Wedding Trends For Summer 2011: It's All Over the Map

it's simple to emulate, if that's your style. The new princess silhouette will be body-skimming with a bold train, and to make a royal statement, headwear should include tasteful tiaras and cathedral-length veils. Dresses may include sophisticated sequins and beading and don't be afraid to add a few to your floral arrangements and the wedding cake.

East is East: Believe it or not, many brides to be are opting out of the white dress this year and instead, incorporating an ethnic theme to offer an expression of creativity and personal interest. Among one of the popular choices is the Indian Garden extravaganza, complete with a sari for the bride and a Nehru jacket and sandals for the groom; hand-strung marigolds and tea candles and even live peacocks.

Of course, there's nothing hotter than being "green," and in a down economy it's even more chic to show how you can work a bliss budget and still pull off a fantastic event. According to wedding planners, eco-friendly weddings are here to stay, evidenced by second-hand and vintage wedding dresses, LED lighting, recycled paper invitations and programs, and food from local farms and providers.

Charity donations supporting the couple's favorite cause, a developing world village or a local business, will continue to be a popular option instead of traditional wedding favors, and more couples will be asking for donations to their favorite charity instead of wedding gifts.

Wedding planners are turning to seriously low-scale options for food, fun and entertainment that are inexpensive, low-maintenance and don't require the use of a lot of precious resources. This includes everything from vegetarian salad bars to Taco Trucks, bamboo cutlery and plates, and even non-alcoholic drinks so the eco-conscious vibe spills over to the socially conscious as well.

Social media will continue to play a huge role in weddings this year and likely for good. Couples will keep guests informed through wedding websites and post updates about their excitement and plans on Facebook and Twitter. Posts such as "We booked the band today!" allow friends and family to feel like they are part of the planning process. YouTube will be a hot choice for the couple as they document their planning time with videos of the venue shopping, the honeymoon and everything in between. Viral bliss is in and it's inclusive: you don't have to be the bride or groom to see the planning take shape.

Traditional weddings will always play a role, but more and more couples are looking for ways to do things differently, while hanging on to elements of matrimonial culture they grew up on or around. Long, lacy white dresses are being traded for off-white minis; tuxes and cummerbunds are being replaced with Panama Jack coats and hats, and the food, fun and entertainment are all going to be more reflective of the couple's personal tastes, political bents and ethnic backgrounds. Get ready for a season of anything goes!

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