesmaid Dresses: There was a time a few years ago when bridesmaid dresses got smaller and smaller. I once saw a bridesmaid pull up her dress, then pull it back down to cover her legs! On behalf of every bridesmaid out there, I want to thank you for allowing more fabric to be a part of your bridesmaids’ dresses.
- Homemade, DIY bouquets. Homemade bouquets made from brooches were really big a few years back. This is a great way to save money (or include some heirlooms/personal items that mean a lot to you), but when it comes to your bouquet, flowers still seem to be the way to go.
- Kids In Wagons: There was a trend a few years ago where children under the age of 2 were wheeled down in wagons. I didn’t see this in 2016, and to be honest…I’m alright with its departure.
- Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes: Cupcakes made its way into our hearts in a big way in the early 2010’s. While there are still cupcakes at weddings, we’re seeing less of them than we had in the past decade.
- Trinkets for Wedding Favors: Many people are opting out of giving a trinket at wedding receptions (they did just pay $60+ for your dinner, after all). In lieu of a trinket favor, consider donating to a charity you both feel passionate about.
Things that don’t matter as much as you may think:
- Pew Flowers for the Church: Pew bows for a church wedding may not be worth what your florist may charge you! For my DIY’ers, a simple loop of tulle can be enough to make a nice touch. Or find out if your church has pew bows that they can lend you for free!
- Choosing your Ceremony Prelude Music: This is the music before your ceremony that sets the tone as your guests arrive. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: you don’t hear it, and your guests barely do too! It’s meant to be talked over, and your musicians are okay with that. Let your ceremony musicians pick some appropriate songs for prelude music.
- Wedding Program Design: People love wedding programs. Any wedding brings together a group of people who are Christian, non-Christian, Jewish, Atheists, and everything else under the sun. That’s okay! They are there to support you two. Ribbons, sequins, and fancy embellishments don’t necessarily matter on a wedding program, but the order of the ceremony does. People refer to that program the entire time, so if anything, typing up the order of the ceremony encourages people to participate (if needed).
- Kids under the age of 3 in the Bridal Party: Everyone is different, and everyone has different reasons of putting children in the bridal party….but from my experience, the kids cry. They almost always cry when they walk down that aisle alone, with hundreds of people watching them.
My Advice for Brides (and the Bridal Party) on The Big Day
- Eat enough during the day. Dear God, Eat. I’ve seen too many bridesmaids collapse during a wedding because they hadn’t eaten enough for the day. I’ve been in weddings and I know it’s tough to get enough to eat, so I would strongly recommend it to your bride (or sneak a few protein bars in your purse). You’ll thank me later.
- Be as invested in your ceremony as much as your reception. Now, I know I’m a church organist so I have to say this, but really. If you believe that what’s about to happen to you and your significant other is one of the biggest things of your life, then reflect on that. Get involved in the church where you’re getting married (if you’re a church-going person). If you’re getting married in a field, then sit down and reflect on the music or scripture or poems that you want to reflect such a sacred moment. I’ve met too many couples that want to “get the ceremony over with”, but really, the second celebration can’t happen without the first.
- There will be one major thing that goes wrong, and that’s okay. I’ve seen it all, and the couples still get married!
That’s all for now! With another full year of weddings, I’m sure I’ll have more trends to report in a year. But in the meantime, share this post with your fellow brides and grooms, and ramp up for Wedding Season 2017!