Wedding experts share 12 decor and entertainment trends
By Sara Perez Webber
After the vows, it’s time for the “wows”—when the newlywed couple celebrates their union with friends and family. To help make your wedding receptions in 2024 more memorable than ever, we’ve rounded up 12 ideas from industry experts, who shared fun and interesting trends they’re seeing in décor and entertainment (search the Weddings tab for part one of this article, featuring 13 drinks and desserts trends).
Pops of Color
While neutral colors are still in style for weddings, they “now serve as the undertone, with pops of bright colors making their way back in,” says Chantal Hause, owner of Phoenix-based Fabulous Food Fine Catering and Events. “We are seeing fluorescent fuchsias, violets and oranges in uniquely shaped arrangements and vases.” Not only are the colors bolder, notes Hause, so are the designs: “Cascading florals and stalagmite arches are trending now and help to elevate more than just the ceremony.”
Vibrant coral, bold yellow and electric blue are trending colors, says Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and owner of Bridal Bliss in Portland, Oregon. “These colors aren’t seen all throughout an event, but rather, they are used as a contrast in one portion of the event, whether it be the tablescapes, wedding party attire or even the dessert! Paired with the classic palette of white, green and black, we love how these colors bring energy and a sense of joy to a celebration.”
Menus, place cards, seating charts and other stationery are being designed to “pop” against more neutral table linens, says Kelley Nudo, director of operations and client relations for Momental Designs. “Gold, pink, blue and green are the most requested colors, which is a departure from the neutral wedding trends we saw just a few years ago,” says Nudo. “Our pet-loving clients will use their table stationery to pay homage to their furry family members.” Designs selected for the wedding invitations will often carry through to the reception stationery, and menus are often placed at each seat rather than having a single menu for the table that might be overlooked.
Pretty in Pink
One color that’s especially popping right now is pink. “Thanks to the Barbie movie, we have seen a huge resurgence in popularity with pink flowers,” says Joan Wyndrum, founder and owner of Blooms By The Box, who notes the growing trend of vibrant magentas, deep purples, pastel hues, warm peaches and reds in floral arrangements. “There is a high demand for pink flowers at wedding receptions, such as roses, pink peonies, red dahlias and gerbera daisies, and we believe it will continue into 2024.”
Adding an organic vibe is trendy, too—as well as cost-effective. “We are seeing an increase in the use of greenery, garlands and wreaths,” says Blooms By The Box’s Wyndrum, pointing to the popularity of eucalyptus, Israeli ruscus, salal, explosion grass and olive branches.
Fun, Frugal Florals
More couples are thinking outside the box when it comes to floral arrangements, seeking to save money and prevent waste. “I am loving some of the ideas I’m seeing in my alternative markets, where we get back to some basics,” says Jen Sulak, owner of Dallas-based Weirdo Weddings. “They are using many live plants and floral arrangements from their own gardens for their reception setups. I had a themed wedding use teacups with succulents and plant cuttings to give away as favors to friends and family.”
Wooden and paper flowers are trending, says Hannah Friedenbach, sales manager for St. Louis-based Culinary Canvas. “You can take a unique approach in mixing textures with paper flowers, like a few petals with the lyrics of your first dance song in your bouquet or creating a hanging flower canopy for a dreamy draping effect,” she says. Another trend—faux florals—are a cost-effective option for couples: “You can often achieve the same look as live florals, plus you can mix them in with your arrangements’ greenery (eucalyptus, ivy, ferns, etc.).”
Couples are making thoughtful, eco-friendly choices in other ways, says Bridal Bliss’ Sheils: “This may include estate jewelry, printing invitations on upcycled materials, charity-based registries, hiring caterers that utilize local purveyors and vendors that give back. As we have seen a rise in couples that are focused on their footprint, we encourage choosing a venue and team that are like-minded and who also find ways to lessen their impact and give back to the community.”
Bold Flower Arrangements
On the other end of the spectrum, many couples are still going big when it comes to their florals. “A must-have for the coming year is the use of high-impact flowers,” says Bridal Bliss’ Sheils. “Gone are the days of small vases scattered along dinner tables. Instead, opt for ceiling installations, texture, raised centerpieces and an overall increase in scale.”
Guests are being sent home with memorable, personalized favors. In its table settings, Scarlet Rose Events, based in Austin, Texas, highlights texture, pattern and a mixture of unique elements, like handmade candles and custom linens. “One of our favorite details by far has been hand-painted taper candles [by MJ Tablescapes] with guests’ names on them to act as place cards,” says Katy Padilla, founder.
Place cards for Momental Designs clients have included “a lovely little box of sweets with a tag with each guest’s name, which really adds some fun to the table,” says Nudo. “Some couples will have the menus custom-printed with the guests’ names, so it is really one piece serving the purpose of two, which will help save on the wedding budget.”
A client of Weirdo Weddings recently used loose-leaf teas as guest favors. “Attendees could mix their own tea blends, and take them home to use and brew,” says Sulak. “They called it ‘Confe-Tea’—a cute play on confetti!”
A dramatic design choice, 3D projection “is helping to transform spaces into never-before-seen worlds for guests to explore,” says Wendy Kidd, owner of Dallas-based Each & Every Detail. “Some venues are now including this option, creating their space with large blank walls, where they can project the perfect scene for the discerning couple.”
It’s an age-old wedding reception question—DJ or live band? Today’s answer? Both! Mary Angelini, owner of Key Moment Films, based in Palm Beach, Florida, notes the growing popularity of fusion bands. “These bands are a mix of a DJ with one to three live musicians,” says Angelini. “When combined, they create a dynamic sound and energy that can’t be replicated with recorded music alone.”
In fact, a DJ with live musician accompaniment is one of the top trends for weddings going into 2024, says Eric Cheroske, owner of Got You Covered Entertainment in Phoenix. “The musician or musicians play along with what our DJ is mixing on the dance floor,” says Cheroske, adding that saxophone and electric violin players are the most common, though his company has also arranged for a trumpet, trombone and sax trio, electric guitarists and even drummers to accompany the recorded tracks.
To add extra flare to their receptions, couples are turning to cold spark machines—safe, nonflammable pyrotechnics. “They can be used throughout the night and are most commonly used for the grand entrance, first dance and send-off,” says Got You Covered Entertainment’s Cheroske. “They can also be used to hype the crowd on the dance floor!”
Food-safe dessert sparklers are another popular choice. “We see desserts and late-night snacks passed across the dance floor with sparklers as a surprise for the guests,” says Key Moment Films’ Angelini. “It helps re-hype the party and gives the late-night partiers a chance to replenish their energies.”
More couples are looking to add live entertainment options to their receptions, says Each & Every Detail’s Kidd, such as aerial dancers above grand entryways or the dance floor. “They are also bringing in dancers in LED costumes, disco ball costumes or costumes themed to the décor of their event,” says Kidd. “Live statues are popular for cocktail hours and beverage stations, with live models becoming part of the décor.”
Clients of Weirdo Weddings are embracing fire jugglers and fire-dancing groups, while Got You Covered Entertainment notes the increased popularity of watercolor artists on site, painting portraits of the guests.