Looking Ahead: Wedding Trends for 2021

Whether we like it or not, COVID-19 will continue to influence virtually every area of our lives next year, including the upcoming 2021 wedding trends. According to a survey, 63% of 2020 weddings have been postponed, with 400,000 nuptials estimated to be taking place in 2021. If you’re one of the couples who have had to change their wedding plans due to the pandemic, you have our condolences. We know the unpredictability of this year has been difficult, and our hearts go out to you.

However, there is one bright spot that has emerged from this trying time: new wedding trends. The pandemic has forced people to get creative when it comes to wedding planning in the era of social-distancing. From unconventional entertainment to unique wedding venues, 2021 will start a new era for nuptials.

With so many dates shifting from 2020 to next year and a massive influx of pandemic engagements, there will be plenty to celebrate in 2021. It may seem crazy to try to predict anything these days, but that won’t stop us from trying! Below, we’re forecasting the upcoming 2021 wedding trends that will take over the industry and bring some much-needed joy back into our lives.

2021 Wedding Trend Themes

Micro-weddings

A desire for more intimate moments combined with this unprecedented pandemic has created one of the most influential trends of the decade: micro-weddings. A micro-wedding typically includes a guest list of up to 50 people consisting of immediate family and close friends. While cutting a guest list is never ideal, micro-weddings offer many benefits for newlyweds-to-be.

Intimate weddings can create more personalized moments for couples and guests alike. Smaller guest lists reduce the need for giant catering and venue budgets, leaving more room for the details. Couples can focus their energy on the things that matter to them on their big day, whether it be the dress, guest accommodations, entertainment, decor, or a top-shelf open bar.

Intimate micro-wedding

A smaller wedding also affords couples the chance to put more thought and money into favors for their guests. Couples can express their gratitude for their guests’ support and provide items to keep them safe throughout the wedding. Creative Covid-themed favors that we’ve seen couples give their guests in a welcome box or gift bag include personalized masks, hand sanitizer, touch-free door openers, and air cleansing candles.

Sustainability

Sustainable and socially responsible choices will continue to be a 2021 wedding trend that will influence almost every aspect of the industry. Couples are putting more thought into the vendors they work with and sourcing their products and services. Rather than choosing wedding accessories and decor that will be used once and tossed, couples are beginning to choose items that can be repurposed or reused. This extends to invitations, fashion, catering, venues, favors, and everything in between.

Invitations & save-the-dates can be made eco-friendly by using stationery made from recycled materials or going with e-vites to cut the need for paper altogether. Couples are forgoing fast-fashion for sustainably made gowns and suits that can be re-worn long after the big day is over.

Sustainable wedding invites

Choosing ethical small business vendors will also become a trend in 2021 as a way for couples to give back to the community and make their weddings more socially responsible. It’s not as much about “the look” but the story behind the wedding, and a big part of that story is the source of each item. Conscientiousness will be at an all-time high for 2021 weddings, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Bursting with Color

Fresh and bold wedding color palettes and prints have recently surged in popularity as a way to counter the solemnity of this year. We predict using colorful and organic hues will be a huge 2021 wedding decor trend. Whites and creams are slowly fading out of the mainstream as more and more couples are pushing against tradition and moving toward fun, bright, and unique color palettes. We expect color to make its way into everything from gowns to floral arrangements in 2021, and we cannot wait to bring some festiveness back into weddings!

Colorful wedding ceremony

Laugh it Off

This has been a heavy year and has impacted people across the globe in unfathomable ways. The world’s serious climate is encouraging couples to bring some lighthearted humor into their big day to ease the tension of uncertainty. With a rise in change-the-dates and unsave-the-dates, couples are finding humor through this challenging time.

Couple adding humor to their 'first look'

Couples have started leveraging their wedding websites to give guests updates infused with small moments of laughter and personality. For couples who have had to postpone their nuptials or opt for pandemic elopements, witty Covid-19 wedding hashtags like #loveisnotcancelled, and #loveinthetimeofcorona have become staples for social media wedding announcements. Finally, 2021 wedding guests can expect “At Last” by Etta James, to be played by cheeky couples who have been long awaiting their first dance.

Sometimes laughter is the best medicine, and couples in 2021 will embrace the absurdity of #loveinthetimeofcorona.

2021 Venue, Entertainment & Decor Trends

Multipurpose Venues

Venues will continue to be one of the most crucial elements of the wedding planning process in 2021. Wedding weekends have become more popular, in which the festivities extend over 2-3 days. This allows couples to incorporate their hobbies into the weekend and enjoy them with the most important people in their lives. Smaller guest lists also afford the chance to participate in activities and hold ceremonies at unique venues that would’ve been logistically impossible with a larger guest list.

Flora - a Multipurpose event venue

Finding multipurpose spaces that can accommodate rehearsals, showers, ceremonies, receptions, and everything in between to limit travel and exposure will remain a major 2021 wedding venue trend. Couples are also choosing venues with inclusive features and amenities to cut costs and added stress.

From lavish furnishings to premiere equipment, Flora offers various features and amenities that take away the stressors of planning a wedding. The dynamic and versatile San Diego event space creates a gorgeous backdrop for weddings and can easily convert into a reception hall. Choosing a multipurpose, staffed venue like this will continue to be a major wedding trend in 2021 for couples looking to pull off their big day seamlessly.

Focus on the Florals

Natural and organic elements are already making their way into modern weddings, and we’ll see this come to life through 2021 floral design trends. Sustainably harvested dried flowers, brightly colored florals, and scrumptiously scented garden blooms will be popular in the coming year. Mood-boosting palettes and joyful expressions will overtake the neutral themes of past wedding trends.

Wedding floral trends for 2021

Garden roses, lilies, dahlias, zinnias, and ferns will be found in experimental designs like floating florals, statement installations, and greenery backdrops at next year’s nuptials. Elegance will be tempered with fun, and couples will continue to look for ways to blur the line between outdoor and indoor spaces in 2021.

Unexpected Seating

Social distancing has created some obstacles in planning a wedding ceremony and reception, but it has also produced some wildly creative new layouts. In the past, ceremony spaces and reception venues have had rigid seating options that limit the ability to customize table spacing and seating style. These days, couples are looking for ways to space their guests in a safe but stylish manner, which has led to an upswing in mismatched seating.

Unique wedding seating

Creating a comfortable, safe environment by mixing and matching seating options and table shapes will continue to be a popular wedding trend next year. Mingling will be limited, so guests will find themselves seated for extended periods, leading couples to choose more comfortable options. At ceremonies, you’ll find furnishings like love seats and oversized armchairs for guests to relax in during the nuptials. Offering cozy throws and plush pillows in materials that work well in outdoor settings will also help keep guests warm and comfortable.

Using a sofa to create defined wedding seating spaces

We’ll also see an uptick in mismatched table shapes at wedding receptions next year. Choosing tables in a variety of shapes creates an intimate dinner-party atmosphere as opposed to the packed round reception table layout of the past. Mixing long rectangular tables with smaller cocktail tables paired with sofas will create a picture-perfect reception setting that is both unique and comfortable.

Socially Distanced Entertainment

Couples are getting creative with finding ways to socially distance while still entertaining their guests at wedding receptions. From hiring a stand-up comic, having a celebrity perform the first dance song via Zoom, newlywed trivia, and karaoke, the options to delight your guests while keeping everyone safe are endless. Couples should infuse their personality into the day’s events and choose entertainment that will keep guests on their toes. Choosing untraditional entertainment that is well-thought-out with less focus on production will be a common trend throughout 2021.

2021 Wedding Fashion Trends

Personalized Wedding Day Attire

We’re expecting to see a lot more personality in 2021 wedding fashion, and honestly, it’s about time! The pandemic has forced couples to re-evaluate what’s most important to them when it comes to their wedding day attire. Instead of going with what’s popular, couples are increasingly looking for sentimental touches to add to their gowns and suits. Having veils embroidered with their dog’s paw print or children’s drawings and incorporating heirlooms into designs have become popular ways to personalize wedding day attire.

Personalized wedding details

Many brides are forgoing traditional gowns for jumpsuits, shorter dress lengths, and unconventional colors like red, pink, and even black. We expect soft pastel colors, floral prints, impeccably cut pieces, and modern, chic accessories to steal the scene this coming year. Couples choose what they want to wear and what they’re most comfortable in for their wedding rather than going with what they think they should wear. As couples continue to scale down their wedding sizes, we expect to see more time and money allocated to breathtaking wedding day fashion.

Couple with personal wedding attire

Soft Makeup

A timeless, fresh makeup look that never goes out of style with the perfect combination of simplicity and elegance will be all the rage this coming wedding season. Because we’re all in need of some brightness, many will nix dark shades and go for a more dewy and light look. Cream blushes and liquid highlighters will be a significant part of achieving this natural glow. The eyes will be the star of the show, defined with warm earth tones like bronze, peach, and pink. We expect the matte lip look to fade as lip gloss makes a comeback and brings some shimmery magic to wedding day makeup.

Wedding makeup

2021 Menu Trends

Individually Portioned Food & Bev

Inventive serving styles are on the rise as couples find safe yet tasty ways to have socially-distanced cocktail hours. Individually portioned catering like single-serving charcuterie boards, bite-sized meals, and pre-packed picnic baskets have become a hit this year. Guests love the convenience and presentation of this trend, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love mini-sized foods?

Bite sized wedding food

Canned cocktails are also seeing an uptick as couples find ways to keep the libations flowing without putting anyone’s health in jeopardy. More and more couples are setting up grab-and-go stations at their receptions where guests can pick up a canned Moscow mule or customized cocktail before heading to their seats. This reduces line wait-times, prevents people from congregating around the bar, and gives your guests a sophisticated yet convenient way to enjoy their beverages.

Downsized Cakes

In 2021 we expect to see cakes grow smaller in size as couples cut their guest list and focus their budget on other areas of their big day. These small wedding cakes will be miniature in size but much more intricate in detail. Cakes will be more personalized with engraved initials, edible flowers, and vibrant color palettes. Some couples opt for a trio of small cakes, all with different flavors and designs, while others go with a singular small cake and mini cupcakes to accompany it. These days, the cake doesn’t need to be larger than life. The devil is in the details.

Small wedding cakes

Bring Your Nuptials into the New Year

The wedding industry has taken a huge hit this year, and we’ll continue to feel the reverberations throughout 2021. However, the newfound desire for intimacy, sentimentality, and meaning has created some incredible new wedding trends that make nuptials even more special.

Couple enjoying a cocktail at their wedding

Pulling off these 2021 wedding trends requires the perfect venue. Flora’s dynamic San Diego wedding reception venue is as functional as it is beautiful. Our all-inclusive services and amenities, along with the versatile event space, is the perfect backdrop for your 2021 nuptials. We’re committed to creating safe and enjoyable experiences for all our guests and love working with couples to customize our space to fit their needs. Get in touch with us to learn how our event team can help make your day unforgettable.

The Kinship Perspective @thekinshipperspective

Alyssa Ricole Photography @alyssaricolephoto

Ball Photo Co. @ballphotoco

Madeline Barr Photography @madelinebarrphoto

Ariel Min Photography @arielminphoto

Chrissa Magno @charissamagno

Great Woodland Photography  @greatwoodlandphotography

Nelly Cabanillas Photography @nelly_cabanillas

Lindsey Marie Photo @lindsmariephoto

Marcella Laine  @marcellalaine

Miranda Rose Photography @rosedphoto

 

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