Susquehanna Style

January-February 2009

By Crystal Schreffler

Reprinted with the kind permission of Susquehanna Style
Effortless Elegance

This year's wedding trends are inspired by nature and getting back to the basics.

"Interesting, traditional, and personalized" details are what couples are looking for in their wedding day, influencing the trends of 2009, says Susan Moran of V&M Wedding Concepts in Camp Hill (717.645.5700).

Couples want to be elegant yet comfortable, with an emphasis on being hospitable, adds Moran. Brides are feeling a lot less like they have to do something, instead opting for their own fresh, unique touches on their favorite traditions.

Bridal gowns are following suit with cakes this year and getting back to the basics. "There is definitely a return to simple elegance," says Beth Smith of Renaissance Bridals in York ( With more than 18 years in the industry, the shop has seen many different trends, but some classics like the A-line and strapless "still dominate the racks." This year, delicate and feminine looks are the most popular. "There is also a European influence with beautiful laces," she says, adding that they have an "old world charm."

A new idea for brides is to have two different dresses, one for the ceremony and one for the reception. "That way, brides can have the big gown [for the ceremony] and a trendy and fun, shorter dress for the reception," says Jonnaysa Kirkham, a wedding planner with Planned Perfection in Lancaster (

A special added touch, says Moran, is V&M Wedding Concepts' "bridal gown premiere party." For her own daughter's wedding, Moran threw a bridal tea party where her daughter could "premiere" her gown to the ladies in the family and her friends. "It was my favorite part of the process." For her daughter, who loved to play dress up as a child, Moran adds, "It was a very special moment."

Grooms are embracing taking part in their big days too, ebbing away from the "just tell me where to be and when" notion, getting more involved with the music and planning. For their wedding day look, many grooms are opting for a suit instead of a tuxedo. Not only are they more comfortable, Kirkham adds, "A suit is a good way to go. Groomsmen aren't wasting money on renting a tux, but investing in a suit that they can wear again and again." Plus, suits are available in a variety of colors and can be personalized with colorful neckties, handkerchiefs and boutonnieres to match the wedding theme.

This year, attendant dresses will be "slimmer and sexier," says Amanda Sheronas, director of public relations for retailer Alfred Angelo ( When it comes to color, she adds, "Purple reigns supreme." From azalea to lilac and other shades in between, there's a shade for everyone. (If you aren't sure whether the "berry" online is an exact match to the "berry" you're envisioning, Alfred Angelo now offers color swatch cards online.) Other sharp hues are popular, too. "Colors are interesting this year, with contrasting palettes like navy blue and chartreuse or hot pink and tangerine," says Susan Moran. Brown is still popular, whether in sable shades or dark chocolates, but otherwise it's all about the contrast.

Bridesmaid dresses have really come a long way, with different styles to suit each attendant. Alfred Angelo's Dream in Color Separates offer an interactive section on its website that allows viewers to select from 55 colors, 32 different tops and 13 bottoms. The biggest trend for this year is "short, short, short," says Sheronas. Bridesmaids will be wearing "soft, short, sweet and sassy dresses." Kirkham adds, "It's [also] nice for a dress to be comfortable and possibly able to be worn again."

The days of the photo keychain have gone by the wayside and are being replaced with more personalized, reusable items, or gifts that are just simply delicious. According to Moran, "Couples want to use elegant touches and leave their own mark." Some of the ways brides are doing this is by adding their monograms to tea cookies in the color theme of the wedding. Personalizing local candies like Hershey bars with custom wrappers that can display names or poems is also a sweet touch. "I had a bride who used a poem from her parents' wedding 25 years ago," Moran adds. Wilbur Buds from Wilbur Chocolates in Lititz, housed in cute boxes available from local craft stores, make a nice treat to take home as well.

Charitable donation favors are becoming more popular, too. Letting the guests know that a donation has been made in their honor to a charity held close to the couple bonds the guests to the couple, and the charity benefits as well. For the "green" couple, charities exist that will plant trees in honor of their special day.

The look is all-natural for florals this year. Say goodbye to rhinestones, glitter and other fancy accoutrements. "Flower additions will be more natural, incorporating items like feathers and willow," says Stacia McComsey of Petals & Beans in Strasburg ( Kirkham still sees the use of fruits in large, beautiful vases which incorporates an earthy feeling. But more exotic bright flowers in unusual colors are going to be trendy as well, adds McComsey. Purples and blues are very in vogue for this year, with green still being a hot color. Centerpieces may still be large, depending on the venue, but they will be lower this year, leaving the once-popular tall centerpieces behind. A new way to spice up flowers this year is by changing up the containers, using unique glass vases in different sizes, shapes or colors, says Kirkham.

While the tilted, irregular, colorful cakes were popular last year, simple and traditional are where it's at this year. "It's back to basics," says Cathy Lewars, manager of Oregon Dairy's bakery in Lititz ( "Cakes with simple tone-on-tone color or a color-coordinated fabric ribbon are in style now," says Laurie Dingeldein of Dingeldein's Bakery in New Cumberland (717-770-0466). Stacked cakes in a variety of shapes like round, square and even oval are showing up without the tall pedestal separators. Lewers says many brides are choosing cakes that have different flavors for each tier or rolled fondant instead of buttercream. Like flowers this year, cake colors are much more natural, too. "Green and brown icing is still very popular," adds Dingeldein. She says that browns are not just being paired with green but with other colors as well, like blue or pink.

Couples who want their wedding to reflect their eco-conscious lifestyle choices can now choose from a variety of wedding accessories and ideas. "Green is the way to go," says Jonnaysa Kirkham. According to Kirkham, brides are opting for organic fabrics, recycled materials or double-duty favors like personalized seed packets and little plants.

Some couples are going completely green. This can include wearing a vintage dress or one from a consignment shop. Recycled elements like the paper for the invitations and glass vases are a plus. Seasonal, local ingredients minimize the energy used to bring in the food and serve the reception dinner. Favors like cards that espouse flower seeds can be planted whole to sprout wildflowers and remind guests of your wedding day for seasons to come.

Ultimately, says Moran, "the only limit is taste." So, no matter what choices the bride (or couple) makes, the most important thing is that the wedding reflects who they are and what they want guests to take away from the experience.

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