A is for... All-white maids
Confident brides are dressing their bridesmaids in white gowns, while they choose an equally pale and interesting shade from the palette themselves. From cream to ivory to champagne and blush, you’ll steal the show in a full-on bridal number while your maids look sophisticated and chic in their pared-back dresses. Keep décor to a minimum on the maids’ dresses, to ensure your gown steals the show.
B is for... Big party
Banish the table plan, shelve the menus and skip the whole formal dinner vibe. Contemporary couples are keeping things relaxed with full-on parties. Think cocktails, swanky mezze platters, a great band and killer DJ. If you want to add dinner, choose pulled pork baps from a hog roast, complete with salad buffet. Add a late night food truck (see opposite) and you’ll have the bash of the year.
C is for... Cocktails
Cocktail bars with signature drinks are more fun than wine or bubbles. Offer a choice of two – one that’s sweet, one less so – and present them as your Mr and Mrs cocktails. Get your mixologist to garnish with something seasonal that suits your theme and you’re in business.
D is for... Dessert buffet
Forget the ceremonial cake-cutting gesture after dinner. Instead, lay out a spread of goodies, combining one show-stopping cake with a feast of other pretty confections. Think colour-themed macarons, cupcakes, cookies and cake pops, or ask all the best baker friends you know to provide a cake as your wedding gift. An unforgettable way to finish dinner.
E is for... Edited highlights
Social media lovers are now demanding short highlight videos to share online. Ask your videographer to deliver something short, sharp and slick as snappily as possible after the big day. This snippet can be shared online with your mates, and is great as a memento and for friends overseas who missed out on the occasion,
F is for... Food trucks
Wood-fired pizza, fish and chips, burritos and crepes... served from mobile set-ups these are still hot news at the hippest weddings. Scour farmer’s markets for the best take-away trucks – think burritos, burgers, pies or pizza – and give your late guests delicious grub (and perfect soakage) that will help them party in style all night long.
G is for... Greenery
An outdoor dinner in Ireland is a gamble, even in high summer. So bring the outdoors in with décor that borrows heavily from nature. Choose potted trees, topiary, plants and tabletop succulents to channel 40 shades of green. Hip and beautiful, use leaf or plant motifs on your stationery suite too to seal the deal.
H is for... Hashtags
Own a piece of the internet with your very own wedding hashtag. A quick check on social media will show you what’s already out there. If it’s proving tricky to find one that hasn’t been used, consider adding the year of your wedding to your names, and avoid anything overly long. A fun way to mark your celebration, a hashtag makes it simple to search for guests’ photos from your wedding after the day.
I is for... Invitation innovation
Type-lead design, multiple fonts, bespoke illustrations, laser-cut cards and custom monogrammes are all hot trends for design-conscious couples.
J is for... Jewel shades
Certain pastels are passé for bridesmaids. Go bold and suggest jewel shades in mix-and-match tones. Emerald, ruby, amethyst and sapphire look glam and gorgeous. Forget spending megabucks: High street stores are where it’s at, with affordable wear-again dresses they’ll love.
K is for... Kaleidoscopic gowns
While maids are moving on from pastels modern brides are embracing these delicate shades. We’re talking blush pink, pistachio green, lemon yellow, dove grey and metallics. It’s your day, so own it in whatever you feel beautiful wearing.
L is for... Late honeymoons
Smart folks are now giving themselves four or five days off before heading on honeymoon. Taking your time means you can hang out as newly-weds with guests who may have travelled for your big day and allows you time to pack after the wedding, rather than beforehand, when your mind may be on other things.
M is for... Metallics
From cakes to dresses, shoes to centrepieces, stationery to veils, metal tones still deserve a place at your wedding. Adding glamour, sophistication and a touch of sparkle you’ll find a tone to suit your theme. Rose gold and copper have been having a moment, but silver and gold look fabulous too.
N is for... New heights
Drones are taking photographs to new heights, offering couples a unique perspective on your wedding day. That elusive crowd shot suddenly seems achievable and we expect demand to soar from pro-photographers. The technology is there and offers a fresh take for your wedding album.
O is for... Outdoor ceremonies
For years couples weren’t allowed to get married outdoors but that’s all changed. There’s something extra romantic about an outdoor ceremony and a spring or summer wedding makes it a real possibility for exchanging vows. Offering great photo ops, choose the woods, beach, lakeside or garden for a truly romantic start to your special celebration. Have a back-up space in mind though, in case the weather doesn’t co-operate.
P is for... Petal power
Floral walls, installations, arches, and chandeliers all make incredible backdrops for your ceremony or reception. They don’t come cheap but make real impact for big budget celebrations.
Q is for... Quality
Find the thing you love and spend your budget on that. It’s expected that food lovers will serve a great menu, that fashionistas will have uber-stylish bridesmaids, wine experts will serve great wine and that creatives will send out incredible stationery or have amazing flowers. Don’t apologise for prioritising something you love – it’s a personal statement that sets your wedding apart.
R is for... Retail savvy
No matter how big your budget fashion-forward brides know that high street haunts deliver brilliant pieces. Whether that’s table décor, footwear, flower girl dresses or accessories, don’t rule out pounding the pavements.
T is for... Table talk
Don’t be afraid to break with tradition and set up your dining space any way you want. Scrap the formal round table vibe and choose long, banquet tables for a dramatic looking feast. You can glam it up with linen, candelabra and big centrepieces for a formal banquet style or go rustic with bare wood, runners, tea lights and trailing ivy. Choose your style with confidence!
U is for... Unstructured bouquets
Larger, unstructured bouquets with a mix of flowers and textured foliage are still big news for brides. The coolest girls will be carrying larger, asymmetrical bouquets with trailing leaves and seasonal flowers in mixed sizes, shapes and textures with lots of scent.
V is for... Veils and trains
The runways saw the return of veils and trains for 2017, channelling the ultra-glamorous bride. Forget tradition though – embroidery, crystal and beaded embellishments lend modern appeal, while trains are shorter and more practical than the sweeping princess kind of old.
W is for... Wedding parties
With male bridesmaids, grooms’ girls, and girls giving away the bride anything goes in the modern wedding party. Don’t let tradition define your choices. Include those you love most, whatever their gender.
X is fo... X-Factor
Don’t be concerned about out-doing others in the wedding stakes. The coolest couples are foregoing convention and throwing out the rule book. Skip the swanky car, the big cake, the firework display or whatever seems needless to you. Your day doesn’t need a splashy X-factor – you guys are the X-factor.
Y is for... Your choice
Don’t second guess your decisions. Go with a gut feeling and know that you don’t have to explain your modern wedding day to anyone. If you feel like trying something new, then go for. Rules only got broken because someone dared to be different in the first place.
Z is for... Zero regrets
Modern couples know their minds and dare to make their mark. Only bow to tradition if it feels right; if it doesn’t break out and make you own choices. It’s your special day and you have no one to answer at the end of it.