The summer is just around the corner and for those of us who belong to the late-20s to early-30s group, it means one thing: many of those friends you thought would stay young and free forever have broken away from the pack to get married. If you have more than one wedding to attend this year, you’ll some come to realise how quickly the costs can add up, for the guests as much as the couple themselves. From the couple’s perspective, this is an extra-pricey moment in the spotlight, and an opportunity to represent their originality, their personalities and their love to about five hundred of their nearest and dearest.
The wedding must then reflect the intertwined tastes of bride and groom, comprising their personal style and sensibilities. Bearing in mind that the photos, the videos - and these days the instagrams, tweets and pins - will be around for the rest of your life, young couples want the day to look picture-perfect amazing. Enter, then, the 'hipster wedding'. Born, arguably, in Brooklyn by way of a beautifully-lit barnyard out of town, the hipster wedding has become a trend sensation. Photos of painfully hip couples tying the knot in quirky ways are pinned to the 'wedding' board of almost every bride-to-be or hopeful romantic. A true hipster weddings comprises just about everything any cool twenty- or thirty-something could dream up: a great party, great food and a great set of filter photos to match... #hipsterswag
The wedding market is an unfailingly strong one, expanding even in time of recession, but the phenomenon of the hipster wedding has set the online shopping world alight. The digital generation are exploiting the net to advertise their wedding, to nab the latest and greatest accoutrements the world over, and to publicise the finished product on every possible forum.
Of course, the term 'hipster' is vague at best, and has arguably been misappropriated to the point of senselessness - so how has the zeitgeist defined a truly 'hipster' wedding? Do we even know what a hipster is? Is just a guy with a beard, tweed, and a love of all things artisan and locally sourced products? Is it a niche world of artists and creative types? Or is it simply a term which encompasses the current, most cutting-edge trends among the younger generations? Maybe it's all of these things. The only way to truly understand what a hipster wedding is, perhaps, is to bow to the hashtags.
And that's what we've done. We've scoured Pinterest, Tumblr and Etsy to see which traits recur among the #hipster weddings, so that whether you're a trendy wedding planner, a future bride or groom, or just the guest of the lucky couple, you'll know how to identify the exactingly cool, meticulously tatty, painfully insouciant hipster wedding. Of course, you can check out this flowchart if you're still unsure.
10 The invites look like an advert for a graphic designer.
There was a time - say, anytime before the new millennium - when wedding invites were resolutely white, dull and covered in twee silver wedding bells. Not so anymore! Now that most of have read the Adobe software Guides for Dummies, we've discovered how to create more personalised cards and invites. If you are seriously hipster, you're probably already a graphic designer, or have at least done some freelancing work with Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign on the side. If you lack these skills yourself, there are still many options available to you: you can contact your freelancing friend or check out the likes of Etsy or Not on the High Street to pin down the perfect 'alternative' wedding invite. You can also go completely Jessica Hische on it and, along with creating the personalised typefaces that will be used at the wedding, create a website to announce the event.
9 The Ceremony is in a barn.
The big day has finally arrived; you put on your gladrags and head to the ceremony. Unless your hipster couple have opted for a religious ceremony within their place of worship (not common among the hipster crowd) you may well find that the ceremony and setting afterwards are held in the pared-back remote setting of a barn. This is a barn as you've never seen it before. The area is laid out for guests, there's most likely a buffet, the cocktail bar is also set up there, as too are the immaculately laid out place settings. Take a look at our next couple of items to give you a feel for what to expect in this rustic setting...
8 There’s bunting!
Adorning the wood-framed walls of this minimalist setting will be some fun pops of colour from some good old-fashioned (or should that be 'vintage'?) bunting, Those of not in the loop might associate bunting - those little triangular flags along a piece of string- with the twee world of the school sports day, the village fete or the aristocratic garden party. No longer! This now 'retro' style has been re-appropriated by the hipster wedding to give it that home-made, down-to-earth feel. Make no mistake however, this isn’t the ironic emblazoned paper bunting you buy at your local discount store - this is high quality, fabric bunting. A look through any interiors catalogue should give you a feel for the it, but if you're still confused, the combination of #bunting and #wedding on Instagram should answer all your questions.
7 Blackboards signpost the seating plan, the menu and everything else.
The seating plan is certainly nothing new. It's the bride and groom’s way of deciding who likes who, who should hook up with who and who should definitely not speak to who at their wedding. Upon entering the wedding reception you will find a seating plan telling you what table to sit at and who will sit next to you. As a demonstration of the commitment to sustainability, however, (and maybe just to keep down the costs) the hipster couple will employ an artfully decorated blackboard to lead you in the right direction. Blackboards may also be used to point you towards the various services that are on offer, and will most likely, be filled out in Lobster typeface. And if the hipster couple are really committed the the bohemian mentality, one might discover that the blackboard is there to announce NO seating plan! Try not to panic.
6 There are fairy lights.
Once you’ve celebrated the ceremony itself and the sun starts to set you’ll see that the vaulted roof of your barnyard setting has been decorated with some twinkling fairy lights. These of course, must be clear in hue - not the flashing coloured ones you put on your Christmas tree - and will set the scene for when you take to the dancefloor.
5 The Bride and Groom have vintage wedding rings.
The world of celebrity teaches us that the bigger the bling, the better, but that is not always necessarily the case. And besides, once a valuable diamond, always a valuable diamond, right? Most brides will need their engagement rings altered slightly to ensure a good fit or the right kind of sparkle, but if you want to get something that will really turn heads, why not consider an antique engagement ring? Past fashions mean that diamonds are cut and set in different ways depending on the era, and there are some glorious pieces out there to choose from. If you wanted a time period as starting point, anything art deco is sure to turn heads.
4 The Bride and Bridesmaids have flowers in their hair.
It’s an age old tradition that the female members of the wedding party carry flowers, but with the hipster wedding they become a wedding accessory too. Not garish, '90s 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' style; think more boho-chic and festival darling. The goal of the hipster bride is to look naturally beautiful and slightly undone. After all, if your wedding is in a barn, there’s no point trying to look too high maintenance. Think, instead, Midsomer hair garlands made of flowers with loose braids and waves to frame the face. The bride may opt for a white dress, or something a little different, as she so chooses.
3 Food is bespoke, artisan and in some way pickled.
It’s all very well and good enjoying the aesthetics at these hipster weddings over the summer, but if you are the guest at one, chances are the food is going to be your main focus after the nuptials themselves. The traditional wedding dinner can be somewhat lacklustre, but this can often be because a large wedding party puts a kitchen- and the couple’s budget- under pressure to fill all those hungry mouths.
With the generally smaller scale of the hipster wedding though, you're in for a treat. Think cold meat and cheese platter, buffet style serving with unusual, exotic condiments. If this wedding is all-out hipster, there'll be artisan pickled products, such as high-end gherkins or kimchee, to really cement the reception dinner as the hipster event of the season.
2 High class cocktails are served in low grade containers.
As with the food, the hipster wedding does not do things by halves and the same applies to the drinks. The early reception drinks at your run of the mill wedding usually feature champagne or perhaps a sleek cocktail but after that, it’s house wine all around. Not so the hipster wedding. If there is wine, it has been sourced from a small, out of the way vineyard, but more often than not, the drinks menu is a bit more diverse. The real Mad Men-style drinking comes from the weddings that supply their own whiskey bar and will serve old fashioneds, Tom Collins, and sleek martinis like there is no tomorrow. All served in - what else? - mason jars.
1 The wedding photos are amazing, as is the Vimeo video you receive afterwards...
It’s natural for the bride and groom to want to capture the big day on camera, and have mementos to cherish when they are old and grey. But if you’re at a hipster wedding, these are not your traditional stiffly posed family photos. Aside from the fact that the backdrop to these photos is going to be a bunting-bedecked barn in the sunshine with blackboards to announce the happy day, there are some other wedding embellishments that cement the hipster status. Your Instagram feed is flooded with wedding shots, the wedding album itself appears at time to be an advertisement for the variety of filters now available on Instagram and if you're lucky enough, a couple of weeks after the wedding, an email will arrive with a Vimeo link to the big day. Hand held camcorders? Forget it, this is high class stuff capturing every hipster detail of the day, set to a song by a band you definitely don't know yet. Is the hipster aesthetic ageless? Probably not; and these Vimeo videos may be as passé in 15 years as your mom's cringey family wedding photos are now.