What’s new in Wichita weddings for 2018

Written by Kelsey Ralston

With the New Year comes another influx of fresh wedding trends, and Wichita has a handful of new venues to match. Some trends from 2017 will remain, while others are revamped versions of styles from years past. Giving us a rundown on everything from dresses and drinks to music and metallics, local experts provide a sneak peek of what will dominate the 2018 wedding scene. These tips will make your day stand out from the rest and be remembered for years to come.

Modern looks

Glamour is back, says Alisa Breitenstein, director of catering sales for Crestview Country Club. "While couples have been leaning towards urban chic or rustic charm looks for the past few years, there has been a trend emerging that couples are now wanting the more traditional grand ballrooms with chandeliers,” she says.

Styles featuring lush greenery emerged as a major wedding trend last year, and it isn’t going away yet. “This is often called the garden trend, which is why Botanica remains the perfect place to say ‘I Do,’ ” says Kianga Crowley, wedding venue coordinator for Botanica.

Intimate affairs

To counteract the extra expense that comes with creating a glamorous experience, couples are opting for smaller numbers of guests. “Lower guest counts allow couples more flexibility in selecting the perfect venue and helping with their budget,” Breitenstein says.

Many couples are also looking to host both the ceremony and reception in the same location, which offers convenience for the wedding party and guests, Breitenstein says. “When looking for a venue to host both events, you need to look for a space that can hold twice your guests — particularly if it is in a month when an outdoor space is not conducive. Given those parameters, and the average venue capacity of around 200 guests, we are seeing more weddings in the 50 to 100 guest range,” she says.

Latest spaces

Wichita brides now have more venue options than ever. “While Kansas City has seen an insurgence of new venues popping up for about the past five to 10 years, we are now seeing that trend here in Wichita,” Breitenstein says.

Candela Venue at the Lux is one of the newly opened event spaces. It has the ability to host up to 300 guests in a downtown location. Tables, chairs and white or black tablecloths are provided, and venue staff sets up, services the event and cleans up. Larkspur Bistro & Bar is the exclusive caterer, and all the food prices for dinners include glass plates, flatware, white linen napkins and water glasses.

Located less than 10 minutes east of the city limits, the Applejack Event Barn is near completion and will be available for weddings, receptions, parties and corporate events starting in March 2018. It can accommodate up to 150 guests in the barn itself plus additional outdoor space. Climate controlled, catering kitchen and bridal party area included. “This gem on the prairie is a wonderful blend of rustic elegance — beautifully detailed while at the same time maintaining a raw rural feel,” says Renee Berggren, owner of Applejack Pumpkin Patch. “The grounds of the pumpkin patch allow for stunning photo opportunities as well.”

Creative edibles

Wedding food is no longer limited to expensive sit-down dinners or standard buffet items. “Here in the midwest, the buffet is still king, however, foods served on the buffet are more creative than in the past,” Breitenstein says. “Ethnic-themed menus are big, as well as surprising the guests with a late night bite with a food truck pulling up to satisfy the guests. When it comes to the food, we are seeing couples who want more creativity and creating an experience for their guests as opposed to the standard three-course dinner.”

Shawna Sphar, marketing and banquet manager for Larkspur, also says she sees a lot of buffets or appetizer events, not as many as sit-down dinners. “Everyone has different tastes and budgets, Sphar says. “With custom catering, we can create a menu to fit their needs.”

If you’re a super adventurous couple, opt for a food truck to satisfy hungry mouths. “They are a hip, new thing to do and we have many of our brides wanting to go with something more unique and fun,” says Danielle Stockemer, marketing manager for Prairie Hill Vineyard.

The concept of a late night snack has also been trending, which allows couples to showcase their personal favorite foods. “We have been seeing a lot of different late night snacks lately that vary from Freddy’s cheeseburgers that are brought in at 10 p.m., to milk and cookies being served,” says Emalie Gutierrez, general manager of Distillery 244. “We love seeing the different ideas that each couple has.”

Beverages can complement the food selections and be another avenue of personalization. Crystal McDonald, owner of Xclusive Event Services, says classic cocktails like a Manhattan and old-fashioned have returned to the wedding scene. “Signature drinks will always be popular,” McDonald adds. “Fun colors and garnishes will add an extra special touch to any event and can fit any budget.”

McDonald also says bars that make a statement are trending, “whether it be putting the bar in the middle of the room or using one of our Booze Trucks to serve out of. People are wanting to make the bar a focal point.”

Statement dresses

Weddings in 2018 will reach a new level of customization, says Jillian Forsberg, sales manager of Dress Gallery. “I anticipate more brides wanting unique, individualized dresses that are one-of-a-kind, or at least feel like it,” she says.

Instead of traditional white ball gowns, you will see more natural waist styles with flowy skirts, high necklines with interesting lace details, and warm pink and gold undertones.

"Less is more, as brides are forgoing beading for simpler sparkle,” Forsberg says. “Pearl details, special bold lace and off-the-shoulder styles are also becoming popular.”

While keeping up with the latest trends, Dress Gallery has a gown to fit every bride’s personality, body type and style. “Funny enough, our top two styles are polar opposites — one is a high neck, fitted gown and the other has a plunging neckline and flowy skirt. Both, however, are beautifully decorated in interesting laces,” Forsberg says.

For bridesmaid’s dresses, you will see more dusty colors — soft blues, light sage green, dusty pink and mauve, Forsberg says. “But the popularity of burgundy and navy won't go away in 2018, and around 75 percent of our bridesmaids groups are doing burgundy dresses.”

Floor-length gowns with peplums and flowing skirts are dominating in the bridesmaids category, Forsberg says.

The mix-and-match look is still on-trend. “Some brides are choosing the same dress in different coordinating colors or completely different styles in the same color,” Forsberg says.

If you are feeling bold, choose complementary and varying styles for a completely mixed look. “Personalizing the dresses for each bridesmaid is important to parties, as not all women fit in the same style or color perfectly,” Forsberg says.

Romantic hues

Several experts agree — burgundy, navy and dusty shades will dominate the wedding scene this year. “I’m in love with this trend!” says Stockemer. “The colors are beautiful and romantic, and they go with any season of the year.”

Metallic accents will complement the color palettes and trend heavily in 2018. “Bold brass, copper or rose gold on silverware, invitations and table centerpieces are sure to make a statement,” says Crowley.

For a simple yet elegant look, pair soft hues of blue, pink or lavender with cream or gray, Crowley says.

Unforgettable music

The norm when it comes to live wedding bands and DJs constantly changes. In recent years, DJs were the music source of choice for many couples, but there seems to be a resurgence of live bands.

“Live bands have been around, but we have been seeing them more and more instead of a DJ service,” Gutierrez says. “We love seeing different styles of music in our venue. It adds a different feel to the whole event.”

Still torn between the two? Opt for a collaborative effort between a DJ and a live musician!

live  |  shop  |  dine  |  play  |  home  |  magazine  |  calendar  |  about  |  your turn