While 2020 certainly made everyone a bit hesitant to make predictions, the new year still means new weddings – which also means new wedding trends. 

Here’s what wedding professionals anticipate will be popular for those tying the knot in 2021:

1. Intimate Affairs

One of the biggest impacts 2020 had on weddings was the size of events. Thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, most couples had to significantly downsize the guest list, which planners expect will continue in 2021.

“Smaller weddings are staying in style, but this does not necessarily mean they will budget-friendly weddings. What some couples realized this year is that you only need your nearest and dearest to make a wedding special,” says Robyn Bruns, master wedding planner at Red Letter Event Planning. “Smaller weddings allow the couple to splurge on the guest experience and the ability to connect with everyone on their wedding day because of the smaller guest count.”

2. Welcome Boxes

One way couples will enhance the guest experience in 2021 is with welcome boxes. Instead of sending your guests off with a favor, greet them with a box of modern wedding day essentials like bottles of hand sanitizer, masks, programs, and, of course, snacks. 

3. Open Air Venues

Another holdover from the pandemic – saying ‘I do’ in the great outdoors. And until enough people are vaccinated, planners anticipate couples will continue to embrace the natural beauty of getting hitched under elegant tent canopies, in gorgeous gardens or beneath a sky of stars throughout the new year. 

4. Assigned Seating

While a more laissez-faire approach to seating has been popular in recent years, the seating chart is back in a big way in 2021. 

“Some guests may not feel comfortable seated next to a stranger. Keeping families and cohorts together will make guests feel more comfortable at a large function. This may also mean tables of different sizes and shapes to accommodate this type of seating, which also has the advantage of making the wedding reception space look more interesting and unique,” explains Bruns.

5. Virtual Planning 

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that just about anything can be done virtually – including planning a wedding. The convenience of doing everything from trying on wedding dresses to touring venues from the comfort of home means that this trend will continue into 2021 and beyond. 

6. Restaurant-Style Dinners

“The self-serve buffet is going to be a thing of the past – I don’t think these will ever come back as a food service option. Even post-pandemic, guests will always feel more comfortable with a served buffet or plated meal,” says Bruns. “A result of this trend going away, there is going to be increased catering costs because of staffing, something 2021 couples and beyond will have to take into account for their budgets and why they may opt for smaller guest counts.”

7. Mini Everything 

As couples pivot from family-style meals and buffets, single-serving dishes will take their place. That means tiny wedding cakes, individual charcuterie boards, personalized picnic baskets and other bite-sized portions to ensure all meals are both safe and picture-perfect.  

8. Weekday Weddings

With so many couples looking to get hitched this year after canceling or postponing their 2020 nuptials, it’s smart to look beyond the weekend to book your dream venue or vendor in 2021. Plus, you’re likely to save some serious cash by holding your wedding on a weekday versus the traditional Friday or Saturday evening.  

9. Bold Accents

“Color wise, couples are going to embrace neutrals in gray with bold accents in reds, blues, purple. Post-pandemic couples will want to use these colors to make a statement. As some will postpone their weddings until after the summer due to the availability of the vaccine, deeper colors like burnt orange, dark red, and even golden brown will also be popular,” predicts Bruns. 

10. Cozy and Casual Vibes

After spending a year in yoga pants and sweatshirts, it’s unsurprising that many couples are expected to keep things casual in 2021. For décor, that translates to comfy chairs, nostalgic details and lounge-style seating that create an intimate environment that matches the downsized guest list.   

11. Livestreaming

“Livestreaming weddings will continue to be popular, even post-pandemic. As technology improves for a great guest experience, more couples will opt to add a live stream component to their wedding for those guests that can’t travel. While some may only stream the ceremony, others will stream the whole event, and those at home will have a unique guest experience without the hassle of travel,” says Bruns. 

12. Local Honeymoons

With travel restrictions still in place for the foreseeable future, many couples will be looking closer to home for a post-wedding getaway. Instead of jet-setting to a foreign beach, honeymoons in 2021 will look more like road trips exploring a National Park or a weekend at a local vineyard.

©CTW Features