Our Top 25 Favorite 2021 Wedding Trends, Themes, and Popular Style Ideas
At no other time in modern history has life changed so drastically from the start of 2020 to the start of 2021. There isn’t a single area of our lives that hasn’t been touched by COVID-19, and that includes weddings.
How we live, work, and play is drastically different than just a few short months ago, which means you can expect 2021 wedding themes, trends, and popular styles to be a lot different than what industry insiders may have predicted when forecasting wedding trends for 2020.
Here are our top 2021 wedding trends, themes, and popular style ideas to give you some inspiration when planning your own wedding during the spring, summer, fall, or winter season of 2021.
10 Trends to Follow
From wedding venues to dining and jewelry, here are ten 2021 wedding trends you can expect to see popping up at weddings this year.
Smaller Guest Lists
Planning the biggest wedding will no longer be the goal of brides and grooms. Among the most prominent 2021 wedding trends is a smaller guest list. Whether you’re inviting an intimate group of friends and family or you’re eloping with your partner, your officiant, and a photographer, guest lists will be kept to a minimum.
Weekday weddings have been trending for a few years, but they will continue to increase in popularity.
Why would you want to follow this 2021 wedding trend? Not only is having your wedding during the week much more affordable than a weekend wedding, you’re more likely to be able to secure your dream venue for the date you want. Not to mention, with a smaller guest list, a weekday wedding becomes more doable.
The buffet is out—2021 wedding trends dictate more sanitized dining practices, which means guests can expect a restaurant-style dining experience. Think plated dinners and seating arrangements that are based on immediate family members and living arrangements instead of open seating or placing guests who don’t know each other together.
Wedding cake trends in 2021 are a little different too! Some brides and grooms are opting for mini cakes so they don't have to give up on the wedding cake they want, but they can be served without cutting or a trip to a candy or cake table.
Goodie bags aren't all that uncommon at weddings, but 2021 wedding trends dictate that the traditional bag is updated to a stylish box.
A welcome box is a great way to make your guests feel cared for on your wedding day. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to open a small gift box! Include items like hand sanitizer, tissues, and take-home favors. If you have a very small guest list, consider including a hand-written note to each recipient inside the box.
Fresh Air Fêtes
A traditional outdoor wedding isn’t exclusive to 2021 wedding trends, but what makes weddings this year so different is the fact that you’re more likely to find outdoor options when shopping around for venues.
Traditional wedding venues are still renting out their spaces, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, they may not be willing to accommodate large groups of guests. You may also discover that outdoor areas that were not included in wedding rentals during previous years, like gardens and pools, are being offered this year as a way to separate crowds and keep things safer with fresh air spaces.
Dash of Humor
There are plenty of smiles and laughter to be had at a wedding, but when it comes to 2021 wedding trends, you’re likely to experience more of it as brides and grooms take a humorous look at the year before their wedding.
Many of the weddings taking place in 2021 were originally scheduled for 2020 but were postponed due to COVID-19. Expect to see wedding invites that say things like, "Let's try this again." Instead of "Save the Dates," you can expect to receive "Change the Dates," and clever first dance songs will pop up at weddings, like "At Last" by Etta James.
When you think of a wedding ceremony or wedding reception, there are some things you expect to find, like floral arrangements and tea light candles. You’ll still find details like these at weddings in 2021, but décor is going to a take a more homey turn.
Because guest counts will be kept low, celebrations will be more intimate, which means smaller seating arrangements, groupings of furniture that feature couches and arm chairs, and pillar candles. This also encourages a certain level of social distancing, which is among the most important 2021 wedding trends.
Creative Gift Requests
Gone are the days when brides and grooms request a registry scanner gun at their local department store. Instead, 2021 wedding trends are leaning towards more creative gift requests.
It’s still not going to be appropriate to request cold hard cash, but couples will lean more towards asking for contributions to a honeymoon fund, a house fund, or donations to a favorite charity. Many couples today already live together and have basic household items, so there's no need to ask for things like dishes and towels.
Live Streaming the Ceremony
Many of the 2020 weddings were able to go forward thanks to live streaming. It allows for smaller in-person guest lists, but important friends and family are still able to attend from the comfort of their own homes. Expect this to continue among 2021 wedding trends.
This trend has an added benefit in that friends and family who are unable to travel to your wedding can still participate. It allows couples to share their big day with everyone they love, and it gives them more flexibility in choosing a wedding location, even if the destination is far-flung.
Classic Jewelry is Making a Comeback
What is old is new again, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to bridal jewelry. Although modern oval cut diamonds and rose gold have been popular in years past, 2021 wedding trends include traditional cuts, like radiant cut stones, and yellow gold.
Stones other than white diamonds are still rising in popularity. Pastel hues are especially popular. Think yellow or champagne diamonds, Morganite, and green amethyst.
10 Popular Themes
Looking for the thread that will hold your wedding together? Check out our 2021 wedding themes below.
Beyond Black and White
Black and white weddings have always been popular, but brides and grooms are looking for a little more fun in 2021 after such a dark and depressing 2020. That means 2021 spring colors that are inspired by Pantone’s colors of the year, like Raspberry Sorbet, Marigold, and Mint, with deep jewel tones, like burgundy and forest green, taking center stage in the fall.
Want to follow popular color trends, but still love the look of black and white? The 2021 wedding themes also include incorporating bold colors, like deep blue and moss green, into a traditional black and white scheme.
Couples are looking to the past to add nostalgic details to their big day, which means 2021 wedding themes that have a vintage look. That might mean using vintage finds, like parents' or grandparents' jewelry, a wedding dress, or a veil, as well as aesthetics that are inspired by ancient cultures, like Greece, or specific decades, like the 60s.
Boho chic is continuing to have an impact on 2021 wedding themes. It’s popular because it can provide your wedding day with a laid back vibe without compromising on beauty or glam.
It’s also popular because it can be well-done on nearly any budget. Instead of spending a lot of money on wedding flower arrangements, the boho bride can use dried naturals like pampas grass and eucalyptus in her bridal bouquet. DIY details are right at home at a boho chic wedding, but if you’ve got money to burn, expensive details can also be used at a boho celebration.
Location, Location, Location
Because smaller celebrations are going to be the norm in 2021, ceremony and reception spaces that were once off-limits to many couples will now be a possibility. For example, nature-loving brides and grooms may choose a spot on a favorite trail or a bluff that is only big enough for the couple and their officiant.
Interesting places in the city are a possibility too! Consider a ceremony on a bridge, in your favorite restaurant, or even an alley downtown.
Popular 2021 wedding themes are simplified due to the coronavirus restrictions we’ve all become accustomed to in 2020, but don’t think that means you have to stay home. Traveling to far-flung destinations is going to be popular in 2021.
Once again, smaller and non-existent guest lists are driving this trend. Always dreamed of having a wedding on a glacier in Greenland? Or maybe a ceremony in India surrounded by elephants has always been your dream? In the past, it may have been off the table because friends and family members wouldn’t be willing or able to make it. With social distancing and live streaming options, it can suddenly become a reality!
Organic and Eco-Friendly
Eco-friendly weddings have been growing in popularity over the last few years, and they will continue to be popular this year, but 2021 wedding themes are taking things a little further. Instead of just focusing on details like paper straws and seeded paper, the organic theme is making its way into the décor to make the entire celebration feel green.
That might mean throwing flower trends out the window and decorating exclusively with greenery garlands, or it might mean providing your big day with a forest theme that focuses on details like handpicked branches, trees, and dried grasses in the décor.
Geometrics aren’t going anywhere. They have been popular in 2020, and they will continue to be popular among 2021 wedding themes.
Geometric table décor will continue to be popular, as will hanging planters that feature air plants, single blooms, and other details. However, many brides and grooms will take things up a notch in 2021. Weddings will include a geometric ceremony arch, geometric charger plates, and table runners that feature sharp angles.
Glamor is a favorite look among brides on their wedding day, but what does that look like translated from a wedding dress and makeup to wedding décor? Our list of 2021 wedding themes dictates that details follow a modern glam look.
Metallic details are the easiest way to make your fête more glamorous. Decorate tables with rose gold table runners, set tables with gold silverware, or give your 2021 winter wedding an icy feel by using silver. Other glam details might include incorporating moody details, like black dinner plates, or decorating with strings of crystals and pearls.
Hosting an artistic wedding used to mean having your ceremony or reception at an art museum. In 2021, it means taking things a little further if you want to share your love of art with your wedding guests.
For example, you might go with an art deco theme at a historic hotel downtown or you might honor your love of sculpture by hosting a brunch wedding in a sculpture garden. Art can also be hung in nearly any space to give your venue a gallery feel.
Nerdy touches have been popular with brides for years, but 2021 wedding themes will have brides and grooms taking a slightly classier approach. Instead of over-the-top details, like storm trooper masks at a Star Wars wedding or Mario-themed wedding cakes, brides and grooms will theme the entire day without using details that are too obvious.
For example, a grade school theme might include decorations that feature blackboards and clocks, while books will be used to decorate tables at a literary wedding. A favorite video game theme song may be used as the bride walks down the aisle, or a color scheme may be inspired by your favorite Hogwarts house.
5 Wedding Styles for 2021
With so many choices for wedding dresses, groomsmen attire, and accessories, it can be hard to know where to get started. Here are five styles to consider that are a great match for the 2021 wedding trends and themes on this list.
Colorful Suits and Tuxes
Black and gray suits and tuxes are out. Grooms in 2021 are opting to choose suits and tuxes for themselves and their groomsmen that match their color scheme.
For example, instead of choosing a black suit with a burgundy tie at a 2021 fall wedding, grooms are looking for a suit in a dark shade of red. To make sure this trend looks timeless, choose dark or muted shades of green, blue, and red over brighter shades that can end up looking cartoonish over time.
Coordinated Guest Dress Codes
It’s normal for bridesmaid dresses to be coordinated in color and style, but 2021 wedding trends are taking things further with coordinated guest dress codes.
With smaller guest lists and Instagram-worthy images dominating weddings, guests become part of the aesthetic. Some brides and grooms may ask guests to coordinate their outfits to match the wedding colors, or they may request a certain style, like art deco glam for a 20s wedding, for example.
Bridal veils will always be an option, but dress trends are taking things one step further by ushering in the widespread popularity of capes.
This detail has been popular with some brides for a few years, but it’s ready to take things mainstream this year. Many wedding gowns are including capes as an option, but a separate cape can also be purchased and worn during the ceremony. Glittery capes give brides a veil-like appearance, while satin capes are a great accessory for a modern celebration.
A traditional wedding dress is more of a gown. Long dresses, much like veils, will always be an option for brides, but those who are looking for a bit of an edge are turning to short dresses in 2021.
Like many of the other 2021 wedding trends, this one is driven by the fact that celebrations are going to be smaller than ever. Many brides want their smaller wedding to be a little less fussy than a traditional, large wedding, which means opting for shorter dresses.
Another benefit of a shorter wedding dress is that it’s more likely to be re-worn by the bride after the big day is over!
Bold Hair Accessories
When it comes to hair accessories, 2021 wedding trends have brides going bold! Dainty flowers and jewels will always look beautiful, but brides this year are going for wide headbands covered in lace, jewels, gems, and satin.
If headbands aren’t really your thing, bridal hats are having a big moment in 2021, as are chunky barrettes and oversized flower crowns.