Over the past 20 years, Jaime Johnson has planned more than 1,000 weddings, first as an event planner for the Coeur d'Alene Resort and then the Davenport, then the past 13 years as the owner of Jaime Johnson Events. She's the first to admit that wedding trends come and go, but she's actually excited about what's on point now.
Location, Location, Location
Instead of picking a location simply based on capacity, Johnson says more couples are selecting a location that means something to them. "It's no longer 'I picked a hotel,'" Johnson says. "It's 'I picked Maui because that's where we got engaged. I picked Priest Lake because this is where our heart is in the summer.' I really love that trend." For some couples, it means selecting a historic venue like the Davenport, because their parents had their reception there. For others, it might mean a backyard wedding or a small affair at the lake.
Bigger isn't Necessarily Better
But hosting a wedding at your parent's lake place can sometimes put pressure on the guest list. While the average wedding typically has about 130 people, Johnson says she's seeing more intimate gatherings. Couples are selecting a location because of their attachment to it, not because it can fit everybody. "They are going for the heart strings, not the maximum number of guests. I think people are starting to be more understanding of why a venue was selected, and why they may or may not have made the list."
All About the Experience
When it comes to the actual wedding, couples are aiming to create an experience, not just present a color palette. "It used to be, 'Oh, you had a teal wedding or you had a blue wedding.' Now, it's not so much a color scheme you're seeing," Johnson explains. Instead, couples are centering in on a theme. "So if you have people coming to the Inland Northwest, the theme itself might be everything Northwest and they might communicate that in subtle ways like selecting salmon or huckleberries or local beers. They may offer local trinkets chocolates that are really tying your guests to the experience of where you're at, rather than your guests walking away with a purple bag full of purple candy."