Jenny and Myself made it a mission to help aid photographers in the branding process, to not simply compare themselves to their piers, but ask themselves who they are, but in doing so, understand your market. This isn’t just knowing that your a wedding photographer, and that you want a high end educated, professional, hip, modern bride (sound familiar?), but honestly searching deeper than that. The success of the piers you admire generally have already got a certain type of bride or client that allows them to so successfully achieve their artwork to a “tee”. As Jenny has already mentioned, we may have missed some styles and the cliche generalizations, although we hope that this mini guide will help you understand and if your a client of ours, guide us to the current type of bride you have, and dare we say it, the brides you would love to have and not like to have. In doing so, this will allow us to visually filter the brand for you not only in your style, but also in how your new brand visuals may attract a completely wrong type of bride. So here goes:
Working with wedding photographers and event planners for a couple of years have really given me insight into the fantastical world of weddings, and this time it’s trends that I’ve gotten myself into. Understanding and capitalizing on trends is a great way to gain the attention of potential clients, revive relationships with already loved clients, and maybe even elbow your way into a totally new market.
In reading and pouring through the internet for info on this stuff, it really looks like when it comes to brides there is a wide spectrum of personality and tastes, and while they may overlap (for instance, I could not imagine a vintage wedding without a little DIY, and would be hard pressed to think of a bohemian wedding that would not take place outdoors, but I digress) but the moods and intentions behind each “type” are pretty straight forward.
So without further fluff, the bridal categories!
1. The Classics
You have to start with the classics! I mean it’s where this all began. These, to me are the women who have been dreaming of their wedding like it was straight out of a fairy tale. The quiet drama, the reserved luxuriousness. For me, Classic brides are all about refined details. Never to be confused with “Traditional” (no no, Jenny), those interested in the classic look will really be head first in elegance-– be it with ornate 16th century gilded frames, lush patterns (I always think of florals and stripes together). Simplicity in the ceremony aspect, if you will.
Modern brides seem to enjoy turning the classic take and turning it on its head– maybe not as much as the free spirited bohemians, but there’s definitely room for play when a modern aesthetic comes in. Pops of surprises abound- be it with different tones in a bridal party (which I have to say, I am a fan), a gorgeous white dress with splashes of blue paisley painted on it (it truly was incredible!), or a metallic structure with golden chandeliers. The elegance and reverence for the ceremony is there of course, but it’s definitely taken a back seat to the freshness that personality can breathe into a traditional setting.
Oh luxury, how the wedding industry was made for you. These ladies treat the wedding like it’s prom and sweet 16 and their own personal oscar red carpet walk all in one. If you’re going to do it, do it large, and this is the motto of the luxe bride. The ‘L’ synonyms take the cake here- luxurious, lavishness, lush materials- I always think gold and rich tones of color — think scarlets and eggplants, but there is a lot to be said about texture as well. Rich woods, like mahoganys, rosewood and cherry, and feathers– ooh la LA feathers. Especially the ostrich and peacock variety– take on their own kind of lifestyle when they’re brought in for the visual details. The vintage girls may love their partridge fascinators, but the Luxe girls know that bigger is better, and therefore only fawning ostrich feathers will suffice. Isn’t that right, ladies?
Now is when we turn the page entirely, and move on to the totally individual section of “bohemian”. The next few categories get a little too ‘grey area’ for me to definitely declare one trend as something specific, but suffice it to say that Bohemian brides are more interested in individual tastes and opinions than a classic take on a wedding. Here, I’ve seen everything from strips of fabric hung around the bride + groom to a wedding chuppa being held up like a circus tent- it’s all there; and the point entirely is to create a completely unique experience based on the tastes and history of the couple themselves. To attract this type of bride, I would suggest letting the freak flag fly proudly with bold colors, fun patterns, and totally random unique pairings that make sense to you, even if not to everyone else. Why not? The bohemian’s would certainly understand.
Oh vintage, how I love you so. More recently expressed to mean recent decades aesthetics and stylings, like the 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, 60′s and now 70′s! (yes that’s right. the SEVENTIES are back, folks), but I take vintage to mean everything in the past that isn’t happening tomorrow, or focused on predicting 30 years down the line. Vintage encapsulates the very powerful emotion-tapper called nostalgia, and because of this, the hold on the uber romantics are as close to super glue as you can get. One of the great things about the vintage aesthetic is that you can actually apply it to every single other category, it just depends on HOW it’s applied. For instance, a bride that would normally be considered a classic might bring in her grandmother’s linens/jewelry/china, and this could be a way to bridge the two together. While it may never be overtly kitschy, like wandering down a beloved aisle in your favorite vintage shop, the use and intentions still carries with it emotions from a time passed, and this is what vintage is all about.
This category, to me, is more of a state of mind than it is a trend. Weddings that take place outdoors have a more casual than formal feel– but I’m sure there are brides out there that have definitely mastered the Nature as Formal approach! Beaches, lush tree covered scenes and beautiful rock formations stand out as a very dramatic back drop to your special day, but above all, those who yearn for the outdoors attempt to connect their union with the act of communing with nature. A very peaceful and beautiful notion indeed.
I saved this gem of a category for last because it too has the ability to cross over any and all categories of bride. DIY’ers, either because of budget constraints, artistic talents, or incessant need to control every morsel of a detail in their special day, can range in style almost as much as individuals themselves. I’ve seen people create their own favors, invitations, and the like- but I’ve also seen brides go all incredibly all out (to say the absolute LEAST)– crafting felted flowers, sewing their own dress meticulously with beadwork, creating boardgames out of wooden boxes, to cooking all of the food at the reception–it truly is amazingly wide open. The thing I love most about bringing DIY into the wedding is the amazing personal touch you add to an already very special day. Regardless of the theme, colors, venues or what have you, the ability to bring in elements that you and your family & friends have created for the purpose of celebrating a new step in your life feels almost like a newly created tradition in itself.
So folks, that’s my latest and greatest in regards to the wedding trends of 2011, but I open the conversation to you: How do you react to trends, and perhaps even better than that— what are some things you see starting to really pick up steam?
No one’s better to ask than those who are in the know!
Until next time!
*A VERY special thanks to the girls over at beinspiredpr.com for helping us out with these categories!