The Biggest 2021 Wedding Trends for Your Day

This year's wedding trends have couples focusing on the details. From planning tips all the way to honeymoon ideas, here are all the major wedding trends we anticipate for 2021.

By Jennifer Prince

illustrated vase of flowers
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

Whether your style is classic, modern, or bohemian, these 2021 wedding trends deliver. From remaining flexible (we learned a lot in 2020, huh?) to hosting sustainable events to timely decor elements, we're breaking down what will be big in 2021 from every angle of your wedding planning.

2021 Planning Wedding Trends

The wedding planning landscape is changing right now. These trends reflect those updates and the new ways we're thinking about celebrating weddings.

Be flexible with timing.

Partially due to COVID's impact and also (not entirely unrelated) partly because of better pricing, off-peak weddings are happening en masse. Consider weekday ceremonies, mid-winter weddings, and brunch receptions in place of traditional weekend evening events. Plus, flexibility can have a big payoff as you may receive better rates from your vendors.

Focus on gratitude.

Exhibiting gratefulness is always en vogue—and couples are feeling closer to each other and their loved ones now more than ever. Give bridesmaids curated gift boxes, design welcome baskets for out-of-town guests, and/or write a sentimental note to your soon-to-be-spouse. Appreciation also includes writing letters of gratitude to your wedding vendors and slipping a tip or gift card inside.

Consider sustainable options.

Today’s couples are forward-thinking and are highly concerned about the impact that their day has on the environment. Zero-waste, green (as in eco-friendly), and sustainable weddings are on the rise as couples make small changes that matter significantly. From the wedding gown to the favors, ensure that products are ethically made with a low-carbon footprint.

Focus on your guests' comfort and safety.

Yes, of course, you can wow your guests with a fabulous band and the tastiest cuisine. Many couples are also adding extra touches to ensure that their guests feel pampered. Have a stash of plaid blankets at the ready for a potentially chilly temperatures, or make allowances for dietary restrictions. Small considerations like these can make all the difference to your guests if you can pull them off.

Safety is a top priority, too. With the ongoing COVID pandemic, weddings are looking a bit different. Be sure to provide your guests with regular updates on how you plan to ensure they feel as safe and as comfortable as possible.

Think about long-term use.

This goes hand-in-hand with other trends towards sustainability. Instead of renting a tux, purchase a quality suit that can be worn long after the big day if you can afford to do so. Select a favor that doubles as a personalized place card. Skip the koozies—we all have plenty—and opt for a memento that your guests can use time and again. Decor and signage used on the big day can be repurposed to decorate your home. Small changes can help both practically and financially.

Share a bit of history.

Adding meaningful, personal touches to your event helps your guests experience what you’re like as a couple. Customize table numbers to represent your childhood homes’ addresses, the place you met, and where you had your first kiss. Have your local restaurant recreate your go-to menu items for your reception catering. Use your wedding stationary, such as your program or wedding menu, to point out these little nuances.

Foster a sense of closeness.

Many couples were forced to trade their lavish weddings for small scale events. Micro weddings and elopements happened in abundance as partners pressed on with their desire to tie the knot. Going small doesn’t mean forsaking meaningful details. A minimony allows you to reallocate your wedding budget. Swap out those 100 catered meals for a guest list of 20. Then, use the extra funds for those lavish florals that you’ve been eyeing.

2021 Wedding Fashion Trends

Colored Suits

In 2020 we saw an explosion of blue suiting, which continues to trend; however, there are other tones to consider. Think olive green, plum, and deep burgundy for the wedding party.

Wedding Dresses With Pockets

Need we say more? Everyone knows that a gal loves to show off her pockets, and wedding gowns are jumping on this trend. We couldn’t be happier!

Simple Wedding Gowns

We can thank the royals for this trend, and we’re grateful. The beautifully simple gowns of Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie allow for hair and makeup to be a focus.

Glam Details

Hollywood had its Golden Age in the ‘30s and ‘40s. Starlet details, such as embellished barrettes and unique tiaras, are touches that brides crave right now.

2021 Wedding Decor Trends

Palettes Inspired by Nature

Color schemes reflect nature, yet that isn’t limiting. Fall colors—rust, mustard, and pumpkin—are en vogue. However, a beach-inspired palette of sea glass tones is also stylish.

Minimalism or Maximalism

Yes, they’re opposites, but couples seem to be at either end. Some weddings encompass the scaled-back trend, yet others are upping the ante with their full-scale details.

Statement Florals

Blooms take center stage with this craze. Think hanging floral arrangements and a lavish bouquet for the bride.

INLINE SummerNuptialsinSeattle KellyLemonPhotography (1) Photo Credit // Kelly Lemon Photography

Smart DIY Details

Doing large-scale DIY projects, such as crafting hundreds of favors, leads to frustration as the day approaches. Vow only to create things that pack a punch and are doable on a potentially tight timeline.

Specific Dress Codes

Long gone are the days of ambiguity. Clarity puts everyone’s mind at ease and helps your uncle forego the Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts. Specifying attire takes the guesswork out for everyone.

Forsaken Formality

Yes, ultra-formal weddings will always remain timeless, but the rise of informal events and activities is refreshing. A relaxed atmosphere lends itself to conversation, and it puts everyone at ease.

2021 Wedding Reception Trends

Creative Entertainment Don’t rely solely on your dance floor. Hire visual artists, a live painter, or a photo booth service to help fill up any reception time gaps.

Beautifully Curated Tablescapes

Go beyond plating and a centerpiece, and add lovely details to your reception tables. Consider place cards, favors, wrapped silverware, and individual desserts to offer texture and interest.

INLINE FrenchCountrysideInspirationStyledShoot MarielaCampbellPhoto+Cinema Photo Credit// Mariela Campbell Photo+Cinema

Mini-Food Items

Since sharing food is pretty much off the table for now. Couples can opt to work with their catering and baking teams to create single servings options for each guests. Mini appetizers, desserts, and even full individual meals will likely be a hit for creativity and safety reasons.

Locally-Sourced Food

Work with your caterer to craft a menu using local meats and produce. Sourcing from nearby farms ensures freshness and allows for a unique take on the reception food.

Edible Flowers

Whether it’s on your salad, garnishing your salmon, or in your cocktail, don’t be afraid to eat that flower. Many varieties are safe for eating, so work with your caterer to choose blooms that can add color to a dish or drink.

Cocktail Sendoff

Many companies are offering to-go cocktails that are ready to consume in bottles and cans. Send your guests off with a signature drink to have after your wedding celebration.

2021 Honeymoon Trends

Experiences Over Things

If you’re combining two households, or simply don’t require anything tangible, opt for registering for honeymoon experiences instead of housewares.

Staycations

Not a fan of traveling far, or can’t go where you’d like at the moment? Explore your town instead! A staycation is a fabulous way to have a minimoon of a First Moon while waiting for the big event. Book a hotel and see the sights that you haven’t made time for yet.

First Moons

A First Moon is a getaway on or around the original wedding date for those couples with postponed honeymoon plans. These trips are shorter, closer, and more affordable than what most couples originally planned, but still romantic, special, and memorable—and, according to a Zola survey, ⅓ of couples plan to take one.

Delayed Honeymoons

It's OK to postpone a honeymoon adventure until traveling is safer and more accessible, but consider doing something small (think: a few nights at a B&B) immediately after your wedding to recharge and celebrate.

The introduction of 2021 wedding trends has us thinking more consciously, being more grateful, and paying attention to the details. Picking and choosing what you incorporate can make your big day timeless. No matter which trends you select, remember that your wedding day is uniquely yours and reflects your love story.

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