Making your wedding the standout event you want it to be requires: a hot groom, nerves of steel, a workable budget – and most importantly – a firm idea of bridal trends for the year ahead. With many brides wanting to keep the look of their big day simple and stylish, here’s a look at what promises to really take off locally in 2016.

Photography and social media

The big day can go by in a whirl which, apart from being both heady and rather dream-like, isn’t always the best recipe for getting poised and stunning bridal shots. Bearing this in mind, some savvy fiancées are scheduling portrait sessions – gown and all – well in advance of the big day to allow for more relaxed and camera-ready portraits.

Pre- and post-wedding pictures: On the same theme, local photographers are increasingly being asked to extend the focus of their wedding photography to include the best moments of the wedding week. This especially applies to capturing the high spirits of the one or two lunches and get-togethers staged for out-of-town guests. Pre- and post-wedding meet-ups, on the golf course or around the pool, are generally laid back affairs which generally make for fun and candid shots.

Aerial shots: Other on-trend developments in wedding photography are the use of selfie-sticks and drones. Having secured the picture perfect location, be it a wonderfully picturesque church or a stunning estate by the sea such as Pedro St. James, why not take advantage of the latest in technological advances to get amazing aerial shots? Capturing the wedding party en masse from overhead; a unique view of the elegant processional; and fly-on-the-wall shots of guests mingling over the reception tables, are just three reasons why aerial shots are set to become increasingly popular.  Before setting your heart on a drone though (like you did with your ex), first check that your photographer is experienced in using them, has a Civil Aviation Authority permit, has time to get the shots wanted and that the venue allows for their use. And remember, drones can’t fly in poor weather!

Alternative photographic techniques: Aside from the more standard techniques used to capture wedding pictures, ask your photographer which of the stylized processes they can use (in post- or pre-production) to create vivid and unusual shots. Ask your photographer about tilt-shift lenses for creating whimsical action images, shooting with a roll of Fuji film for retro images, and creating animated gifs to get a cinematic quality series of shots. Another favorite is using a heart filter to give a dreamy and slightly kitsch look to some of the images. All these techniques used sparingly will give you an album of pictures that are creative and captivating because they have different points of interest.

Tech savvy couples: Those who’ve already embraced social media should consider setting up a wedding hashtag. Increasingly popular, they are used on Twitter and Instagram accounts to share wedding shots and will greatly increase your pool of images. Wedding hashtags can often take on a life of their own, giving you a fuller account of the day. A few suggestions when choosing one include letting your guests know what it is early on, keeping it catchy and simple, and remembering to make sure it’s actually available. Setting up a selfie station in one corner of the reception – a simple screened in photo area with a table, a few color-themed accessories and a camera and selfie-stick for guests to take fun shots, is always a hit.

Flowers

Floral wedding trends are constantly evolving. There are endless options in terms of types of arrangements, colors, flowers and varieties but take heart, petal, as pretty much anything goes as long as it complements the overall décor of the big day. For those of you who haven’t got a clue how to start, perhaps choosing what color combination you want to go for is a good start.

Bloomin’ marvelous: Free-form bouquets seem to be very much in vogue this year. This trend echoes the stylish yet simple mantra popular lately among wedding coordinators. Try going for slightly deconstructed arrangements or bouquets featuring a variety of garden-style florals of differing heights and shades. This country garden feel is at both refreshing and indicative of the slightly less formal ambience that many brides seem to be inclined towards in 2016.

Anything goes: Taking to this trend with creative gusto, florists are increasingly likely to suggest adding a more eclectic assortment of flowers, foliage and succulents into the mix. So don’t be surprised to see mix and match arrangements and even the occasional feather or sprayed gold fern frond making an appearance in bouquets and table settings. Alongside the traditional use of scents, spices are now gaining popularity in some arrangements – think mint, lemongrass and basil to heighten the “scents” of occasion.

The allure of this year’s floral trends are that they give florists and brides ample scope for endless permutations to suit all budgets and tastes.

Dresses

Judging by fall 2015’s runway shows, our first proper sneak-peak of what designers have in mind for blushing brides in this year promises to be interesting. What brides-to-be are falling for hard this year will give you plenty of scope to ensure all eyes are riveted on you as you walk gracefully up the aisle.

Pick ‘n’ Mix: Among the most popular styles are mismatched bridal dresses allowing bridesmaids to pick a frock that compliments the bride’s in color, yet allows each attendant the freedom to choose a style that truly suits them.

3-D: In terms of cutting edge wedding gowns, 3-D embellishments look set to top the bill. Think birds, flowers and anything else that takes your fancy. The trend mirrors the craze for 3-D taking the planet by storm.  Have fun with it whether you decide going for elaborate stand-out beading, sheer laser-cut appliqué or ruffles. Your choices are these days only limited by your imagination and your budget.

Take the plunge: Elegance is key as is romance, so the move towards plunging necklines – both front and back is a pivotal look this year. The look, which was much in evidence on the red carpet at the Golden Globes, is a definite head-turner. Whether you choose to tone the look down with a barely-there swathe of organza or chiffon is entirely up to you!

Birds of a Feather: Another look that will have your guests all in a flutter as you strut up the processional are feathers. Flighty, winsome and oh so feminine, this look which gives depth and a sense of élan, tends to come off best on rail thin brides.

Décor

Getting the décor right helps ensure the look of the entire day and greatly influences your choices of photography, flowers and dress.

Bringing nature home: One of the most sensational décor trends is bringing the great outdoors in. Rather than going the whole hog and making it look overdone, why not try adding your favorite elements of nature in. Little, arty touches here and there will elevate your setting rather than swamping it.

Glitter: Ramp up the glamor of your wedding with golds or bronzes or silvers. Working in delicately metallics will add a touch of sophistication and pizzazz to the proceedings. From brightening up a headdress to adding grandeur to a plain table cloth and transforming a floral arrangement – metallics do it all.

Right to roam: With a move towards more intimately sized nuptials, banquet-style receptions are taking something of a back seat in 2016, while food stations and cocktail-hour type nibbles are increasingly ‘in.’ This trend not only allows guests to mix and mingle more freely than at the traditional sit-down gatherings, but is also more conducive to the live-band/clubby feel many younger couples aspire to and enjoy.