17 top wedding reception trends for 2017

We asked the UK's most creative wedding planners and stylists for their predictions of what's going to be hot in wedding reception styling for 2017. Read on for some fabulous new ideas that you're going to want to add to your Pinterest board straight away!

1) Cactus-inspired details 

“Cactus is looking to be the next big motif in weddings,” says Holly Poulter from Revelry Events. “We’ve seen more delicate fern and foliage over the past two years, but now we’re starting to see more rogue greenery spike its way through in anything from fashion to homewares, and now weddings.


“The cactus motif could show up anywhere from the invitation design to an actual cactus as your centrepiece. It’s a flowerless decor trend which means it works really well for more minimalist, industrial wedding styles. It brings a natural greenery element without being too feminine.

Image: Xander & Thea

“The cactus trend is an evolution of the succulent trend of previous years, and the tropical design inspiration of 2016. Fashion and homewares have plastered the prickly pretties all over their products in the past year, making it even more possible for couples to incorporate the motif into their wedding designs.

“Cactus motifs throughout your stationery are a very cool way to bring this trend into your wedding. Use watercolour designs to soften the look, adding a splash of colour with its red or pink flowers. Use real cacti and succulents as your table decor – they are perfect for dotting along the middle of long tables, with a colourful runner underneath.

“Use the flat variety of cactus – the Prickly Pear – with its prickles removed to write your table names on or hang lots of them up on a wall for your photobook backdrop.”

READ MORE: How to master the perfect fiesta wedding theme

2) Holograms 

“Iridescent and holographic designs and fabrics are getting more and more popular, and we think it’s going to filter down into the wedding world,” says Holly. “Ask your cake designer to add a little iridescent touch to your white cake, for some mermaid vibes. The design works best against crisp white for a modern look.

Image: Xander & Thea
Cake: Wildflower Cakes

“Iridescence is soft pastel shades on one side and shimmering fluorescents on the other, giving an almost futuristic look, while at the same time reminding us of beautiful shiny seashells. Take the look even further with pale green succulents and shells to give some under the sea glamour.

Image: Xander & Thea

“Fashion’s obsession with mermaids and unicorns over the past year has meant we’ve seen everything from haute couture holographics, to shiny pastel notebooks,” says Holly. “The iridescent look is easily achieved using paper – incorporate the holographic texture into your stationery and give your menus and place cards a shimmer.”

READ MORE: The best metallic wedding cakes

Image: Xander & Thea
Stationery: BerinMade Paper Goods

3) Hygge

We’re seeing a big Scandinavian influence when it comes to styling winter weddings. Pared back, natural and relaxed – very higgle!” says Holly. “Hygge is the perfect inspiration for fresh, contemporary winter wedding designs. It’s not just about rustic barns and fairy lights, it’s about Danish minimalism and a focus on food, community and good lighting! It means foraged finds to decorate your tables and soft candlelight to warm your guests. It’s heavy with greenery and foliage, branches and natural elements, no bold colours. It’s DIY, but it’s less origami paper cranes and more artisan woodwork!

“The UK’s newest obsession is a Danish word that doesn’t even have an English translation – but is the Scandinavian concept of making the most out of winter. Hygge means lighting candles, eating good food with friends, drinking wine and generally feeling happy and cosy. Doesn’t that sound like most people want for their wedding days to you?

“Get the Scandinavian look on your reception tables by keeping the colour scheme minimal and natural. White, greens and wood textures are the way to go. Centrepieces of tall branches, foliage and tealights are enough to make an impact and leave enough room for your family-style wedding meal. Hang up your escort cards or guest names on pegs with leaves or sprigs of greenery for your table plan display.

“Bring the Hygge cosiness to your reception with warm candlelight wherever possible. Springs of greenery or herbs on your place settings will give your tables a foraged, laid-back look worthy of the Danes.”

Image: Tandem Photography. From: 100layercake.com

4) Hand-dyed silk runners

“The biggest trend I’m noticing is the use of hand-dyed silk runners,” says Andri Benson from Always Andri. “Hand dyed silk ribbons have been big for a while now, trailing elegantly from bouquets and I’m seeing more and more use of hand dyed silk runners and natural cottons dressing long tables. They have a lovely ethereal look to them that adds a beautiful softness to a table setting. Long tables are definitely becoming more and more common too as they feel less formal than round tables and add a sense of intimacy as guests can talk to each other more easily across them.”

READ MORE: 25 ways to decorate your wedding reception tables

Image: Gemma McAuley Photography

5) Geodes

A trend that is particularly up and coming includes using agate slices and geodes in wedding styling,” says Ela Aksoy from Bochic Wedding & Event Planning. “Agate is an ornamental stone, which has a marbled look and geodes are crystal-lined rocks – both of these beauties come in all colours and sizes and you can incorporate inspired designs within much of your wedding décor. From geode-inspired cakes (the crystal look in the cake is created by using rock candy) to thin, vibrant agate slices used as place cards, this trend is definitely for the style-savvy couple. It’s a great way to add strong vibrancy and colour to your wedding reception styling and the overall look becomes beautifully raw and natural.”

READ MORE: Browse 22 stunning geode wedding cakes

Image: Emilie Ann Photography Cake: Carrie’s Cakes

6) Organic styling 

“Outdoor, organic and effortless – these three words are what 2017 for me is all about,” says Elisabetta White. “It’s probably a tail of what we’ve been calling ‘fine art’ during 2016, but it feels more defined and accentuated than ever, think:

  •  An abundance of foliage, a floral look that feels unstructured, yet effortlessly stunning.
  • Round tables are being replaced by imperial ones, and sometimes mixed together to create a dynamic reception feel. Tables are bare and raw – rustic exposed wood with either light runners or linen table cloths are being preferred to heavy cotton ones.
  • Traditional Chiavari chairs are being replaced by wooden cross back ones. They are rustic, yet elegant – they look beautiful outdoors but if you’re stuck with a plan B and have to move indoors, they add a touch of Tuscany even to the barest of spaces.
  • We are still seeing lots of calligraphy & natural paper, but also the introduction of marble which gives stationery a modern twist.
Image: Nato Welton
  • Ceremony aisles and church doors are seeing two extremes: they are either bare, allowing the backdrop to do all the talking, or are decorated with full grown edges/climbing plants – it’s all about foliage, candles and lanterns.

It’s a trend that replicates Tuscan rustic-chic in both looks and feel. It’s not pompous or opulent. The simplicity of it is breathtaking.”

Image: Matt Willis Photography

7) Understated elegance 

“We have noticed a change in the way reception tables are dressed,” says Catharine Noble, Editor of Bloved Blog. “There is a shift away from sparkle to more organic delicate materials in terms of both table cloths and runners. Beautiful linen is draped over a table with the addition of a runner along the length of the centre, which is a contrast in colour but also texture. Silk runners are super popular right now! It’s all about an understated elegant look you can achieve and not trying to getting perfect. Let the silk drape and fold and incorporate your other beautiful pieces of decor on top of it.”

Image: Sanshine Photography Styling: Goose & Berry Weddings

“This dressing can be carried throughout the reception with the wedding cake placed on top of a silk runner which drapes and hangs so beautifully – it’s such a simple addition but truly adds to the finish!” says Catharine.

READ MORE: How to artfully use foliage in your wedding decor

Image: Amanda Karen Photography Styling: Kate Cullen Cake: Made By Marie Green

“Tall tapered candles are a must to dress this understated chic style and you can work this into a more minimal urban luxe feel with the type of candlesticks you can use – for example concrete, brass, copper or marble! Or, you use exquisite glass candlesticks, which are offset by the colour of tapered candles. Blush pink are absolutely my favourite! You can of course use pieces which are much more of an antique style, which really lends itself well to couples wanting that amazing Fine Art wedding look.”

Image: Amanda Karen

“As well as the on trend silk runners you can opt for muslin cheesecloth or a very fine silk chiffon,” says Catharine. “We are seeing more long tables in place of circular and they are dressed with amazing centrepieces, which are much lower and wider as opposed to being tall features.”

Image: Lucky Malone Photography
Styling: Louise Beukes

8) Asymmetrical flowers

“Asymmetrical curves and lines are very on trend right now, especially when it comes to floral arrangements,” says Katrina from Katrina Otter Weddings. “In 2017 flowers and foliage will continue to be distinctly off-centre with visually interesting lines defined by cascading foliage, vines, branches and blooms. From wild bouquets of trailing ferns to loose textured buttonholes, asymmetrical draped garlanding to L-shaped table arrangements with sprays of accent flowers or foliage.”

9) Colours inspired by nature

“Bright, vivid, bold, patterned and impactful was the name of the game in 2016, but in 2017 colour schemes will be pared back and instead influenced by the hues that surround us in nature – from cool foliage greens to earthy neutrals and soft flesh-tone hues,” says Katrina.

“These colours work perfectly with a boho chic or rustic vibe but can also be soft and feminine and therefore incorporated into a more classic but understated colour palette.”

Image: Guy Collier

10) Street food feasts

“I’ve yet to meet a wedding guest who doesn’t love a quirky take on food,” says Kim Balasubramaniam. “There are so many amazing vendors out there who you can now hire to attend your wedding, all of which make a fun alternative to a canapé reception or evening buffet. I absolutely love the Indian snacks served by Angus from the Everybody Love Love Jhal Muri Express, which is literally a feast for all your senses and who wouldn’t want their Prosecco to be served from a vintage Piaggio van from the Bubble Bros? From gourmet burgers to wood fired pizza, coffee and chocolate, there’s bound to be something that’s right up your street.”

READ MORE: Gourmet grazing stations for your wedding

Image: Andrew D Hamilton

11) Long tables

“I can’t remember the last time I designed a wedding with round tables!” says Kim. “Long tables continue to feature strongly in the world of wedding décor and if your venue allows then I’d always recommend them. They allow far more conversation than round, and always look so great lined up in their rows. They work equally well with fabulous florals, running garlands of fragrant blooms along the centre, as with much simpler (and more cost effective) décor such as candlesticks with simple foliage tendrils wound through. Just remember that space can be tighter than on round tables, so ensure there’s still plenty of room for your crockery, cutlery and glassware!”

Image: Andrew D Hamilton

12) Urban Industrial Chic

“While weddings are undeniably romantic and often very feminine, there’s a definite nod towards a more masculine, industrial feel to décor that continues into 2017,” says Kim. “Think mixed metals; particularly copper and bronze, foliage heavy florals using more structured palms and ferns with pops of colour, festoon lighting on exposed cabling and geometric patterns in your stationery. Hire in tolix chairs for the ultimate industrial appeal and mix with bare wood, minimal décor and neon signage for a nod to urban chic.”

Image: Andrew D Hamilton

13) Welcome packs and hangover kits

“With the increase in popularity of wedding weekends we’re seeing more and more guests travel from out of town for the celebrations,” says Kim. “Make them feel particularly special and thought of by placing welcome boxes in their hotel rooms; these can contain local delicacies such as honey or biscuits, an itinerary of the days ahead, a gorgeous scented candle or box of chocs and a personal greeting from the soon-to-be Mr & Mrs. After the celebrations have ended, have a morning-after-the-night-before kit delivered to them, which you can have great fun creating; alka-seltzers, personalised water bottles, eye masks, brunch vouchers and even a polaroid picture of the after party will all work well; just don’t get them delivered too early in the morning!”

READ MORE: The best wedding favours for under £1

Image: Marigold Grey

14) Textural Tones

“It’s easier than ever now to hire or buy pretty much anything you want to for your wedding reception, so take a tip from the world of interior design and mix together different textural fabrics,” says Kim. “We all know that it works really well to mix different tones of colour to give a sense of depth and style, but the layering of textures is now also being used widely throughout the wedding reception to really elevate it to the next level. The use of fabrics for draping, on tablescapes and in chill-out areas can help to define the look of each section of your celebration. Think whisper soft chiffons, organzas and tulles for a romantic and pretty feel throughout the drinks reception and wedding breakfast. Then, mix it up with some bolder colours, velvets and raw silks for soft furnishings in chill out areas or bars. Throw in some faux fur or glitter into the equation at the party for an extra touch of fabulousness!”

Image: Redfield Photography

15) Keepsake decor 

“Couples are becoming more aware of the longevity of aspects related to their wedding day,” says Susannah Young from Knot & Pop. “So, if there’s a way to style their day that means a few lovely keepsakes for their home are created, then this is something we whole-heartedly encourage couples to do. We’ve sourced rugs, cushions, vases, tea lights, coasters and more, which have then found their way to the couple’s house to be a forever reminder of their day.”

Image: Yellow Bird Photography

16) Daring to be different 

“Couples are daring to be different and moving away from the norms associated with traditional wedding etiquette,” says Susannah. “So whether that’s a jazz in the jungle-themed wedding or a taste of the tropics in the heart of the English countryside, couples are setting their own wedding rules.”

READ MORE: 19 unusual wedding entertainment ideas

Image: Matt Parry

17) Neutral colours

“An overwhelming trend at the moment is green and white or neutrals,” says Emma McDonald from Something Blue. “It’s especially popular with my 2017 couples when it comes to the flowers. It’s a trend I’m thrilled to work with as the simplest of designs can sometimes be the most romantic and visually stunning. Teamed with another key trend of metallics this look can be a perfect balance of romance and sophistication.”

Image: Julie Michaelsen Stationery: Papier

Once you’ve taken on board all these gorgeous trends for your wedding, why not browse our edit of the best 100 wedding venues to find the perfect setting for your big day?