2016 Wedding Trends—Top Trends For That Special Day

April 2016 View more

NMAG0416_WeddingFeature_iStock_000065404213_Large_CMYK_800pxBefore walking down the aisle, the 2016 bride and groom will want to make sure they know all the current wedding trends. But perhaps a little surprisingly, the top tip from local experts is for the bride and groom to choose what is special to them, and not to rely on trends at all.

“I urge couples to stay away from color trends. Go with a classic look you won’t regret in 20 years. Choose the colors you love and want around you on this important day,” said Kay Kendall, wedding planner at Champagne! Inc.

Caterers and planners agree, one of this year’s top trends is to personalize your special day with unique touches that will add a wow factor that guests will never forget. The decision is whether you want to be a trend follower or a trend-setter.

The Celebration

The venue will play a big part in how the event plays out. Kendall, who has been an event planner for 30 years and arranges about 12 weddings a year, says she sees everything from the very formal setting to rustic weddings in barns.

NMAG0416_WeddingFeature_iStock_000071409345_Large_800px“ The aim is to create a unique experience with surprise elements,” said Kendall. “ This can be anything from an opera singer performing during dinner to a food truck outside near the end. I think receptions tend to be a little less formal than they used to, but really it all depends on the couple.”


Blush will continue to be a popular choice for wedding parties, but this year we are seeing a pop of added color. Also watch for ivory accented with navy and spring green as popular choices.


This year’s décor trends include vintage chandeliers in rustic venues, up lighting to change the look of your room at the flick of a switch, and plenty of candles.

Although table plans for guests are still important, this year the experts say we are seeing banquet tables mixed with smaller ones that seat two or four guests.


Ever popular choices like peonies and roses will always be trendy, but in 2016, brides are more likely to ask for them to be grown organically.

“A lot of people want their flowers to be organic, grown without pesticides or chemicals,” said Kendall.


Karen and Bill Garlough have been running the Naperville catering company My Chef for 27 years and cater nearly 300 weddings a year.

“What’s fun in catering is that every event is different because everyone is completely different,” said Karen Garlough.

They’re seeing more weddings offering a large range of lighter fare, as opposed to the traditional, heavy, sit-down dinner. A meal may still be served, but it’s all about the reception first.

NMAG0416_WeddingFeature_iStock_000023340883_Large_800px“Couples are bringing their roots into their weddings,” said Karen. “We are seeing more beer and wine at weddings instead of a full, open bar. They’ll often import craft beers from their home state or from their college days. It’s kind of fun.”

Food stations remain popular in 2016 because they’re a great way for guests to mingle. Like the flowers, many couples are looking for organic food as it is becoming less expensive than it has been in the past. There’s also more call for vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.

Dishes that Garlough has seen rise in popularity include mac and cheese or mashed potato bars with toppings, mini hot dogs, burgers, nachos and freshly made popcorn. Karen agrees that food trucks are a popular addition later in the evening, especially in the warmer months.

Wedding Cake

This year, wedding cakes are smaller and some even hand painted, but that won’t mean guests will leave without satisfying a sweet tooth.

“The trend is for a smaller cake for the bride and groom but with plenty of other desserts available,” said Karen. “That might include a doughnut bar or an ice cream soda fountain, but probably less cupcakes than we have seen recently.”

The Dress

Illusion necklines, lace, a beautiful back, heavy beading and 3D embellished flowers are all important wedding dress trends for 2016. Blush or champagne are more popular than standard white. Veils are long, with the short blushers that cover the face no longer popular.

Whether it’s rosettes around the base of a mermaid gown or lace and crystal layered flowers sewn around the waist, giant flowers are blooming on the 2016 bride who wants to follow the trend.

However, when it comes to shape, Sue Cerulli owner of Bri’ Zan Couture in Naperville, says that depends on the individual.

“Fit and flare, mermaid, A line, ball gown and sheath will always be popular. It’s all about picking what looks best on your body type,” said Cerulli. “We see all types of wedding from rustic barns to mansions in Chicago.”

Personalizing wedding gowns and bouquets is also popular. Heirloom lace from a bride’s grandmother’s gown may be used to make fingerless gloves or even sandals for a beach wedding. Old brooches or rosaries can be added to custom silk bouquets.


The good news for women worried they will be forced into the same boring dress as the other bridesmaids is that this year’s look is more eclectic and definitely more fashionable.

“They are not wearing your typical bridesmaid dress this year,” Cerulli said. “They are choosing fashionable dresses they can wear again. Sequins are a big trend and rose gold is a very popular color. We will be seeing them in the same color and fabric but with different designs to complement their own individual body type.”

National Wedding Trends

  • The new theme is no theme
    Couples are increasingly focusing on small details—not big themes—to set their

    wedding apart.
  • Highlight videos are hot
    Videographers are seeing an 8 percent uptick in requests for highlight videos, which incorporate personalized messages from guests and are created for social sharing.
  • Laser-cut details are everywhere
    Featured on invitations, place-cards, and even place mats, laser-cutting will be especially popular.
  • Glam beauty
    More and more brides are eschewing the safe natural and romantic beauty look: there’s been a 75 percent increase in brides requesting glam hair and makeup, with touches like highlights and contouring and bold lip colors.
  • Beyond natural
    Brides plan to go beyond
    “born with it” in 2016. The
    data shows a 70 percent
    increase in requests for false eyelashes and airbrushing.
  • Bright palettes
    Popular colors this year include bursts of reds and bright blues, along with yellow as an accent and gray neutrals to hold it all together. Metallic accents stay popular this year.