This year’s Eastside weddings are all about personal expression. While Pinterest projects and themed weddings may have dominated in years past, couples in 2018 are planning elegant, intimate celebrations intended to create a complete guest experience.
Couples are choosing Eastside wedding venues for their green spaces and natural beauty. “Wedding guests on the Eastside can expect more intimate and nature-based weddings,” noted Joanna Van Ronk, manager of Treehouse Point, a picturesque outdoor venue in Issaquah.
Greenery plays a central role in every aspect of this year’s wedding decor, according to wedding planner Rebecca Grant of New Creations Wedding Design. “From vines climbing up tent or venue walls, to embellishments on napkins at place settings, we are still seeing all things green,” Grant said. “Bold is in, and we are seeing that in lush arrangements incorporating greenery and big, beautiful flowers.”
Many couples will incorporate a green lifestyle into their weddings with repurposed objects paired with lush greenery. Herban Design Studio expert Rebecca Dashow works with wedding couples and their unique ideas. “We’re seeing ceremony arrangements being repurposed in new and exciting ways,” Dashow said. Herban Feast’s venues include Sodo Park and The Foundry in Seattle. The company also often caters and designs events at popular Eastside venues such as DeLille Cellars and The Lodge at Fall City Farms.
Woodinville Wine Country is a prime wedding destination for many wine-loving couples. Novelty Hill Januik’s director of event sales Laura Rogers and her staff work with couples that are often looking for all-inclusive venues. “I’d say the main trend I am seeing for 2018 is a move away from formal seated dinners and buffets, toward a looser, reception-style event with interactive action stations,” she said. She is seeing more customizable menus like pasta made to order. “Couples consider this more homey,” Rogers said.
The catering team at Twelve Baskets Catering in Kirkland is seeing couples asking for unique menus. “Brides and grooms are going more toward what they love and what their favorite kinds of foods are,” said Jaffrey Bagge of Twelve Baskets. “People are using creativity to build menus that form an experience rather than just a dinner. It’s giving their guests a little peek into who they are and what they truly love,” Bagge said.
Food trucks are another way couples are creating a personalized wedding experience. The team behind the popular Swift and Savory food truck has catered a number of Northwest weddings. “It’s another element that adds to the party,” owner Kristen DeMontigny said. “Food truck catering gives the guest an interactive and fresh dining experience. It feels like all your friends are out to eat together. It’s fun to see guests interact more when they want to see what everyone else has ordered.”
Dress Your Style
This year’s brides will have a number of options to express their individuality in bold wedding dresses. Mea Mendez, owner of MeaMarie Bridal Atelier in Kirkland, recently returned from New York Bridal Fashion Week. She saw designers reintroducing heavier fabrics like satin and Mikado silk, lots of 3D appliqué, and embroidered or cut out lace. Trains are getting longer again, with detachable cathedral trains adding a dramatic effect.
The top trend she saw was one of her personal favorites. “Every designer I saw had off-the-shoulder straps in their collection. I have always loved that classic look,” Mendez said.
For brides planning to find a dress in 2018, Mendez advises careful planning and being clear on your budget. “Do your research,” she said, “and always research price ranges … Don’t be offended if bridal stylists are asking for your budget. They are asking because they don’t want to pull anything double or triple your budget.”
Mendez also advises brides to choose a small party to bring along to their dress appointments. “Only bring those opinions that matter to you!” she said.
The Wedding Guest Playbook
With so many sought-after wedding venues on the Eastside, chances are good that you’ll be a guest at a wedding in the 425 this year. Experienced local wedding professionals have seen it all, and they have great advice on how to enjoy yourself as a wedding guest and show your best wishes to the couple.
Wedding planner Rebecca Grant of New Creations Wedding Design often sees couples endure unnecessary stress because guests forget to RSVP. She says that invited guests should fill out the reply card and send it back within a week. “If you have ever planned your own wedding, I guarantee you know the stress that comes with having to track down invited guests to see if they are coming or not,” she said. Accurate guest counts are a crucial part of the wedding planning. “The postage is even paid for. Just do it,” Grant said.
Get There… and On Time
“Make sure you have the address and directions on your phone,” said wedding planner Jen Taylor of Taylor’d Events Group in Woodinville. We all know that travel times can be unpredictable, so wedding guests should know where they’re going and build in time for traffic.
“Yes, ceremonies actually do start on time,” Grant said. “The time listed on the invitation is the ceremony start time, so allow yourself plenty of time for traffic and parking so you are relaxed and on time to enjoy seeing the couple walk down the aisle.”
Send Your Gifts
Whether it’s from a registry at the couple’s favorite local store, or from one of the popular registry sites like myregistry.com, wedding guests should plan to have their gifts sent directly to the couple. “Ship the gift via the registry. It’s easier for the couple not to worry about how to transport the gift back to their place,” Taylor said.
You may even be able to make a contribution in lieu of gifts. Many couples use websites like honeyfund.com or travelersjoy.com to offer an easy way for guests to contribute to the couple’s honeymoon plans, saving for a home, or other financial goals.
Put Away Your Phone
Wedding guests using their camera phones during the ceremony have presented a frequent challenge for wedding photographers. “Put away your phone!” insists Grant. “If you’re leaning into the aisle to get that mediocre IPhone shot, that professional photographer is going to have to work around you to get you out of the way of their amazingly awesome shot.” She advises guests to focus on the event, not the photography.
Wedding photographer Jon Anderson of Jon & Rach Photography has had to work around well-meaning guests on many occasions. “One wedding, a guest had a DSLR with an auto focus assist lamp that put a big red circle on the bride every time they took a picture,” he said. “I understand people wanting to take a quick snapshot at such a big event. I don’t blame them. But they’ve hired the photographer to document the day. All you have to do as a wedding guest is be supportive and enjoy it.”
Quick Tips for Wedding Guests
- “Arrive and depart when you’re told, follow the dress code, and don’t get too drunk. Not too hard!”
– Laura Rogers, Director of Event Sales at Novelty Hill Januik Winery
- “Remember how much time, energy, and money the couple put into their big day, and try to go with the flow!”
– Joanna Van Ronk, Manager at Treehouse Point
- “It’s important to remember this special occasion is all about the couple. Be up for an adventure!”
– Jaffrey Bagge, Marketing and Venue Relations at Twelve Baskets Catering
- “Be present in the moment and soak it all in. After all, that’s why the couple wanted you there in the first place.”
– Rebecca Grant, Principal Planner and Owner at New Creations Wedding Design