By Kylie Carlson, International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning

That critical time of year is here, when wedding pros prepare for the New Year by forecasting all of the upcoming trends. Our fourth annual International Wedding Trends Report is full of the latest predictions by the industry’s most trusted experts. We’ve included highlights of this year’s report here so you’ll be prepared to meet the demands of prospective clients as booking season begins.

2018 Design

“The focus for 2018 is elegance and a more formal feel,” predicts Sarah Richardson of Leafy Couture. “Wedding ceremonies and receptions will be more grand and opulent even in more rustic settings. Color schemes will be more classic with a white and green timeless feel,” says Richardson.

Flexible and Unique Venues

The overall trend in venues will be finding unique and alternative spaces like industrial commercial buildings, campgrounds, cafes and restaurants, and to personalize the use of these spaces to create events unlike any others. “We’re seeing more attention spent (by venues) in their marketing to the fact that they might allow you to choose your own caterer, or to have exclusive access to the property for an entire three days, or to DIY their own styling in the lead-up to the day,” say Amy Parfett and Melany McBride, Co-Founders of WedShed. “We’re noticing a concerted effort on highlighting their flexibility.”

Catering Evolution

In catering, couples will value quality and source in 2018. “People seem to be more focused on substance over style,” says Hannah Martin, Founder and Director of Goose & Berry. “Couples and guests want great quality of food with fabulous presentation, but don’t particularly want food served in shoes, for example, or on unusual canape presentation ware.” Expect to see previously “alternative” menus like vegan and vegetarian entrees become mainstream, no longer reserved exclusively for guests with special dietary requests.

Dessert Trends

Most of our experts mentioned that dessert tables are the rage in sweet treats for 2018 weddings. “We are getting more bookings for dessert tables,” indicates Rosalind Miller, Owner of Rosalind Miller Cakes. “These make a real centerpiece display, look fantastic and can be eaten!” Wedding cakes are being used as part of these tables given guests a variety of options while maintaining some ties to tradition.

Of course, some 2017 trends will endure like using botanical influences in décor and catering, the expansion into the mainstream of the fine art wedding movement, and fun tech-driven enhancements to the guest experience. Each will evolve and take on unique qualities in 2018, so be prepared and have a great New Year!

Which 2018 trends are you most looking forward to?


Kylie Carlson is the CEO of the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning. With six locations globally, the academy boasts an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners, designers and stylists.