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2018 Calgary Wedding Trends: Burgundy, Banana Plants and Custom Maps

Local pros tell us what they are seeing from brides and grooms planning for a 2018 party.

Photo by Fernanda Méndez on Unsplash


The 2018 wedding season is officially underway and vendors from across the city are gearing up for a busy year of beautiful, detail-oriented weddings. These six experts share their expertise about wedding trends, from food to photography to beauty and everything else that is fresh for weddings in 2018.


Bridal Beauty

Bold, burgundy lips | Metallic liners | Matte brown eye makeup



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Make-up artist Kate Barutowicz works with brides every year while keeping her eye on couture and runway looks that trickle down to the mainstream. For 2018, Barutowicz is forecasting bridal beauty trends that include bold lips in shades of burgundy and blackberry. Pair that with glowy, dewy skin with a flush of colour on the cheek for the full effect.

“We’re seeing more metallic liners this year,” says Barutowicz. “As well as a back-to-basics matte brown eye which is always a classic look especially on your wedding day. It is important to be yourself and stay close to a look you feel comfortable with. My advice is to always do a makeup trial to avoid any surprises and refine anything you’re not 100 per cent happy with.”

If you’re looking to go bold, Barutowicz says that a glittery lip is a fun trend to embrace for the reception or after party.


Wedding Photography

Documenting rather than fabricating



Photographer husband-and-wife duo Sancia and Mitchel Toth, a.k.a. The Toths Photo & Film, believe that there will always be a need for all types and approaches to wedding photography, whether it is editorial or documentary. However, they have found that they are increasingly approached by couples who are more interested in documenting the day rather than fabricating it.

“One of our goals is to capture the memories of the day without taking away from anyone actually making the memories, we are always thrilled when this is the case,” says Sancia. “Although I can't speak much to trends beyond Western Canada, I can say that there seems to be somewhat of a shift away from wild, epic mountain views to the more intimate interactions between two people and everyone they love. There also seems to be a sense of playfulness emerging, a willingness by both the photographer and subjects to leave some of the seriousness behind, creating images that reflect incredible joy.”


Invitations and Stationery

Something sentimental | Envelope Liners | Wax seals | Custom maps



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If you’re looking for wedding stationery that immediately makes your wedding guests RSVP with an enthusiastic “YES!”, you are going to want to go with a bespoke option. Jill Hastings Mayer of Art & Alexander specializes in beautifully designed, handmade invitations with gorgeous illustrations, paintings and calligraphy. When putting together a stationery package for her clients, she encourages them to incorporate something sentimental into some part of their wedding stationery, like their grandmother’s favourite flower or a watercolour painting of a sentimental spot.

“I'm seeing a lot of handmade paper and envelopes, paired with loose, organic calligraphy to create a very fine art feel. Envelope liners are really big at the moment as they add an extra little surprise,” says Mayer. “The envelope liner is a perfect place to add those sentimental touches in. Custom wax seals are also huge lately, typically with a pretty floral wreath and the bride and groom's initials within it. Lastly, soft, torn silk to package the whole suite together.”

While the options are endless for our invitation and stationery suite, Mayer says most of her clients are going for a full suite — plus extras. “In my Bespoke package, I include the design of the invitation, RSVP card, and a details card. Most couples want to also include a custom map, and an additional insert card,” shares Mayer. “The custom map is a great way to show some of the couple's favourite restaurants or fun attractions in the city that they want to encourage their out of town guests to check out. I illustrate all of the landmarks so that the style ties in nicely with the rest of the invitation suite.”


 Wedding Decor

Giant balloons | Gold, burgundy and  blush



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If you attended Beakerhead in September 2017, you may remember the giant balloon installation entitled Nucleation that involved biodegradable balloons engulfing the Royal Canadian Legion No. 1. Created by the founder of Calgary Party 50, Maria Galura, Nucleation was her first foray into balloon installations and her party decor business now specializes in balloon installations.

“Some of the top trends for 2018 include giant balloons, custom confetti and tissue tassels,” shares Galura. “However, I think that feathers, fresh vines and floral garlands should be making more appearances for wedding decor this year.”

While people often look to Pantone or other colour-forecasters for inspiration for their wedding colour palette, Galura’s predicting rose gold, burgundy and blush as this year’s top hues that will be making a splash at wedding receptions and ceremonies all year long. “These shades are soft and they exude depth. Combined with a bold accent, they’ll really make your decor sparkle,” says Galura.



Classic white and green | Burgundy accents | Big plants | Succulent centrepieces


Fleurish Flower Shop owner Jaime Gage is constantly working with new brides and seeking out beautiful trends in bouquets, decor and favours. In terms of colour trends, classic white and green with lots of rich greenery is still very popular among brides. Gage says that brides are choosing flowers for their own bouquets but having bridesmaids carry all greenery bouquets, full of seeded eucalyptus, silver dollar eucalyptus and other textured greenery.

“Some brides are choosing to add colour but only burgundy,” says Gage. “This pop of colour has been popular with our winter and late summer brides. All whites and greens with pops of burgundy and deep wine tones. We are encouraging our brides to add in pops of peach to tie in the burgundy with the whites and ivory. It softens the palette and creates less of a contrast.”

In terms of tabletop decor, plants are a huge trend in all shapes and sizes. “Last year we did an incredible wedding at The Saskatoon Farm and used ferns as centrepieces — the impact was amazing,” shares Gage. “Everyone was thrilled to take home the ferns at the end of the night. We are also seeing couples bringing in large plants such as ficus trees and banana plants into their ceremony decor which creates an organic yet architectural feel. We love this as the plants can be enjoyed in the couples home for years and years after.”

For favours, Gage says that succulents are still the number one trend that brides are gifting to their guests. It is an easy way to create beautiful centrepieces with multiple plants that can later be separated.


Food and Drinks

Family-style | Custom menus | Classic cocktails | Craft beer



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The folks behind Charbar and Charcut definitely have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to delicious, interactive meal experiences for wedding receptions.

“Guests are looking for interactive meals just like restaurant experiences. They are requesting more family style formats where people are passing beautiful platters of food around the table breaking bread and having great conversations,” says owner John Jackson. “We also see a trend towards customization. While set menus are great for lots of events, more requests are coming in looking for something unique. That is what we do best. We offer totally customized menus when requested and have zero limits to the creativity and what we can actually do.”

At Charbar, their team can create just about any reception set-up that you can dream up. Chef stations throughout the space that allow the guest to interact with the chefs cooking the food is a popular option as is the traditional sit-down dinner. Jackson loves to be able to cater directly to the couple’s ideas — including creating menus that are inspired by their unique heritages. As chefs, their team loves to explore and create bespoke experiences so that they are always offering something new and fresh.  

“Weddings are getting smaller and more quaint, with more attention spent on meaningful personal touches, working with vendors such as florists, photographers and designers, who are passionate about all of the same careful details,” shares Candace Bergman, director of sales and marketing for the company. “The Simmons lends its history and charm as a simple backdrop that lets these details stand out to create a uniquely personal wedding.”

Fans of Charcut will remember its famous late-night Alley Burgers, which became a viral sensation here in Calgary. Jackson recommends planning a family-style sit-down dinner, followed by drinks and dancing. The showstopper is the Alley Burger served up as a late night snack for your guests.

In terms of drinks, Bergman and Jackson both say that classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned or Moscow Mule and signature craft beers are the go-to options for the bar. Signature cocktails are still a big trend and you can’t go wrong with beautiful wine pairings to suit your sit-down dinner. 

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