According to some of the world’s best wedding planners.
Call it the Naomi Biden effect. When Vogue asked a handful of the world’s top event planners to share their predictions for 2023 wedding trends, many cited key elements of the first granddaughter’s White House nuptials, whether longer veils or Grace Kelly-inspired bridal looks. (Bryan Rafanelli, who orchestrated Biden’s big day, called the pairing the “epitome of classic bridal style.”) But as the legendary party planner Bronson van Wyck explains, in 2023, there’s no reason not to hold the ceremony earlier in the day. “With the afternoon to rest up, everyone comes together that evening with a full tank of gas,” he says. “Then, who knows where the night can go?”
He’s right: Brides and grooms are increasingly prioritizing the party. Raucous welcome events that include all guests—whether it’s an afternoon beach party or evening cocktails—are no longer staples of a destination wedding weekend, but marquee events all on their own. (Need an example? Ari Emanuel and Sarah Staudinger took over iconic the St. Tropez beach club Gigi’s ahead of their big day, for which the bride wore a custom lace two-piece ensemble by Alaia.)
Yet there are also some trends that have fallen by the wayside. The days of the wedding hashtag are far behind us, it seems, as are welcome bags. (As Rebecca Gardner of Houses and Parties succinctly puts it: “Hotels always have bottled water, and no one needs another branded canvas tote bag.”) A common theme? Pushing back against anything that is unnecessarily wasteful. A more sustainable wedding is not only firmly in, but it’s a trend that is here to stay.
So without further ado, here are the wedding trends to consider in 2023—and what to avoid.
The most spontaneous—and memorable—part of the whole wedding weekend is often the after-party. But if the idea of an eight-hour relay race from ceremony to cocktails to dinner to dancing to the after-party gives you pause, you can make sure your guests are ready to go all out by having a midday ceremony. With the afternoon to rest up, everyone comes together that evening with a full tank of gas. And then, who knows where the night can go? —Bronson van Wyck, Van Wyck & Van Wyck
In the early 20th century, it was common to have your wedding ceremony in the morning and reception in the evening—Jackie and John Kennedy, Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate, they all did this. We are seeing our clients wanting to take this classic route. Choosing a morning ceremony followed by a thoughtfully curated lunch and inviting guests back for an evening reception with dancing and dessert lets couples truly have a unique celebration all day long. —Bryan Rafanelli, Rafanelli Events
Wild Welcome Parties
The majority of brides are hosting destination weddings which require entertaining guests on Friday and Saturday. A raucous, kicked-back welcome party is en vogue. Embrace the locale: How about a bacchanalia at a Tuscan castle-cum-vineyard in Napa?—Rebecca Gardener, Houses and Parties
From a classic field day, to ranch Olympics, to a beach soccer match followed by a DJed BBQ lunch, to an epic beach day, gathering guests for a daytime event has been a welcomed addition to our destination wedding weekends. It’s a great icebreaker for all ages while also offering your traveling guests entertainment at every turn. —Augusta Cole
We’ve been doing daytime competitive game days for our clients. They are hilarious and so much fun. A natural icebreaker and a way for guests to bond via healthy competition. —Lisa Vorce, Lisa Vorce Co.
More and more couples are opting for design impact by incorporating dramatic ceiling installations through florals, lighting, draping, and more. —Beth Helmstetter, Beth Helmstetter Events
Over-The-Top Cakes and Cake Toppers
Gigantic, over-the-top wedding cakes are back. I had one wedding with a five-foot buttercream confection covered in dried flowers from Loria Stern that happened to match the mother-of-the-bride’s Oscar dress. We served it with big scoops of vanilla ice cream late at night with pizza and espresso martinis. Big time. —Rebecca Gardner
Wedding cakes are back and making a sweet return! Our clients are embracing the opportunity to personalize their cakes to match their wedding design, and the options for customizing the wedding cake are endless. Our favorite personalization for the cake is the cake topper. Clients can have fun with this by adding their furry pets or keeping it simple. —Bryan Rafanelli
Bring back some of the old-school traditional wedding cakes. Borrow a family heirloom cake topper for that “something borrowed” element. —Lisa Vorce
The “S-shaped” or serpentine designs were ideas our clients embraced. I especially loved planning a Palm Beach wedding this spring at the Four Seasons with a gently curved aisle. The effect was elegant and fresh. —Jennifer Zabinski, JZ Events
The grandeur of a long aisle sets the tone for an elegant and memorable ceremony. Our brides are also opting to walk down the aisle solo before being greeted halfway by their mother or father or both, adding a heartfelt and personal touch to the ceremony. —Bryan Rafanelli
While this is not a new idea, what is fun to report is that it’s lasting! Couples are not shying away from color, but instead, we are seeing our couples embrace thoughtful color references through patterned textiles, illustrations, floral concepts, custom décor moments, and their bridal fashion. —Augusta Cole
My clients want unabashed color, wild patterns, luscious flowers, and moments of unexpected delight. A playful palette encourages fun. —Rebecca Gardener
Our clients are opting to keep the ceremony itself uber private and reserve the big display of affection for the reception. This mitigates some of that pent-up anxiety that can be felt before professing your love in front of hundreds of people, and helps protect the intimacy of a ceremony. —Lisa Vorce
Grace Kelly-Inspired Bridal Style
Our clients are choosing more clean and timeless wedding styles, and brides’ inspirations are driven towards Grace Kelly’s wedding dress, the epitome of classic bridal style. They’re also loving a longer veil. —Bryan Rafanelli
Grazing boards and charcuterie are not going anywhere. We see both oversized displays at cocktail hour as well as more manageable boards incorporated into the tablescapes of our wedding celebrations. —Beth Helmstetter
We’ve been adding this to our after-parties as a way to surprise and delight guests and create yet another food and beverage experience. We’ve designed secret doors to a hidden lounge scene with a specialty bar station (i.e. espresso martinis). This is a fantastic way to break up the evening and allow for some spontaneous, authentic post-party photos. —Lisa Vorce
Wedding hashtags are yesterday’s news. It’s all about stories instead of posts now, and story hashtags disappear after 24 hours. Dropping the self-promotional hashtag says influential rather than influencer. Which would you rather be? —Bronson van Wyck
Uniform Bridesmaid Dresses
Offering your bridal party a bit of fashion autonomy is becoming the norm. Whether our clients are encouraging their friends to find on-palette dresses or helping their friends in making custom, individualized outfits, the idea of re-wearing a wedding party look is becoming more and more of a reality! —Augusta Cole
With so many talented designers whipping up beautiful printed and patterned dresses, why limit your most-cherished friends to one silhouette and one fabric? I think the most successful approach is to give your bridal party a theme: whether it be jewel tones, floral, or perhaps metallics, and then let them decide what works best for their body type. The result will be a clutch of friends who feel beautiful and confident because they were involved in the process. —Jennifer Zabinski
Standing Wedding Parties
Big wedding parties standing up at the ceremony. Let your loved ones sit comfortably and be totally present in the ceremony, but honor them beforehand by spending the morning getting ready and taking some special photos, exchanging notes, and reflecting on memories made in life together. So much more special! —Lisa Vorce
Forgo extravagant welcome baskets and write each guest or couple a handwritten note exuding thoughtful elegance. Hotels always have bottled water and no one needs another branded canvas tote bag. —Rebecca Gardener
Extravagant Escort Card Walls
No more over-the-top escort card walls. Instead, opt for a more classic display organized beautifully on a table which encourages guest interaction and mingling. White-glove service from the waitstaff is always a favorite, but we also love sophisticated envelopes nestled in a floral bed. —Lisa Vorce
Rather than passing one special cocktail, couples are leaning into the drink experience. Think Bemelmans-inspired tableside martinis, a roaming gin cart with an exotic array of fixings, dinner courses paired with sipping tequila, or a full-on tequila bar. Dare I say the martini ice luge will make an afterparty comeback! —Augusta Cole
Ditch the fireworks. Save money and save the planet! —Lisa Vorce
This article was originally published on Vogue.com.