From a 'crazy hour' to tattoos: the wedding trends (and quirks) that are all the rage in Malaga

From a 'crazy hour' to tattoos: the wedding trends (and quirks) that are all the rage in Malaga

Professionals from the industry run through the latest trends in style and receptions, in which the "desire to party and surprise guests" is the clear guiding principle

Monday, 23 October 2023


"Today's brides and grooms don't just want weddings, they want to organise authentic festivals to liven up and surprise their guests from the moment they set foot in the venue." Patricia Navarro, the founding wedding planner of Arteboda, summed up this recurring theme that, according to her, is defining modern weddings in Malaga province and the rest of Spain.

Couples, she pointed out, want above all to have a great time. And to achieve this they are willing to break the bank. From smoke cannons to laser lights on the dance floor, syringes with shots in the so-called 'crazy hour', bottles of spirits as table centrepieces, fancy dress, stilt walkers or 360º rotating platforms for pictures.

Wedding professionals agree that the main objective is not to bore with old-fashioned protocols. Hence the removal of courses from the banquet or avoiding posed group photos. The most 'in' thing to do? Taking home a tattoo as a souvenir. We review the trends (and peculiarities) that are taking over weddings in Spain.

Bouquet designed by Susana Sánchez.
Bouquet designed by Susana Sánchez.
  1. The bouquet

    A single flower (with fewer green leaves) and more subdued tones are carried

It is simple, less green and more vibrant colours. These are the ingredients that are setting the trend in bridal bouquets this season according to the Malaga florist Susana Sánchez.

"The latest designs are giving way to bouquets with a single flower in more striking tones, and not so dull. I'm being asked for fuchsias, blues, oranges.... Many brides are looking to differentiate themselves and be original," she said.

There are also changes in the shape: the closed round bouquet has fallen out of fashion. Instead, flowers are preferred to be "a little unstructured, with sprigs of jasmine, ivy..." added Sánchez, who has been designing bridal bouquets for more than a decade.

Rice has given way to confetti at the exit of the churches.
Rice has given way to confetti at the exit of the churches. L.M. Gómez Pozo
  1. The ceremony

    Rice is out; now biodegradable metallic confetti is thrown over the bride and groom

Floral decoration in churches is becoming increasingly important, as florist Susana Sánchez pointed out. Years ago it was limited to details in the aisle or altar, and now the most 'in' thing is to surprise the guests with large columns or arches at the door of the chapel recreating "small forests".

This also enhances the traditional exit photos, where the rice or petals traditionally thrown over couples are dying out. Instead, more and more couples are opting for the confetti alternative.

"This are especially popular in metallic tones or coordinated with the wedding colour palette. White butterfly confetti cannons are also a trend. They are very eye-catching," said wedding planner Patricia Navarro, founder of Arteboda.

  1. The dress

    Straight dresses are more popular and trains are changing (no longer from the waist)

The choice of dress is one of the most important decisions brides have to make. And like everything else in the bridal sector, styles are reinvented every season. What is the fashionable look today?

Malaga haute couture designer Jesús Segado is clear: this year in his atelier, straight cuts, or column dresses, flared shapes and crepe fabrics with a lot of drape with gauze and tulle are all the rage. In addition trains have transformed: "Before they used to come out from the hip or waist. Now they come out from the shoulders or from the middle of the back. Brides are taking more risks," he said.

Regarding their length, the couturier explained that the more classic measurements are still used: "I am making them from three metres minimum up to 4.5 to 5 as long as the wedding is in a big church or cathedral. For civil ceremonies I don't recommend trains or veils," he pointed out.

Dress designed to transform during the wedding created by Jesús Segado from Malaga.
Dress designed to transform during the wedding created by Jesús Segado from Malaga.
  1. The dress

    3-in-1 designs: dresses that transform from ceremony to reception to disco to keep surprising guests

Wearing the same dress from the ceremony to the dance floor is a thing of the past. Nowadays it is common to wear two different dresses. Not all brides can afford this, so an intermediate formula that is gaining popularity in Malaga is to opt for a 'transformer' dress. That is, a dress with the possibility of removing pieces so that it looks different and at the same time the wearer gains in comfort and mobility.

"They ask us for dresses that can be reconverted. For example, they can have a removable train for the church, which then comes off at the reception. Blouses over strappy dresses that allow the bride to strip off at the reception. The aim is to continually surprise guests," emphasised designer Jesús Segado.

Wedding planner Patricia Navarro agreed with this trend. "Some of them already wear up to three dresses. For the dancing we are looking for a more modern design, sexier, shorter, with a bit of sparkle, open backs.... Styling is also changing. More and more brides are changing their make-up, letting their hair down or putting their hair in a high ponytail," she pointed out.

Imperial table decorated with lemons.
Imperial table decorated with lemons. José Salto
  1. Decoration

    From strict round tables to long imperial tables where you can sit with more friends

Gone are the cold top tables. Those where the bride and groom share the meal with their parents and in-laws. Gone are also the corseted round tables, where diners are limited to being with a small number of couples until the dancing. In their place, imperial designs are now the order of the day. Long, less rigid tables that also offer many more possibilities when it comes to decorating them.

"It is a formula for sharing with more guests and for the newlyweds to be more relaxed around their friends," said Navarro.

For Sira Antequera, wedding planner at the helm of 'Sí quiero', it is essential to connect with the tastes of the bride and groom. "One couple didn't like flowers and I offered them a solution: we used lemons and the result was spectacular. It was a very fresh and elegant decoration adapted to their style. For me, finding that vital coherence is fundamental," she stressed.

Imperial table set up with a stunning light decoration by Patricia Navarro, from Arteboda.
Imperial table set up with a stunning light decoration by Patricia Navarro, from Arteboda.
  1. Decoration

    Elaborate array of lights and crystal chandeliers for a magical atmosphere

It is just like in a fairy tale. In the settings designed by wedding planners, warm and romantic atmospheres are created with lighting takign centre stage. In recent years, garlands and structures that recreate starry skies have become a 'must'. That halo of magic is still very much present at weddings in 2023.

  1. The menu

    Long stand-up cocktails with a single seated course to avoid boring guests

One of the main premises of today's weddings is dynamism. Above all, the bride and groom want their guests to have fun without boring them. No downtime or strict time limits that prevent them from enjoying the event to the full. As a result, the trend is to minimise the time spent sitting down.

How? In addition to avoiding the gift-giving procession (the tradition in which the couple go from table to table to chat and pick up gifts has long since been outdated), the more formal dinner is being reduced, as Asta Durán, commercial director of ESCA Catering, explained.

"By 2024 we estimate that 60% of weddings will offer a single course at the table. The aim is not to bore guests and shorten the time at the table. Instead, it will be compensated with a long stand-up reception with more canapés and snacks or food stands which, as well as being more economical, look better on a decorative level."

Patricia Navarro, from Arteboda, agreed: "Luckily, those eternal and boring meals are a thing of the past. Nowadays they are more agile and many of them are livened up with musical entertainment, such as bringing in a saxophonist to play between courses," she said.

Food stations by Michelin-starred Quique Dacosta.
Food stations by Michelin-starred Quique Dacosta. Javier Sancho de Altube
  1. The menu

    Personalised food stalls and two desserts: cheesecakes are a winner

In line with the above, food stations continue to gain popularity at weddings in Malaga. Among the most requested themes, ESCA stated that on the Costa del Sol paper cones of Malaga fried fish are a trend: "They never fail."

Also the cheese stands or food that connects with the origin of the couples: "They ask us for everything from Asturian to Cordoban corners with typical tapas from their areas. For a Basque groom we even set up a pintxo bar," said Durán.

When it comes to desserts, the trend is to have two different desserts to share between diners. "Cheesecakes and the more classic flavours, but more innovative favourites include such as millefeuille with 'tocino de cielo', said she added.

Although there are also those who go further with requests that end up in authentic edible artistic creations. "We recently made a sweet garden in which everything - from the pots to the butterflies or the sand - could be eaten and it had a huge impact," Sira Antequera pointed out.

  1. In the mood to party

    Bottles of spirits in the centre of the tables for shots before the main course

The desire to party, as the professionals in this industry who have participated in this report have continued to reiterate, is the great common thread of today's weddings. There always has been, but today's couples take it to the highest level. And it is palpable in details that have become fashionable, such as placing bottles of spirits as table centrepieces for drinks even before the food arrives.

"As soon as the guests are seated, they find chilled liqueurs; it is a clear trend that we get a lot of requests for," revealed Asta Durán, from ESCA Catering.

  1. Photography and video

    Instagram rules: drone 'stolen' photos, 360 platforms and videos turned into trailers

In the age of social media, most brides and grooms want to show off their wedding in showcases such as Instagram. A reality that is forcing photographers to adapt and reinvent themselves. Couples want the best images. The most original angles and the most natural shots without formalism. Posed shots (with a few exceptions) are a thing of the past.

"They ask for spontaneity, more journalistic photos that capture emotions, almost without them being aware that we are taking them," said LM Gómez Pozo, a photographer from Malaga.

Thus, in the audiovisual field, Avata drones, 360 platforms or photocalls with props to portray the funniest side of the guests at the bar are in fashion. Videos are now becoming trailers or video clips - no longer than 15 minutes - where the event is summarised in an entertaining way with background songs chosen in many cases by the bride and groom themselves. And all this while minimising delivery times. "The same day or the next they want to have a couple of photos to upload to Instagram and when they come back from their honeymoon I give them the memory stick. An album is no longer ordered," concluded Gómez Pozo.

Chill out area with armchairs designed by Patricia Navarro.
Chill out area with armchairs designed by Patricia Navarro.
  1. Open bar and disco

    The party zone: club-like design with well-crafted relaxation areas

Among the most popular elements in decoration (with the exception of the large letters of lights that are still very present) in the last year, armchairs, armchairs, poufs and carpets have gained traction. These chill-out-type spaces are particularly popular during the cocktail reception and afterwards during the open bar.

"The bride and groom want a very club-like approach with large seating areas so that all their guests have access to comfortable seating. In my opinion, they add value and contribute to guests not wanting to leave," stressed wedding planner Sira Antequera.

Bride dressed up in a panda mask.
Bride dressed up in a panda mask.
  1. Open bar

    "Crazy hour": shots in syringes served by the bride and groom in fancy dress

In the industry in Spain, it is a well-established term: "hora loca" or "carzy hour". In fact, most of the industry professionals interviewed for this report refer to it openly. In the second part of the night it's time to go a bit wild.

"Many brides and grooms go out on the dance floor in fancy dress to hand out syringes with liquors such as strawberry tequila, which is very popular nowadays. Of the weddings we've done recently, I'd say half have done it, even though many more traditional parents don't like it," joked Asta Durán, commercial director of ESCA Catering.

Patricia Navarro, from Arteboda, agreed that this is a clear trend. "It comes from Latin America and involves emphasising the party atmopshere in order to liven up the guests with all kinds of extras: from fancy dress to crowns, masks, garlands... The couples come out to the rhythm of the music and the total revolution breaks out," she explained.

The bride and groom turned into DJs with smoke cannons at a wedding organised by the Malaga wedding planner Patricia Navarro.
The bride and groom turned into DJs with smoke cannons at a wedding organised by the Malaga wedding planner Patricia Navarro.
  1. Disco

    "The bride and groom want a party: from smoke machines to a celebrity concert"

To liven up the so-called crazy hour, brides and grooms are increasingly opting for a larger repertoire of surprises for their guests.

"We are now resorting a lot to cold fireworks, smoke machines, projections... couples want a large party area," said Sira Antequera. Dancers, stilt-walkers and, if the budget allows, a celebrity for a private concert are also on the rise.

"I even asked Maluma to perform at a Russian celebration here, but in the end it didn't work out. There are artists in high demand for weddings on the Costa del Sol such as Juan Magan, King Africa, Siempre Así, Cosita Wena or Moises Losada. Their price can range from 8,000-9,000 euros to around 30,000 euros," revealed Patricia Navarro.

Guest getting a tattoo at a wedding organised by Patricia Navarro.
Guest getting a tattoo at a wedding organised by Patricia Navarro.
  1. Open bar

    The 'in' thing to do: take home a tattoo as a gift and get your make-up done in a glitter bar

But if there is one trend that is catching on today - Instagram is testament to this - it is tattoo booths or so-called glitter bars. These are spaces next to the open bar where guests can get a tattoo or put on party make-up with glitter, sparkles or rhinestones. The professionals consulted confirm that this is a fashion that has arrived in Malaga.

"Before the guest was given a keyring or a fan, now a small tattoo (about 2 centimetres, something discreet) with a motif that reflects the tastes of the bride and groom is taken as a souvenir of the event. It could be a surfboard, a sun, a wave... But in ink! I would say that 80% of the weddings I have organised this year have hired this," said Navarro.

Entertainment at the open bar of one of the weddings organised by the wedding planner Sira Antequera.
Entertainment at the open bar of one of the weddings organised by the wedding planner Sira Antequera.
  1. Disco

    New life, new look: the bride and groom get a haircut live in front of guests

New life... and new look. In the chapter of wedding peculiarities in fashion there is one that leads the way: the bride and groom (mainly the bride) cut their hair in the middle of the night.

"After their dance, many change their look to a more daring one. And there are those who go one step further and also decide to change their hairstyle. In its 'lighter' version, a stylist is hired to offer guests a make-up touch-up and a different, more festive hairstyle, but there are those who go further," said Navarro.

It seems that the candy bar, disposable cameras, sparklers and last night burgers are no longer enough. And in this search for "something different", the couples of the Z or millennial generations are looking for something with more impact. Of course, so much invention pays off. According to Patricia Navarro, today's weddings, with so many extras, incur a "big investment" in many cases of over 60,000 euros (and that is on the lower side).

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