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Receptions get creative, personal

KIM COOK
Associated Press
Modified: June 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm •  Published: June 26, 2013
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While stripes and polka dots were on trend in the past couple of years, she says, those bold geometrics are yielding again to loose, hand-painted patterns like florals and prints inspired by art and nature.

Savada also notes that some brides love modern typography and juxtaposing sleek elements with a rustic outdoor venue, for example. Others love all things vintage — but now are finding inspiration in mid-century, '60s and '70s style.

Another trend, she says, is having decor pull double duty: escort cards as favors, place cards integrated into the menu, centerpieces for the guests to take home.

"And centerpieces don't have to be flowers," she says. "Couples are using paper blooms, plants, simple candles, fruits or vegetables, and shells."

FLOWERS IN FASHION

Although there are lots of new alternatives to flowers, Norton, at the Prince George, observes that brides still love blooms.

"With the green movement, they were out of style for a while, but we're once again getting requests for big centerpieces and buckets of flowers," he says.

For elaborate affairs, towering glass cylinders filled with crystals, ornaments, glittery sand or submerged blooms are popular.

Tara Druker, who is getting married in October in New Rochelle, N.Y., saw what she wanted while poring over glossy wedding magazines and surfing The Knot: "Succulents are one of my favorite blooms, and when I saw them trending in wedding floral arrangements, along with herbs like lavender and rosemary, I definitely wanted to discuss that option with my florist," she says.

NUPTIAL NOSH

Norton's seeing the return of a wedding-reception icon: the cake.

"Cupcakes are out, and cakes are back," Norton says. "At one wedding, we did a parade of cakes. Each table got its own two-tiered cake, cut and served family style. It's impressive when a train of servers carrying 22 identical cakes walk into a room!"

A couple that worked for Research in Motion Ltd. had a Blackberry-shaped cake; a pair of avid golfers had a nine-hole, course-shaped cake.

Cupcake towers can still be a great alternative to a big pricey confection. Or try a doughnut tower, with gourmet flavors for adults and simpler ones for the children's table.

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds offered a dessert buffet at their Charleston, S.C., wedding last year with mini tartlets, fruit jellies and cups of chocolate espresso beans.

Other brides have gone potluck, inviting guests to bring plates of their favorite cookies.

In a nod to their region, some Southern brides like pie bars. Meal planning has gotten similarly inventive and personal.

Ethnic menus are in. And Norton has created food stands with hotdogs, French fry cones and scoop ice cream.