As a northern Virginia wedding photographer, capturing mostly low- and mid-tier luxury weddings, trends are fun to track. I see weddings on a nearly weekly basis, and hundreds more through my social feeds. So it’s easy to determine what seems to be gaining in popularity. Some wedding trends I love, others… not so much.
And maybe you’re planning a 2023 wedding and want some inspiration for what will dazzle your guests in the new year! So from someone who lives, eats, breathes weddings… here are my top predictions for 2023 wedding trends that might be coming. Plus, my professional photographer take on whether they’re “hot or not.”
Is this a trend, or just a classic comeback? If you check out my portfolio, you can probably deduce that I’m a BIG fan of long, dramatic veils. But I’m noticing more brides are opting for a 2-layer veil so they can wear the blusher down the aisle.
I love that blushers are making a comeback! It adds such a special touch to that walk down the aisle. I think it’s so sweet when the Father of the Bride lifts his daughter’s blusher, kisses her cheek, and hands her hand over to his new Son in Law. Blushers add a touch of elegance, emotion, and modest flair. If you’re a traditional bride, or have an appreciation for classic looks on a wedding day, consider a veil with a blusher!
If you’re going to opt for a blusher, make sure you practice the “hand-off” moment with your dad! I wore a blusher for my wedding (though, my veil fell off mid-aisle. That’s a tragic story for another day…) and my dad was so nervous the night before the wedding. So we practiced walking, lifting the blusher, the cheek kiss, and the hand off about five times before bed that night. On your wedding day, if Dad forgets to lift the blusher, you can turn to your maid of honor when you hand your bouquet and let her lift it as a backup.
I’ve seen this wedding trend rising slowly but surely by watching it on Instagram Reels. I call it the reverse ceremony. A lot of wedding industry magazines and business accounts are pushing this idea, because it reverses where the officiant stands and where the couple faces. This allows the bride and groom to face their guests while the officiant conducts the ceremony from the middle of the aisle. In theory, this is a great idea because you get to see your people. And, the expectation is that you’ll get better photos of your faces during the ceremony.
Here’s why I think this trend is not the best idea for everyone.
First, contrary to what most people think, this actually hinders my ability as a wedding photographer to capture great photos during the ceremony. The aisle is my direct way to get closer without disturbing guests. This is where I usually stand to grab ring shots, vows, etc. So if the officiant is in the way, I’m either shooting over his shoulder (which is distracting for them and you) or I’ll have to shoot from the sides, which isn’t the best angle to get your face if you’re facing down the aisle.
Second, I highly encourage couples to look at each other during the ceremony. Don’t stare at the officiant, don’t stare at your guests. This is a time for you and your groom to soak in this moment. It’s a milestone in your relationship! You should be able to look in each other’s eyes and feel every second of it intimately.
My top recommendation is… don’t. BUT it’s your wedding. So if this is truly an idea you and your fiancé want to try, my tip is to assess your ceremony space first. I will need room to move around and grab as many shots of your faces as possible. This means I’ll need to be able to walk around the aisle AND the sides. Make sure the aisle is wide enough I can discreetly shoot over the officiant’s shoulder. And be sure there are wide enough walkways on the sides so I can move there as well without knocking over decor or disturbing guests.
One caveat I will note is that a lot of Catholic weddings do this by default, not as a trend. In these cases I try to be understanding and find other ways to shoot around the minister. However, it’s wise to note that Catholic churches often have plenty of space and vantage points to work around this tradition. Just know that if you’re having a Catholic ceremony, you should warn your photographer ahead of time so they’re prepared to get the First Kiss from another angle if need be.
Maybe it’s the aftermath of COVID, but I’m noticing that the popularity of simple weddings with small or no bridal party at all are on the rise. As much as I love a color coordinated bridesmaid group or GQ worthy groomsmen pose, big wedding parties are tough sometimes. More people means more risks of things going wrong, higher costs for gifts, harder to coordinate, etc etc etc. Choosing a few (like, 1-4) of your closest people to join your squad on the wedding day will save you time, money, and headaches.
I’m not saying all couples should cut the bridal party. But, if you’re struggling to make decisions on who to ask, who not to ask, and how to reach a certain number to match your spouse’s half of the party, maybe just don’t have a party at all or limit it to just a Maid of Honor and Best Man!
Personally, Kevin and I had long and tiresome conversations about bridal party. Kevin had a lot more friends than I did and wanted 6 or more guys. I wanted to just have my sister and his brother. Ultimately we compromised: I asked my two girl cousins and teen niece, along with my sister as Matron of Honor. He asked his three friends and brother as Best Man. At the end of the day, as much as we love all these people, we now both wish we did just one person each or no party at all.
So work with your fiancé, and do a cost/benefit analysis before you send out those bridesmaid proposal boxes.
If a small or no bridal party is your speed, remember that no explanation is owed to anyone. It’s your wedding! If your sister or college roommate comes around asking if you’ve decided on Maid of Honor or bridesmaids yet, and you have it set in your mind that they’re not a part of it… simply say, “We’ve decided to keep it small,” or “I’d rather you attend and enjoy our wedding without the burden of you having to pay for a bridesmaid dress/hair/makeup etc!” Hopefully they’ll understand. And if you’re like me and wanted some bridesmaids so you could establish a clear color palette in photos… well, there are other ways to do that. Definitely hire a talented planner who can help bring your vision to life without using people as props in your event.
I’m seeing more weddings where the bridesmaids and groomsmen are in all black attire, usually with satin textures. I’m also seeing couples ask their guests to wear only black to their wedding. My first instinct with this trend is to love it! I love that the couple pops out in their photos, especially if the groom is in a white dinner jacket (*chef’s kiss*). And with everyone in all black, the wedding has a more elegant and timeless feel.
BUT, proceed with caution. Summer in the DMV area can be BRUTALLY hot, and black just traps in heat to your skin. So be kind to your people, and don’t force them to wear black if it’s going to be a hot summer wedding day. I generally think all black looks classiest for fall and winter weddings!
If you’re asking guests to wear all black, be sure to note it on your wedding invite. Typically dress code is noted in small text at the bottom of your main invitation piece. But don’t neglect to include the formality guidance as well as the color. Try lines like, “Dress code: Formal, All Black” or “Please wear only black to our black tie affair.” Working with your stationary designer and/or wedding planner may be wise to get the wording right.
In my four years of wedding photography, I’ve learned that sometimes less is more. Especially when it comes to flowers! You can make a big visual impact with even the tiniest details. That’s why I actually love greenery draped all over reception tables and ceilings, even more than heavy blooms sometimes. And as much as I adore a big, fluffy bridal bouquet, I also am loving these more petite, all-white bridal bouquets I’m seeing on my social media feed.
One example I adored was from a Style Me Pretty feature. Check out this bride’s calla lily and baby’s breath bouquet! It’s small but sophisticated and sleek.
Or, if you want a bridal-sized bouquet but still love the all white look, maybe Emily’s bouquet from this November wedding I helped photograph is the perfect style for you and your florist to emulate. She chose a cascading bouquet of roses.
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