14 Hot Trends for 2016

From satellite bars to karaoke and concierge pros, here are the trends we're excited about in 2016.
by Lauren Kay
Hottest wedding trends for 2016
Jose Villa
  1. Parlor Room Chic

    New wedding theme trend
    Clockwise from top right: Michelle March Photography; Jennifer Lindberg Weddings; Ashley Seawall Photography

    Think of this theme as the perfect marriage between an elegant ballroom affair and a vintage fete—it feels regal yet still approachable. Pastel hues mix with more masculine elements like dark wood, leather and brass accessories for a polished look that's pretty but not too sweet, eclectic but refined.

    Make It Yours: Set up a sweetheart table with your wedding china and monogrammed napkins—fun in the moment and great for your newlywed nest. Treat guests to an intimate performance of Tin Pan Alley music, a towering cake and a vintage car send-off (complete with a traditional rice toss, of course).

  2. Calming Colors

    Calming wedding color palette trends
    Clockwise from top right: Abby Jiu Photography; Tory Williams; Jose Villa

    The official Pantone Color of the Year isn't one, but two hues—actually, it's a “blending" to be precise. Pantone named Rose Quartz, a blush pink, and Serenity, a periwinkle-esque blue, the colors of the year, and we have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot of them added to the wedding mix in 2016.

    Make It Yours: Use these tones to evoke a mood instead of a traditional theme. Mix with other soft hues like dove gray, ivory and white for a serene style. Or pick your favorite of the two and opt for a monochromatic look.

  3. Two-in-One Dresses

    Monique Lhuillier two-in-one wedding dress
    Kurt Wilberding

    Designers have made getting the two-dress trend easier than ever with convertible dresses that combine a formal ceremony gown and fun reception frock. Now you can get two looks for the price of one—#winning!

    Make It Yours: Monique Lhuillier sent a dramatic feather skirt overlay over a sleek lace column gown down the runway. Other designers getting in on the trend include Jim Hjelm, Amsale and Pronovias.

  4. Wow-Worthy Websites

    Custom wedding website design

    Because many weddings are becoming weekend-long celebrations, regardless of destination, wedding websites are getting more visits than ever. Enter the web designer. These design gurus are creating completely custom sites, with a unique URL, bespoke details and personalized illustrations.

    Make It Yours: Create your own website—we can help. Our wedding websites offer more than 80 gorgeous designs and can be personalized to include your favorite photos and links to your registries. Some even have matching invitations. Know code? DIY your own site with custom elements and link any wedding apps you plan to use throughout the weekend. Or hire a pro to help—some can even design an app so your guests can check details on the go.

  5. Total Personalization

    How to personalize your wedding decor
    Clockwise from top right: Amber Gress Photography; Braja Mandala Wedding Photography; Meaghan Elliott Photography

    The new wedding tells your story, start to finish—this party is all about you and your fiancé after all. This means complete customization of the details, not just monogrammed cocktail napkins. From the invite to the cake, elements will reflect your favorite tastes and interests. Celebrate your uniqueness by incorporating a cultural custom or religious tradition. These special touches will truly make your wedding day your best day ever.

    Make It Yours: Everything and anything goes. Serve your favorite dish from a local restaurant or have an ordained family member officiate your ceremony. Choose original themes that represent the two of you as a couple, like a techy bash (a la The Met Gala) or a Star Wars–inspired after-party.

  6. Satellite Bars

    Signature sips and custom cocktail menus
    From left: Millie Holloman Photography, Bob & Dawn Davis Photography & Design

    Introducing the satellite bar—in addition to your standard mixed drinks, beer and wine setup, this second bar is designated for a special spirit. It's a great way to personalize the party with your favorite libation, or even serve a tasting of preferred wines. And while there will always be room for craft beers and locally distilled whisky, tequila is totally having a moment.

    Make It Yours: Set up a bar that highlights your preferred drink, like champagne or a specialty gin. If you're down with tequila, try some twists on the classic margarita (hello, grapefruit) or tasteful shooters. Personalize one step further with the presentation: Colored glassware, infused ice cubes or elaborate garnishes (like smoke) will wow.

  7. Fashion-Forward Florals

    White ballroom wedding gown with hand-painted floral designs
    Tom Corbett

    Flowers and weddings are synonymous, but this trend has nothing to do with your bouquet or centerpieces. Floral-printed dresses, details and accessories flooded bridal runways in a bold way.

    Make It Yours: Romona Keveza is offering up vibrant floral-print gowns (incorporating fruits and vegetables, like beets and turnips), while designers like Hayley Paige and Lela Rose are putting a couture spin on traditional bridal florals with 3-D applique. If you can't commit to a gown, try a blooming accessory. Naeem Khan reimagined the flower crown—his take is a Frida Kahlo–inspired, oversize circle of blooms.

  8. Contemporary Choirs

    Dana Cubbage Weddings
    Vero Suhx Photography

    Keeping your guests entertained—and guessing—all night long with special musical performances isn't new, but we love the latest twist: choirs! Think 20-person ensembles with amazing a cappella abilities. And if you're hosting an after-party, one word: karaoke.

    Make It Yours: Find a gospel choir and ask them to sing your favorite rock ballad for your walk down the aisle or have them perform an a cappella version of your first dance song. A basic karaoke setup and some photo booth props is all you need for late-night entertainment. Sit back and watch your friends belt out their favorite '90s hits.

  9. Metallic Palettes

    Metallic accents in wedding decor
    Clockwise from top right: Michelle March Photography; The Grays Photography; Corbin Gurkin Photography

    It's all about shimmer and shine this year. Don't be afraid to mix silver and rose gold or gunmetal and gold—metallics play well together. This addition of luster elevates any look, giving your wedding style an extra-special feel.

    Make It Yours: Add a metallic to your color palette for a hint of glitz or make a statement with rose gold sequin bridesmaid dresses, gilded greenery, foil invites or a sparkle dusted cake. Neutrals are a nice complement in the cooler months, while jewel tones will warm up summer and fall palettes.

  10. ​Food-Inspired Floral Elements

    Wedding florals with fruit accents
    Clockwise from top right: Meg Perotti; James Christianson Photographer; Sarma & Co Photography

    Blooms are getting a style boost thanks to untraditional floral elements, like fruit and vegetables—extra points for centerpieces that include elements of the dinner menu (think: kale or artichokes).

    Make It Yours: Pick one favored element (like berries) and include them in your bouquets, centerpieces and any installations for a cohesive take on the trend.

  11. Stylish Grooms

    Black and white groom's tux
    Ashley Goodwin Photography

    You've heard of the second dress—well now guys want a unique reception look too. Custom suits with embroidered monograms, velvet loafers and personalized cuff links give guys more style options than ever before. Well-groomed guys will even start their wedding prep early with treatments like teeth whitening, “handshake maintenance" and regular beard trims in the months leading up to the celebration.

    Make It Yours: Have your groom switch to a dinner jacket for the reception, or try something subtler like a bow tie and pocket square swap. If he's into a little pampering, round up his groomsmen for a preceremony shave.

  12. Locally Sourced Food

    Farm-to-table locally sourced wedding menus
    Clockwise from top left: Damion Hamilton; Cappy Hotchkiss Photography; Nicole Lennox

    The new wedding menu will mimic the offerings at your local farm-to-table restaurant. Forget standard chicken or beef and say hello to “free-range Happy Days Farm hen." Good food, both in taste and provenance, is playing a greater role in dinner fare. Healthy “it" ingredients like kale and sprouted grains will be on the menu regardless of the season.

    Make It Yours: Source ingredients from your wedding locale and make them the cornerstone of your menu. If you're hosting a more intimate celebration, consider asking a chef to customize a multicourse meal, or serve guests family style.

  13. Wedding Concierge Pros

    Unexpected wedding concierge professionals
    Ned Jackson Photography

    Good news: Wedding planning is getting easier. If you need a hand executing any element of your day that falls out of the realm of traditional planner duties, there's a pro for that. You can now hire someone to tackle the jobs you don't have time for, from live-tweeting your wedding day to training your four-legged ring bearer—yes, really.

    Make It Yours: Unload your least favorite wedding tasks on a specialist. Popular services include proposal assistance, bridesmaids for hire, bachelor party planning gurus, social media mavens and speechwriters. And The Knot can even help you find the perfect venue—for free!

  14. Sweet Endings

    Wedding dessert trends for 2016
    Left to right: Nancy Ray Photography; Jaye Kogut Photography

    The wedding cake is here to stay, but it's no longer the only dessert on the menu. Cakes are getting a design update with graphic prints and textile-like motifs, while plain tiers are acting as a canvas for video displays—the perfect marriage of dessert and technology. Passed treats, especially of the frozen variety, are trending along with installations like doughnut walls.

    Make It Yours: Refresh your dancing crowd with a frozen treat like shaved ice (think: retro snow cones) or fruit-infused popsicles with your names on the stick.

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