By Elizabeth Putfark
Whether you love it or hate it, wedding season is changing. From trends in style and theme to the personal touches from the bride and groom, modern day ceremonies are stepping out and away from tradition with their unique, individualized flair.
For help forecasting some of today’s biggest trends, we talked with Gainesville native Julie Herman of Julie Herman Events. With her expertise a little poking around, we’ve compiled your wedding guide to 2015 so you know what to expect in the season ahead!
If you’ve been on Pinterest in the past three years you know that vintage, country themes still abound in the wedding world, and thanks to the Do-it-Yourself revolution they’re likely to stick around.
“I see a lot of DIY brides who want to be involved hands-on with a lot of the decorating” explains Herman. “I see a lot of signage, a lot of little drink stations and other special touches,” Herman adds, explaining just a few of the ways couples bringing heartfelt, sometimes rustic charm to their distinctly personal events.
Yet some brides are bringing formality back with their tone and décor – a trend Herman sees as rooted in pop culture. “A lot has to do with Princess Kate and the Downton Abbey series – people like that classy look,” she explains.
So be prepared for homemade details and shabby-chic design, but keep a look out for a return to formality.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a bride want to use a hotel ballroom,” admits Herman. Instead, couples are looking to the great outdoors for natural backdrops. From rural fields and barns to
gardens and beaches, options about in central Florida for couples to take their vows in open air.
“There are several established places, like the Sante Fey River Ranch, where I’ve heard they’re booked through the end of the year,” says Herman, who plans most of her events in the Alachua area. “There’re also some new farms around Green Cove Springs and Micanopy.”
The trend towards outdoor nuptials is so marked that these “rustic” facilities are now being updated to offer climate control. “The newest popular venue is Remberndt Farms in Alachua,” Herman explains. They remodeled their property and barn to include air and heat, offering guests and bridal parties country-style comfort even in the hottest months of the year.
Planning timelines haven’t changed much, but what has is the level of groom involvement. Gone are the days of a bride and her mother sitting down with an event coordinator and ironing out the details and the husband-to-be just having to “show up.”
“I see more groom involvement than I did even 10 years ago,” Herman admits. “Almost every initial consultation involves the couple, not just the bride and bride’s mother. The grooms offer input, and I try to encourage them. After all, it’s their wedding, too!”
Of course, once things get down to the nitty-gritty details, most grooms are still happy to step to the side.
“I see they’re interested in the initial part – probably more out of curioustiy than anything else – but as we go along, they slowly back out. Not because they don’t care, but because we’re talking about things they don’t feel particularly interest them – like centerpieces and bridesmaids.”
The other change in planning comes from the rise of a new season to rival spring: Fall. Herman finds that brides set autumn dates just as often as spring dates, particularly because of the trend towards outdoor ceremonies. “In this area especially, everyone is looking to beat the heat!”
Dining trends mirror the move towards individualized ceremonies, featuring food stations and buffets more often than formal plated dinners. “We see a lot of barbeque around here,” Herman adds.
When it comes to cake, the days of thick layers of seamless fondant may be gone for good. “Because of taste, most couples are choosing buttercream now,” explains Herman, who got her start as an event planner baking wedding cakes. “As far as other trends, I see a lot of naked cakes on the internet, but I’ve never had a bride interested in that. They want the icing on the cake!” she laughs. “And I don’t blame them!”
We’ve all heard that wedding spending has been on the rise in years, but with a tough economy, you might think wedding budgets would decline.
Not so. “I don’t see people spending less money on weddings, even during hard times,” says Herman, who worked in weddings through much of the last recession.
Although costs have remained stable, the upscale in wedding production has led to more couples seeking out budget-slashing solutions by getting thrifty with their details. “I’ve gone with brides and mothers to the Salvation Army and to thrift stores, looking for furniture to incorporate into their events instead of buying things new. It’s a search, and you have to work for it, but it saves in the end.”
Of course, there are more ways to cut a budget even if thrifting isn’t your thing. “I try to encourage everyone to focus on the things that really matter to them and to cut those things that aren’t going to make a difference at the end of the day,” Herman explains. “Things like invitations. After it goes in the garbage, is it really going to be remembered? And gift favors. You’re already treating guests to a ceremony, drinks and a meal. Most of the time those favors stay on the table or go in the trash.
“Cutting some of those little things can make a big difference.”
Julie Herman is an Alachua county native who got her start in wedding planning as a single mom raising three daughters. Looking for a way to fund her daughters’ extracurriculars, she started baking wedding cakes out of her own kitchen. As she met with brides through the years, she became more and more involved and well versed in the planning process, often contributing her crafting skills to other aspects of the ceremony as well. Now a certified planner, Herman serves Gainesville area brides with experience, skill and native know-how that have earned her a five-star rating on weddingwire.com. Find out more at www.juliehermanevents.com.