Weddings are becoming less of an event and more of an experience, says Jane Foster, catering sales manager and wedding coordinator at Stowe Mountain Resort.

“A switch to a full vibe,” rather than just a color palette or a few key decorative elements is what Foster sees.

“It’s about the whole feel of the event,” she said. “How every detail works together. … You’re no longer just going to a wedding. It’s an experience the whole time.”

Foster says that, for the past few years, she’s seen a lot of blush, ivory and other “light and airy tones.”

“It’s colors for springtime, throughout the whole year,” she said.

These days, though, Foster’s brides and grooms are part of a collective shift to a “more dramatic” feel, replete with deeper reds, dark purple, dark greenery and even a splash or two of black.

Foster says the dark, dramatic tones subconsciously envelop guests in a luxurious experience, spirited away to a new place for the evening, and the colors are complemented by the texture of the event. Soft, rich, tactile materials such as velvet, in deep jewel tones, inspire the feeling of opulence.

Fabric trended toward “glimmer and shine, that sequined look,” Foster said, but now, lavish texture contributes to “that feeling of the total event.”

“Warmth, comfort and luxury” are the buzzwords Foster said she’s hearing.

The trend toward silver and gold metallic accents is a solid counterpoint to the luxe jewel tones favored by modern couples.

One caveat: According to Foster, “rose gold’s moment is kind of on the out.”

Foster is seeing metallic tones featured on pieces like cutlery and runners, as well as the geometric prisms commonly associated with hipsters and, yes, millennials.

Succulents, though, are “not staying with us for 2018,” Foster predicted. Instead, ivy and verdant greenery are taking center stage, not least because they can be easily formed into sculptures, such as sumptuous arches, but more on that in a bit.

Not so into the dark, extravagant depths of the trend toward dramatic weddings? That’s OK — a counter-trend toward Bohemian events is beginning to emerge, too, Foster said.

Those cloth owls that used to hang in your grandmother’s parlor? Give those a mental update, because macramé accents are coming back. Foster says she sees them in runners, backdrops and even as a fun decorative option for photo booths.

“While barn weddings will always be prevalent,” especially in Vermont, Foster said she’s seeing an overall shift toward “Bohemian” events, rather than simply rustic.

To her, that means a focus on stunning vistas, quirky, personalized accents — the more singular, the better — and Instagram-worthy locales.

Back to arches. Foster says she has a finger on the pulse of a few trends in ceremony décor, not least of which involves oversized floral or greenery arches constructed on-site. One particularly memorable arch was a complete circle, and Foster is expecting to hear more requests like it. Needless to say, ceremony décor is veering away from the “traditional square arbor,” Foster said.

“The trend is toward more ornate backdrops,” she said. “The more dramatic, the better.”

When it comes to food, modern couples’ love of the unique and the personalized has spread onto their plates.

“Brides no longer want to come in and pick your chicken, your beef or your fish and call it done,” Foster said, recalling a bride who had black-and-white cookies brought in from a bakery in upstate New York.

Ben & Jerry’s sundae bars continue to be popular, too.

But before you can eat, you have to find your seat, and Foster said that’s one of the biggest wedding trends in 2018 — “totally Instagram-worthy” card tables allowing guests to find their seats.

“It’s their time to shine,” Foster said.

Bailey Hines, a Stowe-based calligraphist who sells her work on Etsy, is also finding a trend toward metallic.

“I’m seeing a lot of neutrals and golds together. Also, ombre is popular, so people are requesting mixes of shades of the same color, for example dark purples, medium purples and light purples all being used randomly instead of one certain color,” Hines said.

Foster said modern couples are looking for the “wow-worthy” wedding they see on Pinterest and Instagram.

Personalized elements are the key to that. She says one couple brought in a pair of skis to be signed by all guests. Another couple, who collected ski maps of all the places they’d skied together, framed a Stowe Mountain Resort ski map and had their guests sign it.

Couples want to take bits and pieces of their lives and work them into their weddings, Foster said.

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