What will 2014 bring to the wedding & events industry? As the year turns, we always ask this question to know what is in fashion and the up and coming trends. In my pursuit of what others are predicting, I read a recent article from some of the top professionals on the west coast for both in what was in and what was on its way out. Some of their predictions seemed more of what was already happening as well as a bit of wishful thinking.
Many times I have attended conferences and webinars discussing the trends of weddings and events, only to be reminded of the rule of fashion. There are epicenters of where trends begin, such as in major cities like New York and Los Angeles. These trends take a while to permeate the industry and, as in fashion, once it is available to the masses, it has already peaked and sometimes on its way out.
While I certainly appreciate that there are significant regional differences in trends, I was also wondering about how much of what professionals “predict” is based on demand or their own influence and preferences. A great commentary related to wedding industry trends is from the book Wedding Planning and Management (2007) by Maggie Daniels and Carrie Loveless. One of the chapters is about the influence of media on wedding traditions and the invented traditions. It proposes that many of the trends are merely fabricated by industry professionals or through media. This is certainly nothing new as many industries help create demand based on both what is in as well as helping it along the way with mass media and product placement.
A perfect example of the influence of wedding professionals is when I was assisting a colleague with a Ceremony Rehearsal at a hotel venue. As I was lining everyone up and talking to the bride, I asked if she wanted her bridal party to walk down the aisle escorted or alone. Upon discussion of previous weddings I had worked, we decided to move forward unescorted. When my colleague arrived and we reviewed the line-up, she asked why the bridal party was not being escorted. Upon discussion, we realized that every wedding I had worked the past few years was unescorted as I explained it gave the women more of a spotlight. She, however, had always had the bridesmaids escorted in a more traditional manner.
As an instructor for Wedding Coordination and Design, one of the topics I have focused on has been the discussion of where traditions originated. History has a great deal to teach us. Some of the traditions for weddings have been around for thousands of years. Others, merely a blink of an eye. For instance, the concept of the white wedding dress has emerged a few times but did not catch on until the 1950's with the wedding of Grace Kelly to the Prince of Monaco in the 1950's. If you consider economics, the white wedding dress was really not feasible for the masses based on costs and practicality.
Today, many of the current and emerging trends are related to fashion, design, and the media. What a perfect time to have the remake of classic movies such as The Great Gatsby during the resurgence of vintage and the 1920's. For those of you who recall or researched, it is actually the fourth attempt at the movie, and probably the most influential based on the numerous events planned with a roaring twenties style theme. So it was surprising with the popularity of vintage that one of trends noted in the article as on its way out was vintage. The classic quote – ‘those who forget history are doomed to repeat it’ – the concept of trends is somewhat cyclical and will often morph into a slightly different variation. The vintage look is definitely back with a vengeance but evolving into a new incarnation infused with a modern edge.
For more on current trends, check out the next blog discussion which will be issued on January 13, 2014.