Economic woes continue to play a part in today's weddings. Couples are opting for smaller weddings and choosing to spend their money more wisely. According to a recent study from TheWeddingReport.com, brides and grooms are paying for more of the wedding bill themselves (to the tune of $10,000 - $20,000), and they're having more fun with it.
"We are seeing couples move away from formal and traditional type weddings to fun, romantic, simple, casual, and unique weddings with a touch of formal and tradition," the report reads.
Here are more trends forecasted for 2012, as couples scale back, simplify and reflect their personalities.
1. It's a small world.
Couples are keeping a tight rein on guest numbers (under 150), as the overall cost of the wedding is directly affected by how many heads are in attendance.
2. Autumn leads.
While June is the reigning month for marriages, September is a close second, and other months including August and October are on the rise.
3. Rustic and vintage themes.
Rustic themes and vintage touches continue to trend. Kellie Hanley of Orlando, Fla., is planning a "rustic, country chic" wedding this June at the Mead Gardens Amphitheater in Winter Park, and a reception at the local Farmer's Market "to tie in that 'barn' feel we wanted," she says. To pull off the theme, she's opting to do most of the decorating herself.
4. DIY reigns.
"You can do things for so much cheaper yourself!" says Hanley, who relies on sites like Pinterest.com for ideas. She's not alone. Megan Knight, from Coppell, Texas, is taking on most of the wedding day tasks. "Flowers, invitations, website, so far, perhaps even the cake," she says. "We haven't decided if we're going to take on that yet."
5. Tech love.
Today's brides (96% of them according to Weddingwire.com) are planning, shopping and registering online and even incorporating technology into the wedding day itself. Online blogs are providing the inspiration brides are looking for to piece together their day. Hanley's other favorites include Sparkle & Hay, RuffledBlog.com and TheKnot.com.
6. Sweet endings.
Dessert buffets continue to take a bite out of receptions, with nontraditional choices like: square mini-cakes and cupcake tiers or pies, macaroons, Whoopie Pies, cake pops, color-coordinated candy and even ice cream sundae stations or a cookies and milk bar. The dessert choices reflect the whimsical, fun nature of today's weddings.
7. Color me vibrant.
Knight, who describes her upcoming Texas wedding as "laid back" and "casual," is using a formal royal blue theme, and softening it with yellow and white accents. Some of the biggest colors this year are purples and green as well as jewel tones, according to TheWeddingReport.com.
8. Casually groomed.
Much to the relief of grooms everywhere, tuxedo rentals are out and suits and casual wear are in. TheWeddingReport.com states demand for tuxedo rental is down 11% over 2010 numbers (61% to 54% in 2011).
9. Candid cameras.
Formal photos are out and candid shots are in that fit with the look and feel of the wedding day. Demand for photo booths continues to rise as a fun way to capture memories.
10. Non-traditional gifts.
Non-traditional gift registries like CardAvenue.com are popping up, allowing couples to register for gift cards according to their tastes and needs, as research shows that couples are waiting longer to get married (brides are 27 on average, grooms 29).
11. Close to home.
TheWeddingReport.com predicts destination weddings will decline or remain flat in 2012 as couples are sticking close to home for the wedding day. They're also choosing more outdoor and/or all-inclusive locations to simplify their weddings and save money.
12. Staying put.
Not only are couples staying close to home, they're opting to host the ceremony and reception in the same location - again, to save money and simplify. Cindy Vega, who describes her upcoming wedding as "a little nontraditional" and "simple" has chosen Ashton Gardens in her hometown of Houston, Texas, because the on-site chapel and reception hall will allow them to keep the festivities in one location. "It was voted 4 years in a row as the top venue in Houston," she adds.
Weddings expert Cara Davis is the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot and blogs from her home in Orlando, FL, about cheap ways to spend and save at CheapWaysTo.com. For more information, to book a segment, or arrange an interview, email Cara Davis at email@example.com.