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Wedding trends in brief: colorful and personalized

Photos courtesy of Zillycakes

While no one can say with absolute certainty how many businesses exist in the U.S. to help people with any and every aspect of their weddings, a recent study by theweddingreport.com has surveyed the industry and come up with some astonishing figures. Their January 2011 report says that over half a million businesses exist to ease the many burdens of planning your perfect day—and they spend $2 billion annually on advertising.

Seeking perfection, as we know, can lead to obsession. And obsession leads to the dreaded “bridezilla” syndrome.

Many would prefer a nice, simple wedding, but no matter how simple you go, there are still plenty of issues to consider, including these categories from theweddingreport.com: attire and accessories, make-up and spa treatments, ceremony officiator, entertainment, flowers and decorations, gifts and favors, honeymoon/travel, invitations, jewelry, photography and video, planner/consultant, transportation, and venue and catering.

Locally, wedding season means big business. Consider Zilly Rosen, owner and operator of Zillycakes. Rosen trained as an artist, and her cakes are literally works of art. I asked her what trends she’s seen in the industry over the years.

“Customizing your cake with individual design has become huge,” Rosen says. “I was married ten years ago; then that choice wasn’t really part of the vernacular. You looked at magazines and picked something that you liked.

“People are seeking to individualize where they can, especially in their announcements and invitations. If you have an interesting design, the invitation itself becomes an art object. Then they may choose to base the cake on a similar design for continuity; even if their guests don’t notice it, they feel more connected.”

As far as design, says Rosen, she finds that people want something unique, often bright or incorporating trendier colors. “Five years ago, things were all white, very clean,” she says. “Now, there are brighter colors coming out. Color is a great mood-setter and way to express yourself. It has to be done well, and [thoughtfully], though. If you have color all over the place, it can be messy and garish. But done right, it can become a great conversation piece. There are also less frills than there used to be—things are cleaner, more striking. They tend to look more modern.”

“For many people,” she concludes, “the planning, being part of the creative process and bringing all the elements together is as much fun and as important as the wedding itself. I try to help them find ways to bring that in to the cake.”

Event planner Therese Forton-Barnes (events2atee.com) concurs that people desire unique and personal aspects to their weddings. One trend she’s seen is thematic incorporations of elements of the bride and groom’s heritage.

Forton-Barnes also notes that she’s seen drastic change in the choices of table linens and furniture available for rental. “Linens have taken on a whole new meaning; there is such a huge choice out there right now,” she says. “Even five years ago, it was hard to find special choices; now, it’s fascinating—some of them now are almost murals or artworks. [Designer Linda Pollack’s specialty linen rental business] Your Table Is Waiting is one that I work with locally; she was one of the first ones to specialize in this.”

In keeping with Rosen’s admonition about color done well, Forton-Barnes says that you can’t always do everything, and do it properly. “Brides that I work with do want to make a statement, not necessarily over the top or expensive, but unique. I’ll suggest that they don’t do X, Y, and Z, just do X and do it really well—keep everything else simple.”

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