9 Hot Summer Wedding Trends

This season’s trends -- bright watercolor palettes, bold floral installations, cactus details and snow-cone cocktails -- are heating up summer weddings. Read on for nine new ideas to inspire you.
  1. Summer Color Trend: Bright Colors and Relaxed Neutrals

    Photo by Clockwise from top left: Rebekah J. Murray Photography; Lauren Fair Photography; Meg Ruth Photo; June Bug Co.

    Layer colors like pink, yellow and orange for a citrus-inspired color palette that’s super-fresh for summer. The key to making your color palette look modern and new is to use shades in unexpected ways, like watercolor-style yellow and orange invitations, ombré gradients or even color blocking.

    Also big? Toning down the color palette and adding neutrals and natural greenery is another look that’s popular this season. With all of the natural beauty that summer has to offer, it’s no wonder more and more couples will focus on the setting instead of colors for their wedding day.

  2. Summer Invitation Trend: Floral Wreaths and Creative Maps

    Photo by Clockwise from top left: Sara Hasstedt Photography; Lindsay Docherty Photography; nbarrett photography; Kelly Sweet Photography

    You’ll see fun floral designs all over summer wedding invitations – think: wreaths and vine motifs. And we’re not just talking about garden weddings either. Create a classic, elegant look with pretty monochromatic florals on the corners and edges of your invites, or go for a more diffused watercolor style for casual, rustic wedding.

    Also big? Adding custom-illustrated maps that include directions from the ceremony to the reception or fun landmarks in and around your town.

  3. Summer Reception Trend: Summer Camp Chic and Bold Installations

    Photo by Clockwise from top left: Rebekah J. Murray Photography; Paul Johnson Photography; Lisa Woods Photography; nbarrett photography

    A nostalgic home-away-from-home vibe is big for weddings this season. We’re talking backpack welcome bags filled with snacks, outdoor woodsy details like birch-lined centerpieces or wood-grain invitations, camp games during cocktail hour, and (it almost goes without saying) s’mores and a campfire to end the evening.

    Also big? Large over-size installations are taking over cocktail hours and receptions this summer. A few ideas we’ve seen lately: paper flower walls, fresh flowers hanging over the dance floor and large lounge areas with overstuffed couches and ottoman poufs.

  4. Summer Cake Trends: Barely There Color and Coordinating Cake Tables

    Photo by Top left: Clove & Kin; Top right: The Nichols; Bottom left: Jeremy Hess Photographers

    While we love a beautiful white wedding cake, the new summer cake trend is to choose a barely there pastel, like mint or peach. It gives you color while still looking edible. Even better, have your cake baker create sugar flower versions of all the in-season flowers, such as garden roses, coral charm peonies or dahlias.

    Also big? Elaborate tables with multiple smaller cakes with a central theme and color palette are having a moment. Bonus: Multiple cakes give guests the chance to try a few fresh summer flavors like strawberry, lemon and pistachio.

  5. Summer Wedding Flower Trend: Vibrant Centerpieces and Cacti

    Photo by Clockwise from top left: nbarrett photography; One Love Photography; Aaron Delesie; The Nichols

    White floral arrangements will always be a classic, but this summer bold bright flowers like coral charm peonies, yellow zinnia and orange pin cushion protea are making a comeback. Instead of delicate glass vessels swap in turquoise or burnt orange pots in patterns inspired by worldly motifs to add an earthiness to softer blooms.

    Also big?The succulent’s prickly cousin, the cactus, makes for a great complement to summer wedding arrangements. Before you dismiss the idea, we highly suggest you take a look at all the fun cacti types. Did you know moon cacti grow naturally in neon pink, orange and yellow?

  6. Summer Menu Trends: Flavorful Cocktails and Crisp Bites

    Photo by Clockwise from top left: Laura Ivanova Photography; Meaghan Elliott Photography; Jenny DeMarco; Justin & Mary

    Take advantage of your cocktail hour to call out the season, whether it’s water infused with mango and strawberry, or shots of cucumber, lime and mint. You could even get guests involved in making their own cocktails with a snow-cone bar featuring syrup flavors like watermelon, orange Creamsicle and pear.

    Also big? Chilled, bite-size portions of summer favorites like lobster rolls, lettuce wraps, watermelon salad, chilled soups and crisp fish tacos will be big hits this summer.

  7. Summer Bridesmaid Dress Trends: Open Backs and Gauzy Tulle

    Photo by Right: Maria Valentino / MCV Photo

    You want your bridesmaids to look hot, not feel hot, right? Open-back dresses are an elegant way for bridesmaids to show a little skin in a subtly sexy way that will also keep them cool and fresh for your all-night dance party. Amsale, Alvina Valenta and Jim Hjelm Occasions all have new designs in fun colors like charcoal and sky blue.

    Also big? Sheer and gauzy tulle skirt overlays are whimsical and romantic -- perfect for summer.

  8. Summer Dress Trends: Sheer Details and Convertible Dresses

    Photo by Kurt Wilberding; Maria Valentino / MCV Photo

    Lace isn’t going away anytime soon, but it’s getting a chic update with nude underlays—for a barely there look with a hint of color like champagne or ecru. Speaking of color, shades like light blue, seafoam green and pink all made unforgettable appearances on the bridal fashion runways. The colors are definitely daring, but the pastel shades feel right at home at a summer wedding.

    Also big? It makes total sense you’d want to change for your reception or after-party when the temperatures are warmer, and there’s no better way to do it than with a dress that’s two-for-one.

  9. Summer Bridal Beauty Trends: Braid Crowns and Coral Lips

    Photo by Left: Kurt Wilberding; Top right: Maria Valentino / MCV Photo

    Here’s a twist on the traditional updo: braided crowns. This romantic look is perfect for a summer wedding because braids keep your hair off your neck and look beautiful woven with a hairpiece, flowers or even a metallic ribbon.

    Also big? Bright orange lipstick has been huge in ready-to-wear beauty trends, but coral is more romantic and appropriate for a wedding. If you’re more daring, choose a saturated hue, but a sheer or lightly orange-pigmented pink is a subtle way to pull off this trend.

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