Cakes, flowers, dresses and suits: what's trending in summer weddings
While weddings happen all year round in New Zealand, there's definitely a 'season', and despite a sketchy start to the golden weather, that season is well and truly underway.
Local experts in everything wedding-related from decor, flowers and cakes to dresses and suits work tirelessly to assist in Kiwi couples' special days, so who better to tap for what's current in cakes, trending in tableware or sought-after in suiting...
"This season seems to be very different to others," says Fallon King, director at Christchurch's The Little Hire Company.
"Typically you would only work with a few popular style trends, but this season there are so many new or evolved styles coming through that it makes it extra exciting."
King says one of the most popular emerging trends this season are metallics, with gold and rose gold being the most coveted.
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"They add a touch of elegance quite effortlessly and are versatile enough to be added to more wedding styles," she says.
King says the 'rustic' trend continues, but is having something of a sophisticated makeover for the coming season.
"Rustic styling has been really popular in the past few years, but has now evolved into something more elegant. This more glam update keeps everything chic but still incorporates some rustic elements such as mason jars, wood rounds or using bare wooden tables."
Lucy Burke, co-owner of Bay of Plenty event furniture and decor hire company Louisiana Lucy agrees.
"We're seeing a shift from the recently popular 'rustic' wedding to more of a sleek, clean, modern feel.
"Couples are choosing bespoke, custom furniture to build the foundations of their look and theme and finishing with an array of green foliage, matte gold or black cutlery, locally made ceramics and blush toned linens."
Another trend Burke has noticed is couples after a more relaxed atmosphere with their receptions, "mixing up seated tables with bar leaners and rugs on the ground to create a mood where the guests can mingle and good conversations can flow."
Waikato florist Anna Moule of She's Blossomed says foraged, wild and textural elements as well as types of flowers considered 'old-fashioned' are springing up amongst more classic florals and arrangements.
"Texture is really popular right now, steering away from bouquets of the past, which were made up of tightly bound blooms nestled neck to neck," says Moule. "Blooms should be able to move and fall freely as they do in nature."
"Old-fashioned blooms are no longer dated - carnations, hollyhocks, campanula bells, foxgloves and pansies are now sought after and are the perfect elements to set the 2017 bride apart."
Moule says this trend is also encouraging brides to gather and cut stems from their mother's or grandmother's gardens and to keep their wedding flowers New Zealand-grown.
Colour-wise, she says brides are much bolder this season and "are stepping away more and more from pink and white. Bright colours need not to be garish, but toned down, with earthy hues."
Wellington-based florist and stylist Yvette Edwards says hints of peach and blush pink are the most popular colours for summer weddings this year, with lilac and grey a close second.
She too agrees that garden-style blooms and textural elements are making a comeback - "old-fashioned roses, dahlias and less commercial florals - any blousy, frilly or delicate stems with lots of natural texture and shape."
Edwards says these "rambling, tumbling bouquets and table centres are complemented with artisan details for a romantic look."
"For more contemporary styling some are choosing geometric wire shapes, with concrete vessels and lots of green foliage. Foliage is once again in favour, with some couples choosing larger leaves paired with more structural blooms like protea for a more industrial look."
"Larger installations such ceremony arches, floral chandeliers, flower walls and long garlands have also been highly requested this year," says Edwards.
Anna Worthington of Cakes by Anna in Christchurch says although there is still a demand for traditional, white, iced wedding cakes, she's also seeing a much more relaxed approach from her customers when it comes to this part of the wedding day.
"The 'naked' (un-iced) style has been popular for a while now, and is a hit with those who love cake but want to avoid anything overly sweet," she says.
"I'm also making a lot of 'semi-naked' cakes, covered in only a thin layer of icing, which allows the cake to show through.
"Our range of flavours include classic options such as lemon and chocolate, but there's an increase in people choosing flavours that are a little more different, to really wow the guests and leave a lasting impression. Pear, date and salted caramel is a favourite, as well as gin, lime and coconut, and lavender, earl grey and blueberry."
Decoration-wise, Worthington's customers prefer fresh flowers, foliage and fruits - and here too the type of flowers is shifting from classics to wilder, more textural or whimsical choices.
"While roses will always be a popular choice for decoration (and rightly so), there are many other blooms and wildflowers that make for beautiful garnishes. Peonies are a favourite, and jasmine is beautiful and fragrant. Herbs can also be a nice addition to enhance the flavour and perfume of the cake."
In terms of size, Worthington says she has a number of small wedding cakes booked in for 2017, and expects this downsizing trend to grow.
"Just because the cake isn't huge and grand, doesn't mean it can't be beautiful and just as significant."
Designer Juliette Hogan, who offers a full bridal service through her permanent 'Bride + Bridesmaid' collection, says bridal styling is moving into a more modern space for 2017, with clean-lined silhouettes, sequins and modern laces.
"Bridesmaid styling too is becoming much more contemporary - think luxe silk wraps and jumpsuits," says Hogan.
And gone are the days of matchy-matchy one-style-fits-no-one bridesmaid's dresses - Hogan's brides are relaxing the rules, merely matching a colour or fabrication and letting their maids choose a design they each feel comfortable in.
Wellington-based bridal designer Sally Eagle agrees that "everything is becoming more sleek and modern," and that sequins are making a comeback, "in a soft, delicate way that's more refined and romantic."
"With wedding dress trends I'm also seeing a lot of embroidery and appliqué, both fine and delicate, as well as bigger, chunky embroidery detailing," says Eagle.
"Lace is still really popular and I'm finding our brides either want a really soft, fine lace or they go the complete opposite, for a heavy, embroidered lace - no in between.
"Nude-coloured linings under ivory lace is really on-trend too. It allows the pattern of the lace or embroidery to stand out."
Eagle says popular design details include low-cut necklines, open backs, long sleeves (particularly in lace) or cropped bodices with separate skirts.
"The mermaid silhouette is still popular, just less exaggerated; rather a soft, sleek gown fitting over the hips and flowing down in a soft fabric. And the other silhouette I'm seeing is a structured bodice with floaty skirts."
For bridesmaids, Eagle says pastels are back, but in more moody tones such as dusky blues and greys, and that the styles are less fancy and flouncy and more wearable.
"I love that bridesmaid dresses can now really be any style, meaning they can both look good at a wedding and be something that gets worn again in general life. I'm seeing lots of shift-style dresses in chiffon worn with a slip underneath, and long bridesmaids' dresses also seem to be gaining more popularity, with a boho vibe."
Working Style's Chris Dobbs says many grooms who wear suits to work are opting for either more formal or relaxed wedding outfits.
"Depending on the wedding venue, they're opting for dinner suits for a timeless formal approach or selecting more relaxed-looking suits or jacket-trouser combinations," says Dobbs.
With so many New Zealand weddings held outdoors, there's also been a general movement towards softer, light-construction tailored garments.
"We've tailored our suits and jackets with no lining or as half-lined garments and crafted them with less bulk through the chest and shoulder for a more natural look that enables grooms keep their cool in the heat at the same time as looking their best."
Dobbs says grooms are opting for suit cloth in interesting woven textures over bolder, patterned alternatives, and made with components of linen and mohair or pure fine merino. Shirts are often open weaves with spread collars and accessories in grenadine weave or heavy knitted silk.
Suzanne Roff from Rembrandt says 'broken suits' - jackets with separate trousers rather than a matching suit - are an increasingly popular choice, as it provides couples the freedom to build the perfect match for the theme and style of their big day.
Colour-wise, Roff says blue is still a top choice for wedding suits right now, and they are still seeing the inclusion of plenty of florals, "both in the form of printed shirts and silk flowers worn on lapels."