David Tutera (right) with newlyweds Ryan and Sarah
Do you know what's trending this season? To discover what's in, what's out, and how to translate your pins into reality, let David Tutera be your guide. The wedding and event planner reveals his magnificent designs for celebrity clients on David Tutera's CELEBrations on WeTV, and on June 14, he launches Your Wedding Experience – a multi-city live show featuring 100 vendors, a fashion show, and discussions with wedding experts.
Inside Weddings chatted with Tutera about his favorite new wedding trends, as well as which are worth the splurge (and which you should feel free to skip!). Want to know how to communicate your vision to vendors while maintaining your own unique sense of style? Read on!
Inside Weddings: What design trends are you loving right now?
David Tutera: I love that many brides have strayed away from traditional flowers and are now using more unique, organic florals and designs. Flower walls are a big trend now, thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and displaying flowers in an unexpected and artful way is something I love designing for my clients.
As a bridal fashion designer, I’m all about the whimsy and sophistication of traditional romance with a fashion-forward approach – like lace appliqués mixed with illusion details.
I also absolutely love that the color trend has shifted from bold to softer muted colors like soft silver lavenders, powder blues, and dusty pinks. These hues will never go out of style and can translate into all aspects of design, from linens and lighting to florals and fashion.
IW: What trends are you loving right now in terms of the guest experience?
DT: I am a huge advocate of creating an ever-changing environment throughout an event and keeping guests entertained, so they are not stagnant or seated for too much time – whether it’s with a special guest singer, a performance by an electric violinist, a bartender pouring Champagne while suspended from the ceiling, or even a great cigar and whiskey lounge area.
A trend that I personally feel has gotten old and tired are after-parties. You lose your guests easily when you are moving them around to too many different places. Switching up the environment while remaining in the same space is a much more favorable and smoother approach.
IW: If a bride sees a trend or idea that she likes, how can she personalize it and make it her own, rather than simply copying it?
DT: Taking a great idea and using it as inspiration is always a great way to get your creative juices flowing. Infuse as much of your personality as possible to make a trend your own and use elements that highlight things you both love. For example, if there’s a great signature cocktail you want to use, change the name of it to something more personal, swap ingredients for [those in] your go-to drink, or add a decorative garnish that signifies your theme or color scheme.
If it’s a décor-related trend you want to mimic, incorporate your colors, location, monogram, and/or personality in the mix to make it your own and reflect who you are as a couple.
IW: What's the best way to communicate your ideas with vendors?
DT: Printing up visuals, inspiration boards, and magazine clippings or providing written lists of what you want is always very helpful. Discuss each item with your vendor in detail and make copies for them to keep on hand, should they need to refer to it. This ensures that your vision is relayed 100% and that you are both on the same page.
IW: What aspects of the wedding are worth a splurge, and what aspects can be skipped?
DT: Personally, I would give the green light to splurge on your entertainment. Music sets the tone throughout any event from start to finish and is an element that should never be nixed!
Some options for scaling back – tastefully – on the catering costs can include eliminating seafood and prime meats from the menu, especially at a cocktail hour where a shrimp or sushi appetizer can get costly.
Creating a signature cocktail for your guests is a big money saver and cuts out the need for a fully stocked bar. Opting for a Prosecco or sparkling wine as opposed to Champagne for your toast is a very effective way to slash your cost as well.
Skip the favors! They’ve become very old-fashioned and are typically not something your guests will miss. Instead, a lot of couples I work with have been swapping favors for entertaining 'experiences' for their guests – like a create-your-own perfume lounge for the ladies or an old-fashioned whiskey tasting lounge for the gents. Guests can then take a piece of your wedding home with them to use and remember your big day for years to come. Another great suggestion is making a donation in lieu of favors.
IW: What's the most common challenge brides have while planning their weddings, and how should they deal with it?
DT: With [image-sharing websites and blogs], many couples get so consumed in the overflow of wedding trends and ideas that they don’t know where to start or what their [spending limit] should be. Establishing a budget should be one of the first things on the wedding planning ‘to-do’ list and I always see a lot of brides struggle with this.
Every [spending limit] is different, so rather than giving an exact dollar amount of how much should be spent on each element, a pyramid method with outlined percentages is a smarter way to allocate your [funds].
A little tip to keep in mind: Food and beverage are typically the most costly (and the most controllable) elements of your budget and will give you the best idea of what you will be left to work with monetarily.
IW: What should brides look for when choosing vendors? What are the signs of good (and bad) vendors?
DT: Before signing on the dotted line, it’s important to always meet face-to-face with a potential vendor to discuss what they offer, what you’re looking for, and of course to see if you both click!
Start by doing your research and making a list of vendors whose work you love. Narrow it down by weighing pros and cons and see which vendor fits your needs best – whether it's with a great package, a special offer, a certain style, or a price that works well within your [spending limit].
A punctual and responsive vendor is always a great vendor. Someone who is upbeat, sees eye-to-eye with what you are looking for, and is just as excited as you is a great sign. They should also always have a portfolio or roster of past events to highlight their work and back up their credibility.
Always be sure to check vendor reviews; this is a great way to [receive] feedback firsthand from recent brides on their personal experience with a vendor… and they don’t lie! [Reading reviews] is an easy way to weed out the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The vendor search tends to be very tedious and overwhelming for many brides, and a great way to help alleviate this time-consuming process is by taking advantage of local bridal events. These one or two day events bring you face-to-face with tons of wedding professionals all under one roof, allowing you to view their work firsthand while getting the full scope and quality of their services. Meeting one-on-one at events can also provide great incentive opportunities and specialty packages that may not normally be available.
Opening photo by Michael Segal Photography