Going Green with Your Wedding Plans

Planning a wedding that is both elegant and eco-friendly might seem like a challenge, but with the right ideas and strategies, you can create a celebration that leaves a positive impact on the planet without sacrificing style.  From choosing ethical attire made from sustainable materials to carbon offsetting, there are a variety of ways to align your nuptials with environmental values. Read on to kickstart your ideas as you create ways to blend beauty and responsibility in a meaningful celebration!


Ethical and Sustainable Wedding Attire

Consider materials like organic cotton, bamboo, or Tencel when selecting your apparel. Brands specializing in ethical fashion often offer stylish and elegant options. Renting attire is another excellent way to reduce waste, as is choosing a vintage or pre-loved outfit, which can also lend a unique touch to Your Special Day.

 

Digital Invitations

Digital invitations are an increasingly popular and eco-friendly alternative to traditional paper invites, offering a blend of convenience and style. Free or inexpensive online tools are available for creating stunning invitations with a user-friendly maker that allows you to add a personal touch and craft designs that perfectly match your wedding theme. Not only will you save on paper, but digital invites also simplify the process of managing RSVPs and communicating event details with your guests, making them an ideal choice for modern celebrations.

Check out RainbowWeddingNetwork's personalized Wedding Webpages to get started with a simplified way to collect your RSVP's!
https://www.rainbowweddingnetwork.com/registry

 

House Decorations from the Venue

Many wedding venues offer in-house decorations as part of their packages, which can save you both time and resources. Using the venue’s existing décor reduces the need for additional materials, helping you to lessen your event’s environmental footprint. It also brings a distinctive touch to your celebration, as each venue’s decorations are uniquely suited to spotlight their own special features.

 

Green Centerpieces

Instead of opting for cut florals as table centerpieces during your reception, consider houseplants that you can then give away to your guests after the night ends. They’ll have a wonderful keepsake to remember your celebration!  Tag each plant with a quick online link for specific care, especially if the particular plant is unique such as orchids or succulents.

 

Green Transportation

Transportation to and from the venue can be one of the most significant environmental impacts of your wedding. To minimize this, encourage your guests to use eco-friendly transport options. Suggest carpooling, using public transportation, or even riding bikes for those who are local. Offering a shuttle service from a central location can also reduce the number of individual cars needed.

 

Eco-Friendly Gift Registry Items & Carbon Offsetting Through Donations

Traditional gift registries often include items that, while beautiful, functional or extravagant, aren’t necessarily made with sustainability in mind. You can opt for an eco-friendly registry that focuses on items made from renewable or recycled materials. There are countless stylish and practical options:  bamboo cutlery sets, organic and fair trade certified linens or bathrobes, plant-based meal delivery subscriptions, smart (and customized!) water bottles, solar powered charging stations... You can also include the option for guests to donate to your favorite environmental cause.

Your wedding will inevitably produce carbon emissions, from travel to electricity consumption. Taking responsibility for these emissions can be a meaningful way to reduce your wedding’s environmental impact. Donating to carbon offset programs that support renewable energy or reforestation projects will not only offset your wedding’s footprint but also contribute to a more sustainable future.  Providing your guests a way to donate in lieu of gift items is a way to make this an interactive group project!

 

Sustainable Wedding Cake

The wedding cake is another simple -and delectable!- way to incorporate sustainability without sacrificing elegance. Opt for a bakery that specializes in using organic, locally sourced, or vegan  ingredients. Many bakeries also offer options to reduce waste through minimal packaging and eco-friendly decorations, such as edible flowers and fruits as spotlighted decor.

 

Planning an eco-friendly wedding doesn’t mean compromising on style or elegance. Whether it’s your attire, the invitations, decorations, or even the menu, there are plenty of ways to make sustainable choices that reflect both your values and your aesthetics. By incorporating these or similar elements into your wedding plans, you’re not just celebrating your love; you’re also contributing to a healthier planet. Your wedding day will stand as a beautiful example of how sustainability and elegance can harmoniously coexist.

 

Image courtesy:  Pexels

LGBTQ+ Wedding Trends 2024

Many trends for LGBTQ+ weddings are not necessarily changing in 2024: Priorities such as authenticity, customized details, a commitment to personal style, interactivity and a focus on gathering together purposefully: these continue to be at the heart of LGBTQ+ celebrations.

In fact, when reading through general wedding predictions for the New Year, it seems that the hetero- market is just sort-of catching up with regard to the priorities LGBTQ+ couples have deemed important all along. And those are definitely trending for 2024! -Authenticity, tweaking traditions to retain meaningfulness yet add to the personalized touches, interactive experiences, a focus on gratitude. We've compiled a list of some of these, along with several others, to add to your inspiration as you kick off the New Year and look ahead to your own unique and wonderful Wedding Plans. Welcome 2024!!

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While muted, organic tones and even pastels were more popular in 2023... it's anticipated that in 2024 that we'll see a lot more bold, strong color palettes. Earthy tones are still often preferred: greens, browns, yellows, blues.

Wedding Weekends are certainly still trending, with multiple-day parties with varied activities to help everyone celebrate as a group... But as some time has elapsed since the pandemic quarantine, and the resulting urge to gather in large groups, as 2024 commences many couples are looking ahead to an indulgence in more private moments: streamlined guest counts, couples' experiences a day or two prior to the wedding (massages, brunch for 2 before the rehearsal...) Even Mini-Moons are gaining popularity: a short getaway for the newlyweds just after the wedding... with plans in place for the extended Honeymoon to take place a few months (usu. not more than a year) later.

Smaller, more intimate celebrations with fewer guests have often been more prevalent with the LGBTQ+ community, but since covid "micro weddings" have continued to gain even more popularity. Such events lend themselves to more flexibility, a wider variety of experiences for the couple and their guests, and can be more budget-friendly. Intimate Destination Weddings are also trending for 2024: providing the couple and guests with a multi-day celebration that incorporates a variety of experiences, perhaps to a unique destination, and opportunities to connect with one another through extended quality time.

Lots of themed wedding celebrations are anticipated for the New Year, with retro themes topping the list. 'Groovy' is in again! Fashion & decor are not the only concepts included in the nod to the 60's... less-structured ceremonies and receptions are also definitely trending. -More casual readings during the wedding itself, an inclusion of more personal stories, even less formal attire... as well as a less traditional flow during the reception festivities. It's still suggested that you provide guests with a Program of some kind, simply to help them understand and anticipate what's going to happen throughout your event, so they feel at ease in knowing what to expect.

Not sure about a First Dance?? No problem! 2024 is seeing many couples opt for a delayed First Dance, allowing the party to really get rolling before they entertain guests and spike the romance of the evening with their own special twirl around the dance floor. This is sometimes kicked off with a special toast by your DJ, emcee, officiant, parent or lead attendant, to gather everyone and bring full attention to the magical moment.

Eco-conscious weddings have certainly continued to gain momentum, with couples choosing eco-friendly decor as well as transportation options, locally sourced food, and sustainable practices to reduce their environmental impact. Many couples purposefully choose vegan menu options... check out lightly used apparel for themselves and/or their attendants... explore thrift shops for plateware and repurposed decor items (vases, signage, tables, etc)... lean toward dried or silk floral elements and donate live florals to assisted living facilities or spiritual havens... opt to go digital with announcements, invites, photography, and keepsakes... encourage guests to contribute to specific charitable causes in lieu of gifts

One sure benefit of the effects of the pandemic has been our collective willingness to take advantage of virtual gatherings. Couples with distant or elderly friends and family continue to find innovative ways to offer the option for guests to participate in their celebration through live streaming or virtual meeting software. Add to the fun by considering virtual photo booths and digital guest books: these days there are fun props such as vintage-looking telephones that serve as recording devices, for use with your in-person guests!

Interactive food stations and food trucks have become alternatives in recent years, and food trucks or mobile dessert & beverage carts are still anticipated to feature particularly for summertime weddings, but a return to more traditional sit-down meals is definitely gaining interest for 2024. Indulgent dinners, served homestyle, instilling a sense of nostalgia and a cozy vibe, at longer tables that allow more guests to interact with each other, are definitely popular! Specific menu choices of course vary well beyond the traditional, and often include a modern or eco-friendly spin: fusion cuisine, vegetarian fare, locally-sourced items, etc...

That being said, Creative Food and Beverage Options also continue to be popular this year: themed cocktail bars, food and wine pairings, beverage stations such as coffee bars and creative dessert displays such as pretzel walls, fruit pie cascades, candy stations, smoothie bars & gelato carts.

Mix-and-Match Attendant Attire: This has always been popular with LGBTQ+ brides and grooms... and it's still trending! Inviting your attendants to pick out their own apparel, often based on a particular color palette or theme, provides the opportunity for a cohesive yet personalized look. Ideas to keep in mind: Rainbow theme... Rainbow accessories (sneakers, bouttoineires...)... Suspenders... Vests... Varied hues of one base color... Not all couples choose to have attendants, but if you do, inviting them to pick out their own apparel obviously is a nod to encourage everyone's own self-expression, and ensures that they'll all feel comfortable throughout your entire celebration.

Unique Entertainment continues to be popular this year: aerial performers, strolling magicians, caricature artists, strolling violinists, live bands, dance emcees/line dancing, interactive experiences such as audible guest books, artistic keepsake stations or DIY crafting tables, tabletop games, group bingo and other quiz show type fun for all guests to participate in throughout your reception festivities.
More interactive ideas for your Reception: https://www.rainbowweddingnetwork.com/wedding-tips/unique-interactive-reception-ideas

Many LGBTQ+ couples opt for a Theme Wedding and this year is no exception!
Hot ideas for 2024 include:

Vintage/Retro: Transport your guests to a bygone era! Choose a specific decade for inspiration and incorporate era-appropriate decor, fashion, entertainment, artwork and music. Imagine the roaring twenties with an Art Deco or Great Gatsby-inspired wedding, featuring geometric patterns, gold accents, and flapper-style fashion... or the 1950's with vintage rock & roll, poodle skirts & leather jackets. Don't forget jell-o or pineapple upside down cake for dessert! Or enjoy a nod to the 60's by creating a relaxed, boho-chic atmosphere with elements such as dreamcatchers, wildflower bouquets, mismatched seating, and flowing, natural fabrics.

Fairytale: Fulfill your fairytale dreams with a wedding inspired by your favorite storybook or Disney movie. Incorporate castle-like venues, whimsical decor, and a touch of magic.

Garden/Floral: Bring the beauty of nature into your wedding using lush blooms, greenery, and natural accents such as wood, bamboo, moss, stones & wicker furniture.

Vintage Hollywood/Glam: Capture the elegance and glamour of old Hollywood with a black-tie affair, red carpet entrance, and art deco decor. Bring out the celebrity in all your guests: your photobooth props will be so much fun!

Travel/Adventure: Celebrate your love for adventure by incorporating travel-themed elements. Invite guests to dress for their favorite destination, and decorate using vintage suitcases, passport-style invitations, and centerpieces inspired from a variety of favorite locations around the globe. Consider a menu boasting flavors that are popular with different cultures, or fusion cuisine.

Starry Night/Space: Explore the cosmos with a starry night or space-themed wedding. Let your imagination soar with celestial decor, dark blue and metallic color schemes, and constellation motifs.

Tea Party: Host a charming vintage tea party with proper or quaintly mismatched china, pastel colors, fragrant hanging florals and extended tea service. Mix with a Garden Theme and you've got all the elements for a truly delightful affair!

Medieval/Renaissance: Create a medieval or Renaissance-themed wedding with a castle venue, period-appropriate attire, and rustic, candlelit decor.

Carnival/Fair: Bring the excitement of the carnival or fair to your wedding with colorful tents, carnival games, and classic, whimsical food options such as custom-flavored cotton candy and popcorn. Serving options add to the fun! -Popcorn carts, interactive stations (add your own toppings, mix & match flavors), candy or popcorn tin keepsakes

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No matter the current trends or those anticipated for the year ahead... What's important is that you and your fiancee choose whatever it is for Your Special Day that delights you, represents your own beautiful Love Story, and celebrates this exciting chapter in your lives together. Make the most of all your options! CONGRATULATIONS!

 

 

Wedding Tips from the Pros

Planning a Wedding is quite a process, whether your event is two months away or years in the future... And every insight, every tip & trend, is like gold. Read on for a few simple ideas from a variety of wedding pros, to help your planning move along smoothly!


Choosing Your DJ / Emcee:

As most couples realize, choosing music for your reception is an easy way to add ambience to your event... set the atmosphere... and of course bring flavor and vitality to the party you want to create - whether it is a refined and elegant affair with a string quartet in the background, or an all-out midnight til dawn dance extravaganza with multiple DJs and emcees.

Music is also an easy way to spotlight your own style: choosing with care the First Dance song, adding in to the mix all the sappy love songs that are important to you and your partner. And it's also a way to include a nod to your heritage: planning ahead so that your DJ/emcee can announce references to particular selections, such as kicking off the first notes of a favorite polka by mentioning that your family's roots extend to Eastern Europe.

One of our favorite DJs from In The Mix Event Group (based in Eastern PA), when offering a helpful Planning Tip to couples attending one of our LGBTQ+ Wedding Expos, suggested that you make it a priority not only to provide your wedding DJ with a playlist of your favorite tunes, but that you also spend a good deal of time deciding what songs NOT to include in the mix for your reception... and that you make sure your DJ is well aware of that not-to-play-list. Great tip! Those 'what not to do's' can be, in some cases, the important details that make your Wedding Day that much more personalized and fully enjoyable.

Another of our favorite DJs, Jose with L.E.M. Entertainment (based in Union, NJ), offered this simple but important reminder: There are dozens and dozens of DJs in your area to choose from... and most of them are really talented and enthusiastic and capable of handling your fesitivities. But while there are lots of factors to consider when booking your DJ, such as budget, experience, references, etc... one of your top reasons for choosing a particular DJ should be that you find that you connect with them. Not just professionally, but on some kind of personal level. You want them to really 'get you' and understand the vision you have for your reception. That way, you can rest assured that the DJ you hire can effectively read the room throughout your event, adapt as necessary, and keep that rhythm going in a way that helps bring your vision to life.

In The Mix Event Group
www.ITMEventGroup.com

L.E.M. Entertainment
www.LEMEntertainment.com

 

De-Stressing... and Integrating Playfulness:

Planning a wedding, whether your guest list tops 200 or numbers in the teens, is an intense process! Take time, throughout those weeks and months leading up to Your Special Day, to find ways to de-stress... such as remembering the importance of Date Nights, going out with friends, planning time at the spa, trying a new hair style, indulging in a favorite hobby, or simply pampering yourself with a new book or re-read of a treasured old one. Make it a priority to carve out pockets of time when you can really leave all cares about the wedding aside!

Another idea to keep in mind is finding ways during the planning process to include de-stressors and playful interludes...

Getting crafty is ideal for many people, whether just one of you is interested or both of you enjoy that little indulgence together:

*Pick out elegant or festive rubber stamps and ink, and add simple accents to your paper napkins, programs, menus, keepsake borders, photo mattes, or other paper essentials you plan to include in your celebration. Consider a swooping floral pattern (ivy, a draping stem of flower blossoms) at the top corner of your napkin, program or menu. Add a monogram, emblem or themed graphic such as lovebirds, intersecting hearts or dual totems as a central image stamped in to complete your design.

*Create a Unique Customized Wedding Favor: personalized tic tac toe games... Purchase small fabric bags online in bulk: these should be of a color and style that are easy to write on with a fabric pen. If they are imprinted, be sure the message reads something like 'THANKS!' or 'LOVE is FUN' or customize as you like. Also purchase small wooden hearts: you'll need a lot of them! Once the fabric bags arrive, on the back of each one, draw a simple tic tac toe board with a fabric pen. Make it dark enough so it will last and appear at a glance. You'll need ten hearts for each bag: with an indelible marker, write your first initial on five and your partner's first initial on the other five. Or... paint each one: Choose 2 of your ceremony colors and color five in one color such as red, and five in another color such as black. -Make a bag for each of your guests as a takeaway keepsake!
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/593701163353741409/

 

Floral Must-Do's:

Many floral designers today have commented to us here at RainbowWeddingNetwork that one of their suggestions for couples is to tell them frankly.. and perhaps surprisingly... that it's not necessary for them to think about decorating their entire venue with florals. Even tabletop centerpieces for every flat surface are not needed. However, they tell us, couples are encouraged to keep in mind that a floral display of some kind, centrally placed, is definitely worth consideration. This, in the main entrance, or enhancing the couples' table, or polishing a particular interactive area, is important. It brings in the florals, which for many immediately shouts 'Wedding!' and sets the tone they're wishing for... and a central display of this kind provides a Wow! factor that brings the room together. -Usually more than a fabulous centerpiece, this might include a hanging display of some kind, such as the popular floral 'hoops,' along with nostalgic signage or inspirational message along with your wedding date. Check out a variety of photos online for ideas, and definitely discuss with your florist and wedding planner.

*Be realistic, and honest, about your floral budget. Some couples delay making a plan about including florals... and this is not ideal. It's helpful if you can start having conversations about florals (and other decor) early on in your planning process... and when it comes to live florals, you want to be up front about your budget from the get-go. This simply helps your wedding professionals plan accordingly, and pull together successful ideas that you'll love, without having to scale back later on.


Keeping the Guests in Mind...

It's helpful to keep in mind that while Your Special Day is all about the two of you... it is also about your guests. You want to make their time with you throughout your wedding day a wonderful and enjoyable experience... and create ways for them to support the two of you during this momentous occasion.

Remember, they want to CELEBRATE the two of you. Finding opportunities to share with them highlights about your own love story is an engaging way to make your ceremony personalized and meaningful. You can spotlight details about your own love story through your decor, during interactive wedding games, through emcee announcements and music, and more. Ask your wedding designer and other vendors for suggestions! Here are a few to get you started:

*Fun, Nostalgic Reception Table Placecards: Brainstorm with your fiancee about places (cities, streets, locations) that hold fond memories for each of you, or are an important part of your story as a couple. For instance: "Pine Street Bridge - we walked across this special bridge on our trip to New England, and it was in that moment Ben was sure that Alex was "The One!"" Each Table Marker will spotlight a fond memory, serving as a conversation starter and simply a joyful little addition for all the guests who join your celebration. To make the Table Markers, search online for ideas using cardstock pre-cuts, a photo you took either mounted or framed, or simply make use of mini chalkboard signs. These can be an extremely cost-effective way to add one more personalized accent to Your Special Day!

*Unforgettable Mementos: Post a short prompt alongside your Guest Book, inviting guests not only to sign in but also to record a memory about you as a couple... or note the time and place they met each of you... or the moment in which they realized the two of you were meant for each other. It will be a keepsake you'll enjoy time and again throughout the years ahead!

*The Happy Couple's Trivia or Bingo Game: Provide your Emcee with lively questions about the Newlyweds... Add a unique way to keep track of which table comes up with the correct answers (Bingo cards / decorative tally board up on the stage / A/V screen to post ongoing results / decorative chalkboards as part of each table's centerpiece ...) There are endless variations to this idea but it's an upbeat, casual way to get all your guests involved, and to let them in on some of the lesser known details about you and your partner and your relationship: "Where did we meet for the first time?..." "What are our middle names? Astrological Signs? What will our last name be now that we're married?..." "Where did we go on our first date?..." "Who proposed?..." Games like this are often thought of for Engagement Parties, but they're a fit for many couples' Receptions as well!

*Consider varied centerpieces to spotlight your diverse interests or goals as a couple - Love Travel, Cooking and Classic Movies? Take time throughout the months leading up to your wedding to indulge in retail therapy, and make it a fun scavenger hunt! Seek out various items that match your hobbies and build unique centerpieces to make each table at your reception different and interesting. (Remember, no need to buy new: thrift stores are a fabulous option too!) Travel books, a small globe, a map, faux passports, decoratives such as the Eiffel Tower or a flag of your favorite country, a mini-basket filled with little beach balls and sunny colored "towels..." Cooking books,a canister set as vases (filled of course with florals mixed with kitchen utensils), doilies or stacked kitchen towels, a crystal bowl of sugar cubes... Film reels, a tower of DVDs, mini movie posters on easels or in a frame, an autograph book set for all guests to sign in their most flamboyant style... With each of your hobbies you can easily find fun ways to incorporate trinkets or keepsake items for your guests to take home with them, that match your decor! (Don't forget to check out dollhouse accessories for some unique options, if you need a few extras - everything from tiny kitchenware to seasonal accents)

 

Final Thoughts:

One of our favorite photographers, Danielle Richards (based in Teaneck, NJ), recently exhibited at two of our signature LGBTQ+ Wedding Expos, and wisely reminded our attending couples of the following:

Remember, the most intense part of your wedding should be the planning process... It should be the effort and research you put in to choosing which wedding pros to hire. After all that is done, try your best to relax in to the enjoyment of it all. TRUST the vendors you have taken such care to book, and allow them to work their magic without trying to micro-manage. Not every detail will go to plan on Your Special Day, but that won't matter. Seriously, it really won't! What matters is that you have found each other, and you've made it to this amazing day to celebrate your love. Let that joyful notion carry you. -CONGRATULATIONS!!


Danielle Richards Photography
www.DanielleRichards.com

 

What's New for 2022?? Wedding TRENDS and Planning INSPIRATION!

 
Wedding Trends and The Planning Process are what we make of them... There are no absolutes when it comes to putting together the details of your own unique Special Day. But here are some ideas for what many wedding pros think that 2022 has in store, as far as trends and fresh inspiration!

 

COLORS---

Grey & Organic Green, often accompanied with a hint of Silver or Copper

Romantic Color Palette - soft, subdued (though not necessarily pastel), often with a recurring jeweled accent

Bold & Vibrant - think beach theme... but bringing these hues to any wedding, anywhere! So many couples (and guests!) are eager to let loose and PARTY, that bold colors are definitely trending for 2022!

Pantone Color Of The Year? "The new Pantone color of the year for 2022 is Very Peri (aka Pantone #17-3938). This is a unique blend of red and blue which displays “a carefree confidence and a daring curiosity that animates our creative spirit”." It can be paired easily with crisp white or the shine of sheer black... varied hues of purple... natural greens and organic browns (earth tones)... peach / soft rose are lovely accent color but as a single pairing with Very Peri results in a downplay of the boldness of this Pantone pick.

Personalized - The LGBTQ+ community has always stayed true to authenticity, when it comes to wedding plans... but with so many celebrations having been postponed this past two years... many couples are more committed than ever to personalizing just about everything about their Big Day. From picking just the right date (maybe an anniversary of the first meeting... or a blending of birthdates...) to going beyond diamonds in the wedding jewelry and opting for birthstones or anniversary-based gems... to selecting a themed wedding... and certainly to Wedding Colors. If your partner adores purple and you adore brown - find hues such as lavender and mocha, and make it work! After all, this day is all about the two of you - Enjoy!

 

GOING EASY ON THE FLORALS---

Many couples are getting creative with their decor, and not including as many florals. Sure, bouquets and boutoinneres are still very popular, but for centerpieces and accent decor, many are opting to look beyond the beauty of flowers. Why? Well, there is indeed a shortage of florals anticipated for 2022, and of course supply issues in many areas continue to be a challenge. Also, more and more couples are thinking "green" and choosing to use FABRIC DESIGNS, ARTISTIC LIGHTING, and other display items that are considered to be more environmentally friendly, since they can be rented and easily re-used. That being said, couples who do opt to indulge in floral decor often find ways to donate the pieces after their reception is over - either to family and friends, or to local retirement homes, hospitals, etc.

Other Decor Trends?

*Discretion and Beauty with Florals - finding ways to add polish and finesse to your celebration by using florals, but not over-using. Consider pressed, edible flowers as decoratives on your gorgeous wedding cake or mini-cupcakes... Garnish a signature drink... Wear a floral crown. Giving a visual of flowers throughout your celebration brings them in, without going over the top.

*Water Features - these can be tabletop, electric displays or larger waterfall-like features that adorn pathways or corner areas... Or get creative with vases and other glass accessories filled with colored water, beads and decoratives that suit your theme, bubbles, waterproof lights, floating candles, etc.

*Simplicity & Elegance - this can be easily done! Imagine a bottle of wine or champagne, set as a centerpiece on each of your reception tables, along with all the wine glasses for each guest. Accent with a fabric piece or center linen, and a small strand of beads or battery operated lights. Drape colored tulle or satin over and around to bring it all together... Beautiful, as well as interactive! Other ideas include table centerpieces using goodies for your guests - such as a rustic basket filled with bags of springtime flower seeds, accented of course with your custom wedding label and memorable quote such as "Love is Always in Bloom!" Personalized koozies, coasters, and other small gifts are also options that can be set lovingly in to a bowl or basket as a centerpiece at your reception tables or serving stations. Sparklers or vibrant ribbon wands (for use at the end of the evening) in decorative vases are another simple way to bring a functional, yet appealing polish to your reception decor.

*Connection to Nature - many 2022 wedding designs are inclusive of natural elements. Yes, 'rustic' is still trending, but you don't have to choose that look in order to include Mother Nature in your wedding decor. Unique plants, that accent your theme, and leaf or succulent bouquets.. and options such as tree limbs or tree-inspired decoratives continue to be very popular. Hanging seating cards or small keepsakes from the bough of a tree or naturally created archway are not new for 2022, but remain eye-catching and beautiful. Your floral designer may have exciting options to suggest, such as bark or other leaf decoratives, or dried florals such as pampas grass... that you may find are the perfect fit for your accents. Combining COLORS & TEXTURES... wooden signage... hand crafted woven baskets... pottery / wooden / crafted serving ware... uniquely created gifts for wedding attendants that are made by local artists... these are all popular for this year's celebrations!

 

OR...  NOT GOING EASY ON THE FLORALS---

On the other hand, some couples this year are eager to boldly bring Nature in to their wedding theme. So much so, that turning their event into a garden scene (whether an indoor or outdoor ceremony/reception) is their unwavering vision. Florals often are a big part of that! Hanging florals that make the ceiling seem like a living canopy... multiple floral and naturally created archways... a recurring blend of texture and diverse natural elements... Invite elegance, whimsy and creativity in to your Special Day with a breathtaking design based on florals!

Other Artistic and Theatrical Designs are indeed on the rise for 2022. Ask your wedding designer, your venue's onsite wedding planner, floral artist or other vendors for inspiration and ideas about how your decor can go over the moon! Remember, your vendors truly want to make your day one-of-a-kind, and most of them welcome your inquiries and love to help with suggestions and referrals!

 

THEMED WEDDINGS---

Guests Dressing to Impress - So many of us have felt isolated this past couple of years due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic... And if there's one thing most of us can agree on, it's that we're all soooo past ready to gather together and PARTY!! Play on this enthusiasm, and openly invite your guests to either dress to join in on your wedding theme... or DRESS UP in classically formal attire, or theatrically inspired attire, or go all out with whatever style they may choose. We definitely suggest going all out, and inviting others to do the same!

 

LARGER, MORE INTERACTIVE CELEBRATIONS---

While many LGBTQ+ couples throughout the years have held large wedding celebrations with budgets topping hundreds of thousands of dollars... most couples we have chatted with since the launch of RainbowWeddingNetwork.com (back in March, 2000) have opted for more conservatively priced events. Many visionaries in the wedding industry are telling us that 2022 will bring escalating numbers of larger weddings; however, we're not sure we agree - at least not within our community. What we do agree with, however, is that most LGBTQ+ couples will want to CELEBRATE on a large scale, and definitely include elements that will facilitate authentic interactions and bonding between everyone attending the wedding. We are also seeing extended timeframes for receptions, to make the enjoyment last even longer!

Ideas to promote more Interactivity and Fun??
                 *DANCING, of course! Let there be dancing!!

                 *DANCING with a FACILITATOR, INSTRUCTOR or EMCEE
                                (...prompt everyone to get involved!)

                 *MUSICAL INTROS - Remember to include your heritage and/or interests through music!  Plan ahead with your DJ so that s/he can intro songs or musical pieces, provide backstories, history, etc to accompany what is played.  This simple addition will be a memorable way to invite your guests (even those who don't dance!) to take part with the vibe and entertainment.

                 *CARICATURISTS or WEDDING SKETCH ARTISTS

                 *STROLLING VIOLINIST or GUITARIST (a strolling magician can also add a certain flair, especially if you're having a themed event or if you will have a high number of kids attending your reception!)

                 *ARTISTIC KEEPSAKE STATION/s - such as a serving plate for the Happy Couple, which each guest autographs... or a digital guest book in which everyone not only signs in, but also shares inspriational quotes or images... or a station where guests create their own sand art with rainbow colored sand, as a take-home keepsake for themselves...

                 *WEDDING PINATAS - if you have a lot of children attending your reception, the traditional way to open your Wedding Pinata may suit just fine. Other options however include pulling dual ribbons (as a couple); it makes for aa casual and preliminary intro to the fun of your cake cutting ceremony that will take place later. Remember, kid-oriented candy is not the only thing that can fill a pinata! Consider small keepsakes, rainbow colored lollipops, small sized plastic bottles of liquor. Your Pinata can be custom made, to match your wedding colors and theme!

                  *CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY IDEAS
(such as a few polaroid cameras circulating midst the guests: the spontaneity of a polaroid never goes out of style! ...A large screen that is synced with your wedding keywords, so that guests can upload their chats and photos and broadcast throughout your reception for all to see... Chat with your wedding photographer or photobooth vendor in advance, about fun ways to create photos inclusive of all of your guests, or groups of guests. This can include props, furniture, custom-made signs or other elements, or the natural scenery of your reception decor - get seriously creative!)

 

SIGNATURE DESSERTS & BEVERAGE STATIONS---

Along the lines of promoting interactivity and FUN... varying dessert options and offering beverage stations is not a new idea, but it's certainly trending for 2022. Enjoying the tradition of a wedding cake is still a must-do for most couples; however, multiple desserts is certainly not out of the question!! Fruit pies are a nostalgic treat... offering a Pie Station, or serving small slices after dinner is a lovely way to indulge your guests, and you may be surprised just how many conversations this simple sweet treat can inspire. Cookie tables (a Pittsburgh favorite!!) are also a very special way to allow everyone to nibble throughout your reception, and also share recipes and promote fresh dialogue. Cookies brought in by various guests are an amazingly touching way of blending families! Macaroon Towers are also quite popular, and offer a more sophisticated style to your accent dessert. Signature drinks from your bartender will also be a hit - multi-colored martinis are an easy way to bring in the rainbow theme.... Fruit Stations are a great way to provide kids at the party with some favorite options, so that they have a variety of yummy, healthy choices. Beverage Stations beyond the bar too, are a simple yet lively way to allow guests to pick and choose what they'd like. And varied beverages can fit in so well with different THEMES and SEASONAL WEDDINGS - a hot coffee and cocoa station for a nighttime, outdoor reception... an iced tea and infused water station for a daytime, summer reception... Snow cones? Rainbow frozen treats (sometimes infused with liquor)? An ice cream bar, because "Love is Sweet??" Consider all your options!!

 

GREEN ELEMENTS---

So many in the LGBTQ+ community have been environmentally conscious for years, even decades. That translates, of course, to thinking similarly when planning a wedding... and there are some easy ways to incorporate a sense of "GREEN" into any celebration!

Consider organics, as well as go local whenever possible. Organic farmers, restaurants and chefs, whether for your catering... or for your florals... Just that choice alone can seriously lessen the impact on the environment overall: think how much trucking, gasoline, shipping etc is involved in sending food, florals and other perishables across the country or across the world. And don't be shy to inquire with your decor specialists, wedding planner and other vendors about their own commitment to going local. The more, the better!

Re-use and Recycle. Many brides and grooms of course want their own wedding apparel to be unique and custom made... but sometimes certain apparel for your wedding can be gently used. Consider lightly used apparel for your attendants... (online searches can sometimes yield amazing results!)... or even consider asking your attendants to pick out their own attire - and encourage them to choose something they might wear again to another function or celebration someday. You can certainly specify style and/or color, but let them choose the rest, and it may end up an outfit they'll wear out on the town someday. If you are planning on having children as part of the ceremony, for instance as a ring bearer or flower attendant, gently used formal wear for kids is relatively easy to find online! Oftentimes others have to purchase new for their little one to participate in a wedding, and it is never worn again... so they turn to eBay or another similar platform to try and pass it on. -An easy way for you to not only find ways to save a little cash, but also lessen your celebration's environmental impact.

Fabric or wooden florals? Many of them truly are incredible!! Take a look at some of your options, and remember what great keepsakes these make!

 

DESTINATION EVENTS & LONG WEDDING WEEKENDS---

Thinking of a destination event in an exotic location... where EVERY DETAIL is taken care of for you?? You're not alone! The intimacy, the adventure... PLUS the perk of getting away for a trip even before the wedding ceremony begins! Destination Weddings today often have larger guest counts than in the past, but of course if you're planning to go big then it's suggested to give ample advance notice so that your guests can make appropriate travel arrangements. Smaller events can still be more spur of the moment; however, destination wedding planners today are offering quite an expanded array of amazing opportunities, so be sure to look into this option ahead of time so that you can decide what is right for you and your fiancee, your budget, and the expectations you have for Your Special Day.

Locations? Be sure to do your research, or consult with your travel agent or wedding planner to be sure the location you choose is LGBTQ+ welcoming. And not just for the wedding itself, but for your honeymoon plans after. You want to be sure you can display your affection comfortably as you indulge in outings, meals and all your honeymoon adventures.

Extended Wedding Weekends are also on the rise for 2022. Again, so many of our couples (and guests!) have anticipated gathering together after a long two years... planning an ongoing wedding event over several days might be the perfect way to enjoy your celebration to the fullest! These events can include amazing experiential excursions for you and your attendants and/or many of your guests, whether adventurous (white water rafting, custom jewelry making), fun & upbeat (party bus / citywide tour on a private transport or private bicycle bar, back-to-back reception parties), relaxing (spa day, family picnic), nostalgic (trip to some of the places you and your fiancee frequented while dating: a favorite park, museum, sports stadium, coffeeshop or restaurant...) And keep in mind that relaxed time is important too, to allow everyone the opportunity simply to gather, chat and enjoy celebrating the circle of loved ones you've brought together.

And... remember to look into creating a custom Wedding Map for your extended weekend, to guide and inform guests about all the activities you have planned! These can be adorable keepsakes!

 

GIVING BACK---

Thinking of inviting your guests to contribute to a favorite charity or organization, in lieu of gifts? Many couples are choosing LGBTQ+ resources, and other couples are focusing in on organizations of all kinds, particularly local ones. While non-profits that offer services for people with diverse needs, or animals, or the environment, are all well worth your investments... many are considering local for-profit businesses as well; specifically those hit hard by the pandemic. Small businesses of all kinds, including bookshops, independently owned restaurants, decor/houseware/craft shops, even service oriented small businesses such as spas and salons have all been impacted by ongoing challenges these past two years. With customers in quarantine, or reluctant to go out... and so many consumers turning to online purchases instead of in-store, countless business owners have struggled to keep doors open. So if you are thinking about sharing the love of your celebration by GIVING BACK, consider a broad scope of options when referring family and friends to donate!


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Remember, the journey of the PLANNING PROCESS itself, and YOUR FABULOUS WEDDING DAY, are as unique as you are! There are no rules, nor limits. Gather resources wherever you can find them: from family & friends, inquiring about expanded ideas from your wedding vendors, researching online, browsing planning books, spiritual books, works of literature and other treasures at the bookstore or library... Take time to set aside date nights with your sweetie and simply brainstorm! The planning process itself can be stressful, certainly, but it can also be lively, engaging and fun. You may learn new and wonderful things about each other, as you make plans to celebrate your love. Planning is a special chapter in your lives too, and culminates in that amazing manifestation of the vision of your wedding day becoming a reality. ENJOY!!

 

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