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eco-friendly gifts for guests: 2021 wedding trends

Planning to tie the knot next year? We’re looking at expert predictions for 2021 wedding trends to give you an idea of what to expect, both in general terms and one specifically for gay and lesbian weddings. Let’s strap into our time machines and get this party started!

2021 Wedding Trends: What to Expect if You’re Tying the Knot Next Year

If you asked me just six months ago to predict the 2021 wedding trends, I would have bet money that we’d be back to magnificent grand affairs with mile-long guest lists. No more paring down out guest lists to meet increasingly shrinking “max gathering” rules. No more socially distant outdoor affairs, and definitely no more wedding masks covering everyone’s faces! After all, back in May, things were starting to look up!

Unfortunately, as we head into the winter and yet another resurgence, at least the first months of 2021 weddings will look a lot like 2020’s events. Once things do turn around- and they will, so don’t lose hope- I think we’ll many of the new “pandemic trends” sticking, even beyond 2021. Let’s take a look at a few trends that industry experts are predicting. Then, I’ll share some of my own predictions with you!

Expert predictions for 2021 wedding trends

I pored over all of the leading industry magazines to look for patterns in the top expert predictions. Here’s what’s on tap for 2021. When applicable, I’ll share some video examples with you to help with your own planning.

Micro-weddings (or Minimonies)

Call them microweddings or minimonies, they both mean the same thing: a significantly pared-down guest list. Parade Magazine’s wedding experts are predicting a huge rise of these tiny events.

Throughout 2020, we’ve already seen more and more couples go this route, rather than postponing their ceremonies entirely. Roberta Correia of Brides magazine told Parade that 2020 saw a “rise in the micro wedding, AKA an intimate wedding with fewer than 50 guests.”

Virtual wedding ceremonies

Virtual weddings picked up a lot of steam over these last few months, and experts expect that trend to continue well beyond 2021. At first, couples will likely either go all-in with online weddings or combine them with minimonies.

In other words, they’ll invite a small number of people to attend physically while simultaneously streaming the event to those who can’t be there in person.

Later, as things get back to some semblance of normal, couples may increase the size of their in-person guest list, but still choose to livestream for distant relatives and friends. As  event planner Jason Mitchell Kahn told Parade, even though new safety measures have been put in place, people are simply choosing to travel less and less.

More elopement options at venues

While downsized weddings are great for your bottom line, they’re not so stellar for the wedding venue industry. Hotels especially are taking hits from all sides- fewer conferences, fewer family vacations and fewer weddings.

So, they’re getting creative. As William Rademacher, the manager of the Wayfair Hotel, told Parade,  “Keeping the nuptials to just the bride and groom or leaving room for their tribe, hotels are creating elaborate elopement packages to give couples options.”

Multiple celebrations rather than just one big reception

Between social distancing, travel challenges, and smaller budgets, experts predict that 2021 will see a rise in multiple celebrations rather than just one giant reception. For example, couples may opt for a microwedding with just a few guests followed by a sit-down dinner at home. Then, after the wedding, another dinner with different group of friends or family, and so on.

Multiple virtual bridal showers and bachelorette parties may also become the norm. My sister-in-law had three bridal showers, and that was long before the pandemic. So, there’s already precedent for hosting multiple versions of what’s essentially the same party.

More sit-down dinners versus buffet-style

Insider experts are predicting a complete fall of the buffet entirely, at least at weddings. Even in “good” times, buffets are breeding grounds for bacteria. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love them…I just wouldn’t go near one with a ten-foot pole right now!

The potential issues with so many people touching the same food coupled with the long lines that accompany a buffet have couples leaning more towards sit-down dinners.

Cake & champagne receptions

Even sit-down dinners may end up on the chopping block for 2021, according to wedding planner Amy McCord Jones. She tells Insider, “I’m also seeing couples hold a simple cake and champagne reception in lieu of a full buffet dinner at their wedding reception.”

Grand decorations and cakes

As the ceremonies get smaller, the decorations and cakes will keep getting bigger and grander. First, couples are saving boatloads of cash by paring down their guest lists, so they can go with those epic floral arches and over-the-top cakes that didn’t fit their pre-COVID budgets.

Second, going big on décor and other aspects of the wedding has psychological benefits as well. It’s easier to accept sacrificing your dream of a 250+ guest list if you get something equally magnificent in exchange.

Local, domestic, or staycation-style honeymoons

Going back to earlier points regarding travel restrictions and challenges, more couples are opting to stick closer to home for their honeymoon, according to Zola. While some are still traveling to destinations within their home countries, others will opt for a local getaway. Some may opt to skip traveling entirely and just spend their honeymoons at home, staycation style.

Accelerated timelines for LGBTQ weddings

This is one “trend” that I wish we didn’t have to discuss at all. With Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation swinging the Supreme Court  all the way to the right, more and more same-sex couples are rushing out to get married

Not only is Barrett tied to anti-LGBTQ hate groups, but her fellow justices Thomas and Alito have made it abundantly clear that they’re just itching to overturn Obergefell. With a Trump-stacked court, marriage equality issues go back to the states. While many states legalized gay and lesbian marriage prior to the 2015 decision, those that didn’t could outlaw it once again.

There is hope on this front, though. A recent national survey found that 70% of Americans support same-sex marriage. That includes citizens from nearly all major religions (white evangelists are the sole exception). With that kind of support in favor of equality, the Supreme Court would have to be made up entirely of fools to overturn Obergefell.

Other 2021 & Beyond Wedding Trend Predictions

Planning to tie the knot next year? We're looking at expert predictions for 2021 wedding trends to give you an idea of what to expect!

While the above trends appear frequently across expert predictions, some industry insiders have a few more ideas of what we’re in store for come 2021 and beyond. Let’s take a peek at a few of the most intriguing.

  • Weddings beyond weekends: Wedding Wire experts predict that ceremonies will move beyond Saturdays to other days of the week.
  • Practical wedding favors:  Karen Norian of Simply Eloped believes that more couples will opt to give guests favors they can use AT the wedding, such as face masks.
  • Locally sourced food, edible flowers, and mini-foods: Zola experts are leaning towards smaller receptions with more creative offerings or ingredients sourced locally.
  • Fewer registries: Insider experts explain that with more couples living together and already stocked up on the basics, registries may end up on the chopping block. Instead, couples will request donations towards their honeymoon.
  • Eco-friendly weddings: The average wedding produces around the same amount of carbon monoxide in one day as 5 people produce all year long, so more couples are leaning towards offsetting that by focusing on earth-friendly events.

All of these predictions for 2021 wedding trends are just that- predictions. We won’t know what happens next until it happens. One thing that is for certain, though- couples are focusing more on celebrating their love and less on trying to mimic their favorite celebrity wedding. As long as you have love, you have everything you need for the perfect wedding.

What are your predictions for 2021 wedding trends? Share below!

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