The Most Popular Wedding Trends of 2018
Weddings may be rooted in tradition and history, but they're also subject to change. The best ceremonies are the ones that acknowledge that history in an entirely new way—which is often where wedding trends come in. Incorporating a timely accent or contemporary touch is an easy way to bring your big day into the here and now. It also doesn't hurt that our favorite trends, whether fleeting or long-lasting, are easy on the eyes.
2018 was a particularly good year for weddings, and this past year's celebrations were more elevated, personalized, and unique than ever before. It should come as little surprise why. Just think of all of the inspiration to be had from not one, but two royal nuptials. If there's anything this year has taught us, it's that the wedding trends of 2018 are here to stay. The following ideas definitely don't have an expiration date, and we certainly don't see them falling out of favor any time soon.
From single-serving wedding cakes (like the ones featured here, by Milk Street Kitchen) and hand-illustrated accents, to two-piece wedding dresses and castle venues (another nod to the royals!), there were so many brand-new ideas that made a splash on the wedding scene. The best part? You haven't missed the train—if you're in the process of planning your own big day, these inspired ideas are fair game for the future. They also cover virtually every wedding-related detail, from fashion to floral décor, so you can choose exactly where you want to inject a contemporary accent. Click through to discover the most popular wedding trends of 2018.
If you're getting hitched near a body of water, don't drive into the sunset—boat into it. Some of our favorite duos took advantage of their wedding location's natural scenery and opted for water exits, as opposed to getaway cars. As far as 2018 wedding trends go, this one might just be the most photogenic.
We're calling it: 2018 was the year of the wedding cake alternative. From donut stations and candy bars to pies and secret family recipes, couples proved that the traditional three-tier cake isn't the be-all, end-all of wedding dessert. Single-serving cakes, like these treats by Amy Cakes, however, are a way to bridge the gap between the classic and the contemporary. Serve them in lieu of or in addition to a confection—either way, your guests will appreciate the personalized delicacies.
Nuptials with super-small guest lists (we're talking 20 guests or less) reached peak popularity in 2018. Fewer attendees often means more flexibility—with your time, your budget, and your décor options. Plus, these intimate affairs give couples who are interested in getting away the opportunity to travel with a group for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
So many couples modernized the traditional family crest this year, often by swapping out classic symbols for themed elements. Note how Peanut Press did just that with this seating chart's crest cards, which subtly referenced the mountainous setting and the signage's quote, calligraphed by Spreading Lovely.
Two-Piece Wedding Dresses
If there's anything this bride's Alexandra Grecco crop-top and Otaduy skirt can teach us, it's that two is often better than one. Though she was one of many to don two-piece looks on the big day, we have a feeling that these looks are indicative of a broader trend: Many brides are looking for garments that they'll be able to wear after the big day.
The world watched in awe as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—and later Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank—tied the knot at Windsor Castle, which might have had something to do with the influx of castle wedding venues in 2018. Turns out, castles are available just about anywhere you look, whether you're staying stateside or traveling abroad for your nuptials. As for this epic location? Budapest's Fisherman's Bastion is a venue to bookmark if you're looking for castles overseas.
Trends change and so do brides—shortly after the ceremony, that is. We noticed a major wave of second wedding dresses (also known as reception dresses!) this past year. Most brides swapped out their classic ceremony bridal gowns for something slinky or short come party time. Take this bride, for instance, who slipped into a BHLDN mini so she could dance the night away.
Bug décor is anything but creepy. Cute critters like bees and butterflies were an unexpected addition to 2018's wedding décor. They oftentimes acted as crests, seen here on the bee-emblazoned cake by Toni Patisserie & Cafe, for particularly enthusiastic couples.
Circles symbolizes infinity, which makes them an appropriate choice for wedding décor—something that plenty of brides picked up on over the past 12 months. Hoop bouquets topped flower trend charts, as did other types of circular décor, like ceremony backdrops and wreaths. Festum Artis was responsible for these metal and floral creations, which also incorporated ribbons from Seidenband.
Looking to unearth some sweet nostalgia on your big day? Consider a camp theme, which will bring everyone back to their sleepaway days. So many couples did just that in 2018—they chose actual summer camps as venues, took their guests camping (or glamping!) over their wedding weekends, or introduced camp motifs, like bandanas and campfire treats.
Boat Neck Wedding Dresses
Here's another trend that was inspired by Meghan Markle: the boat neck wedding dress. The resurgence of the alluring neckline, which shows off your collarbone but isn't as dramatic as the off-the-shoulder cut, was undoubtedly sparked by Markle's simple Givenchy garment. This bride's Victoria Ruesche ensemble was a more modern iteration of the Duchess', thanks to its geometric pattern and tighter fit.
Cakes with Statement Tiers
Pops of color are back in a big way—just take statement tiers, the latest in colorful cake trends, for example. Couples added a welcome tint to their confections through these accent layers, which often referenced their wedding's overarching palette. Layered, on the other hand, added in a pop of blue that contrasted, but worked in tandem with this event's pink-theme.
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