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The past is back, local is chic and DIY is de rigueur

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Open hearts

The most striking overall trend for 2011 weddings is a deep sense of personalization.

The wedding adage says, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

The 2011 wedding couple is mixing it up according to their personal style. A more modern phrase might say, “Something natural, something charitable, something local, something DIY.”

The most striking overall trend for 2011 weddings is a deep sense of personalization. Gone are cookie-cutter weddings. Today’s couples are seeking ways to put their own imprint on the biggest party that they will probably ever host — their wedding day. 

Brides and grooms are equally involved in the vision, the priorities and the budgeting. That is a good foundation for the ultimate result of their wedding — a marriage!

The phrase I hear most from my mostly destination wedding clients to describe the look and feel of their intended wedding is “rustic-chic.” The weather is hard to predict, but outdoor weddings are a huge trend for 2011 because a party in the outdoors is different, fun and relaxing, and no one knows how to host an outdoor wedding better than Vermonters. The abundance of natural beauty in the landscapes and backdrops, the vast array of exciting and dramatic venues, and top-of-the-line wedding professionals who are experts with details and creativity — it is no wonder Vermont has become the third most popular destination wedding state in the continental U.S.

Honoring rich cultural traditions and history from their families’ past, couples are embracing “something old” with open hearts. The past is back, with vintage inspirations and antique family heirlooms helping to create a wedding atmosphere of nostalgic romance and continuity — vintage Gatsby-style cars, fascinators, long gloves, old silver teapots, mercury glass, wedding photos from your grandparents’ wedding, rosemary sprigs (the symbol of remembrance and fidelity) on the tabletops, an heirloom brooch or handkerchief tucked into the bridal bouquet. And then there are pearls, pearls and more pearls.

Something new? A major trend at wedding receptions is mixing the shapes and sizes of tables. It’s one of the easiest ways to switch things up at a wedding and create interest and architecture. 

The days of simply setting round tables are pretty much over. Now, the preferred tables are long and elegant, emphasizing the decorations but recalling other times, when long tables were part of homemade family celebrations. Have a triangular table, raise some up, and throw in different types of chairs and stools that complement each other. 

Something borrowed — the choices are still endless here. But something blue, this has taken on a whole new meaning. Confident 2011 brides are taking their first steps into marriage proudly sporting 4-inch-high cobalt blue stilettos by designers such as Manolo Blahnik and Badgley Mischka. Goodbye, white peau de soie. Hello, stunning blue!

Something natural — hay bales as ceremony seating and to accent homemade directional signs, birch branches, platters, arbors and chuppahs, twigs, seeds, pods, fruits and vegetables as centerpieces and escort-card holders. Recycled mason jars, milk bottles, tin tea cans, glassware and china are also popular this year.

Something charitable — Planning couples are slowly recovering from a negative economic atmosphere that took the focus off over-the-top extravagance. More and more couples are incorporating a charitable element into their big day as individual guest-favor announcements. That’s a wonderful way to celebrate the love the couple shares by sprinkling some of that love out to others by doing good.

Something local — Local is the new organic. Choosing local vendors saves on excessive travel and shrinks carbon footprints. Choosing local organic produce and meats, as well as local seasonal country flowers, supports the nearby economy and reduces waste.

The DIY concept — Do It Yourself is definitely here to stay. It’s one of the biggest 2011 wedding trends, not only from an economical point of view, but also because nothing is more special than handmade elements, made by the bride and groom, that are part of the wedding. From handmade cards, invitations, hand-written notes, hand-crafted signs and decorations to setting up and producing your own photo booth complete with big baskets of props — all these are possible if the couple plans to work on these early in the planning process. 

Other trendy ideas: French-fried frites in paper cones, ever popular s’mores by the campfire, no more fondant on your wedding cake — delicious butter cream and fresh flowers are the order of the day. 

Wedding colors are bright, and pop with excitement and drama to convey a particular mood. Afterparties are huge — set up a cognac bar, put out coffees and cappuccinos, and create lounge-like events. 

And hire a DJ for the nighttime event — brides love the opportunity to change into something sassy for a late night with good friends who will keep the party going. 

Nancy Jeffries-Dwyer owns NJOY Event Planning of Stowe, and is a wedding designer, coordinator and producer.

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