Forget The Negative Myths: You Can Have That Perfect Winter Wedding

We’ve all heard of a white wedding, but the expression can take on a whole new meaning when a couple chooses the winter season for their nuptials.

Believe it or not, winter is becoming more popular for weddings — and with good reason. White mountaintops and snow-covered scenery set a spectacular backdrop, but even no-snow locations can lend a magical and mystical atmosphere to any ceremony.


Image result for winter wedding dresses


 Despite this evidence, several myths still surround winter wedding dates:

  • Most couples believe that they cannot have an outdoor ceremony. While winter weather can be tricky, if your heart is set on creating a matrimonial winter wonderland, heat lamps and tents can help warm things up. Just keep the ceremony on the shorter side, and advise your guests to dress appropriately. Then you can all head inside for a reception toast of hot toddies.
  • Regarding the dress. Don’t automatically believe that long-sleeves are the only option. You probably won’t be outside for too long, so be brave and go sleeveless or strapless, and cover up with a warm shawl or a winter coat (and turn it into your “something blue.”) Also, consider adding white gloves, warm tights, and even fuzzy ear muffs. As for the groom, it would be a shame for him to have to cover up his slick tux.Instead, he can wear a formal black coat to coordinate with his attire. For an added punch of color, have him pick out a cool scarf that goes along with your wedding colors and style.
  • When it comes to flowers, of course, the cold season naturally limits a bride’s options. Some flowers, such as peonies, are available year-round, but it will cost you. But don’t think rows of poinsettias are your only option. Flowers such as roses, daisies and tulips are available all year from the right florist, and their price won’t break the bank.
  • As far as transportation goes, consider valet parking so that guests don’t have to walk far from their cars to the entrance. And have the number of a car service on hand at the reception just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
  • At the reception, have a place for all your guests to put their coats and scarves. For parties of 50 or more, you’ll most likely need to hire a coat-check attendant to take care of your guests as they enter and exit the festivities. And make sure the entrance has a proper all-weather mat for guests to wipe their shoes to avoid slipping. If you’re having a tented wedding, definitely make sure you order heat lamps. Place them around the room, 1 lamp per 10 guests should be sufficient.

In the end, a winter wedding may not be bathed in warm sunlight, and adorned with the best fragrant blossoms, but there is beauty and meaning in a cold winter. Much like a marriage, there is a new beginning just ahead.


Diamonds May Be Forever, But More And More Couples Don’t Go All Out On The Engagement Ring

Through the decades, time-honored wedding traditions have fallen by the wayside, and so to have the many expectations and rituals surrounding the engagement.

And that starts with the ring.

In Western cultures, the engagement ring represents a formal agreement to future marriage. Traditionally it’s placed on the ring finger of here left hand, because at one time it was believed that this finger contained a vein (the vena amoris) that led to the heart.

While this is a time-honored process that kicks off an exciting time in the lives of couples, it’s also becoming a potentially sensitive time given the cost surrounding this major milestone.


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It’s long been accepted that men follow the Three Months Gross Salary Rule. This rule stipulates that if a man makes, say, $80,000 a year, he should spend $20,000 on an engagement ring.

Another crazy rule is for the man to buy a quality ring whose size is equivalent to the age of the woman. For example, if the man proposes to a 32 year old woman, he should buy a 3.2 carat diamond engagement ring.

As priorities shift, those rules have fallen out of favor. More and more women do not want or expect their fiancé to spend that much money on a ring. In 2012, the average cost of an engagement ring in United States as reported by the diamond industry was $4,000, much lower than the three-month rule but still a hefty sum.

Today couples are making it a personal decision based on the importance of that ring to the fiancée. Diamonds and a traditional gold or silver band are no longer de rigueur, either. There are several affordable alternatives to pricey gold, platinum or silver. Some couples are using stainless steel, which is very inexpensive. It looks to any novice exactly the same as silver but it doesn’t tarnish and it lasts virtually forever. Plus, you don’t have to have clean it constantly. Mixed metal rings are also gaining favor, since the combination of gold and silver is more versatile and will likely match whatever other jewelry or watches you wear.

Remember a large diamond solitaire may look impressive in the store, but it may not be practical for daily wear, especially if the wearer is active. Plus, a grouping of smaller diamonds is usually cheaper than one big rock.

The popularity of diamond engagement rings grew after the diamond cartel De Beers began a marketing campaign after the Great Depression. One of the first elements of this campaign was to educate the public about the 4 Cs (cut, carats, color, and clarity). Then they introduced the slogan “a diamond is forever.” Ultimately, the De Beers campaign sought to persuade the consumer that an engagement ring is indispensable, and that a diamond is the only acceptable stone for an engagement ring.

Today, more and more couples know better.


Millennials Are Changing Wedding Traditions Right Before Our Eyes

Nothing screams “traditional” quite like a wedding. Flowy white gowns, luscious layer cakes, the dad-daughter dance; they all help define the celebration of marriage. Go to a millennial wedding, though, and you’ll find traditions being challenged and re-imagined.

All around the world, 20- and 30-something couples are not just bending the nuptial rules, they are re-writing them, adding nontraditional or surprising elements that show open-minded and innovative tendencies — inspiring the next generation of wedding trends.



Millennial brides are designing and planning their wedding to look less like it came out of a wedding magazine from 1988 and more like it came straight off of Pinterest, with the help of Etsy, and coordinated by high-tech apps that help streamline and organize the process.

Here’s what’s happening at millennial weddings across the country:

  •  Digital domination: Millennial celebrations are all about hashtags, Snapchats and digital downloads. Get used to it. Many couples encourage guests to post their photos on social media, and they’ve created their own self-designed Snapchat filters that include themes (perhaps a Hawaiian motif) that include the couple’s name and the date of the ceremony. Wedding hashtags allow guests to post about or from the wedding in real-time. Family and friends can capture those candid, priceless moments and relive them immediately.
  •  Creating themes: Personalizing weddings in the age of Instagram is about theming a moment for a unique experience. And with millennial couples taking on more of the financial load of their weddings, they feel more empowered to customize the events. Young couples love to create a themed party for a Friday night rehearsal dinner or a Star Wars-inspired after-party, a incorporate a favorite family dish as part of the reception menu. Even the music is very reflective, incorporating favorite songs into the wedding processional, or unique performances; bagpipes, a marching band, things that are a little nontraditional or surprising.
  •  Informal dress: Weddings used to always bring to mind formal wear: black tuxes, white gowns, groomsmen in matching ties and bridesmaids in satin. But today, many millennial couples opt for a more modern dress code. For example, some brides choose not to require matching bridesmaid dresses, instead having their “besties” wear skirts and tops or jumpsuits and rompers. No need to match. Other millennials encourage guests to wear cocktail attire; perhaps flannel shirts with bow ties or bohemian-style sundresses.
  •  Dropping traditions: Many millennials forgo the old-fashioned expectations such as tossing the bouquet or cutting the cake. Some even prefer not to have a bride’s side and a groom’s side at the ceremony, or seating charts at the reception. They want their wedding to be more social, and to remove the anxiety of arranging where people sit. At millennial weddings you often won’t see major alcohol brands or beers as young couples prefer craft beer or small-batch bourbons. And gone are the days of spending a few thousand dollars on a five-tiered wedding cake. You may see multiple cakes made of pancakes, or different flavored macarons. And because millennials love brunch, many ceremonies now occur late morning, with eggs Benedict and bloody Mary/mimosa bars set up at the reception.

In the minds of millennials, such changes aren’t meant to disrespect old traditions,  just to create new ones that fit more into a changing world. It’s up to the next generation to accept and adopt them, or create new ones of their own.

More And More Modern Brides Tattooing Their Ceremonies With Body Art

In a trend that to most seemed unthinkable just a decade ago, modern brides and grooms are stamping their ceremonies with ink — permanent ink in the form of tattoos.

 It makes sense, right? If marriage is indeed forever, then making a long-lasting commitment to your partner via a tattoo is the perfect way to pay homage to your lifelong love.

Tattoos are showing up at the altar in unique ways:

Tattooed wedding bands



Today’s couples find themselves not wanting to stick with the traditional wedding bands or wedding rings. Changing it up a bit with a tattooed wedding band or a design not only shows creativity, but commitment. Wedding-related Internet sites and blogs show couples getting full ring tattoos around their ring finger or creating a personal design to be placed on top of the ring finger that matches their spouses (such as a heart). These tattoos also save them money over the cost of traditional jewelery, and of course it cannot be lost or stolen like a real ring could.

The simplicity of these tattoos is appealing to most brides and grooms. A motif as simple as a tiny heart or script phrase can have meaning but is not distracting. Plus, couples can strategically place their ink inside of their ring fingers or on a not-often-exposed part of your shoulder.

Exposed body tattoos

A recent poll suggests that 24 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 50 are tattooed. Americans under age 45 are twice as likely as those 45 and over to have one (31 percent vs. 14 percent). And the number goes up as the age goes down: A third of those under age 30 have a tattoo (34 percent).

What’s eye-rising, too, is the gender gap: Nearly half of women under age 35 have ink, almost double their male counterparts (47 percent vs. 25 percent).

Brides who love body art feel it is an expression of who they are inside and out — and many want to incorporate that into their wedding-day look by choosing a dress that better shows off the designs.

Those who need to hide tattoos out of concern for more conservative family members go to great lengths to conceal them. That can be done through theatrical makeup, a well-designed dress or custom-made features such as sleeves, a light bolero made of the same fabric as the gown or a well-placed appliqué.

Temporary tattoos

Couples who love the idea of sporting tattoos on the big day, may want to turn to henna, a natural plant that has been used for centuries to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather and wood.

Bridal henna is one of the oldest wedding traditions in the Middle East. Henna Nights have become a tradition even amongst young and more modern brides-to-be, and that tradition has gravitated to the western world.

Henna needs 2-3 days to mature and become darker in color once applied on your hands and feet. But remember, henna tattoos are temporary; they will fade away in a couple of weeks.

Traditionally, in some countries, the groom’s initials are hidden in the patterns. The groom must search for the initials on the wedding night, if he can’t find his initials he is expected to give a gift to the bride!

Considerations Before Hosting an Event a Holman Ranch

We’re thrilled you’re considering Holman Ranch for your upcoming event. To help with the planning process, please review the following tips and reminders about hosting an event at this private estate.

Décor Safety

You’re welcome to create a soft, romantic ambience with real candles, as long as the flames are contained within the vessel and are not higher than the container. Please skip the confetti, sparklers, birdseed or rice, as they are not permitted on the property.

Décor Set Up

Enjoy the creative freedom to dress up the venue in your own special way. To preserve the beauty of the newly remodeled historic estate, it is required that decor is never permanently secured with items such as nails, screws, tacks, tape (unless it’s painters tape), etc…

Noise Curfew

Dance and celebrate to your hearts’ content until 10:00pm. Keep in mind that all legal venues have a curfew. Holman Ranch is a legal outdoor facility in a residential neighborhood and must comply with a use permit and the Monterey County noise decibel limits. This means that all music must end by 10:00pm sharp and cannot exceed 85db at 50 feet.

To extend the celebration past 10:00pm, consider hosting an after party at Will’s Fargo Restaurant and Bar, our sister restaurant; conveniently located down the street in Carmel Valley Village.

Vendors & Caterers

You have the flexibility to select your own licensed and insured vendors. If a chosen vendor is not on the preferred vendor list, please kindly obtain approval in writing first.

Event Insurance Required

Day-of liability insurance is required for every event. A list of providers and instructions is available for reference.

Wine & Spirits

The corkage fee is waived for each event with the purchase of a minimum order of Holman Ranch estate wine. All alcohol must be served by a licensed and insured bartending or catering company. Ask about Holman Ranch beverage packages and services for your special event.

10 Reasons Why Choosing From a Preferred Wedding Professional List is Key to a Successful Wedding

Reserving a private estate in a new location for (potentially) hundreds of people can bring a plethora of obstacles. As a top-notch wedding venue in Carmel Valley, we get asked a number of questions by couples looking to organize bits of their own wedding; including questions such as:

“I have a friend who owns a business that can help with floral arrangements. Is that allowed?“

“My friend is a bartender. Can he serve our alcohol for the reception?”

“Can I pick my own wedding planner?”

Trying to save money while creating the ideal wedding you’ve always dreamed of is sometimes easier said than done.

The truth of the matter is that using your own vendors can actually cost you more money and cause far more stress than you anticipated. How can you avoid this problem? Use vendors recommended by your venue or the venue’s services themselves.

For example, a Carmel Valley wedding professional who has worked with the venue before will know the ins and outs of the location, allowing them to plan effectively and efficiently; whereas someone new to the area is prone to mistakes, damages and poor planning.

Rather than talking about why it’s best to choose a vendor that has been recommended by the venue you’ve chosen, it may be more helpful if I share 8 real life mishaps caused by vendors that were new to a venue.

1. Staffing Issues with Caterers

Your caterer being understaffed can cause problems for you and can hurt the quality of the service they provide. If the preparation area is not near the reception then transporting items not only requires more effort on the caterer’s part but also runs the risk of your food getting cold and service running slow.

2. Damage Caused by Caterers

The biggest reason you are likely to incur additional charges is due to catering companies causing damage to the property because they lack respect for the location they’re working in or generally do not care.

Here are just a small handful of examples of damage that might accidently occur:

  • Oil spills on driveway
  • Blocking pipes with grease poured down sink
  • Not disposing of trash properly
  • Generally leaving the venue in a poor state
  • Not cleaning china and flatware

3. Driving & Parking Area Damages

Using your own vendors will likely mean they are unfamiliar with the venue itself, driving in areas where they aren’t allowed.

Low hanging branches knocked off trees, knocking out lights and generally disrupting the landscape are common occurrences that take place because vendors are new to the site.

There’s nothing worse than finding the ideal place to get married only to have the perfect tree you wanted your first kiss as a married couple to take place under, ruined by a careless truck driver.

4. Damage to Lawns

Carmel Valley is typically sunny which means that we pride ourselves in our native gardens and lawns where wedding ceremonies likely take place.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of communication and explanation of the venue’s rules with your chosen rental companies, damage can be caused even with the proper precautions not being taken. Guess who foots the bill for those damages? You!

5. Experience

If you decide to go it alone and pick your own vendors you may run the risk of not being familiar enough with the challenges of an outdoor event space.

When having an event outdoors; whether it be a garden, public park or even someone’s backyard, there are a lot of things to consider:

  • Is your caterer familiar with creating kitchens outdoors?
  • Are there enough power sources or a generator to accommodate?
  • Do you have a tent prepared just in case of inclement weather?

If you pick a recommended vendor then these questions are much easier to answer since they have the experience and the know-how.

6. Transportation Issues

Whether it be valet services or shuttle companies, a number of issues can occur due to poor planning.

Not having enough attendants can lead to guests being stuck in their vehicle as they wait their turn for valet. Companies may not account for the length of a driveway or the distance from the actual car park so imprecise numbers of staff can lead to problems.

Since you are dealing with a new location, attendants may not show or get lost. Shuttle bus drivers can suffer the same problem. Despite technological advances, like GPS and iPhones, these issues still arise.

7. Policies of Rental Companies

While we deal with planning weddings all year round, you on the other hand may not be so rehearsed with the questions you should be asking your rental company. Questions like:

  • What’s the delivery window and are there fees?
  • Does the venue require that all rentals be removed by a certain time?
  • Does the quote include any extra fees?

8. Rental Companies Forgetting Items

If the company you hire forgets one or two items for your wedding, chances are, they will not get said items to you until it’s too late. Why is this? Unfortunately, venues and planners have priority over individuals.

With that said,

You may already have the dream caterer or ideal florist in mind for your Carmel Valley wedding and that’s great, given that Holman Ranch allows for it. However, bear in mind you’ve made an agreement with your venue and must make sure your wedding vendors follow the rules outlined in your contract. It’ll be you who pays for any damages that they cause!

It may seem obvious, but the vendor driving their truck or the caterer that leaves the kitchen in a terrible state likely will not worry nor care should their mistakes cost you extra fees. Just food for thought.

So if you’re looking to have a less stressful wedding here in Carmel Valley, we highly recommend seeking out a venue that has a recommended wedding professional list in place, like Holman Ranch!

Planning Your Wedding? Be Sure To Factor In The Cost Of Tipping

Tipping is not considered obligatory, but it’s an accepted expression of gratitude for certain services granted. Just as we would never leave a restaurant without tipping our servers, those behind the efforts to pull off the perfect wedding should not be forgotten either.



 For potential brides and grooms, determining who should be tipped and how much that amount should be is often left to the very end — when they are already juggling dozens of other last-minute details.

 Here are a few guidelines to help you navigate this important element of your wedding:

  • Whether it’s one of the fathers, the best man or a maid of honor, assign someone the duty of handing out envelopes holding cash tips. Pay these either at the time of service (hair and makeup), at the end of the wedding (allowing you to adjust the tip to reflect the service), or at the beginning (vendors are more likely to provide excellent service if tipped before the wedding).
  • Traditionally, business owners of larger companies don’t get tipped — just their employees — but you can/should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners should never be overlooked either, since their businesses are often run by just one person.
  • Wedding planners won’t likely expect anything; however, if yours exceeded expectations you can always give a small percentage of the total bill. Approximately 50 percent of couples do tip their planners, but these are typically those with holding more opulent weddings. Remember, non-monetary thank-yous such as professional photos of the wedding for the planner’s portfolio can go a long way, too.
  • If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you’re normally expected to make a donation to that institution, and tipping the officiant is also appreciated. If you’re a member you’ll probably want to give a larger amount than if you’re not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount.
  • When it comes to bartenders, waitstaff, parking, bathroom, and coat-room attendants the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.

Here is a general guideline for tipping amounts:

  • Bartenders: 10 percent of total liquor bill (split among them)
  • Bathroom attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
  • Catering manager: $200+ (or a personal gift)
  • Chef: $100+
  • Coat check attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
  • Hairstylist: 15 to 20 percent
  • Hotel chambermaids: $2 to $5 per room; $10 to $15 if you used a suite as your dressing room
  • Limo or bus drivers: 15 percent
  • Maitre d’hotel or headwaiter: 1 to 3 percent of food and beverage fees
  • Makeup artist: 15 to 20 percent
  • Musicians: 15 percent of fee for ceremony musicians; $25 to $50 per musician for reception
  • Photographer/videographer: $100
  • Valet or parking attendants: $1 to $2 per car; 15 percent for valet parking
  • Waiters: $20 and up each (distributed by the catering manager)
  • Wedding planner: 15 percent of fee (or a personal gift)

From Beach Themes To Wine Smoothies, Here Are Some Hot Summer Wedding Trends

Whether you’re tying the knot yourself, or your upcoming calendar is full of wedding invitations, here are some hot summer trends now that prime nuptial season is upon us.

New themes

Basic beach or garden themes are classic for the summer. Instead of a generic setting or theme, couples have elected to take the personal route. Couples are thinking of their favorite summer hangouts when planning their theme. Others honor their honeymoon destination. If a couple’s having a garden wedding and honeymooning in Hawaii, they could add orchids to their bouquets or fill the bottoms of centerpiece vases with black lava rocks.

Emphasis on the love story

Wedding guests want to celebrate a couple’s love and commitment to one another, but a new trend allows them to see even more into a love story. Couples are starting to hang up pictures as decoration during cocktail hour, producing a timeline of major events in their relationship. Some couples have even written vows as their wedding altar backdrop.

Bold wildflowers

Nothing says summer like wildflowers. Brides have found that completing their wedding décor with wild blooms really makes the day stand out and add extra dimension and color to the wedding photos. Brides like to extend that theme further by making up little net or satin sachets of wildflower seeds before the reception, and then handing them so guests can shower the happy couple (rice is no longer a wise choice).

Wine smoothies

In the summertime guests will definitely expect something cold and frosty, but margaritas and daiquiris can be a bit ordinary. Instead, couples have discovered wine smoothies. They are cold, frosty and pack less of an alcoholic punch than margaritas.   The drink consists of a fruity wine, blended with ice and fruits of your choice. Garnished with a couple of berries or fruit slices, it makes for a refreshing and unexpected signature sip.


Dynamic colors

Bright hues are hugely popular for summer weddings. Couples are gravitating toward sophisticated brights, and sticking with just two hues to keep the space unified. Rather than splashing color all over the reception space, decorators point couples toward one dynamic color for a strong statement — think all-pink centerpieces or bold orange table linens.

Laid-back music

For summer weddings, today’s couples seek to lighten up the ambience, choosing a pianist or string trio for a formal cocktail hour, but also thinking about alternative summery music styles. A laid-back vibe can be created with steel drums or a singer accompanied with a ukulele. Receptions will heat up the evening with sultry sounds, incorporating classic swing or big band music to provide an upbeat tempo.

Beyond wedding cake

White wedding cakes are popular for every season, and of course, chocolate always reigns for groom’s cakes. But with cake bakers nowadays offering so many delectable flavors and fillings, couples are moving toward seasonal selections. It’s easy to become inspired by the summer flavors we loved as children. Think fresh strawberries and whipped cream filling for a strawberry shortcake-style wedding cake, or a citrus-infused filling like key lime, lemon, or orange vanilla buttercream that honors a summertime fruit. Couples are hiring ice cream trucks to arrive at the end of the night to provide summertime favorites.

From Wearing White To Obnoxious Smartphone Behavior, The Top DONT’S For Wedding Guests

Weddings are steeped in tradition and etiquette, with centuries-old rituals that define proper decorum for guests. Some are more obvious than others. Now that we’re heading into prime wedding season, here is a list of the Top 8 DONT’S to keep in mind when you attend your next wedding.

Please don’t:

Wear white: This one should be a no-brainer, but please don’t be that girl who upstages the bride. You’ve got a million color combinations to choose from; you don’t need to wear white. Even if the bride isn’t wearing white, that doesn’t mean you can. This is her day, after all.

  1. Crash the bride’s room: Friends outside the immediate bridal party love to crash the bride’s dressing room to wish her well. The gesture is gracious — but the timing isn’t. If you weren’t invited to hang out with the bride, wait to share your congratulations at the wedding.
  2. Misuse your smartphone: Common sense says that guests should leave their smartphone at home. From snapping photos during the ceremony, to posting pics of the bride and groom on social media without asking, guests with phones can be disruptive and rude. Memo: Switch your phone to airplane mode and just watch.
  3. Bring a date without permission: Unless it says “plus one” on the invitation, go solo. And no, do not call the bride and ask if you can bring a date. If it were in their budget, the bride and groom would extended the extra invitation.
  4. Assume kids are welcome: Because it’s considered bad etiquette, a couple usually won’t write “adults only” on their invitations. Instead, the onus is on you to interpret the wording on the envelope. If it’s addressed to “The Smith Family” or if the names of the children are listed individually on the inner envelope, you are free to bring the rugrats. If not, splurge for a babysitter.
  5. Bring a large gift to the wedding: The last thing the bride and groom — and their families — need to worry about at the end of the reception is figuring out how to fit all their gifts in the car. Save them the trouble by shipping yours directly to their home.
  6. Change your seat: Some guests sift through the seating cards to find out who is sitting where. Figuring out a seating plan is difficult enough having to deal with musical chairs (or requests for a change). Stay put.
  7. Drink too much. Weddings are celebrations and many guests get carried away with all the free alcohol. The bridal party doesn’t want to manage your lack of management, or face the embarrassment of a slobbery drunk acting like an imbecile. Watch how much you drink, and if you plan on letting loose, at least arrange for your own transportation.

From The Color Gold To Personalized Cocktails, Here’s What Hot In Weddings For 2016

From the rise of bridal separates to the influx of overflowing bouquets and exotic food trucks, 2015 was a big year for the “big day.” But with spring right around the corner, we can’t help but look forward to the biggest wedding trends for 2016.

 So, what matrimonial must-haves will couples obsess over? Here is a list of trends culled from wedding planners all over the country:

  • Personalized weddings: Recent years have seen brides rush to recreate their version of a royal wedding or something straight off a Pinterest board. But this year it’s clear brides are much more interested in going down the aisle their own way. Couples today want a wedding that showcases who they are, that’s a fun experience for their guests and that won’t look or feel dated.
  • Golden color scheme: Metallics are surprisingly versatile, depending on how and where they are brought into the celebration. They can be elegant, whimsical, ethereal or even very natural.” No matter the venue or theme, designers across the country say rose gold will show up on everything from rings to table linens. Even the food and drink get in on the trend, with shiny blush icings on desserts and rose-hued cocktails. One metallic that is on the wane, however, is silver.
  • Flower power: The right mix of style and simplicity will be the cornerstone of fabulous wedding floral arrangements this year. Arrangements that feature both seasonal flowers and whatever grows locally are gaining traction. Wild, free-form bouquets and  centerpieces often include a mix of big and small blossoms in more than one color, and might use spiky flowers as exclamation points.
  • Remain seated: Couples are moving away from a reception layout based on large round tables, which has a tendency to feel too much like a conference event, and are instead opting for either very long, rectangular tables or a mix of long tables surrounded by smaller square and round tables ― all for a more intimate vibe. And lounge areas, complete with comfortable seating options, will remain a crucial part of the cocktail and after-party hours.
  • We’ll drink to that: What better way to give your guests a glimpse of who you are than by serving them your favorite libations? The trend of his-and-her cocktails is not only easier on the budget (no more guesstimating for an open bar) but it’s an instant conversation starter. As far as wine goes, rosé is fast becoming a mainstay at weddings. Couples are including it in the wine selection at dinner, serving rosé champagne for toasts or offering a variety of rosés from different regions as a sampling during the cocktail hour.
  • On a roll: Food stations that were all the rage even up to last year have conceded to the classic sit-down dinner. But that doesn’t mean guests are stuck in their seats. To keep things interesting, caterers are bringing back gueridon service, where servers arrive at the dinner table with a cart filled with all the makings for customizable appetizers and desserts ― everything from Caesar salads, pastas and tartares to gelato, doughnuts and milk-and-cookies.
  • National Park weddings: Rustic brides and grooms are taking their love for the outdoors to a whole new level by having their weddings in a national park (very timely as 2016 is the National Park Service Centennial). National parks are the perfect backdrop for picturesque wedding ceremonies and receptions. Outdoor, back-to-nature weddings will be huge this year, with couples leaving the church to wed in God’s country.