By Rieva Lesonsky

The wedding industry is in the midst of a transformative year.  And with about 2 million weddings each year in the U.S. relying on a small army of small business wedding   to make it happen, it’s a great time to be involved in this field.

There will be two British royal weddings in 2018—most notably Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s in May, which is expected to boost the UK economy by an estimated $680 million. Bridal designers and wedding planners are undoubtedly eager to see how these events will set the international trends for years to come, as Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding did back in 2011.
Plus, couples are spending more money on weddings than ever before (the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is up to $35,329, yet the average number of guests has decreased, according to The Knot Real Weddings Study). The rustic trends and DIY details that became ubiquitous over most of the last decade are giving way as couples seek to incorporate personalized and unexpected elements.

10 hot wedding trends

Here’s how small businesses can grab their share of this $79 billion industry

1—Top it off: While everyone anticipates what Markle will wear, Middleton’s long-sleeve gown continues to inspire many brides. Silhouettes are becoming more free-spirited though, with many women opting for a 70s’-inspired bell sleeve. And driven by the rise of autumn weddings (90% of the most popular wedding dates in 2018 fall in September and October, according to wedding registry website Zola), many brides continue to look for some type of jacket to wear over their gowns. Although moto jackets are still popular, many designers also showed capes and kimonos in their 2018 collections.

2—Flower power: Ultra violet, the 2018 Pantone color of the year is manifesting itself in the tropical motif that’s trending with bridal bouquets. Last year’s arrangements were all about mixing white blooms with greenery (Pantone’s color of the year for 2017, which is still popular), but in 2018, brides are going with one of two extremes: a single stem, like a large flower or monstera leaf, or a bold, colorful assortment.

3—It’s hip to be square: Geometric designs on stationery and décor speaks to the less traditional aesthetic many couples are taking for their big day. According to the 2018 International Wedding Trend Report, adding art deco and gilded elements like metallic and mirrored accents, particularly in chrome and silver, are just a few ways couples are transforming this trend into a photo-worthy statement.

4—Take a seat: As couples increasingly choose unconventional venues (industrial and bohemian spaces are especially en vogue), ceremony seating has evolved as well, with couples bringing in thematic seating like velvet couches, natural wood benches and Moroccan poufs.

5—Black is back…: The bold and edgy color is being brought into aspects of wedding décor that for years has been reserved for neutrals like white and blush. Think: ribbons on wedding dresses invitations, table runners, candles and even cakes.

6—…But for menswear, color is in: Grooms have become more involved in the wedding planning process and they’re also taking more interest in standing out in their own way at the ceremony. Suits and tuxes in black, blue and grey have become mainstays, but dapper dudes are choosing jewel tones like burgundy or dark green, or adding a solid color or patterned shirt underneath.

7—Picture perfect: Gone is the traditional, closed-off photobooth with cheesy props. Instead, floral or geometric backdrops and eye-catching installations are used to incorporate the photobooth into the reception décor.

8—Food frenzy: Food is becoming part of the entertainment with the rise of interactive and themed stations. Guests can enjoy a variety of foods made with the same ingredient (cheese, bacon and truffle oil are popular), build-your-own dishes (like a sushi roll or taco) or watch a chef turn preparation into a performance (by shucking oysters or making fresh guacamole). For dessert, The Knot 2018 Wedding Trends Report predicts more couples will opt for pass-around bite-size treats and wedding cake because bringing dessert to the dance floor keeps the party going.

9—The new center of attention: In 2018, it’s less about what’s on the table as a centerpiece and more about what’s overhead. This ties into people choosing unique venues and decorating the space with their own personalized touch from floor to ceiling. Dangling floral arrangements, balloons, greenery, macramé, lanterns and terrariums will all be popular this year.

10—Texture takes off: As the rustic aesthetic of the last few years subsides, brides are looking to incorporate more patterns, textures and materials into their wedding as well. Expect to see lots of wood, velvet and metal details on everything from the invitations to the table linens.

I’ve highlighted a few pages on where you can find and buy these items for your store or website. But there are so many more on the site, so take some time to explore. And don’t forget to use the new Chrome extension sourcing tool, Source Now. It will make your hunt for wedding merchandise so much faster.