Wedding Trends

The International Wedding Trend Report, which is published annually by the Wedding Academy, outlines the key trends for each year. Most weddings in 2020 have had to be cancelled due to COVID, so we wanted to  review the report to highlight those trends that we think will carry through to 2021.

COVID has made everyone rethink what is important and that will affect how people choose to celebrate their wedding.

We think the key words for the weddings our clients plan are going to be intimate, quirky, meaningful, simple, ceremony, understated, elegant, festival, natural, colour.

Let’s expand on that a bit further.

#1- Small, intimate weddings

We have all had plenty of time to reflect on what is really important to us over the last few months. When you are celebrating the fact that you’ve found the love of your life do you really want great aunt Gladys there, when the last time you saw her was in 1985? And what about Sarah from HR, someone you chat to over lunch but you know very well that in two years you’ll have gone your separate ways and will never see each other again?

If you are really honest, the people you want to be there to share your special day are the family and friends that have always been there offering love, care and support. Don’t settle for anything less. Keeping things small and intimate means that you can have those people around you that will be happy to celebrate your big day in your way and support you in your marriage afterwards.  And you’ll be in good company with Princess Beatrice leading the way.

#2 Quirky, unusual venues

Whilst it is lovely to see Instagram photos of large gatherings in beautiful settings, how about finding somewhere different, somewhere that truly reflects who you are.

Using a celebrant to deliver your ceremony means that you can have your wedding pretty much anywhere you like. So if you went for a walk in the woods on your first date and want your wedding there, it can probably be arranged (provided the landowner is in agreement). Maybe the proposal happened in your favourite holiday spot and you’d like your wedding there. Or you love surfing and want to have your wedding on the beach and then hit the waves. 

Finding somewhere really unusual and quirky, even if it’s not usually a wedding venue will ensure a wedding no-one will ever forget.

#3 Meaningful

It goes without saying that the ceremony should be very personal and meaningful to you, but the same can be said for all of the other elements. The venue, the flowers, the food and entertainment should all reflect who you are as individuals and as a couple. Think about what is really important to you and remember that as you make every choice. Perhaps make a list of words that are important to you both and then pick the top three and make sure that every decision about your big day honours those things. 

#4 Simple, pared back

Author Paulo Coelho said, “It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.” We are great believers in simple; simple things done well are always the best. You don’t need to spend a small fortune on your wedding day, leaving you in debt for months or years after. Keeping the ceremony and the celebration simple and pared back, with those you love around you, will make your big day extra special.

#5 Keep waste to a minimum

We are all aware that we need to do things differently to help limit further damage to our environment, whilst at the same time living our lives. So how can you do that when you are planning a wedding? Using things that you already have, such as crockery, glassware, tablecloths and napkins is a great first step. Does it matter if it doesn’t all match? We don’t think so. Mismatched plates can look absolutely beautiful.

If you don’t have enough yourself, you can borrow from friends and family, or perhaps buy what you need secondhand and then donate it back afterwards. In France there is an amazing charity called Emmaus, where you can pick up almost anything for a fraction of the usual cost. There are a few of these shops in the UK too – as well as a host of charity shops.

We’ve been part of some amazing weddings where the couple have made lots themselves, from signs, to jam jar vases, to games for the kids and place cards for the tables. Let your creative juices flow and see what you can do yourself – you’ll be so proud you did. And afterwards, you can get rid of anything you don’t want to keep by giving it away, selling or donating.

#6 Keep the ceremony at the heart of your day

It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning your day to lose sight of what it is all about. The reasons for choosing to get married may differ from one couple to another but essentially it’s going to be about expressing your love for and commitment to each other in front of witnesses.

If you choose the right celebrant (and ours are all excellent – just saying!) you’ll know that you have thought about the things that are really important to you and included them in the ceremony. That might be choosing music, poems and readings, writing meaningful vows, adding some elements like unity candle or handfasting or maybe involving some of your favourite people (or pets). 

Whatever the ceremony looks like, make sure it looks like you and keep that as the focus for the day. Everything else will be a bonus.

#7 Nail "understatement"

For us, this is about taking each element of your wedding, keeping it all simple but adding something to each that makes it really shine. Maybe you are having a beach wedding with simple chairs and flowers; you could choose to make a real statement with the arch. Keep your tables bare but add beautiful napkins, alongside simple flower arrangements and ivory church candles. Make the bouquet from the same flowers, instead of a mixture. And definitely keep the dress understated – think Meghan Markle, Audrey Hepburn or Cindy Crawford.

Whichever element you choose – add a bit of luxury but make it go a long way.

#8 Elegant festival (without the mud)

Festivals tend to be one of those ‘Marmite’ things – you either love them or hate them. ‘Elegant festival’ however will be loved by all. It’s about taking some of the best elements of a festival and making them really special; tipis and yurts, cushions and blankets on the grass, fairy lights and candles in trees, barefeet, wildflowers, macrame hangings, bonfires and barbecues, melons and strawberries. You get the idea. Whatever makes you think ‘festival’ minus the disgusting toilets!

#9 Natural

There might be some crossover here with ‘elegant festival’ – think outdoors (with a contingency for bad weather), barefeet (I love having my feet in the grass or sand), simple but beautiful, natural clothes, banana leaves instead of plates, camping/glamping, trees, mountains and water. 

If you love being outdoors and want nature to be part of your wedding you’ll be in your element here. You can use greenery, herbs and flowers to evoke a sense of the great outdoors even if you are indoors. Choose leaves and rose petals for confetti, wood pieces for place names and centrepieces, benches in the wood and a beautiful tree as backdrop for the ceremony.

#9 "Pops" of bold colour

For a few years now there has been a trend for muted flowers. To change this up why not think about adding some pops of bold colour. This will definitely be in your flower arrangements – from bouquets to table centrepieces – but will also look great in your choice of clothes, table covers, napkins and table plans. 

Add a splash of your favourite colour to more natural, understated colours and they will really stand out. Play with it – add a few thistles with their gorgeous purple flowers, sashes to the bridesmaid dresses or unusual coloured candles. It’s all about including a dash of colour to an otherwise muted palette. 

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