6 Things 2021 Brides Can Expect to See at Their Wedding

By Shayna Seid

According to a May survey by The Knot, 66% of 6,253 respondents across eight countries are rescheduling their weddings to a later date because of COVID-19. Of these, 40% are postponing to later in 2020, 52% to 2021 and 8% aren’t sure of their new date. With most moving their weddings to next year, the 2021 calendar year is looking like it may see a lot of “I dos.”

To help navigate it all, we asked wedding professionals what 2021 brides can expect at their weddings. From changes in decor approaches to what the new wedding buffet might look like, below are 5 aspects of nuptials that may be altered within next year’s season:

Margaux Swerdloff & Alex Minot

Photo: Courtesy of Evan Smith

A Lot of Intimate Gatherings

This one is a bit obvious. But in 2021, who knows what the limits on gatherings will be. No matter what, at this point, it’s safe to say that a lot of people will be shifting to smaller weddings. “We believe that events will feel more intimate moving forward,” A Good Affair creative director Natalie Good says. It’s a change we’re excited about, because couples can really focus on giving their nearest and dearest an unforgettable experience on their wedding day! Every detail will be that much more intentional.”

Photo: Courtesy of Alexa Drew Photography

More Virtual Aspects

Especially in the earlier months of next year, Zoom may heavily be a part of weddings. “Incorporating guests virtually will become a large part of the planning process. Planners will need to go through all the options with their couples to ensure they have the right streaming software setup,” Wild Sky Events founder Kate Goddard says. “Better yet, rather than just propping up an iPhone somewhere work with the videography team to make sure high-quality video from the entire wedding is streamed for your guests.”

Not only will guests log-on to attend, people are likely to opt for online invitations too. “Looking ahead, expect a major shift towards totally electronic correspondence. Delays in mail processing and uncertainties surrounding the ability to host an event will steer most couples to opt for electronic save the dates and invitations,” Orange Blossom Special Events founder Brooke Avishay says. And, electronic mail gives couples the flexibility to send out invitations closer to the date of the event should any changes or obstacles arise.”

Photo: Courtesy of Ana Encabo

Safer Set-Up Practices

“As a stationery vendor, we’ve taken numerous safety precautions in our production and delivery. All invites are assembled with gloves in a sanitized environment, and envelopes are sealed with glue or water—no licking of envelopes or stamps!” A Good Day Inc.‘s Jordan Kentris explains. “Set up for day-of elements like signage and printed menus and place cards will be assembled with gloves and masks and will be timed to allow adequate spacing between vendors.”

This goes for caterers too. “Upcoming brides can expect that their cake designers and dessert caterers will be taking particular care to follow safety procedures. They will be utilizing masks and gloves during set-up and whenever they are in close proximity to the desserts,” Sugar Euphoria‘s Randi Smith mentions. “I also anticipate that we will see couples veer away from dessert bars, since guests will have to share utensils and the dessert tables also put guests in close contact with food that they may not consume.”

Photo: Courtesy of Wild Sky Events

An Emphasis on Decor Installations

Couples getting married next year might want to make more of a splash with decor because they’ve had to wait longer for their wedding. “With many rules changing about what can be set on the tables, designers will need to get creative with how to bring the wow factor to the wedding reception,” Goddard says. “In the immediate future, I see decor trends moving away from the tablescape and more into large signage displays and floral installations.”

And with smaller groups of people, more effort can go into making the ceremony and reception spaces feel like an experience. “We are finding couples are looking for more intimate celebrations for 2021 and 2022, approximately 40-50 fewer guests to accommodate this trend,” AJ Events creative director AJ Williams notes. “Couples are allocating dollars to the guest experience. This style of wedding includes more branded elements and customized areas than a traditional wedding. The ceremony has more decorative seating set in the round or a crescent style setting.”

Plume Events

Photo: Courtesy of Kelsey Nelson Photography

Exclusively Local, Seasonal Flowers, Food, and Wine

With major disruptions in floral and decor supply chains, wholesale florists are focusing on sourcing locally in order to fulfill demand and cut risks to their staff. “Demand for floral arrangements will continue to grow after restrictions are lifted; however, [the ramifications of] disrupted supply chains will last for months, and potentially years. Sourcing flowers from Europe or South America won’t be as easy as it’s been in the past,” Avishay says. “Peonies won’t be an option outside of June and dahlias will only be available in the fall. Seasonal, local blooms and wildflowers are what you’ll see represented most at weddings. And these offerings will vary from season to season in a more dramatic way than they have in the past.”

“In the post-COVID-19 age, expect to see similar disruptions when it comes to food and wine, as well. Locally sourced options will be more readily available. For us in California, we’re lucky to have so many great vineyards all over the state. Wedding guests in California will be drinking good wine without disruption! Cheers to that!”

Margaux Swerdloff & Alex Minot

Photo: Courtesy of Evan Smith

Food Stations Replace Buffets

If you go for a buffet-style option, over a sit-down meal, it’s going to look a tad different then before. “We are really trying to navigate how weddings will take place once again, especially as a caterer. Staff training and procedures will be ultra-focused on everyone’s health,” Colette’s Catering creative director Sarah Kuhlberg says. “Buffets will be different, more like small stations, to alleviate crowding. Each buffet station will most likely be operated by a chef or server, keeping safety in mind, with gloves, and face masks on during serving.” And it goes without saying that purchasing hand sanitizer to keep at all of the stations is a must when it comes to celebrating in a safe and healthy way from here on out.