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By: Kathryn Bechen

“A spiced color palette is nice with silk, paper, and dried flowers mixed in with real flowers and incorporating hard goods are hot this year” according to Claudia Hanlin, co-owner of The Wedding Library, who says her firm is the largest boutique bridal business in New York City. “There’s a trend in using butterflies, little wooden mushrooms, crystals, and other hard goods right now,” she says.
In addition to spice, dark gray combined with earth tones, browns, and white are popular colors this fall for décor, linens, and containers. Hanlin says she is also noticing the incorporation of colorful patterned fabrics, borders being sewn on fabrics, and overlays of beautiful runners for linens, as well as custom embroidery and monograms. “There’s a departure from standard hotel linens,” she says. “Our clients are using lovely napkins and quirky specialty napkins.” She notes that Ikea even has a whole fabric range that is inexpensive and adds some flair.Hanlin says brides are increasingly being influenced by home industry and textile design trends. She also has observed that wedding blogs are also heavily influencing brides and her firm now relies on blogs as sources of inspiration and information on new products. Her favorites include and “There are also some fabulous new chairs on the market,” says Hanlin. “It used to be the choices were a white folding chair or a banquet chair but now there are more options such as clear Lucite chairs which are very modern and different.” She says rental companies will ship all over the U.S. Nahid Farhoud, owner of Wedding Elegance in San Diego, CA, specializes in ethnic weddings such as Indian, Persian, Middle Eastern, Filipino, and Mexican. She says that current ethnic popular colors include white and magenta, and vibrant red and orange, combined with turquoise, and sometimes yellow. “Brides might use orange bridesmaid dresses, red tablecloths with ivory napkins, and yellow and orange and red in the flowers to pull it all together,” she says.
Farhoud says she is seeing exotic flowers for her couples because the colors are very vibrant. Popular ones are calla lilies, Bird of Paradise, plumeria, and orchids. She notes that the trend of using manzanita trees has faded and that her clients are preferring flowers again instead.

“Covering ballroom chairs with self-tying chair covers rather than using a sash is now popular, as are ruffles in the back,” she says. Using Chiavari chairs is also a current favorite with some brides choosing to use chair covers and some choosing to not cover the chairs. “For 2010, brides are going to a cleaner look such as white and ivory with gold or silver, because designs now popular in Europe come later to California,” says Farhoud. April Dawson, head designer and manager of Michael’s Flower Girl in San Diego, says “classic is still strong and alive.” She says her brides have recently been wanting more traditional floral colors such as creams with soft pinks which were out of vogue for a couple of years.

“Couples are also wanting lots of greenery and casual nature-inspired florals,” she says. “Think of going to a vegetable garden or park and turning those plants into something beautiful.” Favorites are succulents and houseplants like Boston Fern and Lamb’s Ear. She also often uses cymbidium orchids, Lady’s Slipper, and miniature calla lilies; and she also favors dendrobium orchids when couples want an elegant yet cost effective look because she says they fit into anyone’s budget. Dawson notes that centerpieces are now a reflection of couples’ personalities. “They are using more hard goods. For instance, I just incorporated two martini glasses filled with half black and half green olives into a centerpiece arrangement,” she says. “And I’m even getting brides who want a beer-themed wedding and their bouquet is made from wheat, barley, and hops.” For fall, think harvest-inspired bouquets made of cattails, gourds, and ferns. “Fiery fall colors include mango, yellow and orange Asiatic lilies, berries, and green and red coffee beans,” she says. She notes that using lots of texture makes a big impact. Brides who are still choosing bright neon colors cannot get enough rhinestones in their bouquets according to Dawson. She says pearls are also still popular and she has also recently been incorporating a lot of colored metallic wires into the neon colored bouquets. She also uses various wraps for the stems such as trying to mimic the back of the dress by using French knots to look like a corset. “In recent years brides have gotten away from wearing their mother’s dress, but they still take parts of her veil or a vintage piece of her jewelry and tuck it into the stems for elegance and to keep family traditions alive,” she says.
Dawson says she is seeing more simplistic linen choices lately where couples are choosing one color vs. five colors with overlays. “Black is very popular for linens, as is white or their wedding color,” she notes. “Hot pink is also popular, but not pale pink.” Using many votive candles on reception tables is huge, says Dawson. “Brides are requesting 7 to 10 votives vs. three from the vendor.” “And large candelabras are popular once again where three years ago I couldn’t rent one,” she says. “They’re trying to get a softer feel and an air of romance and candlelight is a classic way of doing that.”

Dixie Lineberger, Catering Manager for the UCSD Faculty Club, says she has noticed that large floral arrangements on pedestals are popular at receptions right now, as are arches and Chinese lanterns. “Colors vary and have included everything from pastels, to red, to white,” she says. She notes that couples seem to be paying more attention lately to food and beverages than to flowers. Their facility provides linens as part of their service and Lineberger says usually brides choose “simple and traditional” ivory or white table linens and napkins.

Still not sure about your florals, linens, and décor? “Martha Stewart is a huge influence on brides,” says Dawson. “Nine out of ten of mine bring in both her wedding and flower magazines for examples because they consider her the ultimate go-to wedding decor gal.