A Guide to the Latest Wedding Innovations for 2008

Michael Kabel

The modern wedding becomes more elaborate with every passing year. As the typical amount of financial budgets grows, brides and wedding planners are looking for new ways to make the ceremony and reception stand out. Many bridal experts believe it's not enough just to have the most elaborate arrangements or the most lavish reception banquets. Bridal trends in the second half of 2007 and leading into the new year point towards a more creative approach. "Some weddings are going into six figure price tags," says Atlanta-area wedding expert Troy Farina. "With so much money getting devoted, a lot of brides want something that can really make their presentation stand out." With that in mind, wedding planners are looking for new creative twists on some traditional wedding ceremony and reception mainstays, including:

Theme weddings to reflect the bride and groom's interests - Theme weddings themselves are nothing new, but some bridal experts suggest taking the basic theme concept a step further. For example, a spring-themed wedding can be narrowed to a “Normandy Spring” wedding that celebrates the gentle beauty of the French countryside. A fairy tale theme is re-imagined as a setting from JRR Tolkien or the works of Guy Gavriel Kay. "Theme weddings let wedding planners focus their creative vision," Farina explains. "It's not just a way to celebrate your interests but to really hone your mental energies, too."

New wedding ceremony adornments - Decorative flourishes help distinguish the setting and tone of a wedding ceremony, pushing it into new ways of communicating beauty. A wedding chuppa, or cloth arbor used in Jewish wedding ceremonies, adds a sense of elegance and pageantry to the altar. It also gives a feeling of intimacy to the couples by showing them close together.

Vintage clothing for a classic look - Another example involves using vintage or antique clothing styles or accessories to complement the wedding party's attire. This is different from a theme celebration in that the vintage motif doesn't carry over into all the wedding arrangements. Rather, it's restrained to the clothing of just the bride, groom, and their attendants. Vintage accents might include long white gloves, cameo brooches, full tails and tophats on the groom and groomsmen, and even ceremonial walking canes.

Including pets into the wedding ceremony - Pet ownership has become a culture all to itself, and many modern couples want their beloved companion to play a part in the ceremony. Some brides have included the family dog as a ring bearer or celebrant leading the wedding procession down the aisle. Others have simply brought their dogs and cats to the ceremony as a guest, watched over by a wedding party member.

Vibrant color combinations - Modern wedding color palettes have gone beyond the familiar whites and pastel colors and embraced eclectic mixes of earth tones and counterpoint shades of green, peach, and orange. Lustrous, shimmering hues are used everywhere from the bridal dress to the reception linen, creating a final look that's elegant and sumptuous without appearing "flashy." "Color really makes any wedding celebration come to life," Farina says. "If a bride is looking for a way to stand out, finding the right color palette and designing hers and her bridesmaids dresses in that scheme will really create something original. Something that gets guests' attention."