Wedding Trends for 2013: Ideas & Inspiration

Weddings are such a personal experience.

What’s beautiful and timeless to some couples may seem old-fashioned and dull to others.

One bride may look at tulle, glitter and papier-mâché and see a child’s messy arts & crafts box while the other sees stars.

Your big day should be a reflection of your personality as a couple – a celebration of the things that make you happy.

So it’s with a bit of caution that I write this article about 2013 wedding trends.

Because while I think it’s good to be up-to-date on wedding styles, I also think that, in the end, you should stay true to yourself no matter what the latest fashion.

If you’ve never in your life worn a pair of cowboy boots, a Western hoedown may not be the best idea for your wedding theme (no matter how cute it looked in that photo on Pinterest!).

When my husband and I got engaged, I spent the first couple of months rabidly tearing pages of Mason jar centerpieces and DIY party favors from the bridal magazines.

I was pinning photos of vintage doily tablecloths and recycled paper baubles like it was my job.

And then I realized – I have literally never stepped foot in a vintage shop in my life and the last time I held a glue stick in my hands, I was trying to eat it.

As much as I try to be a Martha Stewart craftswoman, I’ve never actually made anything that I would want to immortalize in my wedding photos.

I was being bombarded by the “shabby-chic” wedding style everywhere I looked.

And while it’s a beautiful design, it just wasn’t me. (Er – us. Another word of advice…remember it’s the groom’s wedding, too!)

So I had to re-prioritize.

My husband and I love a little flair but when it comes down to it, we’re traditionalists.

We wanted the church wedding.

We wanted my dad to walk me down the aisle.

And I wanted lace, darn it!

In the end our wedding turned out just how we hoped – classic but still fresh, stylish and with just the right amount of sparkle.

So please, take this article with a grain of salt.

Use these wedding trends as a jumping-off point to deciding on your bridal style.

I hope that you find some inspiration in my post but, you know what?

It’s OK if you don’t.

The ideas shared here are not the final word in weddings.

And come to think of it, neither are the countless images on Pinterest or the articles that you see in the magazines.

Just do you!

OK, on to the fun stuff.

Following is a roundup of 2013 wedding trends in the form of style and décor, dresses and invitations.

This is just a sample of what’s out there.

For the full report, check out this article from Bridal Guide.

Wedding Style & Themes

Call it the Kate Middleton effect, but this year is seeing a major shift towards the traditional.

Weddings are a more formal affair, and brides are using words like “classic” and “timeless” to describe what they want.

They’re serving plated dinners with gold silverware inside glamorous hotel ballrooms or grand museums, and creating settings that are luxurious, lush and sophisticated.

But timeless brides don’t have to be stuck indoors.

Katie Jackson-Meara, owner and stylist at So Dressed Up Event Planning, recommends couples use design elements like crystal or chandeliers to glam up an outdoor or tented wedding.

Candelabras are another popular décor piece and peonies, she says, are “the epitome of a classic wedding.”

wedding trends for 2013: flowers

Peonies wedding bouquet
image via Style Me Pretty, photo by Vitae Weddings

“Other romantic choices like roses are big as well,” she adds. “The floral should feel soft and elegant.”

When it comes to color schemes, traditionalist brides should consider neutrals like grey, cream, taupe, or even black and white.

For a bit of elegant flair, Jackson-Meara recommends adding metallic touches like gold foil letterpress invitations or menus and place cards.

“I also love incorporating gorgeous and traditional calligraphy, which looks especially glamorous in gold or silver ink,” she says. (More on wedding invitation ideas in the next section!)

And when it comes to classic centerpieces, Jackson-Meara says low and lush floral arrangements with candles are the perfect complement to luxurious table flatware.

Eclectic brides need not fret – wedding themes and ideas aren’t all about the customary this year.

One interesting trend that’s gained in popularity recently is the idea of “glamping,” or ultra-luxe camp-style weddings.

I’m talking sprawling tents, electricity (obviously!), and high-end linens.

And, yes, guests usually overnight.

“I love the idea of a late-night s’mores and bourbon bar and teepees with activities for kids,” says Jackson-Meara. “Lounge seating with plush cashmere throws are a great way to make sure everyone is comfortable.”

Couples also are incorporating their heritage into the cuisine, even if it’s just small bite-sized treats during cocktail hour.

But, according to Jackson-Meara, it’s the ceremony that gets the most personal.

“I did a wedding last year where we did both a Hindu and Christian ceremony. The bride wanted all of their guests to feel comfortable and she included a guide of sorts with the Hindu ceremony program so that they would understand each element of it. The guide had detailed explanations on history and meaning. I think guests really felt more connected to the ceremony and, in some ways, to the couple because of the deeper understanding.”

And, finally, my favorite wedding trend of 2013: bold patterns!

“Think chevron envelope liners, striped cakes and big colors,” says Jackson-Meara. “And of course floral garland. I’ve seen gorgeous strands of peonies and hydrangea. Even ribbon, paper and doilies are amazing.”

“Brides are using garland for their altar and on aisle chairs for the ceremony – draping them on everything from chandeliers, tables, bride and groom chairs, and photo booth backdrops.”

2013 Wedding Style Trends

Neon wedding paper suite
image via Ten Four Paper

Wedding Invitations & Small Touches

Did you know that your invitations are actually a part of what industry experts call a “wedding paper suite?”

I didn’t!

“A traditional wedding paper suite consists of an invitation and reply card,” explains Julie Goette, owner of Ten Four Paper. “Many brides and grooms also use paper elements in the ceremony or reception décor, anything from programs and menus to dessert bar signs and favor tags.”

Invitations and small decorative touches reflect the overall return to classic wedding styles.

Gold, silver and other metallic hues are very popular with brides and provide the perfect dose of sophistication and shine.

“You can print invitations using foil, which puts an actual metallic coating to your design, but that can be pretty expensive,” says Goette. “If you’re working with a smaller budget, consider painting the edges of your invites with metallic ink.”

She adds that there also are a variety of metallic handmade papers, backer cards and ribbon that can bring in the gold or silver accents for a more affordable price.

And it looks like many engaged couples getting married in 2013 are still environmentally conscientious.

One of the more obvious ways to throw an eco-friendly wedding is by consolidating the number of cards in your invitations.

“Consider making a fun wedding website with additional information for your guests, instead of printing extra cards,” recommends Goette. “Many printers can use vegetable-based ink on recycled paper to reduce your carbon footprint. There are also really fun seed papers out there that can be great for both invitations and favors. You literally take the paper embedded with seeds and plant it. Seeds germinate in the paper pulp and then grow flowers!”

Wedding Trends for 2013: wedding invitation ideas

Neon wedding paper suite
image via Ten Four Paper, photo by L Photographie

Eclectic couples, meanwhile, are really embracing the neon trend in their wedding paper suites.

“I think neon works well when paired with softer neutral colors, so the neon stands out and doesn't compete with other elements,” says Goette. “Printing your names in neon ink when the rest of the text is printed in a neutral color, or adding a thin neon backer card to your invite, are great ways to incorporate the trend without it being overwhelming.”

You can also consider using neon envelopes for a punch of color.

That being said, if you’re a couple that loves bold hues, then have at it!

“Weddings today are so much more meaningful when they reflect the couple that’s in love, so don't be afraid to do something different if it means something to you,” Goette advises.

Custom wedding invitation designers love working with brides and grooms to create personalized paper suites.

“We try to delve deep into what makes you tick as a couple, your hobbies, likes, love story and personality, in order to create a design that reflects you specifically. The options and creative ideas are endless!”

Your invitation is the first glimpse guests will receive of your big day.

Opening the invitation should be an exciting experience for them.

Goette adds: “Beautiful invites not only introduce your wedding, but give friends and relatives something actual piece of mail! Not a bill or local coupons, but a loving invitation to one of the most important days of your life. I think that is pretty special.”

2013 wedding dress trends

A Martina Liana bridal gown with beading, style 411
image via Martina Liana

Wedding Dresses

Unlike mainstream or runway fashion, bridal style isn’t quite as capricious.

Carrie Yeo, owner of Mariee Gallery explains: “Bridal trends tend to move a lot slower because brides want a more timeless look for their wedding day. So the trends are cyclical. Once strapless has been popular for a while, straps and sleeves will become trend again. But this takes a period of years, not months.”

So where do bridal gown designers find their inspiration?

“In all kinds of areas,” says Yeo. “History, art, and even mainstream fashion.”

Like most wedding dress shop owners, Yeo attends bridal fashion week in New York City twice a year. In October, she previews spring collections for the following year and in April she’s shopping for the fall.

“This year I’m seeing a lot of color and beading,” says Yeo. “Lace was popular last year and still is in 2013 thanks to the Royal Wedding. But, really, these looks have always been around. They’re just reinterpreted for each year.”

I asked Yeo for her expert insight on this year’s wedding dress trends.

Here’s what she said:

- Sheer overlays: “These add a more romantic touch to gowns and create an ethereal look.”

- Soft peplum skirts: “For the fashion-forward bride who wants a bit of volume to her dress.”

- Lace: “This is the quintessential wedding dress fabric and looks good in so many ways. Each designer has their own take on this classic.”

- Ruffles: “Ruffles are always fun and romantic!”

- Lace tattoos: “Claire Pettibone does this well. Her Mystere gown is a beautiful example.”

- Corset bodices: “These are always very flatting to all body types.”

- Off-the-shoulder necklines: “They can be beautiful on the right gown and look good on many brides.”

- Gold: “Gold and champagne are flattering to all skin types and they photograph very well.”

- Beading and sequins: “I am seeing a lot more beading and sequins now than I did three or four years ago.”

Wedding Dresses: 2013 Trends

Claire Pettibone Mystere wedding dress
image via Claire Pettibone, photo by Nick Tucker Photography

Yeo recommends you start shopping for a wedding dress as soon as possible.

Bridal gowns can take three to five months to be made and you need another month or so for fittings and alterations.

She also says that a bride should only take one or two people whose opinion she values to her appointment.

And remember that quality bridal shops will only ask you to pay half up front and the other half when the gown arrives.

“Make sure that you get a receipt and contract and check them thoroughly before signing,” she adds. “Never be afraid to ask the store a lot of questions. Read reviews of the shop to make sure that they deliver on their promises!”

And when it comes to saying “yes” to the dress, Yeo thinks brides should be true to what they like – no matter what others might say.

“Don’t be too influenced by trends or the opinions of others. If you love the dress and it makes you feel beautiful, then it’s yours.”

Do you have any 2013 Wedding Trends to add?

Share your trends below...