THE WATERLILY WEDDINGS JOURNAL

Destination weddings in Ireland and DC/MD USA. Your Irish wedding planner – styling and coordination to die for weddings since 2006. Based in Dublin and Maryland.

Stylist’s Corner | What’s IN for 2023 (and some trends we’re saying goodbye to)

As we move into 2023, our lead stylist and wedding designer Mishy takes a look at what trends will be IN and what we’ll be saying goodbye and in some cases, good riddance to!

in general: keeping it manageable

We’re still seeing a trend towards hosing intimate weddings, and taking advantage of live-streaming the ceremony to those who can’t make the trip for a destination wedding. We’ve done this successfully since 2020 at Waterlily Weddings, so if this is something you’re considering definitely let’s talk. Etiquette-wise, we’ve seen a shift from the “we have to invite everyone” mentality to more so “who can logistically attend and enjoy our destination wedding,” so definitely don’t feel the social or economic pressure to invite 300 people! Keep it honest and manageable with your guest list and focus on the details and activities of your wedding celebration rather than the quantity!

color of the year: viva magenta 

The color palettes for 2023 and frankly going into 2024 continue a trajectory of using a bright accent color to lean into or swinging into super peaceful color tones. If you want to stay on trend, the theme will be to lean in heavy into pinks, especially brighter purple-pinks like magenta, flamingo, sunset pink tones, and hot pinks. In fact, building a color palette with the Pantone Color of the Year for 2023 is quite easy. Offsetting that tone with a soothing silvery-blue color like ether makes for an absolutely stunning color presentation. And one that would work perfectly in any setting, indoors or out, throughout Ireland. I particularly love this color palette I created here because it can easily be adapted to any season: adding in hints of greens and softer pinks, for example, gives me spring vibes where adding in small pops of orange and yellow brings me to autumn. Then see how we can swing the color into jewel tones (also in for 2023) in the color swatch below. Definitely excited to work with viva magenta and this color tone this year!

color: “pretty in pink”

Again, pink will feature very heavily 2023 and into 2024. If the brighter tones of magenta aren’t your style, you’ll be happy to hear peachy-pink tones are very much on trend for 2023. Soft, pink-kissed tones like blush, rose quartz, ballet pink in particular will feature heavily as they invoke an effortlessly romantic vibe, and are great to work in if you’re going for a period or classical style for your wedding day. If you’re looking for a slightly modern take, swing the colors into the soft peach area: pink salt in particular is a perfect shade and will be very popular year-round. Easy to accent, easy to accessorize, you’ll see soft pinks and peaches will be an easy go-to color palette that will look and feel timeless, elegant, and oh so pretty. Our bride Ashna actually worked in pink-peach tones perfectly in her summer wedding;  definitely take a look for more inspiration below and on the blog post!

color: something blue

Blue tones will continue strong into 2023 as a main color and color palette inspiration. We’re seeing blue frankly as “the new white” for weddings, and a range from softer light blue tones to darker navy. In truth there’s a ton of versatility in using blue for your color palette: it can work year-round, is a flattering color to wear, compliments most flower arrangements, and is an easy color to source for accents and decor.

In particular we’ll see an emphasis on natural and softer blue tones in 2023. As stated, we’ll take heavy inspiration from the sea so we’ll see a lot of sea glass blue tones, ocean colors, oyster blue, etc. We’ll also look to the sky and see a lot of sky blue tones as a featured color. A classic color palette below is a great start if you’re considering incorporating blue into your wedding day.

accent: black

Black is the new gold and silver in terms of accents. It’s classic, so elegant, and honestly is the perfect touch to elevate your look. Black as an accent can work with most any color palette. And you don’t need a lot of it to  make an impact. Kacey and Jacob’s wedding is a perfect example of how we can use black here/there to accent. For example, we added black velvet ribbon to the bouquets and it really added that finishing touch tot he green/white color theme. Check out more on the official blog post write up here!

theme: calm / peaceful / serenity

A big theme that continues into 2023 is an emphasis on creating a peaceful, tranquil presentation where everyone can feel relaxed and kick their shoes off to have fun. There are many ways to design a wedding with this theme, from creating the right color palette to finding the right location/venue, food and drinks, and overall presentation. We’ll see symbols of peace and serenity used a lot in 2023:

  • blue, white, sage, calming colors
  • birds, feathers, bird motifs especially doves
  • olive leaves, olive branches and lavender
  • soft petaled flowers, especially in white or pastel tones like poppies, peonies, blossoms (cherry, apple, etc.),
  • seaside accents/motifs like seashells, palm leaves, sand dollars, coral
  • softer linens like cotton, hand-died breezy linens, natural fabrics

The focus of this theme is to make everyone feel at ease, and it’s a theme that would work very well in many parts of Ireland. Definitely reach out if you need some ideas and help – we already have some in our pocket of what would work nicely! For example, take a look at a quick mood board called “Coastal Elegant” that would work beautifully in Ireland!

theme: forest / nature

Still feeling the effects of the covid lockdown era, we’re still seeing a big lean into embracing the outdoors and nature and bringing that into your wedding design in a huge way for 2022. We’re seeing more and more couples opting for an outdoor ceremony when possible, and taking advantage of wonderful natural backdrops for their day. Ireland is spoilt for options, as couples can confidently choose from beaches, cliffs, historic sites, rolling hills, lakes, and even castle and monastery ruins to serve as location for their ceremony. In particular for 2023, we’ll see a big emphasis on garden and forest details for both ceremony and receptions: a lot of holding the ceremony and cocktail hour outdoors, then “bringing the outdoors in” as a theme to decorate the reception.

I’d like personally to see some couples consider a forest as a location for their ceremony, or wooded part of a venue or castle grounds. And there are a lot of wonderful ways we can incorporate forest and garden styles into your reception’s look, from bringing in actual trees to smart centerpiece designs that invoke the vibe without feeling too much like a jungle!

cake: 3D floral motifs and lots of movement

I sense we’re still picking up on the covid-lockdown vibes in the sense that we want subconsciously to feel free, unrestricted. It’s interesting to see in cake design we’re seeing a trend where lots of movement and more acrobatic presentations are starting to take more of a hold. We’re seeing lots of glass and ingenious fondant work sculpting accents to create a sense of movement and expression on the cakes. We’re also starting to see things like invisible layers, suspended cakes presentations that create a subtle contra-point to the classic stacked tier-on-pedestal presentation.

We’re also seeing a big trend again reflecting floral, nature, garden in cakes: specifically, the use of buttercream, fondant/sugar, and real dried or pressed flowers to create a stunning 3dimensional display. Pressed flowers (don’t worry, they’re edible!) are really making a push this year on cakes and stationary. Check out Ashna’s cake below using this technique!

Cakes are a wonderful area we can reflect other details from your wedding day. Another trend is using your wedding dress as inspiration. My-Van’s cake replicated the lace pattern in her dress!

   

flowers: cascade style

A big style trend for florals we’ll see this year is a return to the cascade bouquet and style. Again, we’re tapping I think into that feeling of freedom and movement here. We’ll see bouquets display a cascade style, from smaller posy size bouquets to larger, overflowing, overgrown styled bouquets. We’ll also see a cascade/waterfall effect in the flower centerpieces and decor as well: flower arches, ceremony spaces, even table centerpieces will look and feel much more organic and draw the eye upwards. As a stylist, I’m really excited to play with this floral style and getting really creative — there are so many possibilities and ways we can bring in color and texture to really create an incredible display!

look: the bridesmaids

We’re still seeing a trend for a mix-matched look for the bridal party, but we’ll see a new more confident spin on that for 2023. Instead of a subtle range of color tones, we’ll see bridesmaids embrace more separate color presentations. For example: instead of having 4 bridesmaids in slightly different shades of blue, one will be in rose gold, one in light pink, one in sage green, one in cream to express the overall wedding palette more literally. We’re seeing a trend where brides are more confident to let the bridesmaids stand out a bit more in color that’s in the overall spirit or vibe of the wedding day, rather than creating a controlled look.

We’ll also continue to see embracing a range of fabrics and mixed patterns as a means to express their look as well. Instead of everyone in velvet, for example, we’ll see one bridesmaid in velvet, one in a beaded dress, one in a print, one in chiffon. Here’s a great example from Madeline’s wedding where the bridesmaids mixed patterns and fabrics in keeping with the blue color palette!

look: the groom and groomsmen

For the gents, we’re seeing a continued trend to wear tuxedos for a formal wedding style. This is perfect for a castle or manor house evening celebration in particular.

We’ll also see more embracing of color and and emphasis on personal expression and I’m so excited to see the gents get in on this trend! Specifically, we’ll see grooms opting more for velvet and jacquard blazer styles instead of a suit. I love these in particular for a fall or winter wedding! And we’ll see grooms incorporating bolder colors into their overall looks as well, especially jewel tones. I love a dark emerald green velvet blazer with a tuxedo pant, custom cufflinks, and elegant footwear for example. We’ll see a continued trend for blue and green color tones overall for the men going into 2023, and the classic elegant tuxedo for the formal/classic wedding styles.

Accessories aren’t just for the ladies — we’re seeing the men’s personal style really embracing accessorizing their looks with custom cufflinks, footwear, lapel pins, pocket watches, and more. We’ll also see grooms opting more for a pocket square look, and adding in pops of colors and patterns there. I really love this idea and it’s a great gift for the couple to consider giving to their groomsmen as well: different patterned pocket squares in your wedding color scheme.

look: the bride

The billowy floral style of the Monique Lhuillier bridal collection will continue to inspire and dominate into 2023. In particular: the billow sleeves and full ballgown skirt as well as the deliberate floral pattern which echoes that “pressed flower” style we’ll see echoed in stationary and cake a lot this year. Floral and nature motifs again will be a huge influence and that will carry into bridalwear as well: floral print or accents, floral accents on the veil, floral motifs in lace, big statement floral accent. In general, 2023 will be the ballgown’s moment: this is the time to go big or go home. But a nice contrast is also a classic: a sexy, slinky satin gown reminiscent of old Hollywood glam properly accessorized with full glam hair and makeup will give the ball gown a legit run for its money this year!

For floral, we’re seeing a big trend to a cascade style bouquet. From smaller size to oversized and dramatic, that sense of movement again bringing in that subtle nod to nature will be big for 2023 for bridal bouquets. If such a look isn’t your thing, don’t worry: we’re also seeing a lovely pairing of a small, posy-style bouquet with statement flower in the hair look.

the first and LAST dance

Really love this trend! Gone is the tradition where the couple leaves midway in the reception to head off to the honeymoon. This is particularly moot for a destination wedding. We’re seeing a trend where couples are specifically coordinating a First Dance together and also a Last Dance – picking a meaningful song to dance together at the end of the night to close the evening out. Really love this, as depending on how your day is scheduled, that may be a wonderful special moment for the two of you to share together with a bit more privacy.

special touches & spectacle vendors

The reception is a time to celebrate! We’re seeing a trend away from predictable dinner schedules, uncomfortable speeches, and eye-gawking first dances. Rather, we’re seeing a huge shift to make it feel more like what it is: a party! Couples are getting more and more creative bringing in décor, special touches, and vendors to perform to help create the environment for their guests to have fun. We’ll see a continued trend with things like fortunate tellers, professional dancers, musical performances, fireworks, circus performers, fire breathers, live artists who are painting or sketching, and more. We’ve had tremendous success in Ireland securing professional Irish dancers and musicians for one example.

We’ve also seen and I highly encourage couples to engage any cultural or ethnic traditions into their day! We’ve incorporated some wonderful displays and cultural traditions in our clients’ weddings in 2022 and are super excited to continue that into 2023! Take for example Amanda and Conor’s surprise Chinese dragon dance!

 

what’s out: saying goodbye to these in 2023

Floral Boutonnieres / Button Holes: we’re seeing more and more grooms and groomsmen instead opting for pocket squares

Couples Getting Ready Apart: more and more couples are preferring to actually spend their wedding morning getting ready together! We’ll see a trend in photography where couples are starting the day together and getting ready together rather than apart.

Uniform Bridal Party Looks: especially with bridesmaids, we’re going away from everyone wearing the same color and same dress style

Champagne Walls and Complicated Escort Card Displays: a great example of sounds good on paper, and fails in execution! Champagne walls looks great but often end up tasting badly by the time everyone finds their glass. More and more, guests want to spend that cocktail hour actually talking, taking in the scenery, nibbling and drinking — take away the complicated displays and communicate their seating arrangement cleanly and easily!

Strict Traditional Rules: we’re seeing bridal parties on both sides of the aisle — no more bridesmaids and groomsmen! Yes! The couple are choosing to have their dearest friends, no matter what gender, flanking their side. We’re seeing both parents and and grandparents walk the bride down the aisle – not just her dad. No more pressure for things like first dance, Father-of-Bride & Bride dance, and thank goodness no more garter tosses!

First Looks: instead of adding that into the day, more and more couples are looking to book a separate portrait session together the day or two before – it’s a great way to get a hair and makeup trial in, take out the time pressure on the day, and explore even more great locations in Ireland to take advantage of for your gallery. Definitely recommend this!

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