Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key

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Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key

Wedding aficionados were enthralled with the recent marriage between tattoo artist Kat Von D and musician Leafar Seyer, not so much because of the nuptials itself but because the lovebirds went all out with a personal theme for their wedding day.

With a dark design centered around all-things Goth, the wedding venue was decked out into a red haute hellscape, which included tens of thousands of red flowers, red curtains on the walls, tables with red chairs and tablecloths, and lots of unusual skull décor.

Those in charge of the floral décor stuck to the theme wondrously, with a massive dome of red-hued florals hanging from the ceiling and red candles and flowers bandied about the room.

Personalized themes are the biggest thing in weddings today. Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot, noted that the personalization trend has made its way into every aspect of weddings, as couples proudly show their unique personalities and styles through the food, entertainment, escort cards and florals.

Ariel Meadow Stallings, publisher of Offbeat Empire and author of Offbeat Bride, has had a bird’s-eye look into the trend of personalized weddings for more than a decade. “Personalization isn’t anything new, really, but what’s changed are the aspects of themselves people are looking to express through that personalization,” she said. “It’s not just colors and names any more. People want their weddings to reflect their cultural tastes, their lifestyle choices and their personal histories.”

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key

In June, Kat Von D (Katherine von Drachenberg), a tattoo artist, cosmetics entrepreneur (Kat Von D Beauty), artist, model, musician and author best known for her work on the TLC reality TV shows Miami Ink and LA Ink, married Prayers vocalist Leafar Seyer (a.k.a. Rafael Reyes) in a lavish gothic-style ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The design concept was a play on heaven and hell. The guests entered the hotel lobby and were guided down a circular staircase dripping in greenery like the Garden of Eden, past two crucifixes covered in carnations, to a “white dreamland” room. The doors opened to a red-on-red-on-red ballroom. Red draped walls surrounded the room, and a sweetheart table in the middle of a stage dripped with red flowers and linens. The reception tables were all completely different: Some had tall centerpieces, some short. All the tables were filled with oddities from rosaries to Bibles and loads of burning candles.

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key

Over the past decade, she has seen some truly remarkable, enormous floral installations. “Instead of arches of gazebo-style altar décor, I’m seeing these beautiful large circular frames being draped with so many flowers, sometimes even hanging over the couple, suspended from the ceiling,” Stallings said. “It’s a gorgeous trend that has to be so fun – and lucrative – for florists.”

Jillian Smith, owner of One Touch Events in Atlanta, Ga., has more than 20 years of experience executing some really diverse and unique weddings. As a wedding planner, she has had to navigate various personalities, belief systems and life-styles during the planning process.

“We take into consideration the couple’s personality, design aesthetic of the event space and, of course, their budgets, to provide inspiration for their wedding florals,” she said. “These discussions happen early in the planning process, especially if floral décor is one of the must-haves for their wedding day. A detailed mood board/design guide is created to review those elements, and we walk the couple through the vision. Once we settle on a few design looks, we partner with the best floral designer that can execute the vision.”

She’ll never use the word “unusual” to describe a wedding, preferring to call them all “unique.” “Our favorite designs create texture using florals,” Smith said. “When floral and foliage elements are combined to create texture, it enhances the overall event design and serves as a conversation piece, creating a unique and memorable atmosphere for guests. For one of our weddings, we had a perfect blend of roses, peonies, hybrid lilies, callas and Eucalyptus, and the list went on.”

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Off-beat Wedding
Molly Tiesma Eastern Floral Weddings Grand Rapids, Mich.
Photos by TinaRae Photography Minneapolis, Minn.

Unconventional and bursting with creativity, Katie and Ian curated their wedding details drawing inspiration from a bright mural at the Grand Rapids Ballet. This festive wedding was casual and intimate yet peppered with fun, unexpected experiences, including vintage furniture, charcoal ice cream and prickly pear margaritas. The colors were drawn from the mural, with pops of orange, yellow, red and coral, with splashes of teal and a base of black and white, spreading to every detail, even the bride’s hair.

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Desert Industrial Wedding
Steve Bader Haute Haus Luxury Events & Fine Floral Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Photos by Photography by Selina Mesa, Ariz.

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Travel the World Wedding
Blair Roberts Sweet Blossoms Frederick, Md;
Photos by Alicia Lacey Photography; Washington, D.C.

Alicia and Ian met on a long road trip. In the following three years, the two traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad to Germany, Brazil, Norway and, finally, France, where Ian proposed on top of the Eiffel Tower. Each centerpiece tied in a different city that the couple had visited, and the travel theme carried throughout the wedding, from the luggage tag escort cards to the stacks of suitcases that adorned the ceremony site to the globe on the wedding cake. Alicia covered Mason jars with maps to hold the flowers for the aisle markers, which later became part of the centerpieces. The centerpieces also had globes, a mini suitcase, a clipboard with a city depicted on it and customized votives.

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key

Ashlee Palmer, an event and floral designer in Brooklyn, N.Y., said social media is a large influence on all aspects of weddings and people want to stand out and have Instagram-able moments. “On another level, I see people paying for their weddings themselves, and as perceptions of weddings change, it’s been a real pleasure to watch people get creative and just want to throw a fun party,” she said. “Everyone seems less tied to the traditions. They’ll often ask things like ‘Oh well, how is it supposed to be done?’ and remove or add elements, so it doesn’t feel like anyone is dictating to them.”

Palmer starts her floral design process by listening to what the couple has come up with for their wedding. “I love the reference images people bring to me. Often, they say something about how they like the style of the photo but want it slightly different. This gives me freedom to come up with designs that fit their budget and make suggestions on what colors work,” Palmer said. “For example, a lot of people are still asking for loose wildflower bouquets, which I love, but often people are not set on them. It’s just that this is all they’ve found on Pinterest. My solution is to talk through my ideas with the couple and to always do a mock-up of at least the bouquet.”

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding
Denna Gundrum Penny’s Florist Home Decor & More Greenfield, Ind.
Photos by Brandy Angel Photography; Bishop, Ga.

The florist’s daughter, Angie, and her fiancé, Sam, reside in Florida, and they wanted to host a family vacation and a destination wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountain of Georgia, at Five Star Lodge & Stables in Morganton. For the flowers, the bride’s mother wanted to express her vision of a romantic garden. The hope of a glorious sunset inspired the color palette, and the flowers had to complement nature’s spectacular backdrop. Texture played a huge part in the florist’s vision for the mountain-themed wedding.

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Barefoot Beach-side Wedding
Heather and Jan Studio South Wedding & Event Floral Design Islamorada, Fla.
Photos by J Photography by Jessi Caparella Charlotte, N.C.

Florida natives McKenzie and Chris wanted a beachy boho-chic destination wedding in the Keys, and they chose an oceanfront resort for the event. “From the bright tropical flowers and the barefoot bridal party to the pineapple boutonnieres and endless Atlantic ocean, our wedding truly represented the natural beauty of southeastern Florida,” McKenzie said. The couple’s waterfront ceremony looked boho beach chic with gold Chiavari chairs, bromeliads lining the aisle and a wedding arch covered in green Monstera leaves.

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is KeyLifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Fantasy Wedding
Melissa Timm, Melissa Timm Designs, Knoxville, Tenn;
Photos by Brittany Photographs; Denver, Colo.

Inspired by Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Skyrim, Alyssa and Dylan stayed true to their passions when it came to planning their wedding. “All things fantasy inspired my day. I had a vision in my head for two years and was determined to make it come alive,” Alyssa shared. The looks the florist had in mind were “modern meets fairy tale” and “enchanted forest.” For the florals, she focused on white peonies and hellebores, with lots of foliages, especially olive branches, which she arranged in an eclectic mix of copper containers.

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is KeyLifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Ski/Mountain Wedding
Shelia Ross, Taos Floral Designs, Taos, N.M.;
Photography by Maura Jane Photography; Bernalillo, N.M.

Because the bride and groom’s plan was to have their ceremony outside at Taos Ski Valley, florist Sheila Ross suggested permanent flowers nestled among fresh evergreens. Skiing and the mountain was the inspiration, and the bride’s turquoise wedding gown was beautiful against the snow.

Popular Themes and Trends
The number of personalized theme choices can be recorded only by the amount of the imagination, meaning there is no limit to the options available.

Stallings notes that some popular trends in weddings today include tropical or jungle themed, historical themed and sci-fi themed. “The tropical theme definitely fits with the palm/Plumeria look that has spread like wildfire through millennial social media,” she said. “Historical and sci-fi are geeky themes that I’ve come to think of as pretty ubiquitous. People identify heavily with pop culture, and if I had a dollar for every Harry Potter detail I’ve seen at a wedding, I’d be a rich wedding blogger.”

But the biggest fad, she said, has to be Game of Thrones-themed weddings, which are happening all over the world in celebration of the popular HBO TV series and George R.R. Martin’s best-selling books. Smith has noticed a shift lately towards weddings steering back into a timeless and sentimental mode. “More couples are getting away from incorporating the latest trends and looking more into including personal family and cultural elements,” she said. “Items such as their homeland’s official flower, lace from a grandmother’s handkerchief and diamonds from a family heirloom made into earrings worn on the wedding day.”

She’s also seen a rise in sleek and modern weddings with clean linens and monochromatic elements as a theme many couples have gravitated toward in 2018. “Blush and mixed metallic are still popular requests,” Smith said. “We have fun with mixing in these requests with other décor such as the linens, tableware or signage. But our couples are now being less specific on the exact elements that have to be included, which allows for us to be fully creative in the designs.”

One of the most unusual weddings Palmer has been involved in started with the bride’s only direction being that she loved Anthuriums and wanted to incorporate gold to match the embroidery on her dress.“So I painted the Anthuriums gold and mixed in white and greens, and because she was open to any shape bouquet, I went with whimsical but not too large,” she said. “It’s my favorite because it’s a testament to how nice flowers can look when you let them do the talking and you’re not trying to force things into a shape.”

One of her favorite designs is Antoni Gaudí-inspired centerpieces. The only brief was to use lots of color, and Palmer was thinking about Barcelona at the time and remembered how striking and timeless Gaudí architecture is.“I looked at La Sagrada Familia, and even though the colors could skew young, the shapes are powerful and bold,” she said. “I mixed various colors of carnations with orchids and made my own clay accessories to add more shapes to the arrangement. It’s critical that things feel authentic and aren’t a copy.”

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
Native American Wedding
Shayai Lucero, Earth & Sky Floral Designs and Gallery, North Acomita Village, N.M.;
Photos by PlayOnLight Photography; Las Cruces, N.M.

The bride and groom wanted to emphasize their Native American Pueblo heritage. All the details, including the wedding dress, the wedding party’s attire and the ceremony location, were reflective of their tribes. The florist included wild flowers she gathered from the high desert mesas and fields. The reception centerpieces were designed in traditional Pueblo pottery created and painted by the couple, and were given to special guests after the reception.

Lifestyle Weddings: Personalization is Key
African Wedding
Al-Nisa Reid-Jenkins, ARJ Signature Design & Event Planning, Brooklyn, N.Y.;
Photos by Nana Annan Photography; West Orange, N.J.

Ghanaian culture, inspired by the Ashanti Tribe, with a modern twist: We used tropical flowers and greenery to tell the story of the bride’s and groom’s environments and round pedestals to represent the royal and divine throne (Ashanti-Twi: Sika’dwa) of the Ashanti people. The traditional hand-fasting ceremony (binding the couple together) brought a modern use for the Kente cloth, and vibrant lights created the vibe of joy.