WEDDING TRENDS 2020/2021
It’s been a while since we wrote about wedding trends and I think it’s a great moment to take a look at what is in right now. The wonderful wedding planner and stylist Valentina of The Stars Inside who’s got an impeccable taste and gorgeous style dives deep into wedding trends that emerge in the industry this season. Pictures are form a shoot that was styled by Valentina and beautifully photographed by Maja Tsolo.
Hello friends! Thank you for taking the time to join me for this blog post – today I want to talk about wedding trends, including what I’m seeing for this new decade and advice on how to embrace (or let go of) trends in a mindful way.
I always encourage my couples to start from a blank canvas – and to use their own personal passions, quirks, and experiences as the palette to bring their own design concept to life. I send them a questionnaire that helps me to get to know their style and their vibe, and which also encourages them to think about ways to make their celebrations luxurious in a way that is meaningful and unique to them. I’m all for surrounding ourselves with beauty, all day, every day – but I also believe in doing it with intention, and bringing together spaces and people with thoughtfulness.
So where do trends fit within that framework? For me, trends can be helpful inasmuch as they give couples a vocabulary for describing the things they love, and inspire them to think of new, creative ways to express themselves. I love the way ideas from fashion, interior decor, and art echo through wedding design, and it’s awesome to see those movements get reinvented by couples with big imaginations and an epic vision.
On the other hand, wedding trends can sometimes feel a bit restrictive for couples that feel like their own visual identity isn’t “in” or “trendy”. I never want brides or grooms to think they need to fit within the boxes of what’s currently on Pinterest or on social media, or that the ideas they are so lovingly excited about might be wrong or outdated. That’s why I never like to talk about wedding trends that are “in” or “out” – it doesn’t feel right, to me, to pass judgement on what couples do or don’t want for their celebration.
Ultimately, it’s all about telling their story in the way that feels most personal, unique, and meaningful to them, and I will always champion their right to do that whether their aesthetic is in fashion or not. I am here to help them elevate, modernise, and embrace whatever it is that they resonate with, and make it authentic to them – I want them to feel like their wedding venue was made for them, and I want the styling to make their guests walk away at the end of the night feeling like they know and love the couple even more deeply than they already did.
OK! So with those caveats in place, let’s talk about what I’m excited to see more couples exploring in this new decade. Here is a pick of my favourite things that have been lighting up the wedding world in a thoroughly modern way.
Yes to this – I’m so into wild, natural, untamed florals that feel like they’re growing right in front of your eyes. I’ve loved seeing more couples embrace dried florals (neutral, painted, or bleached too), and seeing specialty blooms make an appearance where they may not have a decade ago. This expansion of the floral vocabulary also means more textures, more juxtaposition, and more dynamism, which I truly feel is a gift to the world of wedding design. Spray-painted foliage is also making an appearance, which means we’re seeing more unnatural colours paired with natural ones; this can add a distinct “art installation” vibe to your florals, and I dig it. Mixing fresh and dried florals is also leading more painterly, still-life shapes, channelling a little bit of a “Dutch Masters” moment. Greenery is still with us too, but it’s being used in new, fresh, more asymmetric and unexpected ways.
Colour and shape fearlessness
Another trend I’ve loved is seeing so many MORE of the hues on the colour wheel make their way into colour palettes. It used to be that weddings strictly fell into one of a handful of colour categories (usually a two-colour scheme), but now that rulebook is being thrown out the window (BYEEEEE).
Couples’ colour signatures are broader, bolder, and with a more adventurous use of pop colours and contrast. There’s light colours used alongside dark ones, there’s neon colours accenting neutrals, and bright colours that put a big grin on your face. This fearlessness is expressing itself both in terms of styling and in terms of bridalwear and menswear, and that’s something I hope to continue to see for many years to come. Almost every couple I’m working is planning on including colour in their outfits, either in the form of a coloured dress, a bold accessory, or a party outfit to change into for the evening – and I’m HERE FOR IT.
I’ve also seen more bridal parties wear refreshingly mismatched dresses of complementary colours and patterns, which is an added dimension I absolutely adore. A side effect of all this is also a growing interest in non-bridal shapes and styles – like capes, sequins, jumpsuits, separates, female tuxedos, and so on – as well as cool accessories like chic handbags, jackets, blazers, bespokely embroidered veils, and removable overskirts. More and more designers are launching bridalwear collections with oversized and exaggerated features (oh hello sexy side splits, puffy sleeves, and jumbo pearls), and couples are loving it.
Togetherness and Interactivity
Interactivity would have been on my list anyway, but I think in light of the recent social distancing guidelines, I feel like this is an even broader trend now: a quest for togetherness. I’m seeing more couples want to share experiences with their guests – whether that’s intimate, communal ceremony rituals that require guest participation, interactive food experiences (though still with enough formality to feel momentous and considered), immersive and sensory styling choices, and music collaborations and entertainment aimed at exciting guests rather than just serving as ambiance. It’s about being in that moment together, and sharing in the awe and joy.
Another peripheral embodiment of this trend is the increasing number of pets at weddings, which I’m obsessed with – furry friends being brought along to ceremonies because they are part of the family gives me ALL THE FEELS. These reimagined practices will be even more valued and meaningful when weddings start up again after the pandemic is defeated, and I hope this trend will continue to be embraced with wide arms.
As more and more suppliers expand their services and products to include more personalisation, so too more couples are realising that they need not pick from what other people have done in the past. Bespoke commissions allow couples (and vendors!) to stretch their creative legs and express themselves in a way that feels most true to them, and it’s a trend I hope to continue to see. Whether it’s bespoke illustrations for stationery, commissioning completely unique decor pieces, one-of-a-kind escort card displays that feel like art installations, custom printed tent fabric and tablecloths, embroidered napkins, personalised favours, or hiring in your favourite restaurant chef to curate a tailored dining experience – it’s ALL good.
I’ve also seen more couples come up with really evocative and sentimental gifts and moments to honour relationships with particular friends or family members, sometime in lieu of choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen (which, when you really think about it, seems a bit retro now!).
This isn’t new (thankfully!), but it’s taking on an increasingly important role in more and more couples’ wedding plans. More of you are being mindful about what you introduce into natural spaces, and what you leave behind. Suppliers are fully on board with this trend by the way, with so many now proudly displaying their sustainability and ethical practices on their websites, and sharing details about their recycling, packaging, and the source of the materials they use. This trend might manifest in the form of potted plants, eco-conscious vendors, second-hand buying, less floral foam and plastic packaging, biodegradable paper, local produce from organic farms, a reduced carbon footprint, and post-wedding donations of food and flowers to where they can make a difference.
I’ll confess – I wasn’t sure what to name this one! What I’m referring to here is a trend towards making event spaces feel more like a home (or a gentleman’s club, depending on your vibe): using more potted house plants, armchairs and lounge furniture, decorating pieces that would normally be found in homes (like dressers or pianos), welcome bags instead of table favours, and so on. Basically, things that don’t scream “wedding”. In a way this feels like a revived license to play with palettes, tablescapes, and textiles, and it’s really revitalizing the whole industry.
This concept is also embodied by the attention placed on the guest journey and experience: how guests feel as they walk in, what they’re welcomed by, how comfortable their day is, and so much more. I’ve also seen more couples throw out traditional timelines in favour of creative schedules that feel more natural and relaxed, in an effort to make the day more FUN – like having a few cocktails before the ceremony, shorter seated dinners, fewer speeches, and more time for the party.
Smaller and longer
I’ve been loving the trend towards smaller guest counts and longer celebrations – both of which help couples create intimate, soulful gatherings where they actually get to spend real, genuine time with the people they love. I like seeing couples spread out their celebrations over multiple days, balancing excitement with down time, and interspersing all of this with genuine moments of connection; for example, seeing couples spread out their thank yous and speeches over multiple events has been lovely, so that they can really focus on what they want to say, and for whom, rather than ticking “speech” boxes while everyone is waiting for their main. It’s definitely a case of quality over quantity on this trend, and it’s a concept that I consider to be at the very heart of my own brand – which is why I’m so excited to see more couples leaning into this.
Another trend that goes hand-in-hand with this pursuit of intimacy is an attempt to add more heart to the ceremony; this can be done by having loved ones officiating, or choosing humanist celebrants that spend lots of time getting to know you, which many of my couples have chosen to do recently.
Another note on this is that couples who want micro weddings tend to have smaller budgets on an absolute scale, but a higher budget per person; this also means they typically allocate their budget more heavily on bespoke elements that make guests feel hosted, treated, and looked after, like great food and wine, and less on those peripherals that can sometimes feel a bit gimmicky or forced, like photobooths. (I just want to say here, that’s not a general statement about photobooths, I think there are some AWESOME ones out there and it can be done very well! And perfectly suited to large weddings and lively parties).
For me, when it comes to attention to lighting, more is more! I adore the increasing use of fairy light canopies and tunnels, tables dense with elegant taper candles, and intentional lighting choices for wedding receptions. I also really love that more couples are playing with neon, either in the form of custom signs or chic neon tubes and chandeliers entwined in flowers. Lighting is a styling element that allows for a lot of playfulness, and can also be used strategically to make large venues feel cosier and more snug – or small venues feel more epic!
Hanging installations that mix different mediums are THE coolest version of this trend for me, and I love the way more couples are using lighting to transform spaces from day to night. Another facet of this trend is that lighting can be used to highlight two or three key areas or decor features, and allows you to draw attention to whatever you’ve invested more of your styling budget into; instead of trying to stretch your budget to fill a whole venue, choose a few intentional wow-moments, and (literally) shine some light on them.
Videography isn’t optional
Every couple I’ve worked with recently is saying this to me, and I absolutely LOVE this. Video is increasingly being embraced as something that complements wedding photography, rather than being something superfluous or indulgent; couples understand that is allows you to relive those memories in a different but equally valuable way. The brides and grooms I’m worwing with want to find photography / videography duos that have worked together seamlessly before, each with their own signature style, but still cohesive and consistent when enjoyed together.
All in for inclusivity
A very important trend in every industry, and one that has been manifesting more and more in the wedding sphere – which I think is fantastic. Not only are couples being more sensitive to gender stereotypes, they’re also being more thoughtful towards racial, cultural, and religious diversity, dietary requirements, and lifestyle differences.
Ok, so that’s it from me! Well – not really, I could go on and on about all the things I’ve loved seeing trending in the wedding world… But for me these are the key “umbrella terms” that contain a lot of the movements and ideas that are racing their way to the forefront of couples’ wedding planning. The most important and wonderful things about weddings, is that yours is YOURS. There is no right or wrong, there is no better or worse, and there certainly is no “in” or “out”. Every wedding professional is here to help you tell your story, and we want to see you embracing that in whichever way is right for you.
If you’d like any support creating a wedding experience for you and your guests that you’ll never forget – filled with meaning, and styled with heart – come say hi ♡
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