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robin goodlad photography bouquet at st giles house

The Biggest Wedding Trends to Expect in 2021

By English Wedding member Truly Experiences
Header image by Dorset wedding photographer Robin Goodlad Photography (full feature here)

Regardless of what happens in the world, one thing we can all agree on is that weddings are joyous occasions best shared with those we love. But as magical as this notion is, the current pandemic has forced us to change the way we tie the knot.

As we head into 2021 it’s safe to say that weddings, like everything, will be a little bit different. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be any less special!

Take a look at the biggest trends you can expect in the new year and decide how you can incorporate them into your big day.

A Surge In Distance Weddings

Seeing as COVID-19 isn’t showing much sign of slowing down, it’s very likely we’ll see a rise in distance weddings in 2021. Essentially, a distance wedding involves the use of Zoom or other video conferencing software. Guests are sent a link to join the party and witness their friends and family saying, “I Do” on their smartphone or computer.

While many people aren’t overly enthused by Zoom weddings, they make for a safe alternative, reducing the need for guests to travel or to spend time in close quarters. They’re also more affordable, as venue and catering costs are reduced or fall away.

To keep a festive atmosphere, couples are having boxes of treats filled with cakes, sweets, bubbly and other favours delivered to their guests to enjoy together online.

The micro wedding trend

Smaller weddings have been around for as long as we’ve been getting wed: in 2021, they’ll be even more popular, simply because of the rules and regulations around celebrating marriage.

We’ve published a handful of articles about micro weddings which make for a lovely, encouraging read. Perhaps you’re planning an intimate wedding because of the new rules; perhaps this has always been your dream. Either way, our members have shared lots of tips and advice to help you plan your micro wedding.

Plated Meals Preferred

In recent years, buffet catering was emerging as the easiest way to serve meals at larger weddings. However, buffets are now on the decline as safety concerns over shared utensils and uncovered food items become prevalent.

Instead, more couples are opting for plated meals to ensure minimal contact between guests. By eliminating the need to touch the same items and to stand in close proximity when queueing for food, the environment immediately becomes safer.

Airbnb Hen / Sten / Stag Parties

Hen & stag parties are a rite of passage and have become almost as important as the big day itself. In the wake of the pandemic, these parties are moving away from bars, nightclubs and other crowded places and into luxurious homes. Many hen and stag parties have opted to book out a deluxe Airbnb and host a party ‘at home’ in a sumptuous setting.

Not only does this provide a safer option in limiting the number of people, it tends to be cost effective and more intimate for everyone involved too.

Less Splurging

After the events of 2020 left us all reeling, many people have been hit hard financially. In light of this, the wedding planning industry is anticipating that fewer couples will splurge on their weddings.

Gone are the days of lavish weddings. Now, couples are likely to opt for smaller gatherings or less extravagant ones. Less in quantity, means you can spend on some statement pieces – florals, stationery or fabulous catering. Not only does this reduce overall costs, it limits the spread of infection too. Outdoor events will also be favoured over indoor ones, as they’re considered safer.

DIY Décor

As we enter 2021 well aware of our need to save money, brides and grooms looking to be financially responsible are choosing to craft their own décor. Generally, décor takes up a large portion of the wedding budget. To reduce these costs, couples are getting creative, doing their own flowers, designing their own invitations and even baking their own wedding cakes. And hey… we’re all stuck at home so why not get crafting?

By saving money on what could be very pricey finishing touches, couples can allocate more funds to their honeymoon, a down payment on a home, or an additional wedding service, like extra staff to serve plated meals.

Yellow Gold Gets Its Shining Moment

When it comes to wedding jewellery, cool-toned metals such as platinum and white gold are taking a back seat.

Over the past few years, these metals have been the most popular for everlasting wedding jewellery. However, since the resurgence of vintage themes, there’s been an increasing demand for warmer-toned yellow gold settings. This trend is expected to carry into 2021 and get even bigger.

Colourful Suits Demand Attention

The days of traditional black or navy-blue suits are numbered, and we’re sure to see colourful suits popping up at weddings throughout the coming year.

Tuxedos in dark jewel tones are also becoming increasingly popular for winter weddings, while pastel blues, ivory and blush suits are more popular for summer weddings. 2021 wedding trends are more about the personal touch, and men are being encouraged to put their own stamp on what they wear to the altar.

Smaller Bouquets Take Centre Stage

In previous years, large, luscious bridal bouquets dominated the wedding scene. Couples would put plenty of money into fresh flowers for their wedding day. Now, however, we’re seeing petite bouquets become more popular, and for good reason.

The more subtle the bouquet, the more couples and their outfits shine. Smaller bouquets may cut costs, but they also allow couples to highlight other elements of their attire. The vintage trend has contributed to small posy-style bouquets too, and this trend looks set to be around for a while.

A Focus On Fewer Gifts

In the last few years, numerous traditions have been repurposed for a new age and wedding planners are seeing fewer couples create gift lists for their weddings. Instead, they’re encouraging guests to either donate to charities special to them or to contribute to their honeymoon.

Many couples already live together by the time they get married, so a new toaster, kettle or bed linen isn’t high up on their list. And with so many closed borders, travelling looks set to be off the cards for a while. Rather than jetting off immediately after their wedding, couples are opting to put money aside for a romantic honeymoon, saving it for when it’s safer to travel again.

real trees for hire for weddings uk

Greenery for hire from Whitestem; photo credit White Chalet Studio (full feature here)

Sustainability

We can’t let this slide – amongst all the planning confusion 2020 brought for all of us, the key trends of the decade have to focus on sustainability. We’re talking vegan and ethically produced dresses (google ‘ethical silk’), sustainable wedding flowers, vegan wedding cakes (the oldies will never notice!), venues who recycle, and plastic-free weddings… there’s so much more you can do, and so many fabulous UK wedding suppliers with a vegan and ethical focus.

Sanitising, Masks And Social Distancing

Last but not least, we have the hygiene element that’s become a major focal point in 2020. In 2021 we’re set to see an increased focus on sanitising, wearing masks and staying a few feet apart. While all of this may be difficult at a wedding, many brides and grooms are asking guests to wear masks for everything but the photographs and while eating and drinking.

Hand sanitiser as a wedding favour has also taken off, with deluxe branded bottles becoming popular with those concerned about their guests’ health. Catering companies and event planners have all shifted their focus to incorporating hygiene protocols that are made clear to the bridal party and guests to ensure everyone is comfortable.

2020 caused major changes in the wedding industry, and 2021 looks set to do the same. Although these trends may be different to what we’re used to, they still provide plenty of opportunities for brides and grooms to enjoy their big day to the fullest.

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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