After what took place in 2020, we should probably know better than to make any predictions about what 2021 holds, but we can’t help but love our yearly wedding trend predictions!
From fashion trends to wedding planning, new wedding technological advances and up-and-coming honeymoon destinations, we have a lot to guess about the quickly changing wedding world. The wedding industry was flipped on its head in 2020 and with couples scaling back their wedding guest lists, planning events locally, wearing more casual bridalwear and rethinking societal expectations of engaged couples entirely, weddings in 2021 are going to look a lot different than those in years before.
Minimonies, fashionable face masks and wedding live streaming were just a few of the wedding trends created out of necessity in 2020 that we know will flourish in 2021.
But it’s not all about COVID-19, we promise! Other trends that have been gaining steam over the years now have the opportunity to shine: eco-friendly weddings & adventurous elopements are positive trends (among others) to look forward to in 2021 …
1. Adventurous Elopements
For any couple who wished they could abandon the big wedding plans family or societal pressures required for an adventurous runaway elopement, this is a year. With health-conscious family members unlikely to RSVP “yes” to a wedding anyway, you can elope without any sense of guilt (although you should never feel guilty for planning the wedding you want, regardless!)
We’d say there’s never been a better excuse to ordain your best friend and hike up to your favorite mountaintop for an epic & adventurous wedding ceremony. Sound like a dream? We have loads of adventurous elopement inspiration here.
2. Outdoor weddings
For those going through with locally approved weddings, we assume, hope & implore you to plan one entirely outside. Outdoor weddings have been “the trend” rather than the exception for quite a long time now, but we see 2021 turning wedding celebrations exclusively to outdoor events for safety’s sake. With more room to stay socially distant & indoor gatherings accounting for most of the world’s Coronavirus outbreaks, we say celebrate your nuptials with the birds and the bees, please!
3. Live Streaming Proposals, Parties & Weddings
The best way to change your attitude about Zoom-fatigue? Watching your loved ones say “I do” on your computer or TV, of course! We’ve chatted all about how to throw a virtual wedding, listed all the trending live stream services (this live streaming platform might be our favorite!) And even pitched the idea of how to live stream your proposal, too!
4. Wedding hashtags
One techie trend that is not going anywhere are #WeddingHashtags. A great way to compile all the photos, videos, stories & tweets your friends and families post during your wedding, they’re now a fabulous way for your guests who can no longer travel to your wedding to follow along with the celebration. Need help brainstorming a unique & witty wedding hashtag? These punny folks will write them for you!
5. Minimonies & Micro Weddings
It’s not an elopement, it’s a minimony! There’s been an uptick in Googling the freshest terms for intimate weddings coined during the COVID-19 era. Minimonies & Micro Weddings – aka intimate weddings – are simply put new ways to describe small weddings.
What’s the difference? Minimonies are intimate ceremonies – most often the marrying couple, officiant and witnesses in attendance – that take place now, with plans for a larger wedding celebration post-pandemic. Micro Weddings, on the other hand, are full-fledged weddings with 50 or fewer guests in attendance. (Fun fact, Jack and I threw our Mexican Micro Wedding ‘before it was cool’ in 2018 with just 40 in total, and we loved how intimate it was).
6. Mini dresses
Whether you plan to wear a mini dress now for your Minimony & a longer gown for the wedding reception later or you’re just embracing the shorter hemline entirely, mini wedding dresses are in for 2021! We’re giddy with delight that most of our favorite designers have added fashionable mini dresses to their bridal lines, there’s never been more choice for brides to don a shorter hemline!
We’ve put together a list of fashionable short wedding dresses and we also recommend contacting your favorite designers to see if they’ll shorten a favorite gown of yours or either design something custom (chances are, they’ll say yes!) We particularly love a few of the couture mini dresses from ab Ellie’s designer dress shop.
Best of all, short dresses are the ultimate “wear it and wear it again” bridal fashion ensemble!
7. Extravagant fashion
“Nothing will make you want to be dipped in glitter like a year in sweats,” says designer Varca Bridal. We wholly agree. Fed up with pj’s and loungewear, I find myself taking advantage of every excuse to dress up – the grocery store, getting the mail, even buying plants at the nursery. We imagine if we were brides dress shopping right now, we would be shopping for the most extravagant, royal-wedding-worthy couture ballgown we could find. And that would just be one of our many over-the-top, gloriously extra, wedding-day looks.
8. Eco-friendly weddings
We’ve been pitching it for years and here’s our 2021 effort: we predict even more opportunities for couples to plan eco-friendly weddings. In the past, we’ve shared many ideas on how to throw an environmentally-friendly wedding, but we’ve also seen new eco-conscious developments since then!
Last October – during what is usually Bridal Fashion Week – we saw a number more bridal designers commit to not only supporting environmental causes through donations, scrap recycling & tree planting programs but also committing to use more eco-friendly fabrics. Our friend Megan Lawrence, designer of The LAW Bridal introduced a range of eco-friendly fabrics that feel super luxurious and come with green certifications in her 2021 collection. She wasn’t the only one, either! Loulette Bride, too, has been leading the charge for eco-friendly practices in the wedding industry.
Digital invites are on the rise, too. With plans so frequently changed & sending out new, amended paper invites being quite costly, it’s beneficial in so many ways to opt for online wedding invitations like those from Greenvelope. Designed to be as beautiful as paper wedding stationery, Greenvelope works with indie designers to create dynamic digital wedding suites filled with features like RSVP tracking, messaging and more. Not only are digital invites inherently eco-friendly, but Greenvelope is also one of those companies that commit so much to give back to the environment through donations and environmental programs.
9. Alternative Engagement Rings
One of our most visited articles year after year, alternative engagement rings are gaining even more popularity in 2021. What do we mean by alternative? More and more couples are opting for colorful gemstones rather than traditional diamonds (Melissa Tyson Designs makes some of our favorite gemstone engagement rings on the market!). Also becoming mainstream are the eco-friendly, ethical & budget-friendly benefits of lab-grown diamonds and recycled gold. And just as exciting is how many people are shopping our Men’s Engagement Ring Guide – guys, your ring can sparkle, too!
10. Flexible budgets
As someone who has planned their own wedding, I know that every extra guest is a dollar sign. From venue space to chair, table, glassware, plateware, flatware rentals, to food & drinks, your growing guest list seriously adds up. So, with many couples reducing their guest lists far below what was previously budgeted, we’re seeing an increase in flexible wedding budgets.
Now how couples are spending (or saving) that extra wedding budget money is a vast, diverse study but we have a few suggestions. One being to splurge on that dream, extravagant bridal & groom fashion you maybe couldn’t afford before. Two being to spoil the guests that are joining with an upgraded meal or more luxe gifts & favors. We love the idea of ditching favors and giving everyone their own mini wedding cake, like these. Of course, you might take the noble route and donate any extra wedding budget to charity?
11. Fashionable Face Masks, Bridal Gloves & PPE
We love a fashionable face mask, that’s why we’ve rounded up forty (yes, forty) wedding-worthy masks for brides, grooms & wedding guests. But stylish PPE doesn’t stop at masks. Bridal gloves are coming back my lovelies, and not only because they are so elegant & chic, but they are inheritently Covid-19-friendly. We’ve also seen loads of creative ways to set up “Sanitization Stations” on Etsy, too!
12. Shopping Exclusively Online
We miss our bridal salons, dearly. From New York, London, Los Angeles, the PNW, Texas and beyond, we’re dying to get back with our besties to play dress up in these stylish bridal fashion havens. But until such is safe, I think it’s pretty obvious we’re all shopping at home.
But just because you’re cozy on the couch doesn’t mean you can’t buy the most stunning, couture wedding gowns on the market. We’ve put together the 30 best places to buy your wedding dress online from budget-friendly buys, to custom Etsy dress designers to the more lavish bridal fashion houses. Our guides don’t stop there, shop our favorite online stores for engagement & wedding rings, bridesmaid dresses, shoes, accessories & veils, groom’s attire, invites, favors & DIY supplies.
13. Wedding Insurance
For years, the rare wedding venue or vendor might require their couples to hire wedding insurance to cover any liability or accident that may occur. But now, in the wake of COVID-19 canceling nearly everyone’s wedding plans, selecting a wedding insurance provider seems pretty sensible.
14. Road trip honeymoons
While we may have been devastatingly wrong about the timeline, we predicted early last year that honeymoons will shift to domestic road trips & more nature-heavy, isolated outdoor adventures. Why? I think we can all agree that social distancing is the safest way to go, and venturing outside and far away is the best way to do that.
Avoiding airports & airplane travel altogether is a great start safely honeymooning during a pandemic, so what better time to take that dream road trip? Perhaps it’s time to visit Big Sur drive up the Pacific Coast Highway? Explore the vast canyons of the American Southwest? Drink whiskey and hike the green Scottish Highlands (maybe not at the same time)? Drive up to the Great Barrier Reef? Drive the Garden Route through South Africa from Cape Town to Addo Elephant National Park (that was Jack and I’s honeymoon road trip, in fact!)
15. The “Fuck It Bucket”
Do you know what we also predict? Couples throwing their wedding plans entirely in the “Fuck It Bucket”. After rescheduling, canceling, rescheduling again we could imagine a lot of brides and grooms getting fed up with the reorganization stress and just wanting to sign their marriage license and bask in newlywed glory on their own. We’ve heard a number of couples opting to forgo their initial wedding plans for eloping, house buying or maybe tabling the plans altogether to 2022 and beyond. As staunch supporters of couples doing what they want, we totally approve of all.
Has COVID-19 affected your wedding plans? We have loads of expert help & answers to all of your questions here. Follow us on Instagram and Pinterest for all the best inspiration for 2021 weddings.