From parking lots to pizza parlours to art galleries, Toronto wedding venues are as unique as the couples getting married in them.
The rules are changing and newly-engaged couples are leading the charge. No longer are couples held hostage by their parents who traditionally would be paying for the wedding. They are taking on the expense themselves, so as the hosts they are free to create a celebration that is fully their own.
This is a very exciting time in the wedding industry as couples challenge their suppliers to think outside-of-the-box, they want to collaborate to create an event that incorporates all that they love: their families, friends, and for some, their children.
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Shelby Walsh, a <a href="http://www.TrendHunter.com" target="_hplink">TrendHunter.com</a> exec, says that while engraving wedding rings is nothing new, couples are <a href="http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/tweet-rings" target="_hplink">now doing so with tweets</a> rather than traditional messages. Some people are even making their own rings entirely -- like the man who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/meteorite-ring_n_1553425.html" target="_hplink">forged his wedding band from a meteorite</a>. "From personal tweets to fingerprints on wedding rings, people don't just want to customize their wedding bands, they want to personalize them," Walsh says.
Another trend, Walsh says, are super-creative invitations. "The first impression a wedding makes is with its invitations," she says. "Those planning weddings are coming up with all <a href="http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/top-secret-wedding-invitation" target="_hplink">sorts of eccentric ways</a> to make their wedding invites standout from the crowd -- from wedding invite boxes to interactive cards."
Emily Bidwell, an <a href="http://www.Etsy.com" target="_hplink">Etsy</a> style expert, says that couples are creating more playful Save-the-Date notices. She told HuffPost Weddings, "What used to be a simple postcard has become a way to express a lot of personality." She says that <a href="http://FreshPaperStudios.etsy.com http://www.FreshPaperStudios.etsy.com " target="_hplink">lottery-style scratch cards</a> (like the ones shown here) and personalized map invitations are some of Etsy's favorites for summer.
Xochitl Gonzalez, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/xochitl-gonzalez" target="_hplink">HuffPost blogger</a> and co-founder of Always a Bridesmaid/AAB Creates, a New York City event design and planning firm, says that couples are ditching low-quality decor in favor of high-end designer furniture. "We're seeing couples move away from the traditional 'cane' ballroom chair and bring in metal chairs, Eames chairs and even bentwood bistro chairs," she says. The result is a chicer feel to the event, however it could put quite the dent in a couple's reception budget. Metal chairs typically cost $20 each per day, according to YeahRentals.com.
Another unusual trend that's hot right now is "propping" reception tables "with cool and unique details like figurines, statues or books," Gonzalez says. For one wedding, her team used books and magnifying glasses to style tables, and for another, (shown here) they incorporated fruits and animal figurines. Bidwell also suggests mixing "vintage milk glass vases, silver spoons, and mismatched china on tabletops for a rustic whimsical feel."
Gonzalez is also seeing couples ditch traditional tablecloths for more atypical linens. "The solid tablecloth is kind of a thing of the past. Linens have become a great way to add more personality to the table," she says. Some of what she's seeing includes "men's suiting fabrics, to Liberty prints to more 'Mad Men'-style, mid-century modern-inspired prints." Jillian Quint, editor of <a href="http://www.PureWow.com" target="_hplink">PureWow.com</a>, a digital lifestyle publication focusing on trends, adds: "I've even seen maps as place settings and tablecloths. I think that some of it is Etsy-related -- it's easier than ever to get a local map made that looks crafty and cool."
When it comes to incorporating a pop of color, orange is in -- which should come as little surprise given that tangerine was <a href="http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/category.aspx?ca=88" target="_hplink">selected as Pantone's color of the year</a> for 2012. "Orange is huge right now," says Quint, who is currently planning her own wedding. However, she says, we're starting to see it featured in new ways: "Brides are not just carrying orange-hued bouquets, they are incorporating the color into their Big Day make-up looks and sporting bright orange nails." Sharon Sacks, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharon-sacks/" target="_hplink">HuffPost Blogger</a>, event planner and president of Sacks Productions, adds that while brighter is better, brides don't have to go to extremes (think: neon) to capitalize on this trend. "Colors like tangerine or coral are a nice addition [to the color palette]," she says, without being too bold.
Sacks says that watermelon, cucumber, lavender and mint are the flavors of the summer and can be used as accents for decor and in food. "Add these to your cocktails to awaken the senses in your guests. They will love the smell of these aromas." However, she also encourages brides to be daring by incorporating these flavors in unique ways. "Why not create a lavender honey ice cream dessert? It will not only hit the spot, but it is also delicious," she says.
While you may not trust every guest to wield a tub of frosting, decorating-your-own dessert tables are an up-and-coming trend. Guests can personalize their desserts with frosting, sprinkles and other topping, similar to how they would at an ice cream sundae bar. "From decorate your own cookies, to frosted brownies -- anything goes!" says Jessica Deckinger, senior brand manager of The Promotion In Motion Companies, Inc, which manufactures various candy products.
Lindsey Robers, apparel buyer at <a href="http://www.bhldn.com/" target="_hplink">BHLDN</a> says that bolder brides are trading traditional gowns for sleeker wedding day apparel. "I'm really loving the two-piece suit for this season, it's such a nod to the tailored, feminine feel of 50's but with a modern twist," she says. "These two-piece suits remain feminine and sophisticated yet also becomes youthful and flirty, the ultimate pairing!" She particularly likes suits that have some flair to them, like cut out back details, textured fabrics or unique beading and embellishments.
Bidwell says that cool cufflinks and boutonnieres are this summer's hot trend for grooms. Instead of traditional silver cufflinks or flower boutonnieres, she suggests that grooms "get personalized cufflinks, and look for boutonnieres with 'manly' materials like guitar picks, fish hooks and bottle caps." (Pictured here: Custom Vintage Map Cufflinks from <a href="http://www.whitetruffle.etsy.com" target="_hplink">White Ruffle</a> and Fly Fishing Pin from <a href="http://www.fireflysilver.etsy.com" target="_hplink">Firefly Silver</a>.)
Brooch bouquets lit up Pinterest last year and Bidwell says that flower alternatives are here to stay this summer for brides who want to make a statement. "These keepsake bouquets are one of our favorite trends," she says. "On Etsy, we are seeing exquisite flower alternatives, such as fabric rosettes and sheet music paper blooms. We've also seen felt, pinwheel and button bouquets." (Pictured here: Felt Rose Bouquet from <a href="http://www.handmadecolectibles.etsy.com" target="_hplink">Handmade Collectibles</a> and Vintage Book Page Bouquet from <a href="http://www.JaymaMalme.etsy.com" target="_hplink">Jayma Malme</a>.)
It is wonderful to see couples hosting celebrations that reveal a surprise around every corner, while incorporating many generations, all with respect and love. This will be a day that not only they will remember forever, but also their guests will be talking about for years to come!
So when a couple comes to our show, or asks a question on our blog looking for ways to make their event special, I always tell them to them to start with something simple. Where do you like to go as a couple, what do you like to do? Look for the little things that interest you and use that as your base. For example:
• Why not hire the florist whose studio is around the corner from your house?
• Order custom invitations with illustrations you have done yourselves.
• Have the caterer create a menu made up of your favourite in-season dishes.
• The cake can be a tower of donuts, or homemade by a loved one, and once the deejay has kept you dancing for a few hours, a food-truck can arrive with the late night snack of burgers and poutine.
Free of rules, the modern urban wedding can perfectly reflect everything a couple loves. We are showcasing some of the best and most unique wedding professionals Toronto has to offer. Creative and versatile, our exhibitors will help Toronto's urban couples create an extraordinary celebration that perfectly reflects their love for one another.
Follow Catherine Lash on twitter @theweddingco or come out to The Wedding Co. Show January 11 - 13 at The Carlu.
For her wedding to Ferdinand Pucci near Naples, Italy, bride Elena De Angelis wore the <a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3832917/Trip-down-the-aisle.html" target="_hplink">world's longest wedding veil</a>, measuring a staggering 1.8 miles long. The white silk veil, which was six and half feet wide, took months to make and needed a staggering 600 people to carry it. The village of Casal di Principe came to a standstill as hundreds of people turned out to help De Angelis along the streets to the church. Her veil was so long, it would take Olympian Usain Bolt racing at world-record speed nearly five minutes to run its length.
Amy Singley and Steven Smith of Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania, were<a href="http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/weird/Newlyweds-To-Be-Born-in-Same-Hospital-Same-Day-95269569.html" target="_hplink"> born at the same hospital on the same day</a> in 1986 -- and their mothers even shared a hospital room. On June 12, 2010, the 24-year-olds married.
In 2011, Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Detroit, Michigan, bought a new vending machine that enables couples to <a href="http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2011/07/01/automatic-marriage-machine-weds-you-for-a-buck/" target="_hplink">get married for just $1</a>. Devised by British company Concept Shed, the AutoWed has a robotic voice that takes couples through their vows, at the end of which they either press one button for "I do" or another for "Escape." At the end, they get a wedding receipt and two plastic rings.
Eva and Pavel Jaworzno got engaged and married underwater. Their August 2011 wedding ceremony took place in a flooded open-pit mine in southern Poland. They took the plunge with 275 guests, making their nuptials the <a href="http://www.worldrecordacademy.com/mass/largest_underwater_wedding_Polish_couple_sets_world_record_112444.html" target="_hplink">world's largest underwater wedding</a>.
For her wedding to Duncan Turner, schoolteacher Rachael Robinson from Lincolnshire, England, <a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2976588/A-WOMAN-got-married-wearing-wedding-dress-made-from-bubble-wrap.html" target="_hplink">wore a dress made from bubble wrap</a>. The dress and train were made out of 13 feet of the packing material by pupils and parents from her school. The sheets of bubble wrap were stitched together, attached to an inner lining of cloth, and topped off with white packing foam and candies.
At the 2011 London Fashion Week, Liverpool designer Rachel Freire unveiled a rose-covered <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/29/rachel-freire-cow-nipple-dress_n_985177.html" target="_hplink">dress made of 3,000 real cow nipples</a>. Created from patches of leather recovered from tanneries, the dress was part of her Nippleocalypse collection, which also featured a bra made from layers of protruding nipples.
Follow Catherine Lash on Twitter: www.twitter.com/theweddingco