Just like fashion, decor, and hair, wedding trends come and go. This ebb and flow always promises to keep couples and wedding professionals on their toes, eagerly awaiting to see what will walk down the runway at New York Bridal Fashion Week. The wedding trends we saw in 2021 were no different.
Of course, some wedding trends are mainstay and will never go out of style. (Like the white wedding gown and the newlywed couple feeding each other their first slice of wedding cake.) According to Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and founder of Bridal Bliss, in Seattle, a classic, sophisticated wedding will always stand the test of time.
“Neutral tones and classic lines—i.e. shades of whites, creams and very light blush—will always be on-trend,” she says. “[It’s] a look that you will never look back on and regret.” She adds: “These colors are always accompanied by different tones depending on the current trend, but the base always stays the same and always looks great.”
When a couple begins the planning process, one thing they usually want to know is which trends are still in—and which are out. While we’re lucky have Pinterest to help guide us in the right direction of what’s hot or not, your wedding vendors also know. After all, they plan anywhere from 10-30+ weddings each year, so they’re a reliable source when it comes to 2021 wedding trends and beyond.
Here, they share some of the 2021 wedding trends that are no longer in.
Wedding Trends on Their Way Out
Once considered a thing of the past, disposable cameras started making their way back a few years ago. They became a popular party favor for wedding guests, but photo booths have changed this, notes Marci Guttenberg, C.P.C.E., C.W.P, owner and president of An Affair To Remember By Marci, LLC.
“Your guests are already taking candid photos [on their own]”, she says. Instead, she suggests providing them with a hashtag or a location to send or drop pictures.
These really took off when Pinterest became popular about 10 years ago. However, the trend has been tapering off over the last couple of years. “There are a million and one things that can go wrong [with DIY weddings],” says Guttenberg. “You will typically end up spending much more time and money, in the long run.“
While she agrees that Pinterest is a wonderful resource for inspiration, she recommends leaning on your vendors instead. “The professional can often use details to enhance the outcome and get the best bang for your budget.”
The concept of booking multiple venues—namely, one for the ceremony and one for the reception—was once fairly popular, but is now out, according to Kevin Dennis, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services in Livermore, California. “With the exception of religious ceremonies, it’s often easier to find a venue that can accommodate both festivities,” he says. “Multiple venues can sometimes require additional transportation if it isn’t within reasonable walking distance. And you’ll want to be mindful of guests with accessibility needs as well.”
This Pinterest-inspired trend was beautiful and photographed well, but it wasn’t the most realistic, according to Sheils. “They make for a beautiful display and, in theory, serve a purpose. But in reality, they don’t always go as planned,” she says. “If a champagne tower isn’t set up just right, it can fail miserably and lead to broken glasses and wasted champagne.”
Barn weddings were so popular the past few years, but they’re starting to fade out, according to Kathryn Cooper, an elopement and wedding photographer in Brooklyn. “People want outdoors and fun nowadays…I see more of my couples looking for non-traditional wedding venues that are more customizable,” she says. “Many of the couples I’ve photographed lately have had celebrations at campgrounds, museums, on boats, atop mountains, and more, allowing the couple to share a place or activity they love with their guests.”
Wedding Trends for This Year And Beyond
If you’re planning a 2021, 2022, or even 2023 wedding, these are the trends experts say you should keep an eye out for.
Microweddings were all the rage during the pandemic, when infection rates were high and large guest counts were feared and, in some locations, even restricted. Even though couples are getting the green light to have normal guest counts and even unmasked celebrations, it doesn’t look like microweddings are going anywhere anytime soon. “Couples are opting for intimate guest lists and wedding locations in their cities, homes, [and] backyards,” says Guttenberg. This also includes mini destination weddings within the U.S. before asking guests to travel abroad.
More Expansive Dance Floors
To accommodate guests’ COVID concerns, Dennis believes that dance floors will become more expansive to prevent guests from being in such close proximity. “We’ll see some social distance markers, and couples will adapt to health and safety regulations and find alternate options to level up the guest experience,” he says of 2021 wedding trends and beyond. “The best thing couples can do is get together with their professional DJ and venue team to discuss what will make them and their attendees most comfortable.”
Zoom is Here to Stay
Dennis also believes that technology will continue to touch upon every aspect of the wedding, from the planning to the day itself. “Zoom was often the only way for couples to meet with their creative partners, and even if they can be in person now, we’re seeing that many still prefer primarily virtual appointments for the sake of ease,” he says. “Parts of the day itself will also be digitized, from seating charts to place cards.”
In place of barnyard and boho weddings, what’s becoming known as “cottage-core,” a cozy, comfortable style made popular after Harry and Meghan’s gorgeous floral ceremony arch, is now in. “It’s romantic, whimsical and brings a bit of English countryside to the modern wedding,” notes Dennis. “If you want to explore this look, the best thing you can do is get with your florist immediately to discuss how to pull it off.”
Floral Wedding Dresses
Wedding dresses have always remained standard, but a newer trend that Cooper has noticed is embroidered flowers on a white dress in different colors. “Some go with pastel hues, some have all pink flowers just on the bodice, and others have jewel-toned embroidered blooms all over the dress,” she says of this 2021 wedding trend. “If you like the idea but still want a traditional wedding dress, perhaps opt for a floral veil that you can wear for just a portion of your photos.”
As a result of the post-COVID wedding boom fewer wedding dates are available. Which means couples are starting to snatch less-ideal days of the week. This can come with a few perks, including a reduction in price for the same venue. “It is generally far cheaper to do a Monday-Thursday wedding, and if you’re having a more intimate celebration, a weekday wedding isn’t as crazy as it sounds,” says Cooper. “These offbeat weddings are a blast to photograph, and when I document such events—often complete with cornhole tournaments, hikes, and s’mores—I end up feeling like a part of the family, which allows me to get even better photos of their day since it feels like we’re all friends at that point!”