2021 Wedding Trends

Let's talk 2021 TRENDS for weddings

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: 2020 was a challenging year. Being stuck in our homes, not being able to see or hug loved ones, and of course, the devastating losses experienced by people the world over and the damage to our economy. As a South African destination wedding planner, I had to help many couples rework their plans several times over and adapt to safety regulations as well as travel restrictions that kept loved ones from attending their luxury weddings in Durban and beyond. But, although the storm hasn’t passed just yet, a new year has us looking towards the horizon and thinking about 2021 wedding trends.

Needless to say, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on these 2021 wedding trends. Some are born of necessity, as ongoing social distancing protocols are put in place. In other ways, the 2021 wedding trends have come from a reframing of our priorities. COVID-19 has forced couples to take a closer look at what (and who) they include in their big day. Whether that means opting for something smaller and more boutique, like a luxury safari elopement with just a handful of family and friends, or planning a huge blowout (go big or go home!) when it’s safe to do so again, it’s all about being intentional in your choices.

Here are five of the biggest 2021 wedding trends I’m expecting to see emerge.

Small but perfectly formed

Given the shifting landscape of COVID-19 wedding regulations, it’s no wonder many couples are opting for a more intimate celebration with just their nearest and dearest. I’ve spoken a lot recently about minimonies, micro weddings, sequel weddings, and elopements (find out more about what each of these terms mean here). We’ll be seeing a lot more of these in 2021. Often, a smaller group means being able to spend more lavishly on individual guests. In turn, this leads to several mini 2021 wedding trends. For example, voluminous statement floral displays, personalised favours and luxurious welcome boxes, and custom catering – even a la carte menus! It’s all about creating incredible experiences for your guests and expressing your gratitude for them being in attendance. There are also opportunities to be creative in terms of venues for both ceremonies and receptions, as having fewer people allows you to use spaces that might not otherwise be an option.

Outdoor weddings

It’s no surprise that outdoor weddings are a major 2021 wedding trend, based on safety procedures and social distancing. Here at Oh Happy Day, we’re already huge fans of marquee and tented weddings, and they’re certainly on the rise. There’s so much you can do to make the ‘blank space’ of a beautiful wedding tent your own, and it allows you to enjoy the views and scenery while still having shelter from rain or excessive heat. (KZN destination weddings can get hot!) I think we’ll also be seeing more at-home garden, beach, and luxury safari weddings in South Africa. Couples may also opt for brunch or luncheon receptions, to make the most of daylight hours.

Bright and beautiful colour palettes

If there’s one thing we could all use right now, it’s a bit of cheer! So when Pantone announced a bright, sunny yellow as one of their colours of the year, I thought it was a great sign of things to come. Weddings are all about joy and celebration, and I’m looking forward to seeing couples expressing that with pops of bold hues and playful colour combinations. Think fun, bright, and happy! We’ll also see more print mixing and colour layering on tables, for extra wow.

Concept lighting

We’ve come a long way from the days when candles and fairy lights were the only lighting options we had to work with! These will never go out of style, but as a South African destination wedding planner, I now have so much more in my creative arsenal! LED lights, projections, neon signs, hanging basket lanterns, tube lighting, Edison bulb displays… the list goes on. It’s all about creating ambience – a fairytale atmosphere your guests won’t soon forget.

Individualised food and drink

Wedding catering has been one of the areas with the biggest impact from Coronavirus. To ensure safety, we’re no longer looking at buffets and grazing tables, or family-style dining. The trend for 2021 is all about individual portions of both food and drink. And the good news is, there’s lots of room to make this special! For example, adorable mini cheese or charcuterie boards (either per person or shared between a couple) and pre-made cocktails in pretty tins. Or how about luxury picnic baskets? Another of the 2021 wedding trends I love is mini wedding cakes. Individually iced and wrapped, they’re the perfect take-home treat.

Whichever of these 2021 wedding trends you do (or don’t!) like, it’s important to remember that weddings are personal. Trends are always great for ideas, but it’s all about celebrating YOU! At OHD we specialise in helping couples realise their unique vision and stamping their personalities all over the event, whatever the current trends. If you’d like to find out more about our services, drop us an email!

Images by: Wilma Towell Photography, Bright Girl Photography, Vanilla Photography