Ask the Expert: What's Haute and What's Not?

We asked our panel of wedding experts “What’s HAUTE and what’s NOT in weddings?” Here’s what our in-the-know, trend-setting Creative Partners had to say…
Michelle Rago
“Because I am a Francophile I love this question! At Michelle Rago Destinations this is what’s Haute and this is what’s N’aute.
1-Dressing for the sanctity of the ceremony is Haute… dressing for your ceremony as if it’s your honeymoon eve is… N’aute
2-Simultaneous drop service for dinner is Haute…tray jack service is N’aute
3-Re-scoring rock and roll classics for a full symphony for your ceremony is Haute…your cousin singing off key is N’aute
4-A heartfelt handwritten note for your guests upon check-in is Haute… a bag full of things they will throw out is N’aute
5-Roasted new potatoes with crème fraiche and caviar is Haute…a mashed potato bar served in martini glasses is N’aute
6-A black sedan to drop you at the church is Haute… a white stretch limo with running lights is N’aute
7-Four bridesmaids is Hautefourteen is N’aute
8-Choosing one killer entrée for dinner is Haute… offering 3 choices is N’aute
9-Linen cocktail napkins are Haute…paper cocktail napkins are N’aute
10-Pink champagne is Haute…a vodka luge is N’aute”
Colin Cowie

“Haute-Any menu featuring kale or a derivative of it. Not Haute?Anything with Truffle Oil.

Haute-3 or 4 bridesmaids and groomsmen max! Not Haute? Too many bridesmaids and groomsman.

Haute–Having a great mixologist make specialty cocktails at your bar. Not Haute? The bartender from the caterer.

Haute–Two courses and dessert at your wedding. Not Haute? Serving a 5-course menu that has no ending in sight!

Haute–A wedding where the timing is tight and keeps the wedding moving.  Not Haute? When it all takes too long and you go home tired, bored and drunk.

Haute–Keeping the wedding fun, chic and sexy. Not Haute? Long, formal and drawn out pretentious weddings.

Haute–Keeping the guest list as tight as possible. Not Haute? Your third grade teacher should not be on the guest list!”

{Colin Cowie, Colin Cowie Enterprises}

Stephen Karlisch

What’s Haute:  One of the most consistent trends I keep seeing is hash tagging the wedding, so everyone can stay involved on all social media channels.  As annoying as it is to see hundreds of guests all shooting what I’m shooting with their phones, I do love scrolling through the ‘gram’ the next day to see what others saw.  Sometimes I’m completely blown away! What’s Not Haute: Don’t know if this has been covered before, but seriously, leave the iPads at home.”  {Stephen Karlisch, Karlisch Photography

Madeline Kojakian

‘What’s Haute: Elaborate Cocktail hour with a variety of stations that are not only yummy to eat but are entertaining to look at! Make it part of your decor! What’s Not Haute: Long Cocktail hour with only hot and cold Canapes being passed around. Boring!

Haute: Bridesmaid dresses that complement their body shape and their personality! Let them shine in their own way of course all along respecting the colour and fabric choice you give them! Not Haute: Having all your bridesmaids wearing the exact same dress.

Haute: Short and Sweet Speeches and Toasts!  Not Haute: Long and never ending Speeches and presentations – I’m really not a fan of the photo or video presentations that bridal party makes to surprise the couple…. I find it drags too much and is not necessarily what the couple want.

Haute: The Bride changing twice or even two times allowing her to show be able to go for the different looks she wants… maybe elegant and timeless at church and sexy at night! Not Haute: Wearing a dress that does not complement the venue of the wedding. What you wear for a Ritz Carlton ballroom wedding should be very different than the dress you would wear on a destination beach wedding!!!

Haute: Letting your make up and hair allow your beauty to shine and be yourself! Natural is beautiful! Not Haute: Doing a complete make over for your wedding day, where make up and hair is over the top and that you look very different than what you usually look like! You want to look back at your photos and actually recognize yourself! It’s no time to experiment with hair and make up on that day!” {Maddy Kojakian, Maddy K Weddings & Events Atelier]

Alice Keeney - Emilie Dulles

What’s haute is being true to your style and aesthetic as you plan and design your wedding. Think of your families’ culture, traditions, and how they have shaped you as individuals and which you will want to carry on in your wedding and then married life. If you’ve spent all your vacations by the coast and love the ocean, then you will probably feel most at ease in a natural setting. If you’re a city girl and wouldn’t dream of spending a night in anything under 4 stars, then a glamorous ballroom reception is probably your style. Set that tone with a beautiful custom stationery suite and your guest will be wowed even before you walk down the aisle!

When you stay true to yourself, your wedding reflects the love in the room and your guests will have a wonderful time. When you try to force a trend or uncomfortable look on yourself and your groom, it shows and makes everyone a little uneasy – that’s not!” {Emilie Dulles, Dulles Designs ~ Exquisite Stationery}

Crystal Adair Benning

“Being “haute” takes a certain refined elegance. The very best thing you can do to be haute is to put yourself in your guests shoes and plan a wedding that transports them, turns each attendee into a VIP, and really stops at nothing to share your good graces with others. It’s Haute to host a celebration that really shows your loved ones just how loved they are! What’s not haute? Holding up the entire wedding for two-three hours while you do photos, not being present at your celebration or being ungracious to your guests. Your guests are there to celebrate YOU – the YOU is very important!” {Crystal Adair-Benning, Distinct Occasions}

Andrea Liss

Haute is authentic, genuine, well-made and original with great attention to detail as compared to Not Haute which could be described as a “good enough” look-alike facsimile. Today’s luxury weddings are all about these wonderful Haute qualities and are filled with intricate details, personalization and custom designs – from couture gowns and made-to-order table linens to custom-painted aisle runners and custom invitations. Long live Haute!” {Andrea Liss, Hannah Handmade}

Larissa Banting

“What I think is really ‘haute‘ is a bride being true to herself and not following the latest trend simply for the sake of being trendy. Choosing a style and items that resonate with her imbues the bride with a sense of confidence, of self and of true beauty.

Personally, I prefer a timeless style that will look as fresh in ten years as it does today. As far as trends that have run their course, I have to say I wouldn’t be sad if I never saw another mustache on a stick, a fake deer head or any other Hipster trappings. Thank goodness for the recent return to metallics and glam – weddings cannot live by burlap and Mason jars alone!” {Larissa Banting, Weddings Costa Rica}

Ceci Johnson

What’s Haute? A return to elegance, opulent stylings and Old Hollywood glamour. What’s Not? Email invitations and “flea market chic.” {Ceci Johnson, Ceci New York and CeciStyle}