By: Valerie Exnicios
I began to brainstorm the idea of partnering with Valerie Lindenmuth at the end of 2011. At this time Lindenmuth had been working for a few of the larger bridal planners in Dallas and had several years of experience already under her belt. I, in turn, had experience with events and floral design. We came together and the wheels started to turn. Valerie & Valerie Weddings and Events opened for business in spring of 2012.
At the start of the 2013 season, my business partner joined me at the Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas for an American Association of Certified Wedding Planners event. There we got the scoop on wedding catering trends with industry professional Allison MacNealy. MacNealy is the Catering Sales Manager at Arlington Hall, a one-of-a-kind venue space at Lee Park located on picturesque Turtle Creek Boulevard. Dating back to 1939, Arlington Hall is one of the oldest and finest venues in the Dallas area.
When it comes to catering, many couples are rethinking traditional sit-down dinners. Instead they are opting for more creative cocktail weddings and food stations. At a cocktail wedding, trays of food are passed around throughout the evening. This option allows guests to mingle and dance the night away so the evening flows beautifully. Another alternative to the traditional sit-down meal is food stations, where guests can sample from grilling stations, sushi-rolling stations, dessert stations, and more.
In my experience, these options are great since they don’t trap guests at a dining table all night. However, MacNealy discourages the cocktail catering trend and suggests food stations instead.
“After a certain point at events I’ve seen guests decline passed bites during extended cocktail hour because it might interrupt conversation or they don’t want others to see how much they are eating,” says MacNealy. “Instead, we do a lot of stations for the bride who does not want a sit down dinner. ” Cocktail catering may also confuse guests. “Guests may think there is more food to come when it’s just cocktails,” says MacNealy.
No matter which catering option you choose, one tradition will never change: the cake in honor of the bride and groom. Dating all the way back to the Roman Empire, the conventional wedding cake can be anything you dream it to be! The cake is the receptions biggest accessory that everyone will be talking about for weeks after the event. Thus, this confection offers a perfect opportunity to make a statement about who you are as a couple.
At Valerie & Valerie Weddings and Events, our clients are bypassing the traditional white cake with stacked layers and are opting for three-dimensional cakes with floral designs and unique accents. Other cakes incorporate antique gold, silver and a little extra sparkle.
Speaking of sparkle, last week I met Laurie Holton, a bride-to-be whose astonishing Tiffany yellow diamond engagement ring lit up the room. Tiffany has long been known for their dazzling designs and flawless craftsmanship. Classic and clean settings have been prevalent in the Tiffany collections, along with colored stones. Diamonds occur in a variety of colors including gray, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink, purple, brown and black.
As far as colored diamonds go, red diamonds are the most rare. Pink or blue diamonds, such as the Hope diamond, are drastically more valuable than your standard white diamond. Yellow diamonds are less expensive and the most accessible for retailers. For example, the Tiffany Sola Yellow Diamond Ring has one gleaming cushion-cut yellow diamond surrounded by two rows of supporting round diamonds in an elegant platinum and yellow diamonds as “sunlight” because their bright yellow hue is simply radiant.
On a Friday evening last spring I attended a trunk show with Salvadoran fashion designer Francesca Miranda in the Bridal Salon at Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas. Miranda is widely known for her delicate, feminine silhouettes with glistening, “sugar-like” textures. Her spring collection showcased elegant designs in all of the latest trends such as color, illusion necklines and lace sleeves.
Tradition is being thrown out the window as many brides are walking down the aisle in colors beyond your traditional white, cream and ivory. Miranda’s fashion sales agent Iván Meza says that the color trend has been growing worldwide. “Colored gowns have been very prevalent in other parts of the world, particularly the European market, but are just now making their way to the US.”
The main gown on display at the Neiman Marcus trunk show was Miranda’s dramatic black ball gown, a trend we have seen by many fashion designers such as Vera Wang, who debuted an all black bridal collection in the fall of 2012 and several shades of red in her spring 2013 collection. We have seen bolder bridal dresses by big name designer Oscar de la Renta, who showcased his bridal collections in shades of red and blue.
“Black tie is playing a huge role right now, and so we are seeing lots of feminine, full-length gowns,” says Miranda. As bridal gowns are becoming more simplified and sophisticated, they are allowing for richer colors. From pastel hues to bold blues, most brides are choosing shades for their bridesmaids that add a pop of color. Jewel tones are big in 2013, and gold is a great accent for rich colors such as emerald. Eye-catching and vibrant, emerald green and gold is a magnificent pantone that is sure to make your guests green with envy. However, the ladies are not the only ones gravitating toward bolder hues. Our dashing grooms and groomsmen are becoming bolder by the day as they begin to add pops of color to their boutonnières, socks, ties and belts.
Also burning up the runway this year is the utterly romantic illusion neckline. The illusion neckline gives the feel of a strapless dress while still offering support. More attention to detail is being seen on the back of the wedding dress, primarily the illusion trend, lace and buttons. As seen on the Duchess of Cambridge nearly two years ago, luxurious lace sleeves are still prevalent in this year’s runway collections.
Yet, despite these fabulous new fashion trends, strapless wedding gowns remain the most dominant style. Kelsey Park, the bridal consultant for Neiman Marcus, estimates that while illusion necklines and sleeves are becoming more popular in runway collections, brides still choose to go strapless 90 percent of the time. “Women will come in asking for sleeves or an illusion neckline, but in the end they always go with strapless,” Park says. “The only way to sell an illusion neckline dress is to alter it and sell it as a strapless.” Park believes strapless gowns will continue to be the dominant style because the majority of women want to wear a princess ball gown. This leads to women preferring to show more skin up top due to the immense amounts of fabric on the bottom. “Lace sleeves and illusion necklines can offer too much coverage,” says Park, “while strapless is more flattering and highlights beautiful collarbones and shoulders.”