21 Wedding Trends for 2021

November 16, 2020

2020 has been a wild (to say the least) ride for everyone, and couples who have had to plan their weddings during this time are facing some new challenges. Whether they had to reschedule their wedding for next year, or they started wedding planning in quarantine, there’s no doubt that the events of this year will have a huge effect on how we see weddings. Between COVID lockdowns, environmental concerns, and racial injustices being brought to light, the wedding industry has had to evolve to tackle new challenges. Here are the 21 wedding trends that we’ll be seeing pop up in 2021!

1. Elopements and Micro Weddings

Of course, COVID has really impacted how people view large gatherings. In many areas, it’s uncertain whether large weddings with hundreds of guests will be allowed, and even in areas with lighter restrictions, couples are still choosing to prioritize health and keep their weddings small.

More and more couples are choosing to forgo the traditional wedding thing altogether and elope instead, and while elopements have been around for years, they’re taking on a whole new meaning. Eloping isn’t about running away for a quick ceremony – it’s about being intentional with your wedding and having a relaxed, FUN day. 

For couples who can’t imagine their day without their loved ones, micro weddings are becoming increasingly popular. Instead of a huge party with everyone you know, keep the wedding intimate and small, and invite the people who matter most.

2. Sustainability

More and more couples are prioritizing sustainability on their wedding day. With hurricanes and wildfires becoming a more common occurrence, a lot of us are thinking about ways to minimize our carbon footprint. The average wedding produces over 400 pounds of garbage – but couples are shifting to more eco friendly wedding practices to reduce their impact.

3. Gratitude

If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that gratitude is important. With everything that’s been lost this year, we’re all realizing the importance of gratitude and showing the people around us that we love them. Some couples are opting to write personalized thank you cards for their guests, or sentimental notes for family members or friends who can’t attend, but overall, I hope the trend of appreciating your loved ones sticks around!

4. Weekday Weddings

With so many reschedules, venues that are booked out on weekend dates are hosting more weekday weddings than ever. Couples that are choosing to elope or to have a small ceremony are eloping in parks and natural spaces, and choosing a weekday ceremony to minimize crowds. While Saturdays have traditionally been the most popular day for weddings, weekdays have the added perk of being cheaper when it comes to venues, and less crowded when it comes to getting married outside!

5. Family Heirlooms

For couples who are having to downsize their weddings, or who’s family members can’t attend, small, sentimental details are becoming more important. Couples are finding ways to incorporate heirlooms from their family into their wedding to add a personal touch to their day.

6. Ethical Wedding Dress Shopping

One thing that COVID has brought to light is the importance of ethical treatment of employees. Many companies miss the mark when it comes to paying workers fairly and ensuring that their products are produced ethically and sustainably. Many brides shopping for wedding dresses are making an effort to buy from ethical brands.

7. DIY Decorations

With all the new skills and hobbies we’ve all picked up in quarantine, it’s no wonder why DIY decorations are a 2021 wedding trend. From handmade bouquets to DIY hand lettered signs, more couples are opting to make their own decorations.

8. Sentimental Touches

As weddings are getting downsized and planning timelines are extended, couples have more time to focus on the details of their day. Couples are incorporating details and personal touches to their day, such as writing letters to each other to read before the ceremony or exchanging gifts.

9. Non Traditional Dresses

As couples choose elopements over traditional weddings, other traditions are being thrown out as well. White wedding dresses have been the norm for so long, but many brides are deciding to wear beige, yellow, pink, and even black wedding dresses instead!

10. Colorful Palettes

We all need a little cheer these days – and the colorful palettes growing in popularity are the perfect cheerful touch for any wedding! Mustard and ochre are especially popular this year, and grooms are straying away from traditional black and navy, and embracing maroon, green, and yellow blazers! These colorful palettes are showing up in florals as well, as couples opt for brighter and bolder colors to reflect the mood of their day.

11. No Bridal Parties

The age old tradition of picking and sorting your closest friends is fading away as more and more couples are choosing to ditch the bridal party altogether. With elopements and microweddings, the need for a bridal party practically disappears, and couples are choosing to have their close friends be a part of their day, without the need to give them a ranking.

12. Personalization

Long held wedding traditions have tended to leave little room for creativity, and a lot of couples felt pressured to have the “perfect” day or to throw the most epic party. As more couples consider eloping as an option, they have much more freedom to really personalize their day and make it meaningful.  More couples are choosing epic outdoor locations that they feel passionate about, and opting to celebrate their wedding day with the things that matter most to them.

Magical Big Sur Intimate Wedding - Elopement

13. Outdoor Celebrations

For safety reasons, a lot of couples are choosing to move their wedding outdoors to prevent the spread of COVID. For couples who are eloping or having a micro wedding, not needing a venue has opened up a ton of possibilities for gorgeous locations. Just imagine saying your vows with mountains in the background, or standing on the beach at sunset!

14. Gorgeous Florals

Couples who have had to downsize their wedding or who have had to postpone now are focusing more on the details of their day, and this includes florals! The trend of colorful palettes is showing up in florals as well, and many couples are working with their florists to create unique bouquets, boutonniere, and floral arbors for their day.

15. Vendor Values

As many issues of systemic racism, discrimination, classism, and other human rights issues have come to light this year, many couples are making an effort to hire vendors whos values align with theirs. Diversity in the wedding industry is definitely lacking, but by hiring BIPOC and LGBT+ vendors, and vendors who support those communities, the wedding space becomes more and more inclusive, which is something that will hopefully continue as a wedding trend beyond 2021.

16. Humor

With all the curveballs that couples planning their weddings have been hit with this year, all you can do is laugh. Couples are getting creative with postponement announcements and “let’s try this again” wedding invitations, and bringing some humor to a less-than-ideal situation.

17. Engagement Sessions

Because bachelor/bachelorette parties, bridal showers, big weddings, and other traditional wedding events are no longer an option for some couples, many are opting to add an engagement session to their wedding photos. Engagement sessions are an amazing way to celebrate this season of life, and amidst all the chaos and uncertainty, it’s nice to have a fun (and socially distant) way to connect with your partner and make wedding planning more fun.

18. Buying and Shopping Local

With the impact that COVID has had on small businesses, couples are making more of an effort to shop local and to support small businesses when it comes to wedding vendors, party favors, and wedding attire. This wedding trend for 2021 encourages couples to support the bakeries, shops, and small businesses near them who may have a hard time as the wedding industry has taken a hit. 

19. Videography

While couples rarely skip on a photographer, many haven’t considered getting a videographer as well. But, memories of your wedding day will fade, and few things actually last beyond the day. Photos are so important for capturing your memories, but video can memorialize your day in a way that photos just can’t. No one ever regrets getting a videographer, and your wedding video is something that you’re guaranteed to treasure forever.

20. Forgoing Wedding Gifts

A big 2021 wedding trend is couples asking for donations to philanthropic causes instead of wedding gifts. There’s no doubt that the pandemic, the wildfires, and the uncertainty of the world right now has caused a lot of hardship for a lot of people. More and more couples are giving back to their communities and to communities facing hardship around the world by asking their wedding guests to donate to important causes.

21. Rolling With the Punches

With all the uncertainty and unpredictability that 2020 has brought to everyone, one inevitable 2021 wedding trend is rolling with the punches and being flexible. As plans change and couples have to pivot when it comes to their wedding day, dealing with the changes is just a part of life. Couples are straying away from the wedding traditions and expectations, and doing their own thing!

Planning a 2021 Wedding

As a photographer who specializes in elopements and micro weddings, a big part of my job is helping couples out with planning their dream day. Whether eloping was the plan all along, or you had to downsize, an elopement can be just as meaningful and amazing. It’s not about rushing through a ceremony to get it over with – elopements are all about doing what feels right to you. If you’re ready to start planning your dream day, contact me!

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