PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle might be the best known couple tying the knot this wedding season but there are plenty more nervously planning their big day.
The forthcoming Royal nuptials will apparently do without a fruit cake, a traditional wedding staple, in favour of spring flavours while the bride will be making her own speech at the reception.
And, according to Natasha Radmehr, editor of Scottish Wedding Directory magazine, more couples are willing to break with tradition.
She said: “Couples putting more personally and individuality into their big day is certainly a big trend.
“They want every aspect to be unique to them, and now every single element of your day can be personalised.”
Here, Natasha helps reveal the top trends for 2018, from painted cakes and food trucks to ring-bearing pets.
In 2018, flowers won’t just be confined to the bouquets and table decorations. With flower walls and chandeliers popular in recent years, wedding designer and florist Jordana Patrick of Jordana Events, in Bothwell, says a burgeoning trend is floral installations.
She said: “Our key trend for floral in 2018 is ‘a mirror’. It’s being used in all of our floral designs, as it reflects all the florals and candles, and maximises the impact by creating the illusion of more flowers being used. It also helps create a crisp clean look to the decor.”
More couples are choosing to make their beloved pet pooch part of their special day.
Many have their dog walk down the aisle, sometimes carrying the wedding rings on their collar or a specially made jacket, and feature in family photos.
And a number of wedding chaperone services for dogs are now available across Scotland.
Trish Hollinger of Woofy Weddings, based in Penicuik, picks up the dog in the morning and walks and grooms it before taking it to the venue.
She’s on hand to ‘dog-sit’ during the wedding and will look after the dog until the next morning.
Trish said: “This service is becoming more popular and I’ve worked with all kinds of dogs, from pugs to labradors.
“Every couple tells me that because their dog is such a big part of their family they want it to be included in some way.”
Harry and Meghan’s choice of a lemon and elderflower cake with buttercream icing reflects a growing trend for couples to be adventurous with their wedding cakes, veering away from the traditional fruit cake slathered in marzipan and fondant.
Natasha said: “It’s actually quite rare now that we’ll feature a fruit cake and when we do it’s often just on one tier. Couples are choosing more unusual flavours.
“Metallic cakes are quite popular and we’re seeing more hand-painted cakes, which look beautiful and can be so creative.
“Another popular option is having a cake table, with a number of different smaller cakes. This is great for making sure all your guests’ tastes – and your own – are catered for.”
The First Look
Another example of couples being prepared to break with tradition is a growing desire for ‘first look’ photos, where the couple meet before the ceremony for a photo opportunity.
Husband and wife wedding photographers Chantal and Scott Gibson specialise in first look photos, a trend that Canadian Chantal first noticed becoming big across the pond.
Chantal said: “Some couples feel really nervous about seeing each other at the altar so this helps to get rid of those nerves. It also creates some really intimate, romantic shots and couples can save that moment just for themselves.
“It also frees up more time for them to spend with guests in the afternoon, as most of the photo session will be done in 30 minutes before the ceremony.
“A lot of couples ask if it takes away from that moment when they set eyes on one another down the aisle but it doesn’t.”
Katharine and Stuart Turnbull
Katharine, 28, and Stuart, 30, from Milton of Campsie, had dreamed of a lochside wedding but their party size and the weather meant it wasn’t to be.
Instead, they decided to brave the rain for a series of “first look” photos before the ceremony at Macdonald Forest Hills Hotel near Kinlochard last July.
Katharine said: “Our photographers Chantal and Scott Gibson had suggested these first look photos by the loch. Stuart was standing by the water and I walked down the grassy bank to meet him.
“It was a really nice and relaxing way to spend time together before the ceremony, and we both love the location.
“That half hour to get your photos taken, chat and admire each other’s outfits without any stress was very special, especially in such a beautiful setting with no one else around.”
When it comes to the meal, offering guests more options from sharing plates and classy buffets to whole hog roasts is high on the menu.
But quirky food trucks and mobile vans are also booming in popularity as a way to not only provide exciting snacks as the day goes on but as a great visual addition to your venue. And they can be a real ‘talking point’ with guests.
Popular companies across Scotland include the Pizza Via mobile wood-fired pizza van, Fizz Buzz, a prosecco bar and The Crema Caravan, which serves crème brûlée “burnt to order”.
There’s a good chance that Meghan Markle will give a speech during her wedding reception and Natasha hopes this trend catches on with Scottish brides.
“While women usually take the lead in planning the day, it’s often just the men who do the speeches,” she said.
“I’d love to see more women get up to talk on the day if they feel comfortable. We’ve seen a few brides do this recently and I think if Meghan Markle makes a speech, it will definitely inspire others.”
Levi and Keith Hoatson
Levi, 25, and Keith, 27, from Bonnyrigg, were married at the Principal Edinburgh on March 24, 2017, in front of friends and family, including Jayjay, their Bichon Frise. Bride Levi said:0 “We’ve had Jayjay for five and a half years since he was a puppy.
“We wanted him to be part of our wedding ceremony because he’s my baby! We’ve no children yet so he’s the closest thing and it made the day even more special.
“The Principal Edinburgh lets dogs stay in the hotel, so they said it was no problem to have Jayjay there for the morning.
“He walked down the aisle with my sister and my nieces and was in all our family pictures. He was on his best behaviour and even had a wee bow tie on. He looked amazing!”
Having a custom-made ring that incorporates meaningful heirloom jewellery is something Glasgow-based jeweller Rosalind Morrison, of Sweet Rosie, identifies as a growing wedding trend.
She said: “I’m often asked to remodel the stone or band belonging to a bride’s relative into a new ring, or incorporate elements of meaningful jewellery a groom has bought his bride over the years.
“People think it can be really expensive but you’re actually saving a lot of money because you often don’t have to buy more gold.
“But it’s usually more about incorporating pieces that have a huge sentimental value into a wedding ring that’s unique and means a lot more to the couple. I get a lot of tears when I hand a ring over!”
While luxury, exotic destinations like the The Bahamas and The Seychelles are still popular, more couples now prefer to add on a ‘mini-moon’, a short break taken soon after the wedding, often taken in Scotland.
Also popular are multi-centre trips that include a short city break – Rome is a favourite – followed by some beach time.
And for those less interested in sun, sea and sand, a top destination for 2018 is Iceland which is ideal for couples keen to climb ice walls or see the Northern Lights.