Do Something Different! Infuse your wedding reception with some style!
Congratulations—you researched, did your homework and successfully found and booked the perfect reception site! Stop and give yourself a pat on the back; finding the venue is one of the most important and labor intensive tasks in the planning process. But don't rest for too long! For that special one of a kind wedding reception —one that will be remembered for years to come—it's all about the details. Wow your guests with a little something extra.

Try to create a common chord, using a repeated style, theme or design element that will make a lasting and personal impression on the space. If an idea isn't immediately obvious, start with something you love and go from there. Are hydrangeas your favorite? Build your wedding reception around that bloom. Having a countryside fall wedding? Tie in vibrantly colored leaves and vegetables throughout your reception dÈcor. It can be as simple as your favorite flower or color, or as elaborate as a Mardi Gras-themed extravaganza.

Fortunately—this is the fun part. It's easy to pack your party with that special personalized punch. All it takes is the desire to create something truly distinctive and memorable. To get you started, we've done some research for you and compiled a list of our favorite wedding reception trends popping up at this year's most fabulous parties. Pick and choose what works for you, or simply use this list to stimulate your creative juices.
Signature Drink
Yes, we're tired of the typical bar package too. Try kick-starting your cocktail hour with a signature drink, it's a great way to put a personal stamp on the event. A couple with a shared love of Mexican food who met over margaritas may pass them out during cocktail hour. For a destination wedding in Hawaii, mai tais seem the obvious choice. You can even come up with a creative name for your drink and place a framed copy of the recipe at the bar.
Monograms have dotted the wedding dÈcor and stationery landscape for years. Add a modern twist by creating a wedding logo. Add a graphic design element that reflects your style or theme to your monogram, and infuse it throughout the event, embellishing anything from your stationery to your cake.
Mix and Match
One of our favorite wedding reception trends has in vogue brides abandoning the idea of uniformity—it's as tired as the Macarena. Who says all of your tables have to be round? How about interspersing some oblong tables to add interest to the room? Your centerpieces needn't match either—in fact, we'd rather they didn't. Instead, come up with a few centerpiece themes, and spread them throughout—varying factors such as height, containers or blooms.
Embrace Color—Hot Color Combos
Along those lines—break away from choosing two matching pastel shades and using them in every element of your wedding. Yawn. Color is one of the most important design elements of your wedding—make it interesting. Don't be afraid to pair some shades not typically seen together—think eggplant and turquoise, mango and magenta, baby blue and chocolate brown. Or infuse your wedding reception with varying shades of the same color for an interesting and beautiful effect. On the opposite end of the spectrum—white is always classic and always fresh. The absence of color can make a bold statement. Make it more interesting by varying the shades and textures of white.
Bars, Bars, Bars
One of the most popular wedding reception trends is the station buffet—hot because it encourages mingling and presents ample opportunity for unique and fun menu items. The station, or bar, usually features one item or one course that will lead your guests through a tantalizing culinary journey. Some of our favorites are the Espresso Bar, Mashed Potato Bar, Dessert Bar or Martini Bar.
All in the Family
A great way add a personalized touch your wedding reception and honor your heritage is to use family photos as dÈcor pieces. Gather some beautiful frames and ask for photos from both sides from the family. These can adorn your guest book or cake tables or decorate otherwise empty spaces in the facility.
Creative Place Cards and Table Monikers
Add a little pizzazz to your place and table cards, and they can double as dÈcor or even favors. Place standard place cards in picture frames for guests to keep. Or write on natural elements such as leaves, stones or fruits (have guests pick from a tree or a well!) If you're hosting a down home-style wedding reception, how about jarring some homemade jam and attaching handmade labels?
Memorable Wedding Favors
While often a last minute decision, wedding favors are one of the few things guests will have to take with them to remember your event—so make them count! Some of our favorite ideas:
  • Food as Favors—think almonds, candies, chocolates or special hometown favorites.
       Present each in creative packaging.
  • Floral Favors—present bulbs, blooms or seeds in mini terracotta pots, julep cups or mini canvas bags.
  • Musical Wedding Favors—burn a cd with songs from your wedding or just some of your favorite tunes. If your
       wedding takes place in a location known for a thriving local music scene, fill your cd with songs from
       local artists.
  • Forego the Traditional Wedding Favor—
       give something back and make a charitable donation in your guests' honor.

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