A year ago, I embarked on a great journey through love. Other people's love, that is. I hunkered down and close-read about 60 weddings profiled by Vogue.com since 2010. My goal? To see what the most holy of fashion bibles looks for in the very select nuptials it chooses to elevate from mere Pinterest fodder to bona fide Fashion Wedding. From a giant spread sheet that initially included columns for "number of horses" and "length of train," I extrapolated as much data as I could: where the brides worked, how many dresses did they wear throughout the festivities, were the dresses custom, was the designer (or designers) present, was there a musical performer, etc. I learned that a cape is not really a cape unless it has its own chauffeured car and that referring to famous people in slideshow captions as "close friends" without actually mentioning their names is the ultimate ace in the hole.
Vogue weddings, however, have only stepped up their game in the year since I dove deep into the site's "Living" vertical. (The publication has even diversified their chosen couples.) And while some trends remain strong (like Happy Menocal stationery), new ones have popped up, too (like getting married in the round). So with an eye towards all the Vogue weddings over the past 12 months, we've rounded up seven trending details, settings and styling choices worth noting from the elite brides lucky enough to be featured by the publication.
Read on for all things inspirational, aspirational and purely sensational from Vogue's most recent wedding coverage.
Happy Menocal Custom Invitations
Every Vogue wedding slideshow worth its salt includes a shout-out to the impeccable stationery inviting guests to celebrate at far-flung and historic locales. Sometimes the calligrapher happens to be the bride's sister (weirdly, that's a thing), but usually it's the work of New York artist and designer Happy Menocal, as seen above for Kate Brien's wedding in Tulum (#elcampokitz). Menocal's signature whimsical lettering and delicate watercolors are a major bridal favorite.
Doing Things at Castles
This seems like an obvious trend for Vogue weddings, and yet it's still worth calling out because castles are really epic places to get married. It's certainly impressive if you find a castle to borrow or rent for the occasion, as Michelle Campbell Mason did with Ashford Castle in Ireland (above, #wevellainlove). She told the magazine she was specifically enthralled by the property's 13th-century monastery ruins. But extra bonus points are in order if the castle in question happens to be your family's country estate because your parents are a Viscount and Viscountess, as in the case of Martha Beaumont. Super casual!
Doing Stuff in Caves
But if you really want an Instagramable wedding, take a cue from the app's co-founder Kevin Systrom and celebrate your wedding in a cave (above; no public hashtag, ironically). He said "I do" with Nicole Schuetz in a Napa vineyard and celebrated afterwards in a wine cave, complete with some seriously dramatic lighting. If that's not glamorous enough, may we suggest Mexico's Xcaret, "an eco-archaeological park in the heart of the jungle that features an ancient Mayan cave," where Jessel Taank celebrated her reception? Guests entered by descending into the cave where tables were set for dinner holding tea lights while conch shell blowers performed. Let that sink in for a moment.
Having a Ceremony in the Round
Here's a cool idea: instead of walking past all the guests to a frontal altar or ceremonial space, couples are getting married in the round with chairs arranged all around them. That way, friends and family are closer to the action and, depending on how it's laid out, they don't have to choose sides for the bride and groom. Most importantly, it's very picturesque.
Adorable Children Nailing that High Low Fashion Mix
Roving bands of adorable children are practically a Vogue wedding requirement. But few things are more adorable than super cute kids wearing a mix of fancy wedding duds and everyday basics — nailing the covetable high-low trend. Whether that means pairing some formal blue slacks with blue Converse sneakers or custom shiny shorts with crisp Uniqlo shirts, as seen at Rossa Prendergast’s wedding in Ireland (above, #theprendals), it's an endearing addition to any wedding party.
Not Your Average Flowers in the Hair
We're all familiar with your typical bridal flower crown, usually circling the head at just the right angle. But Vogue brides are not typical brides by any means, choosing instead to weave some flowers in their hair in delightful and unexpected ways. Case in point: Audrey Gelman's Baby's Breath flower clusters, somehow both weightless and anchored in her loose waves.
Performance Artists at the Reception
Make sure your guests never forget your nuptials by throwing in some funky live performance element. A nearly naked body paint artist covered in the groom's father's designs? Sure! Synchronized swimmers wearing giant butterfly headpieces? Absolutely. Those are both real examples.