9 wedding planner’s predictions for weddings in 2021
It’s no secret this year didn’t quite start off the way we hoped it would, but that hasn’t stopped some our favourite wedding professionals from making sure they’re ahead of the curve for 2021.
When it comes to wedding trends, they can be notoriously hard to predict. So, off the back of the most unpredictable year ever, we spoke to a number of London’s best wedding planners and suppliers to ask for their take on what to expect from weddings trends in 2021.
From fashion to décor; location to food: our industry experts have generously shared their insights into what they’ve seen over the last 12 months, and what they’re predicting next. Starting with fashion trends…
Wedding dresses and suits
What wedding dress and suit trends will we see more of in 2021?
Much of the last 10 years has been dominated by royal-inspired styles thanks to a couple of high-profile royal weddings during the decade - think long sleeves, flattering necklines and A-line skirts - but over the last couple of years there’s been a move away from this. 2020 only sped that up as almost every couple with a ceremony planned post-March had to change their plans to make sure it followed new (and ever-changing) rules.
So as couples pared down their wedding plans to celebrate just with their nearest and dearest, it appeared as if the fashion followed suit. Whilst bridalwear trends tend to shift more so than groomswear, it looks like simplicity and quality will be key wedding trends in 2021 for both.
Ana Ospina, Founder of BEAUT and professional MUA, shared: “I think slim line dresses with pockets and trouser suits/jumpsuits will be seen more on brides this year as these styles are appearing more and more on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. I also think designers are opting for a city-chic vibe more often with their designs too.”
Designer formalwear may be a popular choice this year as well: “With weddings likely to stay small this year, that means they’ll also be less costly for couples. With all that extra budget, both brides and grooms may choose to spend it on designer outfits they’ve always wanted instead of more traditional wedding styles.”
Kate Edmondson, luxury bridal buyer, forecasts: “There is a trend for a more relaxed look for brides in 2021. Simple understated dresses & soft tailored looks are a hot trend, as well as shorter & midi length dresses. I can also see detachable details like bows and trains being included more this year – great for creating a more formal look during the day and easy to remove for a more casual look for the evening reception.”
Jagdish Baghra, founder of occasionwear boutique Deesh thinks: “This year we’ll see more relaxed and informal looks, with couples making them stand out in a simple, elegant way. As well as that, high quality fabrics, simple silhouettes and really hunting for that perfect fit will be the go-to for more couples than ever this year.”
Michal Kowalski, Master Florist and co-founder of Blooming Haus predicts: “In 2021 we’ll be going back to basics – simplicity and delicacy. The covid crisis has pushed a reset button for all of us – not only for wedding and event suppliers but also for the whole fashion industry. Although prints will be visible, we believe organic styles will prevail. Though 2022 will be a blank page for all of us...Just expect the unexpected!”
Maxeen Kim, luxury wedding photographer, shared: “I feel grooms are embracing more colour this year. During 2019 and 2020 I saw grooms opt for burgundy- and sand-coloured suits. I've loved seeing this as I feel they are enjoying putting their personality into their outfits and I hope to see it continue in 2021.”
“I’ve been seeing the same trend in bridalwear too, with more are opting for colour, pattern and jumpsuits. As micro-weddings and elopements don't follow traditions brides seem to be throwing the book out the window in favour of something unique.”
Location and wedding venues
What locations will be most popular for wedding ceremonies? For honeymoons?
With Britain still confined to their homes, a destination wedding or luxury holiday feels like a distant dream for couples right now. Those who can’t wait until *this* is over are having to convert their dream wedding plans into something small, achievable, and most-importantly, based here in the UK.
Of course, safety is still a major concern for couples and with the data continuously supporting that the outdoors offers much lower risk of transmission, choosing local, open-air settings may suddenly become one of the biggest wedding trends of the year. But here is what our wedding experts had to say:
Ana Ospina: “Due to wedding party sizes we may find couples opting for more intimate options. Larger venues that can accommodate parties in smaller function rooms will do well as they will still feel like a traditional wedding in opulent surroundings.”
“There will also be couples that opt for alternative venues. One of my brides is now having her wedding ceremony and reception in a British winery which offers a beautiful backdrop and a smaller yet uber-stylish event space.”
“For honeymoons it ultimately depends on what travel is permitted and when. Most couples will still want to go abroad so I can see a lot of honeymoons being postponed to 2022. Otherwise, options are limited but still desirable as I’m seeing some couples opting for Mexico, Greece and Dubai.”
Catherine Owen, head of venue sales and marketing at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace said: “I think we’ll see a boom for outdoor wedding venues this year and into next, however the smaller weddings that government regulations have stipulated have really opened couples up to the lovely intimacy of small and micro weddings. I think we will continue to see smaller celebrations, often city centre, in unique and historic spaces where couples have the opportunity to really get creative and invest in décor and flowers. Then the couple can opt to host a larger celebration or an elaborate honeymoon adventure when they are able to do so.”
Michal Kowalski: “On the whole, we expect most wedding couples to stay and support local. At Blooming Haus, we are preparing for many London weddings to come all at once the lockdowns are lifted.”
“For ceremonies, as spring and summer draw ever-closer, I think we will see many outdoor weddings, in nature, under gazebos, and so on. And for honeymoons, lots of couples will likely enjoy a “mini-moon” before they can escape to more exotic locations. We imagine retreating into the Great British countryside to places such as Scotland and Wales opting for exploring secluded cabins will be popular options.”
Ruth Davis, CEO of All for Love shared: “I think gardens at private venues or homes as well as small outdoor spaces are going to be huge. Little patches of green that you can pop up a marquee or small stretch tent and have your nearest and dearest with you without having to travel too far or mix with too many other people. It allows you to be exclusive, to minimise covid risk by being outside and to have a more relaxed, garden party style wedding.”
“Our only problem with this is the Great British Weather- let’s hope for a hot and dry summer so we can all get outside and celebrate safely! There are also lots of calls for the Government to allow wedding licenses outside to be held anywhere - that could be a big turning point if approved so watch that space!”
Maxeen Kim: “If travel is available for honeymoons, I think we will see couples being more conscious of privacy in 2021. Safety will be paramount with couples opting for honeymoon destinations within Europe that are a little off the beaten track, avoiding the crowds. For the more adventurous couples, you may see more sailing honeymoons on luxury yachts where the crew includes a chef, all their needs can be taken care of onboard.”
Wedding décor and styling
What décor trends will we see more of in 2021?
Décor has always been a personal choice for couples but there are still themes and styles that are more popular than others. Like all other wedding elements, the décor trends we’ll see in 2021 will have been largely influenced by the unique 12 months we’ve just had.
Similarly, to the bridal and grooms-wear trends, it looks like simple, natural décor will reign supreme. Expect to see much less, if any, single use anything, as well as more homemade and personalised decorations. We see wedding décor trends in 2021 focusing on careful sourcing and serious DIY.
Natasha Grant, luxury wedding planner, predicts: “After the impact of 2020, couples will want to celebrate and colour will be strong in 2021, to represent the joy, happiness and excitement of their special union.”
“I believe that couples will include more details and personal touches in their wedding table design. Whether it's a small wedding or one on the larger side, things like personalised stationery or gifts and the use of high-quality linens and glassware will be much more prevalent. Every little detail in couples’ gorgeous wedding table settings will be well-thought out to really make an impact.”
Jagdish Baghra: “I think more greenery and eco-friendly décor will be a core trend in 2021. Handmade décor by family and friends will also be a popular choice - a feeling of community spirit means everyone is helping each other right now. And whilst there will be fewer flowers needed, those flowers will follow a brighter colour palette as well as dipping into deep plum colours.”
Ruth Davis: “I think if we carry on the micro wedding formula, then decor is going to be a really important element in 2021. Many brides are swapping larger requirements for smaller, more intimate weddings with exquisite small touches and fine tuning the detail.”
“Expect a lot of personalisation, customisation, bespoke; down to calligraphy on the candles and embroidery on the napkins. Really, the full tablescape and all its elements will be considered in minute detail - if you can't have big numbers, you want to make it perfectly beautiful for the smaller amount you can have. It's much more concentrated beauty I think.”
Michal Kowalski: “The organic and natural style hasn’t left us just yet! However, it is developing into more artful colour combinations. Floral trends move quickly, and we’re finding now more than ever couples want vibrancy and bright colours! On top of that, new textural combos are emerging too.”
“Expect less traditional arrangements: more foliage, more breaking of the mould whilst, of course, retaining that quintessential elegant aesthetic.”
Wedding planning and organising
What trends will we see in terms of planning this year?
There’s no doubt 2020 was the most difficult year for wedding and event planners in living memory. With rules and guidelines being changed frequently and at little notice, it made practically impossible to plan event.
Whilst we’re not yet out of the woods yet, we are more prepared for last minute rule changes and know better how to navigate them for couples. But what impact has all this uncertainty had on the mindset of the newly engaged?
It looks as if wedding planning trends are going in two different directions. On one hand, some couples are opting to plan on much shorted lead times in order to make the most of when the rules do allow for weddings. On the other, couples are playing it safe with extra-long lead times instead, banking on things being back to normal so they can have the wedding they always imagined.
Ana Ospina: “I think wedding planning will have shorter lead times again due to available wedding dates. I think for some this may be the year they actually want to get married as they have felt family pressure for a Big Do and have an excuse now to have the intimate wedding they always wanted. They can go into married life not having spent as many thousands on their nuptials.”
Valentina Ring, head planner at The Stars Inside predicts: “From a practical perspective, we can expect many more couples to have their wedding celebration on a weekday, or outside of peak season, so they can fit into those vendors' calendars filled with postponed bookings.”
“There are also many couples having elopements or micro weddings now and planning epic anniversary celebrations for next year. Personally, I’ve seen an increase in couples wanting to look at private homes and rental properties for their celebrations, particularly if they've downscaled their guest list. Venues with a forte in outdoor spaces will also be a must as couples want guests to feel safe and have plenty of spill-out space and ventilation.”
Ruth Davis: “At the moment, planning anything is impossible. Things can change in a matter of weeks or even days, so I think the core trends in terms of planning will actually be polarised. Some will call it quits and wait it out till 2022, 2023 when things are hopefully back to normal, and then others will call shotgun weddings within a very small window of opportunity and drop everything and make it happen in a couple of weeks.”
“Normal lead times have all gone out the window for now, it’s time to rip up the standard norms and make new ones! Weddings could be much longer processes or extremely short ones. My message to other suppliers is that we need to be ready for both!”
Michal Kowalski: “We’ve noticed that couples are either planning far in advance (2022 and beyond) or giving us a short lead time. There’s not much middle ground right now due to the apparent uncertainties, and we expect this trend to continue through 2021.”
“Leads with shorter planning windows are definitely seeking smaller events, yet there is an even greater focus on aesthetics. No stone goes unturned!”
“Brexit and COVID have, of course, had an impact on our foreign clientele. However, we are still seeing a steady flow of American brides and grooms making enquiries about organising a British wedding in the future, which is something really promising to see.”
Natasha Grant: “Couples have had more time to look for inspiration and plan during lockdown, so they will have a clearer idea about what they want. I believe that couples will be more flexible with their wedding, for example hosting their wedding over multiple events, to allow different people to attend each part or having a smaller wedding and then a larger celebration at a later date - a double celebration!”
“The use of technology will also be a core element to any wedding planning in 2021, helping to bring together people who otherwise couldn’t make it. My professional advice is to always get an expert or company to deliver any live streaming to ensure that it all goes really smoothly.”
We have to say, we love the idea of breaking up a larger traditional ceremony into a few smaller ones. Keeping gatherings smaller makes them safer, but this way couples still have the opportunity to see everyone and celebrate multiple times whilst doing it – win-win!
Wedding cakes and treats
What trends will we see around cakes and sweet treats in 2021?
For some, 2020 was an opportunity to finally start focusing on building healthier habits and taking time to look after themselves. For others, it’s been an experience in learning you don’t have live perfectly and productively all the time.
Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, a wedding should be a day for enjoying yourself and making exceptions – cake and all. But with the wedding rulebook being torn up since March, the traditional 3-tier fruitcake won’t have suited many celebrations since then! So, what have couples been enjoying instead, and what will we see more of in 2021?
Jagdish Baghra: “Naturally, with small guest numbers, smaller wedding cakes will be in demand. I think it’ll be much more common to see just one layer instead of three, and likely bought from smaller businesses.”
“For sweet treats I think there are a lot of local and artisanal businesses out there that people will want to support. For example, I know of one who makes handmade nutritional chocolate in heart shapes for weddings.”
Maxeen Kim: “I believe couples will move towards beautifully plated petite fours, or mini wedding cakes for each individual guest. 2020 had us all being more safety and health-conscious and naturally this will filter into how we serve food and sweet treats. My couples have been requesting plated meals instead of sharing platters and family-style dining, and we’re likely to see this trend continue at least until the end of the year.”
Michal Kowalski: “Aligned with the new emerging floral trends, I think we will see more bold colour choices and playful textures. Cakes are starting to function more and more as centrepieces on the table or tables so the appearance will be just as important as ever.”
“Beautiful floral tables and hand-crafted sugar flowers continue to blur the boundaries between edible sweet treats and delicate floral decoration.”
Ana Ospina: “I think cakes styles will stay the same as in recent years, but I think people will experiment more with flavours as celebrations move out of tradition. Individual treats have risen in popularity too recently – things like chocolate dipped strawberries, cannoli’s, cakesicles and meringues. Personalised and bespoke cakes will be a trend that I expect to continue throughout 2021.”
What will be the single biggest wedding trend in 2021?
Valentina Ring: “We will come out on the other side of this pandemic with changed priorities, and I think that will be the single biggest trend for weddings in 2021 and beyond. There will be many couples opting for an elopement or micro wedding so they can focus on the quality of time spent with loved ones, and there will be many who can't wait to let loose their passion for travel, parties, and celebrations with a BIG guest list.”
“Either way, I believe there will be a lasting shift in the way engaged couples celebrate their marriage, and that it will be more about the depth of the shared experience with the friends and family they've so dearly missed. I think 2021 will be the year for quality over quantity, and that it will be brough to life through both considered minimalism AND meaningful maximalism.”
Michal Kowalski: “It’s going to be all about intimacy and focusing on more meaningful design. We believe that the micro wedding trend is here to stay awhile. Less wedding guests means more budget for refined aesthetics.”
“Once the pandemic is under control, the ripple effects of being deprived of human connection will undoubtedly result in couples merely wanting to cocoon with their nearest and dearest in a swoon-worthy setting on their special day.”
Ana Ospina: “I think minimalist weddings will become the biggest and most obvious trend. Due to the pandemic and changes in guidelines allowing only reduced numbers to attend weddings, couples may focus on chic stylish weddings with less flamboyance in the styling & décor.”
Maxeen Kim: “Last year we saw a big rise in elopements, largely from couples who had been planning smaller weddings already. From conversations I've had with my 2021 brides, elopements will reign supreme for much of this year. I've also seen more and more brides change their plans in favour of a micro-wedding. Couples are opting for a more intimate guest list without the party as they have already moved their date from 2020 and don't want to have to wait another year or more to say 'I do'.”
Jagdish Baghra: “In 2021 it’ll be common for people to want to get the civil wedding out of the way with a few of their closest friends and family, whilst saving the big celebration for later – likely next year. However, a small wedding should still be a memorable day in every possible way, so I think the venues will be smaller but still beautiful for pictures.
Catherine Owen: “I think it will be celebration, fun and joy. In whatever shape or size is possible I think it will be a focus on connection over any one design element or theme, however that looks for each couple. It could be an elopement for those couples who have survived lockdown together or having a zoom screen in your ceremony despite what it may look like. Maybe it’s over the top décor, bright colours, relaxed fashions or just having tonnes of photos and videos to capture the joy of your friends and family. I think this year’s weddings will be highly personalised, wildly fun and completely joyous. After the year we have all had I can only imagine that is what everyone is crying out for.”
10-11 Carlton House Terrace: Small wedding venue London
We hoped hearing what these experts expect from weddings in 2021 helped you build confidence in how to prepare for your own future. It’s encouraging to see that couples are still making enquiries, and many are keen to celebrate as soon as possible.
But while there’s a bit longer to wait before weddings are possible again, now is the perfect opportunity to do as much research as possible and as many of our experts said: focus on the details. If you’re not settled on your location yet, we’d love to see if we’re the right fit for you.
10-11 Carlton House Terrace is a luxury wedding venue in central London, well-suited to hosting intimate ceremonies and celebrations. You can reach our friendly team at 020 7969 5224 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.