• Abigail Saalfrank

2018 Trends, Favorites, and Things to Avoid

Updated: Dec 8, 2019

Obviously as a wedding photographer I have the inside scoop on what is happening in the wedding world, simply because I am a part of so many. Basically waiting for The Knot to realize they should hire me because I know weddings. This is a huge advantage because I get asked so often about what is popular, or do couples do this at their wedding, or what would look best here, and my favorite question what should I avoid? So after a request for a blog post, and after writing a good chunk of these things in emails, here I am. Everything in one blog post to help you as you plan your wedding.

I am going to be talking about trends, favorites and things to avoid. Trends are the things I have seen again and again in 2018, that I think will stick around into 2019, at least I hope. Favorites are my favorite things I have seen this year. Often these are the things I make note of because I want to include them in my wedding, or use to offer brides help when they need help with their direction. You would be surprised how many times I get asked does this photograph well or what is best here? Having a list of favorites can help me guide my brides who need the extra help. Last but not least I will be talking about things to avoid. Obviously as a wedding photographer I have seen trends, or even long standing traditional wedding things that just bog down your wedding day. So here we go!

2018 Trends

1. Real Flowers. Last year I felt that fake flowers were on the rise. Nearly 90% of my weddings included fake flowers, and I totally understood why. You can take your bouquet home and keep it forever, and I think that is really awesome. However this year has been the exact opposite. Real flowers are making real come back and I am so pumped. While many of my brides have chosen beyond gorgeous fake flowers, that were extremely realistic, my heart still belongs to real flowers. Simply because I love the smell of them, and I really love the look.

2. Big Bouquets. This has been the year of massive bouquets and I love it. I can not even begin to tell you how many times I have held a bouquet for a bride and said "this is so dang heavy." But it is soooo worth it. Flowers are a huge part of your day so you might as well go big. Plus it just gives such a dreamy feel to have a big bouquet of flowers.

3. Grey suits! Oh girl do I love a grey suit. It may not be the typical black tux, but grey suits are becoming the norm. Out of my weddings I have shot this year so far 7 weddings have had grey suits. 7 out of 10! Grey suits are the thing this year, and I love it. There is not a single groom or groomsmen that looks bad in a grey suit. It is a modern take on a classic look.

4. Some freaking gorgeous color palettes. This year nearly every wedding I have shot has left me saying this is such a gorgeous color palette, I hope to shot it again. Grey has obviously been a trend, but I have shot a ton of pastels this year, a few jewel tones, and a few bright pops here and there. I swear some day when I get married choosing a color palette will be so hard for me. I have seen Grey and Light Blue twice as well as Grey and Blush, leading me to believe those will be my most popular color palettes this year, but with 9 more wedding this year only time will tell.

5. Smaller bridal parties. Last year nearly every wedding I shot had 14 or more in their bridal party, but this year I have been seeing smaller bridal parties of 4 and 5. While I love bridal parties of all sizes, this is a trend I have been noticing. Either way I always tell me brides to fill their bridal parties with the ones they love, and the people who support them the most, rather that is 4 people or 24. But I really feel small bridal parties are on the rise. There is such an intimacy to them that I love.

6. Purple. The color purple is on the rise this year, maybe because it was the Pantone color of the year. But I have seen a ton of purple and I am not mad at all since purple is my favorite color. It has made its appearance in 6 weddings this year. Hoping it sticks around! I have seen both light and dark and I love it.

7. Dresses with Straps. Typically my year is filled with strapless dresses but that has not been the case this year. I have seen a ton of dresses with straps and sleeves. For brides who are bustier this is fantastic, and for brides who want to add a little something to their dress, sleeves and straps are in. I have noticed that my brides who choose to wear sleeves/straps are all around comfier because they don't have that fight with their dress, and keep pulling it up. So this is something I hope sticks around!

2018 Favorites

1. A grey and light blue palette or a grey, light pink, and purple color palette. Literally have had so many gorgeous color palettes this year that it was really hard to pick. In my requests for this post, someone requested I name my favorite color palette so far from this year so here I am. This year I shot two weddings that included a grey and light blue color palette, the Keuneke Wedding, and the Martin Wedding. Katie went aqua, and Kelsey went more sky blue, but this is one my favorite color palette this year. Kelsey and Katie both chose florals that were a mix of color which popped with their blue and grey color palette and it was gorgeous! Definitely a palette I added to my list of favorites. Another color palette I saw this year that was a favorite of mine was grey, light pink and purple. This is a color palette I saw twice with the Wright Wedding, and the Bultemeier wedding. Both included blush, and lavender, then Ale (Bultemeier wedding) added a maeve and sort of dark lavender to hers as well. This color palette was totally gorgeous with gorgeous florals to match. Brittney (Wright wedding) used lavender as her florals which was the perfect pop of purple for her palette. While both of these are my favorite from this year I have seen so many pretty color palettes this year that I love. Especially grey and purple, and the use of jewel tones. I should say I probably love these color palettes because they are pretty close to my room, and what I gravitate towards. Seriously tho my room is grey, and I have splashes of pink and white. I also tend to love blue tones and use them a lot in my clothing, when I am not wearing black.

2. Gorgeous florals. This year has been the year of gorgeous florals. Seriously go look at my feed it is filled with floral shots. I have had some of the world's prettiest bouquets this year. Florals are such a key part of your wedding and can really make the difference and give that added pop.

3. Dresses with sleeves/straps. This year has been the year of wedding dresses with sleeves/straps and I love it. While I love a good strapless dress I have always known strapless would probably not be my best friend, mainly because I see soooo many brides who fight with them all day constantly pulling them up. So sleeves/straps are on the rise and I am happy.

4. Mismatching bridesmaid's dresses. My favorite thing in the world is mismatching bridesmaids dresses. I have seen this trend in both color and in style, and I love both. Letting your bridesmaids chose their dresses can add an extra step, especially if you are worried about them choosing a dress you wouldn't love, but I think it is worth it. No bride chooses bridesmaids who are all the same height and body type, which means your little 5 foot, size 0 bridesmaid may look amazing in dress A. But your 5'9, size 14 bridesmaid does not. This can cause a difficultly in finding a dress that fits everyone which is the reason I love mismatching bridesmaids dresses style wise. It allows your bridesmaids to choose a dress that they love and flatters them. Now to color wise, I just love this side of it because it is fun, and unique. It is not something I see often, but when I do I love it.

5. Dresses with trains. Trains are huge this year, and this girl is loving it. I love laying out a dress perfectly for a photo and just seeing that beautiful train in all its glory! However I have also seen a ton of brides this year who danced a little too hard and broke their bustle, so make sure you consider a heavier duty bustle if you are going to have a big train!

6.Pink florals. As I said above I have seen a ton of gorgeous florals this year, but the color I see again and again is pink, and I love it. In florals this year light pink has been a dominate color, and if you know me you know I love pale pink flowers so of course this is a favorite from the year.

7. Greenery. This year I have seen greenery in flowers quite a lot and I just have to say it is such a favorite of mine because I love the uniqueness of it. I have had brides with succulents in their bouquets, brides with tons of greenery popping out, and cascading down, and all of it has been gorgeous and I totally love it!

8. Personalization. I have seen a ton of personalization happing this year, and I really want this one to continue because it is a favorite. I shot a wedding for a couple who loved games so they had game pieces thrown into their florals. I shot a wedding for a couple who loved books so they used old books as their centerpieces. I shot a wedding where the couple loved popcorn so they had a popcorn bar at their reception. I shot another wedding where the groomsmen all wore socks of their favorite superhero. Personal touches to your wedding day is what makes it unique and what sets it apart. I love when a couple does something that reflects them, and always.

9. Sunset Photos. I have not shot a single wedding where bride and groom portraits took place during golden hour, which is why I recommend sunset photos. Yes, your photos are gorgeous even when taken at 3pm, but you will not regret getting outside for some of the day's yummiest and prettiest light. Plus more bride and groom portraits! Take 10-15 minutes out of your reception you will be so glad you did.

2018 Things to Avoid

1. Receiving Lines. I know your quests are important and you want to take the chance to say hi to every single one. But this is something I have noticed that can be very uncomfortable and can also cause a huge delay in your day. I noticed at a wedding this year that I was in attendance as the bride and groom worked their way up the aisle to release nearly 400 guests that people were growing restless, uncomfortable and really just wanted to get out of their seats. This is soo awkward was a guest, which I can speak about from a guests perspective. As a photographer's perspective it can take a major chunk out of your timeline. 2 years ago I photographed a wedding that did a similar thing with nearly 300 guests. Due to the church having a service that night we had to be out of the church by 4. The ceremony ended at 3, and they went right into a receiving line releasing aisle by aisle. It took 45 minutes. The bride had wanted all of family, and bridal party photos to take place inside the church as well as part of the bride and groom's portraits. However we only had time for family, and had to move off property for the rest. This caused the bride to not have the backdrop she wanted because we had to be out of the church and off the property. While this was out of my control, I learned from it and when I saw a similar situation happening last year made the bride aware of it. She then skipped half the receiving line because she had no idea how much time it was actually eating up! Say hello to your guests at the reception. Take time after dinner to make your way around to the tables saying hello. It saves you so much stresses. I have had receiving lines at weddings put everyone behind schedule, and it can be so stressful as we all have to play catch up.

2. A non-unplugged ceremony. As a photographer I want to put this section in all caps. I can not tell you how many ceremonies I have been at in my career where someone ruins a shot because they wanted to get a picture on their cellphone. Literally the number is insane. We live in a digital age where people can't even put down their phone for 30 minutes and enjoy your ceremony. This is why you need to make it known that you want a unplugged ceremony. This was a huge trend in 2016 and it started to fade until it was nearly completely gone by 2018, but as a photographer, I will personally thank you, and you will be so glad you did it. I have also known so many photographers who have struggled with the same issue, and have known people (not my brides) who got married and their ceremony photos were ruined with cell phone shots. I tell you some weddings I have to be a ninja to get a shot without a cellphone. It will be done, but it is freaking hard. I have even had weddings where people have stood up in the middle of the ceremony and moved into the aisle blocking me to get their shot. Seriously your wedding photographer will thank you rather it be me or someone else.

3. Anything you don't love. I can not tell you how many brides feel tied to the traditions that they feel they have to do them even though they don't want to. This year I have seen a ton of brides and grooms skip things like the dollar dance, a garter toss, writing your own vows, or the mother son dance simply because they don't want to do them. If you feel weird about your husband going up your dress in front of your family and friends, skip it. You love your fiancé but you don't want to have the pressure of writing personal vows, don't. Don't feel pressured to do something because it is done at other weddings or it is a tradition. If you don't love it or feel comfortable with it, skip it. There is not a single thing you have to do at your wedding, unless you want to.

* To see more from the wedding pictured throughout this post go over to the wedding section of my blog and click The Martin Wedding


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