Here at Brides, we have the honor of telling couples’ love stories and featuring one of the most special days of their lives. Whether it’s a casual backyard wedding at home or an extravagant affair in the Tuscan countryside, the Real Weddings that we publish are always brimming with eye-catching details and innovative decorations.
To commemorate another year ending and mark a new one beginning, we’re taking a look back at the stunning nuptials that stood out to us the most in 2022. Over the past 12 months, we saw larger-than-life floral installations grace ceremony spaces, handwritten poem place cards personalize receptions, and multi-tiered cakes wow guests. From innovative stationery suites to customized party favors, these are the most unique wedding details that took our breath away in 2022.
Since invitations are one of the best ways to set the expectation for what’s to come, Jessica Erickson and Adam Pauls introduced their elegant aesthetic and Napa Valley venue with a thoughtfully curated stationery suite. Their envelope lining featured a custom illustration of the vineyards that surrounded their vow exchange, and their invitations included a watercolor painting of the oak trees that towered above their altar. Not only did this paper product stand out with its meticulous artwork, but it also captured the cream, light pink, and green tones that composed the wedding’s color palette.
Everything about Natalie Gill and Steven Topham’s colorful retro fête in San Diego was one of a kind. Our favorite detail? The vibrant orange welcome sign that encouraged guests to enjoy themselves. Instead of displaying their names and wedding date, which is pretty standard for the opening signage, this duo went above and beyond with an endearing message, an asymmetrical border, and noteworthy décor.
A Floral-Filled Aisle
Flowers were the focal point of Chasity McGrady and Francois Lindo’s bohemian ceremony in Moab, Utah. A deconstructed floral arch composed of baby’s breath and pampas grass bordered an acrylic aisle stuffed with lush petals, which made for an epic entrance. The ceremony installation also coordinated perfectly with the desert landscape and incorporated only sustainable elements. It’s worth noting that the bride and groom conceptualized this idea and the rest of their big day in just two months, which makes the installation even more impressive.
Overlapping Ombré Arches
When Stephanie Nucci and Jason Brooks said “I do” in France, they ditched tradition by planning a wedding with an ombré theme. Not one, but three floral arches framed their altar, demonstrating the shift from white to pink to purple to blue. The floral hedge that lined their runway also exhibited the blended hues.
A Striking Floral Installation
Hadier Jassim and Mitch Riebow channeled the season of fall during their industrial ceremony in Minneapolis, but they took it to a whole new level. A 60-foot installation of dried blooms and palm leaves in autumnal colors towered above their aisle and drew guests’ gazes upward. The hanging arrangement filled the soaring ceiling and gave the stark room a pop of color and dimension.
Comfortable Ceremony Seating
For Jasmine Multani and Aadit Parikh’s Sikh ceremony in Los Cabos, Mexico, guests sat cross legged on plush white cushions and mats. Since the religious tradition calls for a seated wedding ceremony, the couple got creative with their seating arrangement and provided maximum comfort for their loved ones. We love how the pastel floral arrangements scattered down the aisle and the vibrant mandap popped against the monochromatic pillows.
Since Mandy Ansari and Brian Jensen were throwing a Persian-American ceremony, they used their programs to hint at the items included in their sofreh aghd, a table covered with symbolic delicacies and decorative elements. The duo had their vow swap framed with a mirror to bring a bright light to their marriage, nuts for abundance, gold coins for wealth and prosperity, eggs for fertility, and honey for a sweet future together. The jaw-dropping paper products featured detailed sketches of these components along with descriptions written in fancy calligraphy. For an added bonus, the programs even matched the ceremony’s color palette.
A “Starry Night” Escort Card Wall
The star of the show at Annie Wallace and Spencer Tinsman’s fall wedding in Lake Geneva was a “Starry Night” escort card display. Guests found their seating assignments on a flower wall that used more than 4,500 blooms to bring Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting to life. Since the display was so extraordinary, the couple even repurposed it as the backdrop for their head table. From their invitations to their bar décor, every component of the couple’s big day captured the colors and textures found in the world-renowned painter’s works of art.
A Winding Table Display
Andrea Flora and Enrica Di Lorenzo’s fairy-tale reception in the Tuscan countryside evoked an atmosphere of intimacy and romance. Why? Rather than separating their friends and family at several smaller tables, the couple gathered their guests at one long, circular-shaped table that wrapped around the entire garden. While the floor plan itself was a standout element, the tabletop decorations were equally astounding, from the lush greenery runner to the glowing taper candles.
Tablescapes Tied to Greek Mythology
Vases brimming with blooms are the centerpieces that typically mark reception tables, but Becky Delius and Michael Eades decided to do things differently. At their celebration in Nashville, the bride and groom had busts of Greek gods Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, and Athena placed at their head table to represent the bride’s Greek heritage. They even had each sculpture wrapped in foliage, fruit, and flowers for an additional touch.
Art-Inspired Table Numbers
After meeting and getting engaged in New York City’s Theater District, Ksenia Artemyeva and Richard Adams wanted their vow swap in the Hamptons to capture their appreciation for the arts. Their table numbers were a notable decoration that accomplished this vision. Instead of actually numbering their tables, the couple named each one after the work of a legendary artist. Paired with simple place settings, the masterpieces definitely enhanced the tablescape’s visual intrigue.
Since chargers form the basis of every place setting, Kristin Sillas and Wyatt Littles wanted theirs to make a statement. They selected an ornate gold leaf design to build upon their European-inspired ballroom reception in Dallas. For a cohesive feel, the intricate pattern matched the gold menu font, glassware rim, and flatware tips.
Since Jordana Schrager is a designer, she decided to show off her artistic skills when marrying Andrew Wolfe at their rustic-glam nuptials in Nashville. The bride hand-painted the floral designs that bordered the couple’s acrylic menus. Illustrated on a translucent background, the blooms almost appeared as if they were floating.
Personalized Place Cards
Michelle Kahl and Pete Mscichowski made their mid-century modern reception in Arizona especially meaningful for their loved ones by sharing a heartfelt tribute to each person. During the wedding planning process, the bride selected a poem that reminded her of each guest, and she had it printed on their place card. The touching messages doubled as favors, so each attendee could savor the words and the day over and over again.
Although it might seem like an afterthought, Natalie Gill and Steven Topham wanted to rethink the candle holders at their retro wedding in San Diego. The fun squiggly design that they chose gave their tablescape dimension and their multi-colored taper candles height. However, the playful pattern wasn’t just a stand-alone decoration. The squiggly line was actually a motif seen throughout the big day, from the napkins to the bride’s jewelry.
Gilded Age Glam
A gold-themed gathering is show-stopping on its own, but one decoration in particular grabbed everyone’s attention at Hunter Floyd and Gately Williams’s South Carolina reception. The duo had the ceiling of their tented reception engulfed in gold oversized spheres. Since the balloon-like structures, the tent poles, and the table toppers all had a mirrored surface, the party ended up being one huge reflection.
A Dreamy Sweetheart Table
After saying “I do” at their glamorous Atlanta wedding, actress Naturi Naughton and Two Lewis savored their first meal as newlyweds at the most extravagant setup. The duo perched on a white velvet couch and dined at a gold table covered in votive candles. A beautiful display of pink and purple blooms flanked their sweetheart table, and a purple wall with more buds served as their vibrant backdrop.
A Cute Cocktail Sign
While signature cocktails are often the highlight, Grace Hartley and Robert Shilton wanted their cocktail menu to bring just as much creativity to their minimalist Santa Barbara vow exchange. They named their beverage of choice “Lady Bug,” so it was only fitting that their sign included an illustration of the insect. A wooden cutout of foliage behind the see-through layer was also appropriate for the nature-inspired beverage.
Innovative Signature Drinks
Kendra Ellis and Diallobe Johnson served three unique signature cocktails at their winter California reception, and each one had the most incredible artwork. One drink exhibited their joint initials surrounded by greenery. Another included an engagement photo of the couple kissing while the bride held up her new ring. The third showcased an illustration of the duo posing together. For an added touch, they named each drink after special people and places in their lives.
A Canoe Cooler
To store their canned beverages, Claire Pedregon and Josh Bethany swapped the classic bar scene for an unconventional canoe at their at-home wedding in Texas. The couple thought everything through—they even had the boat filled with ice to keep the beer bottles and seltzers cool. Not only was the self-service station practical, but it also enhanced the décor with pretty floral adornments.
A Color-Blocked Bar
Lindsey Phillips and Connor Mannon chose a one-of-a-kind theme for their rooftop soirée in Houston: ombré. And every element of their décor helped bring that vision to life. Above their bar, a hanging floral installation showcased the blurring shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. The bar itself was a detail that piqued our interest, with a pink backdrop and a watercolor drawing of blooms.
A Monogrammed Drink Station
Another bar that demanded our attention was the one that Valerie Faleiro and Michael Strenk customized at their Portuguese-inspired fête in Austin. The couple had their initials engraved into the bar, and used their signature wedding fabric, a floral print from Monique Lhullier for Pottery Barn, to dress up the monogram. The fabric made an appearance throughout the special day, including the escort card display and the hand-sewn pillows in the lounge area.
A Rainbow Confection
At Taylor Whiting and Jen Kelly’s celebration at the Chicago Botanic Garden, their cake got a lot of buzz. Their colorful confection featured a base of blue fondant with rose gold leaf, another layer with a watercolor design, and a top tier with a semi-naked finish. Fondant flowers embellished the entire dessert. The best part? When the couple cut into the sweet treat, a rainbow appeared.
A Custom Dance Floor
Although it was Andrea Alvarado and Landon Thompson’s second wedding, they didn’t skimp on any of the details. One of our favorite moments at their Cabo celebration was a custom dance floor that showcased a drawing of a flower, which made a stunning spot for their first dance as newlyweds.
Gwendolyn R. von Rahn and Ron Ongaro Jr. went out with a bang on their wedding night. The finishing touch at their Amalfi Coast autumnal reception was a custom tambourine favor hand-painted with each guest’s portrait. The instruments topped off every place setting, giving the tables an air of creativity and personalization.