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Sunday07 August 2022

The Top Wedding Trends for 2018

Expect bold wedding trends in 2018, like asking for cash, passed cake bites and the revival of a seriously budget-friendly flower.

When it comes to finding wedding inspiration, the options are truly endless—so let our top wedding trends for 2018 lead the way for making your day unique and a reflection of you both.

"Personalization has made its way into every aspect of weddings, as couples proudly show their unique personalities and styles throughout the food, entertainment, escort cards and florals," says Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot. "Couples are also making a personal statement with their registries. Long gone are the days of registering just for the sake of tradition. Today's couples are asking for what they truly want, be it a KitchenAid mixer for the baking obsessed, a couples massage for their beach honeymoon or IVF treatments to help start a family."

Below, check out the 12 hottest wedding trends of 2018 and how make them your own.

Vibe Over Palette

Couples are letting the feel of their celebration dictate the details. Instead of starting with colors, they're coining words that express the kind of party they're throwing—like "rustic with a bit of romantic and a touch of retro"—and using that to communicate their vision to the local professionals who'll pull off their day. Having trouble defining your style? The Knot Style Quiz walks couples through a selection of inspirational wedding photos and keeps track of their likes and dislikes. After analyzing the couple's choices, The Knot defines their unique style and creates a personalized Wedding Vision that can be shared directly with vendors—that way, nothing gets lost in translation.

Statement Escort Card Displays

Weddings in 2018 will give way to the wow-worthy (think: totally Instagramable) escort card installation that incorporates the couple's personalities. Create a flower wall and allow guests to "pick" their seats and take home a gorgeous stem. Or set up a large display of personalized thermoses for a woodsy-themed wedding. Love tequila? Welcome guests with Himalayan sea salt shot glasses with their names written in edible ink, filled with tequila and topped with a lime.

"It’s a great place to incorporate your shared interests or play up a fun wedding theme," says Emily Clarke of Emily Clarke Events in Dallas.

Asking for Cash

The traditional retail registry isn't going anywhere, but more couples are asking for cash in the form of experiences. Thanks to The Knot Newlywed Fund, you can ask for exactly what you want. New camping gear, a down payment on a home, a fund for adopting a baby—the sky's the limit. Have a cause that's close to your heart? Attach a charity to your retail registry and The Knot will donate on your behalf each time a gift is purchased off your registry.

Balloons and Arches

Balloons make the perfect fun and festive flower alternative and can easily transform a space. Pair colorful Mylar options with basic latex balloons in varied sizes for a real "wow" factor. They can be strung like garlands, suspended from the ceiling or shaped into a mural-like wall installation.

The classic altar setup is also getting a revamp, with round archways or an almost closed circle to stand under and say your "I dos." The circle is a unique spin on the expected and symbolizes eternity.

Foregoing the Favor

More couples are opting out of favors and prioritizing the experience over a simple takeaway. They're treating guests to extras like a specialty sip station, a lipstick touch-up bar, a passed after-dinner treat or even a fun late-night cover band. Thoughtful welcome bags for destination weddings are still all the rage and this year, couples are choosing to gift a series of small presents parceled out over the course of their guests' stay. Out-of-towners are welcomed with the essentials, followed by a sweet treat at turndown and a parting gift for their travels home.

Unexpected Entertainment

As couples move away from providing favors and takeaways, they're focused on creating the most memorable experience for guests, with entertainment taking the main stage. Instead of hiring one form of entertainment like a band or DJ, don't be surprised to see a steady stream throughout the night, including experiential theater performances, roaming sketch artists, tarot card readers, astrologists and magicians. Couples are pulling out all the stops to create an interactive, unforgettable night that's personalized to their interests.

"It’s like a photo booth, but better," says Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events in Brooklyn, New York.

First Look Beyond Your Partner & Wedding Parties Reimagined

The first look with your spouse-to-be is huge, but this year, we'll also see couples do an official reveal with other VIPs in their life. Moms, dads, bridesmaids, grandparents and more will enjoy a first look with the photographer in tow to capture their priceless reactions.

The traditional wedding party is also getting a twist. Couples are mixing up their wedding party with people of the opposite sex standing on either side of the couple and honoring certain relatives in special ways (like flower grandmas!).

Signature Eats & Experiential Dining

Signature cocktails have been a long-standing tradition at weddings, so couples are switching it up and opting to claim their food. Ask guests to choose from a "his" or "hers" entrée option, or name passed hors d'oeuvres instead. When it comes to food, presentation continues to trend, but this year, couples are taking it one step further with "experienced" cuisine—like a hanging installation of nibbles, open-fire cooking or a chef plating something in real time.

"Food will continue to be the real centerpiece of the reception," says Annie Lee of Daughter of Design in New York City.

Passed Cake Bites, Hand-Painted Cakes & Inventive Flavors

"Let's face it—by the time the cake is cut, everyone is on the dance floor. So bring the cake to them," says Madison Lee of Madison Lee's Cakes in New York City. Have your baker prepare bite-size pieces to be passed while guests get down.

Also trending? Hand-painted confections. White wedding cakes have become a canvas for personalization, and hand-painting is a popular way to add a bespoke touch. Not only is the design on the outside important, but creating a flavorful bite like no other is totally on trend. Step aside chocolate and vanilla—new flavors like cookies and cream, confetti and exotic pairings (think: bourbon and mocha) are taking center stage with fillings and frostings.

Nontraditional Venues

As couples create a wedding uniquely their own, more are stepping outside the traditional reception space and hosting their weddings in unexpected places: boxing gyms, pop-up barns, historic libraries and large homes with sprawling backyards. Met at a summer camp? Host your wedding under the stars surrounded by nature. Love music? Choose a concert hall and be rock stars for the day. Looking for more inspiration? Check out our new book The Knot Yours Truly. Chock-full of beautiful real wedding photos, fresh ideas and tips, this book has everything you need to plan a unique wedding that perfectly reflects your relationship.

Single-Stem Bouquets & Baby's Breath Revival

Single-stem flowers are making a comeback. Opt for a sculptural stem, like an oversize tropical leaf, a calla lily or a big-headed bloom like a peony or dinner-plate dahlia for maximum effect.

Baby's breath, that inexpensive stem of tiny white flowers, is also making a return in big and small ways. It pairs perfectly with on-trend greenery and works well for flower crowns and other small hairpieces. Want to go big? Create "clouds" of baby's breath suspended above your dinner tables for a dramatic effect.

It's All About the Sleeve

From caps and bells to barely there, sleeved silhouettes will be big this year. Also hot for 2018 is the cape. Sheer capes, lace capelets, hooded style and pearl-encrusted designs all made their way down the runways. What's not to love about this removable trend that's a more fashion-forward take on the classic veil?

For men, suit colors and textures are getting an upgrade. Black, navy and gray suits will always be in style, but today's guys are opting for more colorful alternatives (think: burgundy, dark green and even dusty mauve). Textures (like casual tweeds and herringbone patterns) are also playing a big role in groom and groomsmen ensembles.

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