Updated: Jan 27
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with trend reports: on one hand they tell you what is hot at the moment, but on the other hand they help to make a lot of things look the same! As a stylist, one thing I absolutely do not want to happen to you is that in ten years you look back at your wedding pictures and say, 'Well, you can tell we got married in 2021". Trends should be used to inspire. They should be used to see what's new and exciting but then used as a backdrop for what YOU want. 2021 will be about ripping up the rule book.
One thing that 2020 has taught us is that LOVE WILL WIN. If you had to pivot your ideas last year and are now tying the knot in 2021 or later, use this time to reflect: "Was the wedding I planned really me or was I just following the trends that were around last year?" If anything, having a bit more time will make you realise that what you wanted last year may or may not be what you now dream of. What ever you decide, having the most important day your way is what it's all about.
So, have a look at what is new, get inspired and then do it your way, folks!
First things first, I think that there are four main things which will happen in 2021 and beyond: The Micro, The Sequel, The Back To Our Roots and The Go Big or Go Home Weddings.
With limits on guest numbers affecting how many guests you are actually allowed has forced us to really consider our VIP list. Rather than focusing on how few people you can have, look at the positives: no more feeling indebted to invite those bratty cousins you only see once in a decade, and having less-stress about the seating plan. Having a smaller, more intimate wedding means that it can be more personal. Your budget can be spent on what is really authentic rather than feeling that you have to do everything. It will be relaxed and thoughtful and focused far more on your and the guest experience/s.
Wed Now Party Later.
This has been created from a direct response to the pandemic but gives couples the chance to have an intimate wedding because they WANT to get married and then have the big party to end all parties when we are all ready for it. What we all want are the times and opportunities to throw some shapes, hug one another and dance with our Grans, sans face masks.
Back To Our Roots - Yeah
My goodness, it's time that weddings had a revamp. The pandemic (if there has been remotely anything positive for our industry) has challenged us to pivot and re-think about what is important. Far more couples are moving away from huge guest numbers and doing all the 'things' because they feel they have to. Now it is all about the experience: more gratitude for the people who can be there, a deeper meaning for what is necessary, and far more sentimentality. This is the wedding where family and friends are at it's heart.
Go Big or Go Home
Otherwise known as The Maxi Wedding. It's the Micro's fatter sister. She is THE event of the year. She is the one you've probably been planning since you were small.
It's all about celebrating everything on a large scale. The huge guest list, the huge cake, the fireworks, the party; it's about the details and the experience. Music and entertainment will be BIG. It's about bringing all the senses together and having a day that not only you will remember, but the event which will go down in history. We've been told we can't right now...but when you can, you WILL and you'll do it in style.
So what are the trend predictions for 2021?
Every year, the colour people at Pantone bring us their thoughts on what they believe is THE colour/ combo for the year. This year its Yellow and Grey: "A marriage of colour conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting." Whilst you might recoil a little bit and be aghast at teaming something so bright with something so dull, don't. It might not be everyone's cuppa tea, but with carefully thought out tones to compliment these two statement colours, the result can be warm and contemporary. I would team some stone tones and neutrals, velvets and a darker, warmer shade of ochre to make it softer, or embrace it and go big with the contrast - add some translucent materials for a real 80's vibe. Whatever floats your boat.
Images via 100 Layer Cake, Wedding Wire, Wedding Chicks
WGSN believe that A. I. Aqua will be the showstopper. "Inspired by advances in technology and building on from the popular neo-mint trend, this 'positive' colour has a futuristic and innovative feel." For forward facing couples who are not frightened of being bold, this could be a great addition to your palette. It's an electric shade of blue and will come to the fore in fashion, tech, and interiors in 2021. Big, bright, bold colours can look amazing at weddings - they can add energy and a fun vibe. They are great for couples who just wanna have fun and who are quirky and unique.
There is certainly the feeling that couples want to rip up the rule book and are being influenced by fashion, TV, culture and The Arts. Interior design has become bolder, fashion is playful and couples are looking to be influenced by their surroundings, their cultures and their history.
Which brings me nicely on to...
The 70's and Nostalgia
Whoop Whoop! One of my favourite eras of design. The 1970s are famous for bell-bottoms and the rise of disco, but it was also an era of economic struggle, cultural change and technological innovation. It is not only the design-led elements of the 70's that are forming the inspiration but also the idea of change and equality.
With the emphasis on diversity and fair representation in wedding imagery and the industry as a whole, the things to take forward from the '70s are the ideas of being sustainable and kind to the environment, natural elements and locally sourced produce along with design trends such as rattan, macrame, crochet, wooden beads, and textured linens. Think Boho style with added coolness. Block colours were also huge in the '70's - embrace it and don't be frightened.
Eco conscious and Sustainability
Following on from the idea of weddings having far more emotional and sentimental value, couples now are choosing to do away with unnecessary favours and instead looking to be far more authentic. Think of how you can support more local businesses, source local produce and be kinder. On a personal note, many small businesses have been hit devastatingly hard in our industry and are hanging on by their fingertips to continue trading. Look to support local and smaller business rather than fat-cat trades. You will get a far more personal experience and likely a greater, more emotional event. Think of how you can pay-it-forward. Are there heirlooms which are important to you? Creating links between generations will make things meaningful and emotional as well as getting your crew together to create DIY decor will bring you closer and make them feel part of your 'do.
Be conscious of a less-waste wedding. Carefully consider how your budget is spent on things such as flowers - perhaps opt for plants as opposed to cut blooms or have one large insta-worthy structural instillation creation rather than lots of smaller ones. Dried florals and grasses are an excellent alternative and last a lifetime and can be made into decor for your home after the event. It always breaks my heart to see so many flowers left to die at the end of the night.
Food is another area that you can be thoughtful about. Most of my couples now tell me that good quality food and drink is a must have. We all want to ensure that our guests don't go hungry but there is a limit to how much food people will actually need. Family style sharing dishes are a great way to allow guests to choose how much they have on their plates and a good caterer will be able to suggest how much food is actually needed to allow for less waste. Food trucks in the evening are another way to be conscious. Allowing your guests to order say a pizza to be made on the spot means that the caterer will not create pre-made food which will not be eaten.
Having smaller weddings means that there are less things for you to spend your budgets on. Therefore, more people are focusing on the details and the look of their day. Whether it be full on Hollywood glam (a lovely treat to get out of the joggers we have been living in for a year) or quirky personal details, weddings will likely have more details to provide that wow that we have been craving.
There will be a sense of quality over quantity and spending your money wisely on things that really matter.
Providing experiences for your guests will be a priority, wether that be a small family affair with amazing food or cool decor, hiring the band you've always wanted (Imagine how amazing it will feel to have an awesome party?) or watching fireworks with your mates at the end of the night - it will be about the FEELS. Think about how you can really engage all the senses - smell, sight, taste, sound and the all important touch.
Most weddings traditionally happen on a Saturday, but there will far more of you who will want to have a longer celebration. There has been too much wasted time over the last few months and people are craving time spent with their loved ones. There will be a huge increase (when we are allowed) to have weekend events. The Americans have been doing that for ages and I think we are going to be doing the same. Getting your friends and family together the day before for a meal where they can all meet one another or re-engage is lovely for setting the tone of the event. After the wedding has taken place, maybe all get together the morning after to share brunch and talk about the day before? ("Did you see Uncle Barny throwing shapes on the dance floor?")
That said, don't discount the positives of a weekday wedding - generally it is cheaper to hire the venue and more of the vendors you want may be free!