My Top Ten Trends for a London Summer Wedding

One of the best parts of my job is building great relationships with talented suppliers, especially since they often let me into their best secrets! Alongside a Pinterest addiction that borders on the unhealthy, this helps me keep on top of what’s trending right now and what’s coming up for weddings.

So, with a little help from some of my friends, here’s my rundown of the big fashions, styles and inspirations that will make this summer the perfect time to say “I do!”

1. Vintage Opulence

Vintage styling is here to stay, but this year we’re seeing a move from the thrifty make-do-and-mend variety of retro to all out glamour and decadence. Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby might have been a bit messy cinematically, but visually it was a dream. Who didn’t come away dreaming of sumptuous parties and perfect Daisy Buchanan dresses?

It’s not an easy every-day look, but many of the best weddings are heady celebrations of decadence, frivolity and old time glamour. Besides, for a fun London summer wedding, what could be cuter than a flapper style dress to romp around in? When it comes to setting the tone, a period venue does most of the hard work, so you can concentrate on finding that perfect vintage wedding outfit.

For more inspiration, check out our Art Deco Pinterest board for dresses, suits and more.

2. Tickled Pink

Maybe not quite fifty, but expect to see shades of pink a-plenty in this year’s weddings!

New trends for coordinating, rather than matching, bridesmaid dresses mean that each of your favourite ladies can wear something that works for them and suits your theme. From hot magenta to subtle blush, expect a range of blossom colours in flowers, table decorations and more.

I spoke to wedding dress designer extraordinaire Sassi Holford about how she was incorporating this rosy craze into her collection:

“I offer a fabulously romantic ball gown design called “Matilda” that features a bold floral appliqué to the full tulle skirt, in a beautiful shade of antique rose, with a matching silk duchesse satin sash and delicate tulle overlay to the bodice.” – Sassi Holford of Sassi Holford Bridal and The Couture Veil

3. Dramatic veils

Decide you want a veil and you’ll immediately be presented with a dizzying array of choice. Do you opt for a French nest, birdcage, blusher, elbow, fingertip, waltz, floor, chapel or cathedral length drape?

The longer lengths can add an instant sense of drama to the dress and give the illusion of a train (but without the faff of the bustling required for a trained gown). Meanwhile, a tiny birdcage style adds a whole different touch of personality.

Average lengths can be dramatic too. Amplify the look with pretty lace, crystal detail or fancy edging.

Sassi Holford isn’t satisfied with wowing us with her gorgeous dresses. She also has her own couture veil company,, so I asked her for her insights into what’s big in veils this year…

“A lot of brides are choosing to wear the classic, full-length veil on their wedding day. At The Couture Veil, we’ve noticed that a lot more abstract lace appliqué is being chosen to accent the edge of veils –quite often from the fingertip point to give contrast to the sewn edge that might be worn over the face. Our sparkle and pearl edge veils are also proving to be very popular at the moment as well.” – Sassi Holford of Sassi Holford Bridal and The Couture Veil

4. Hair embellishments and accessories

I’m really happy to see veils making a comeback, but they’re not for everyone. The good news is that it’s just as easy to add some drama and flair with the right choice of accessories.

Floral crowns are still everywhere! It’s a really versatile look that does the trick whether you want to exude laid-back boho cool or make a dramatic impression. For those who don’t want to risk wedding day droop (eek!) there are some great imitation ones around which are practically impossible to tell apart from the real thing.

Then again, why compromise – veils topped with a floral crown, what could be prettier? Check out some of our favourite Flower Crowns on Pinterest!

 5. Open back wedding dresses

The way the dress looks from the back isn’t often at the top of a bride’s priorities. But as you spend so much of the ceremony facing away from your guests, why wouldn’t you want a dress that looks stunning from all angles?

More and more brides are moving away from the traditional gown for their wedding day, so the selection of dresses available is becoming more interesting and diverse. There’s now so much variety and all kinds of special and unusual details.

This year I’m already seeing a big rise in the number of backless and open-backed dresses. It’s a “Marmite” style, but if you love it then this summer is the perfect time to embrace the trend!

How daring are you?

You can create a real stir with an open-backed dress, but the look doesn’t have to be too showy. A delicate lace peephole is a pretty and subtle way to incorporate the style into your wedding day outfit.

Here’s what Sassi has to say about open backs and dramatic dressing:

“I love to balance the open back with coverage on the sleeve or to the shoulders and one gown in particular stands out for me -“Elspeth”, from my Savoy Collection. This is an elegant high-neck design that’s made from beaded French lace over silk satin gazaar and features an open back, delicate lace hand appliqué and elegant long sleeves

Brides can be dramatic and traditional at the same time – my current collections feature strong silhouettes that have been designed to make a statement – impressive ball gowns, column skirts that flatter the bride with a fluted hem. Many of the gowns offer coverage on the shoulders and arms as the trend to move away from strapless continues. “Mimi” is a classic example of the dramatic/traditional – it’s a bold ball gown with a full skirt, made from layer upon layer of soft tulle. There’s a delicate micro-sequin buy xanax online no prescription mastercard overlay to the bodice that creates a soft cowl-neckline with just on the shoulder straps… but there’s also a gorgeous V at the back. This dress really does encapsulate modern romance for me.”- Sassi Holford of Sassi Holford Bridal and The Couture Veil

 6. Back to Nature

From an enchanted forest to a botanical orangery, wedding venues with outdoor space provide endless theming opportunities. Who doesn’t love fresh air, bird song and butterflies on a wedding day? Even in the heart of the city, you can find secluded courtyards and gardens. Hidden treasures that offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Open space is gold dust in a city like London, so I’m very proud that our award-winning portfolio boasts a good selection of venues with courtyards, gardens, lawns and outdoor space.

The In & Out is a beautiful setting in the heart of London – Piccadilly Circus is five minutes’ walk away, yet it’s so quiet. The courtyard is full of character with statues, a fountain, bay trees, iron railings, and beautifully lit at night. The versatile setting lends itself to wedding reception drinks and then works well for a buzzy party. It’s such a flexible space too – you don’t need to add much at all for it to provide a gorgeous backdrop but then it works well if you do, for instance the amazing makeover the courtyard received when the In & Out hosted a Mr. Porter fashion show.

7. Homemade Detail

There’s more to handmade than table centrepieces… Take a peep at Pinterest, and you’ll see brides making everything, from their own invitations to their bouquets and even cakes. A little DIY can really set your day apart from the rest, especially during the London summer months when there seems to be a wedding to attend every week. Crafty charm will certainly help to make your guests feel special too. (Taking a little weight off your budget is a great bonus of course!)

Even if you’re not crafty yourself, you’re bound to have a friend or two with skilled fingers. Having a DIY get-together is a lovely way to bond with your guests before the wedding or help make your bridesmaids feel an essential part of the planning. Plus, it’s crazy some of the hidden talents you can uncover!

Don’t forget I’ve put together a quick run-down of five really simple ways to add a little bit of homemade charm to your wedding.

8. Naked Cakes

I’m not a huge fan of fondant and while frosting is yummy, it always seems to be trowelled on like a sugary snowdrift. So the trend for icing-less, “naked”, cakes is one I am very happy to embrace!

Naked cakes can take a bit of getting used to, as they’re so different from the wedding cakes we are accustomed to seeing. But they’re super cute, sometimes very beautiful and certainly on-trend!

The Great British Bake Off had tonnes of us glued to our TVs, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see plenty of couples trying their hand at making their own cake this year, and the naked cake is the ideal way to do it.

“Naked cakes are still extremely popular and likely to remain so throughout 2014. Not only because they have that fresh/rustic/vintage appeal but simply because they are friendlier on the pocket. Normally three tiers of unadulterated sponge adorned with fruit and presented on a cake table covered in fresh flowers/items personal to the bride and groom.” – Abigail Bloom of the Abigail Bloom Cake Company

Naked doesn’t have to mean plain – ombre your layers, chose a show-stopping cake topper, add fresh flowers to perfectly complement your theming, decorate with luscious fruit … the possibilities are endless.

9. Wild flowers

Not just a lovely standalone trend, but one that pairs up beautifully with others – wild flowers are perfect for a wedding that celebrates nature and look amazing on a dessert table displaying a naked cake. Brave brides can embrace their inner hippy, using the real thing in a homemade floral crown.

“My favourite look for a London summer wedding is the delicate wild flowers of scabiosa, cornflower and larkspur arranged in vintage glass jars with scented herb plants in rustic galvanised containers.

“It’s important not to be too set on the type of flower you want, as this can end up being too costly. Trust your florist, and they will advise what’s best. Some types of flowers have a very short growing season, which our lovely British weather can play havoc with. Besides, with wild flowers, the whole idea is to let nature decide!

“Wild flowers can be very challenging – their delicate nature means they must be conditioned properly and on a hot summer’s day they can lose their lustre quickly, so you have to be careful how you use them.” – Sam Davis of Samantha Davis Flowers

10. Food in Focus

Food can make or break a day. Well-fed guests are happy guests, and everyone needs some fuel for dancing.

If you’ve saved some cash with a thrifty naked cake and a range of cute DIY decorations, you might want to invest it right back into your catering. Good food is set to retake its rightful place at the centre of celebrations. With this comes a return to sit down wedding breakfasts and beautiful dinners.

Whatever type of food my clients are leaning towards for their big day, I always feel confident in recommending our venues and chef teams. Whether you choose a Chester Boyd or an Ampersand venue, you can offer your guests the most awesome sit-down meal. Karen Poynter, our Executive Chef for Chester Boyd, is renowned for her fabulous dinners and Ampersand can always be counted on to create wedding menus that are totally scrumptious and super innovative. Of course, both are also dab hands at canapés, bowl food, fork buffets, small plates, barbecues…

Even if you have your heart set on a particular venue, don’t forgot to find out exactly what your catering options will be. Even the most stunning of settings can fall flat when you are stuck nibbling on soggy sandwiches drooping with limp lettuce!

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