Best Wedding Trends for 2023 Brides (From a Virginia Wedding Photographer)

January 6, 2023

Top Wedding Trends for 2023 Brides

As a Virginia Wedding photographer, my 2023 brides are already dreaming up ideas for their big day, scouring Pinterest for top trends and whether they should include their pup in their upcoming nuptials. After photographing 20+ beautiful weddings in 2022, I’ve compiled my top wedding trends for 2023 brides that will have you wondering, “Is that soooo last year?” or “Is it on like Donkey Kong?”. I’m here to help, ya’ll!

So without further ado, let’s jump into the good stuff. First up…

1. The Floral-Framed Face

Second Shot for Sarah Schubel Photography

Man, this one is just beyond cute! Bridesmaids frame the bride’s face with beautiful florals for an epic portrait! Plus, this is such a pretty way to display your florals too!

Pro Tip for Photographers: Shoot this at a smaller aperture to get more of the florals in focus (f 2.5-2.8).

2. Family Style Reception Tables

Long family-style tables lined with rows of cross-back wooden chairs make my photographer heart sing and that’s why they’ve made my list for the top wedding tends for 2023.

Long tables create a more intimate environment since guests are physically closer than they would be at traditional round tables and allow for some really beautiful images of your friends and family conversing and connecting. I especially love the *clink clink* as everyone cheers and toasts the couple with ease!

I will forever photograph these tables singing, “We are fam-i-ly!”.

Shot for Katie Annie Photography


3. A First Look, ALWAYS.

I definitely stand a first look. For those of you wondering, “Should I do a first look on my wedding day?”, consider this…

A ‘first look’ is an opportunity to enjoy some quiet time alone, enjoy each other’s company, and reflect on all this day means before your day takes off.

A first look also opens up time prior to the ceremony for full bridal party pictures and, sometimes, for EXTRA bride and groom portraits. This allows you and your new spouse to get the most out of cocktail hour, which makes the rest of the evening feel less rushed.

I also love when my brides take advantage of a first look with their Dad, brother or anyone extra special to them. It allows time to capture some really meaningful images in the quiet of the day. And those are some of my absolute favorite images.

Shot for Anna Kardos Photography

4. Device-Free Ceremonies

Alright, alright. There are still some offenders here despite the viral posts instructing guests to please put your phones down and let the professionals handle it. Ha! But for the most part, guests have been so great about respecting couple’s wishes to have an unplugged wedding ceremony.

My job is to move about the ceremony stealthily capturing different angles during the ceremony. I might end up missing the first kiss if your Uncle Joe stands center aisle (yes, that really happens).

I totally understand guests want immediate pictures to share–they’re excited for you! I have found a happy medium for guests. When you arrive to the altar, your officiant can ask that you face the audience and everyone is allowed a photo op at that moment. Once that moment has passed, all devices are off and away. Win-win!

I’ve also recently seen ceremonies where the officiants stands in the aisle and the couple faces the crowd. Definitely something I’d love to see more of for my 2023 weddings!

Second Shot for Anna Kardos Photography

5. Dogs in Wedding Parties

It’s no faux-paw (get it?) to have your pet join in the wedding festivities! There are even companies you can hire to care for your dog the day of so the responsibility doesn’t fall on you or a family member. They will bring your dog to the wedding for the allotted time, dress them, love them and give them treats. You canine ask for more than that! 😉

Shot for Brittany Thomas Photography

Many couples designate their dog as ring-bearer or bring them in for cocktail hour to socialize with guests. Just remember, guests will be dressed in their best so if your dog is a young pup or likes to jump, you might want to rethink having them join.

Bringing in man’s best friend can help calm your nerves and bring a sense of home to your day. An unofficial emotional support animal if you will.

6. Non-Traditional Ideas

I’ll admit, this trend got me right in the feels so it was an automatic shoo-in for the best wedding trends for 2023.

Traditionally, the parents walk down as couples in the recessional following the ceremony. For this particular wedding, both bride and groom’s parents joined together walking arm in arm down the aisle. It was such a special moment showing two families joining together as one.

Shot for Katie Annie Photography

Next up, my favorite non-traditional mother-son dance. This one ranks high up in my “Please do this for your wedding” list. This sweet groom started with a sentimental slow dance with his mama and then they both invited all mothers and sons out to do the hokey-pokey together. I loved that they got their special moment and then invited their friends and family to join in too.

Shot for Sarah Schubel Photography
Shot for Sarah Schubel Photography

7. Epic Veil Shots

Not every bride chooses to wear a veil, but let me tell you why you should.

First, the epic veil shots. Your photographer has more to work with and can create beautiful, romantic portraits of you and your new spouse under your flowing veil.

A veil can also be useful for photographing bridal details like your shoes, invitation suite or the rings. It creates a really soft and dreamy background for images.

Shot for Brittany Thomas Photography

If you opt to have a veil, you don’t have to wear it for every photo or even the ceremony. I’ve had several brides choose to wear a veil that was borrowed or belonged to their mother or grandmother only for a few getting ready pictures or only for the first look.

There’s something meaningful about those traditional veil images and I know you’ll be glad to have them in your wedding day gallery. So appease your photographer’s sentimental heart for just a few images, mkay?

Shot for Katie Annie Photography

8. Direct Flash Photography

I absolutely LOVE the paparazzi-style flash images at wedding receptions. Direct flash images are so fun, crisp and old Hollywood-like. I feel like they truly give a mood to the reception images and spice up your wedding gallery.

My plan this year is to steal my couples away for a few minutes during the reception just for these Instagram-worthy portraits. And who doesn’t want a few extra portraits on their wedding day?

Shot for Katie Annie Photography

I hope this best-of wedding trends for 2023 helps you decide on what extra special touches you’d like to put on your wedding day.

Are you getting married in 2023? I’d love to chat with you about what you’re dreaming up for your wedding day. Contact me here!

Are you a fellow photographer? You’ll love this post on How To Be The Best Second Shooter.


I’m Karly, a heart-forward Virginia Wedding photographer based in Martinsburg, WV. I serve clients in Northern Virginia & beyond. Want to learn more about working together? See what I have to offer.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

see services

From The Big Day to Family Portraits, I Offer Heart-Forward Images You'll Love.

Let's Work Together

I'm Karly! A Virginia Wedding & Family Photographer based in Martinsburg, WV. Originally from the Old Line State, you can find me dipping fresh-cracked crabs in melty butter, wrestling my three babies and impatiently waiting for my husband to get home from work everyday. 

Meet Karly

error: Protected Content