Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. And while some traditions—like a beautiful dress and delicious cake—are a must for many couples, other customs are more of a suggestion than something written in stone.
From scented invitations to new twists on the rice toss, here are some of today’s one-of-a-kind wedding trends—plus tips on how to bring them to life in Cleburne.
1. Out-of-the-Box Venues
When it comes to wedding and dining venues, couples are getting more creative. According to The Knot, today’s newlyweds are skipping conventional venues like churches and community halls in favor of sites such as breweries, barns and even greenhouses. These out-of-the-box venues usually offer more space for dancing and dining than traditional settings; plus, their unique backdrops allow for the coveted Instagram-worthy wedding photos.
In Cleburne, you’ll find plenty of one-of-a-kind places for hosting an unforgettable wedding and reception. Take the Chisholm Trail Rustic Venue: Modeled after a historic Western town, this venue provides one of the most unique settings in the Dallas Fort Worth region. A ceremony under the oak trees transitions into a cocktail party in the saloon, followed by a night of dancing in the covered barn. There’s even a “jail” where the groomsmen can prep and a charming guesthouse perfect for first-look photos.
Couples can also take center stage—literally—with a wedding at the Cleburne Conference Center’s performing arts center. With its state-of-the-art audiovisual and light systems, your big day can be as grand as a Broadway show.
2. High-Low Food
In the past, the typical reception dinner was a stuffy and oftentimes bland affair. But today’s brides and grooms are turning tradition on its head, crafting original menus that everyone will actually enjoy.
One of the ways couples are mixing things up is by pairing high-end dishes (think filet mignon or sushi) with comfort foods like mac and cheese or shrimp and grits. These combos create a more diverse menu and allow newlyweds to share their favorite foods with friends and family in a refined, elegant setting.
Many of Cleburne’s most popular wedding venues happily embrace and encourage this new trend. The Barn at Watson Ranch, for example, features a large outdoor kitchen where caterers can cook up everything from barbecue chicken to pizza to tacos—all of which can be elevated with a pairing of any of Texas’ premium wines.
3. Experiential Table Favors
As a gesture of appreciation to guests, many couples offer party favors, like flowers or chocolates, often positioned at guests’ seats to double as decoration. According to The Knot, many are going beyond bouquets to gift guests favors more in line with the wedding’s theme and the newlyweds’ personalities.
All of Cleburne’s skilled wedding planners can help come up with individualized ideas for table favors as unique as your love for each other. Maybe it’s a custom creation from Breck & Co Floral. The adorable studio has original, custom-made floral designs as well as favors that are eco-friendly, made in Texas or have social impact. Or maybe it’s a favor that pays homage to the venue. At Five Oaks Farm—a picturesque barn-inspired setting complete with a windmill, fire pit and babbling creek—party favor options range from s’more-making kits to Bailey’s and cream cocktail sets.
4. Creative Lighting
Since weddings began, couples have found creative ways to make even the most basic venues uniquely their own. Flowers and linens typically have taken the forefront of big-day decor. More recently, activation's like cigar rollers and food trucks have even popped up. But now, it’s all about the lighting.
According to The Knot, couples are customizing their rentals with everything from neon signs to bistro lights to candles. With a little finesse and a few nails, hanging lights can be used to divide a big space into several cozy corners, illuminate the dance floor or simply make your guests say “wow.”
Many of Cleburne’s venues accommodate requests for custom fixtures like chandeliers, floating lanterns and dangling clusters of Edison bulbs. But why not host your wedding at a venue where awe-inspiring lighting is included in the rental fee? Cleburne’s The Barn on the Brazos features several striking silos that have been transformed from grain storage to extravagant light fixtures. Come nightfall, the towering structures cast an ethereal glow over the surrounding fields and pastures, making your wedding feel even more like a fairytale.
5. Private Vows
Rather than professing their love in front of 100-plus friends and family members, some brides and grooms are opting for a private vow ceremony, which help take away any added pressure of having to speak in public. It also allows couples to create more intimate vows and share a few private jokes at the altar.
Many couples want this moment photographed, as it often results in some of their favorite photos, according to The Knot. Venues like Cleburne’s Stonebridge offer the perfect backdrop for intimate moments like first-looks and private vow ceremonies, thanks to its 44 acres. Couples can share their deepest promises in the gardens or next to the waterfall—all while guests wait to celebrate with them under the property’s live oak tree, one of the biggest in Texas.
6. Olfactory Experiences
Our sense of smell is connected to the parts of the brain that control our emotions, feelings and memories. That’s why the scent of baking cookies can conjure powerful memories of childhood for some people. It’s also why many of today’s couples are creating custom scent blends for their big day to be used in perfumes, scented oils, candles, or even to be sprayed on invitations and linens. Some soothing smells, like lavender and chamomile, can be utilized to help couples stay calm and collected during the wedding day hustle and bustle.
Consider renting a venue like Jones Barn at Willow Creek Ranch and hanging satchels of your signature scent blend from the vaulted ceilings. Reed diffusers can also be used as centerpieces and decorative accents. At the end of the night, instead of tossing rice or petals, invite guests to shower you in your signature potpourri blend to mark the beginning of your new life together.