Wedding Season 2011: Trend Report

It All Comes Down to This: Relax (the Rules) and Have Fun

Chelsea Clinton's beaded-belt wedding dress by Vera Wang is setting a trend. Clinton wed Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, New York, in July 2010.

Photo: Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

So you're a fashionista and you're getting married. You can have a beautiful wedding and show you're in the know in the trend department ... if you get hip to what's in now and make that harmonize with your big day. If you're adventurous and like a little edge, say goodbye to the traditional white dress, matching shoes and formal place cards. Right now, it's all about rocking a bridal "bed-head" hairdo, a pink dress and stuffing yourself with -- yes -- candy! That's so 2011.

The fact that Reese Witherspoon wore a blush gown is going to push this [colored dress] trend even further.

- Allyson Levine, wedding specialist at Bob Gail Special Events

Hair & Makeup -- Keep It Natural

Betsy DiFrancesca, a Los Angeles-based bridal hair and makeup stylist with more than 20 years of experience, has noticed a move away from rigid, formal hairstyles for weddings of late.

"There are very natural, unkempt updos right now, rather than the more traditional, sleek and austere look. I create that textured look using dry shampoo, as it gives a great, piecey effect," DiFrancesca said.

It's not just hair that's gone au naturel either -- makeup is lighter and fresher and more focused on the eyes these days, DiFrancesca continued. "It's a natural look with a nude lip and pretty eyes. Lashes are definitely in. I find my brides go for the individual lashes because they look and feel more natural, and I combine medium and short lashes across the lid for a full but not overdone look."

For eye makeup, DiFrancesca says she likes to subtly emphasize the bride's own attributes. "For example, if a girl has blue eyes, I like to use browns and plum shadows, as it brings out the eye color more. I also use just a little bit of kohl liner -- it's a softer look than a liquid liner. I line lips with a color that's similar to their own color, because pictures are their memory of the day, and they want to look good for the camera, so you don't want lips to fade and look washed out."

Of course, waterproof mascara is a must with emotions running high on the day.

Hair & Makeup -- Keep It Natural

White Dress ... or Pink?

Allyson Levine, a wedding specialist at Bob Gail Special Events, is discreet on the subject of the company's client list but acknowledges that they've done the wedding for one of the members of the Black Eyed Peas and planned events for Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton.

Levine says color is hot for dresses and shoes right now. "A lot of people are moving toward color for their gowns or choosing things like a gray ombre, graduated color. [Designer] Vera Wang is spearheading this trend, in my opinion, and has a ton of different colors available. This is something that really wasn't thought of in the past. The fact that Reese Witherspoon wore a blush gown is going to push this trend even further, and Monique Lhuillier did that for her. Other designers are going to follow suit -- in fact, some already have."

As for shoes, get ready to invest in a fun, colorful pair you really can wear again. "Instead of the white or ivory shoe to match the gown or having the shoe dyed to match the gown exactly, people will now do a super-bright pump for 'something blue' or they'll have a super-bright pink or even a pewter color shoe," Levine said.

As for dress style, gowns are ultra-feminine, with corseted bodices and plenty of embellishment. "A trend we're seeing right now is an over-the-top, Grace Kelly look, like the gowns that Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier and Marchesa are doing," Levine said. "There's a lot of structure and floral accents with dramatic, fairy-tale styles."

If dramatic isn't for you, cute little touches such as belts are also in vogue. "When Chelsea Clinton wore that little beaded Vera Wang belt, a lot of people went off of that for their own weddings," Levine added.

More Fun Than Formal

For the wedding itself, Levine says there's been a move away from stilted formality toward touches that really reflect the couple's personal style.

"The look of DIY is in, meaning a style that appears handmade is trendy right now," Levine said. "Brides and grooms are more aware than ever that you're inviting your guests into your relationship, and you want them to be aware of how you are with each other and what you feel represents your style."

Levine also says that fun, childlike touches are all the rage. "'Whimsical' is a big buzzword in the wedding industry right now. People are really liking dahlia flowers, for example, as they're larger and a little bit more whimsical. People want something quirky and fun that really reflects their style. For example, it's a trend to have candy stations. Now I think people are moving away from traditional favors and doing an interactive favor, so over-the-top candy stations with apothecary jars and tarts and sweets are big. People will get their own cellophane bags with stickers with the couple's name on it and printed cards and thank-you notes. It's way more fun than the old way. People are also doing little chalkboards for the seating chart. It's all about things that are whimsical that remind people of being a kid."

If all that candy wasn't enough to take you back to your youth, try the new afterparty trend. "A lot of couples are doing afterparties following the usual reception," Levine said. "For example, at the wedding we're doing tomorrow night, we're doing three different styles of event after the wedding. At the end of the night, we're changing the whole thing into a nightclub with a DJ.

"I think people are moving toward letting your hair loose at the end of the night. In the old days, the couple would drive off to their honeymoon, but now they really want to party with their guests throughout the night. Even after the father-daughter dance, the cake cutting and dinner, we'll have a separate afterparty -- either in a different room entirely or we'll change up the look of the room and use different lighting. Then we'll serve late-night food like mac 'n' cheese, truffle fries, mini sliders and little ice cream cones."

So 2011 is all about wearing color, messy hair and behaving like kids on the most grown-up day of your life. Sounds like fun to us!

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