It’s January, which means all the wedding magazines and blogs are buzzing about hot wedding trends for 2023. Everything from which florals and dresses are in, to the most popular signature drinks and color palettes. (FYI, it’s rust and amber).
And while I’m a sucker for a great color palette, I want to talk about some amazing trends I saw in 2022, which are coming on bigger and better in 2023. Trends which I feel will matter a little more to couples in the long run! And the best news? Many of these 2023 wedding trends won’t increase your wedding budget, in fact some will actually help you save!
According to the Phoenix City Sun Times, the biggest 2023 wedding trend is couples focusing on being true to themselves. And I couldn’t agree more! Hosting a wedding in 2023 is less about planning a lavish party, and more about surrounding yourself with your closest family and friends to celebrate!
Here’s a list of 10 trends to incorporate into your wedding, and plan a more authentic, intimate and individual celebration this year.
It’s no longer necessary to invite your third cousin whom you’ve never met, or your father’s accountant to your wedding! Chances are that they live far away or may have other plans, so you’ll be doing them a favor by leaving them off the guest list so they don’t feel pressure to send you a gift.
Instead, many 2023 couples are inviting their closest 50 – 80 family members and friends to their weddings. Honing your guest list will give you time to spend with each guest during the day, and really enjoy the celebration with them.
Along similar lines, many couples are opting for small wedding parties just like Anne & Kevin, who decided to honor their daughter and son in the roles of maid of honor and best man.
I’m also seeing an increase in mixed wedding parties with male, female and non-binary best friends on both sides of the aisle. And, it’s no longer necessary to have an equal number of attendants on either side, so focus your wedding party around the people who matter, not on a specific number!
Another 2023 wedding trend which I love is giving family members key roles, such as wedding officiant, ceremony speaker, or toast giver to help them feel even more special. Around 1/3 of the weddings I photograph are officiated by an ordained family member. And the Father (or Mother) of the Bride speech is making a huge comeback!
Couples in 2023 are finding more fun and unique ways to include their 4-legged family members in their big day! If you’re lucky to have a venue that’s dog friendly, like The Estate at Eagle Lake in Chesterfield NJ, you can include your fur-babies in your ceremony and most of your day. Hiring an experienced wedding-day dog sitting company like Furever and Fur Always is a great way to make sure your dogs are taken care of and you can enjoy your day.
Another option is to include them during getting ready and a few portraits, then arrange for a dog sitter to watch them for the rest of the day. Or if that’s still a little too hectic, you can include them in your engagement session instead!
This year, more couples are adding un-structured time with their best friends in the morning, to hang out before preparation and festivities begin. I love this trend, especially when I have the opportunity to photograph it because it’s when the couple and their friends’ authentic personalities truly shine.
During this time, some couples enjoy catching up with friends from far away over mimosas. While others enjoy fishing, playing pool or video games, or other activities.
More than ever, 2023 couples want their guests to remain present and put their phones away! To remind guests, couples are placing signs and asking officiants to make an announcement at the beginning of their ceremony, such as:
“Andi & Chris ask you to kindly turn off your phones during the wedding ceremony and refrain from taking photos. They’ve hired professional photographers and videographers to capture all the special moments, and would love you to stay present.”
This one’s near to my heart as a wedding photographer, because Aunt Jane doesn’t realize it’s easy to ruin an image of your first kiss when she reaches her phone in front of me to snap a quick picture.
Unplugged doesn’t mean your family members can’t take any photos, in fact I love seeing parents and grandparents whip out their phones or cameras and get all teary-eyed throughout the day. But it’s best to ask them to keep the phones away during the ceremony, introductions and any other key moments!
One of my favorite 2023 wedding trends is taking a portrait with all of your wedding guests so you’ll always have that memory of everyone who came to celebrate with you! Most couples want photos with all their guests for this reason, and the way to do this used to be to go table-to-table during the reception.
Thankfully, taking one image is a much better alternative because it takes a lot less time, and usually can be taken in a much more flattering location than behind a cramped reception table, such as the steps of your church or the grounds of your venue.
The best way to accomplish this is immediately after your ceremony. Ask your officiant to announce that “The Couple would like a photograph with everyone, so please make your way outside”. Your photographer will need a stepladder and can take this beautiful portrait in 5 minutes. I promise, it will likely be one of your favorite photos from the day!
Yes, the wedding day is all about you but that doesn’t mean it has to suck for your guests. In 2023, couples are embracing their roles as hosts and making sure their guests are treated to an amazing, individualized experience!
That experience can include everything from an amazing live band, such as Deirdre & Pat’s band Big Ric Rising at The College of Physicians at Philadelphia, to custom cigar bars. Scrumptious desert bars with Flambé stations and made to offer coffees, to outdoor fire pits like Heather & Jeff had at their Stone House at Stirling Ridge wedding. Or from 3-D photo booths to hiring a caricature artist to make sketches of your guests, and even a separate room to keep up on the big game!
It’s no surprise given these trends that couples are leaning heavily into a desire for candid, un-directed photography and videography in 2023. Brides & grooms value real, authentic images that capture who they are as individuals. And they want their photographs to feel intimate and un-staged.
Finding a qualified documentary photographer can be challenging, even in 2023! When interviewing a potential photographer (or videographer) for your wedding, it’s important to ask how much direction they give throughout the day. My rule of thumb: I direct my couples during portraits, then let you enjoy the rest of your day and capture it naturally!
It’s also important to view at least 1 full wedding from start to finish and determine if it’s mostly staged or if it feels more natural and spontaneous.
This is the digital age, and sharing our biggest moments with the world online is a great part of living in 2023. But I’m also thrilled to see couples looking for more tangible ways to remember their weddings!
2023 couples are doing this in many ways. For example, designing a custom wooden monogrammed sign, or printing a canvas from their engagement session for guests to sign instead of a guest book. I’m also seeing couples preserve and press florals in beautiful, creative ways. For example, check out Leigh Florist’s Floral Preservation for inspiration!
2023 couples are also valuing the importance of heirloom wedding albums and wall art. Over 90% of my couples create gorgeous works of art telling the story of their wedding days, for future generations to enjoy!
Gen Palmer is a South Jersey wedding photographer who captures authentic, emotion-rich images.
Gen loves working with couples who cherish relationships over things, and who value printed photographs to display and enjoy their memories every day.
Sound like you? Let’s connect and talk about your wedding, engagement or event. I can’t wait to meet you!