What's trending for 2021

Get an inspired jumpstart on all your wedding planning with these exciting ideas in fashion, décor, florals, food, desserts and more! Consider incorporating one (or more) of these trends into your own celebration – but remember, it’s your day so take what you like and make it your own!

Bridal Fashions

Transformative Looks

Can’t decide which dress to wear on your big day – either a dreamy A-line gown or sultry mermaid? Looking for a little more drama for the ceremony but a bust-your-move dress for the reception dance floor? Why not choose a versatile two-in-one dress with both styles. Many dresses are featuring detachable trains and overskirts, removable sleeves, and matching toppers and capes to give brides the option of two beautiful looks on their big day – from ceremony to reception.

Casablanca gown ('Rebekah') shown here with and without the detachable overskirt

Ruffles & More Ruffles!

Love romantic ruffles? You’ll find a treasure trove in this year’s gowns: Whimsical, exaggerated and cascading ruffles are on full display covering entire skirts. Or skip the skirt and get your ruffle fix with fabulous off-the-shoulder ruffle sleeves.

Morilee gown ('Benedetta')

Statement Sleeves

It’s all about the sleeves! Gowns with sleeves are all the rage this year, but not just any sleeves, oh no – they have to be billowy or puffy sleeves. From smaller cap sleeves to full-length designs, this voluminous feature is one of the hottest trends in the world of bridal gowns.

Daria Karlozi gown

Sparkle & Shine

If you want your bridal moment to shine, you’ll find lots of bridal dress options this year that feature plenty of sparkle. But rather than big pops of bling here and there, many dresses are showcasing subtle all-over sparkle and understated shimmer with glitter tulles and organzas, frosted lace and more. These layers of gorgeous fabrics add a dreamy dimension to the gowns.

Sophia Tolli gown ('Jasmine')

Behind-Your-Back Style

Backless gowns are always popular, but this year’s designs are sizzling with style – from sparkly lace-covered cutouts to strappy crisscross backs finished with a statement bow.

Morilee gown ('Blaire')

Clean & Chic

Forget the fuss. Start your epic love story with an effortlessly romantic gown with clean lines and a chic silhouette. The epitome of a sophisticated style, this year’s buttery soft crepe wedding gowns are utterly breathtaking.

Kenneth Winston gown (Style GA2301)


A Pop of Color

For years, couples have adored the dusty hues of the bohemian color palette, but this year, many are updating that all-neutral look with pops of brighter colors. Add that “wow” factor with splashes of pastels (such as lilac, pink, mint and powder blue) set against warm, earthy tones (such as champagne, beige and terracotta) for a more modern – and colorful! – wedding day feel.

Something Blue

Blue has always been a popular wedding color. But this year, darker blues are taking a seat as lighter, breezier blues take the stage. A few examples include: Periwinkle, powder blue, cornflower, aqua and French blue. Use these fresh blues as an accent, from colored glassware to silk ribbons and florals. Try mixing in metallics or experimenting with different levels of saturation for a color theme that’s uniquely you.

The Year of Yellow

One of the boldest wedding colors this year is yellow. Many people have a love/hate relationship with yellow, but do not fear: It’s all about finding the right tones for your wedding day look. Yellow can give your wedding day a pop of fresh, sun-kissed color (such as a bright marigold or golden tones), or play the deeper, more neutral background (such as ochre and mustard tones). Consider using creamy or bright yellows in flowers, or the deep intensity of mustard for rich fabrics like velvet and satin table runners or bridesmaid dresses.

Dessy dress (Style 3056); Flowers photo by Emelia K Photography

Rust-Colored Hues

Rust hues are taking over the wedding color scene, especially burnt orange and terracotta shades. These retro-inspired hues evoke a sense of comfort and tranquility but also convey a super chic feel. The colors pair perfectly with neutral tones or vibrant accents, and work well with either a modern or vintage aesthetic.

AWildBloomPrintables, ETSY

Pale Purple

The paler shades of purple (lilac and lavender) are expected to be super on-trend wedding colors this year. Full of whimsy and fun, these light and airy shades are perfect for spring and garden weddings. Lilac bridesmaid dresses, for example, are lovely in photos and a great choice of color to stand out in the crowd.

Allure Bridals dresses (Style 1566)

Colored Suits

Groom attire is taking a walk away from classic black and gray and moving in favor of more color options. We're seeing colorful suits and tuxedos in dark jewel tones like rich burgundies, deep navy blues, golds, and olive greens. Couples planning spring and summer weddings are also opting for lighter pastel shades of blue, lilac or blush suits.

See more of Rilee & Calvin's wedding here.

food & drink

Seated Dinners

Buffet catering has traditionally been a popular way to serve dinner at larger weddings. However, fewer couples are opting for self-serve buffets, which usually involve serving shared utensils and uncovered dishes of food. Many couples are opting for plated meals instead of a buffet, but if a serve yourself-style meal is preferred, smaller stations may be incorporated rather than a long assembly line for a full buffet.

Smaller Bites

We’re seeing a big focus on little eats – from mini hors d'oeuvres to mini cakes. Smaller plates and individualized portions are on the upswing at receptions, including single-serve grazing boards, mini-sized eats (such as mini sliders and gourmet pizzas), and bite-sized appetizers at each table (instead of a single-shared buffet). Cakes are growing smaller too, with couples opting for single tier cakes, as well as cute mini personal wedding cakes, often distributed to each guest at their place setting or sent home for guests to later enjoy.

See more of Rachel & Clayton’s wedding here.

Nostalgic Food

Reception food offerings are getting a blast from the past. Many couples will look back to their own childhood with throwback food and beverage options, including adult fruit-drink pouches, Pop Tarts, and other nostalgic goodies. Other ideas include food trucks, street food vendors, waffle bars, retro-style gin bars and even vintage VW ice cream vans. We’ve even spotted a three-tiered “cake” made of Rice Krispies Treats layered with buttercream – now that’s a childhood dream come true!

Non-Traditional Treats

A traditional wedding cake will never go out of style. But if you’re not a fan of this big classic confection, or you’re obsessed with another sweet treat, then this is the perfect opportunity to share your unique tastes with guests. For inspiration, say hello to these non-cake dessert ideas: brownies, macarons, cake pops, cupcakes, personal-sized mini cakes or pies, cream puffs, cinnamon rolls, mini parfaits and doughnuts. Stack them on towers, display them in a tiered cake shape, or dress them up individually with custom boxes and ribbons to match your wedding color theme – a great idea for take-home edible favors.

Chugach Peaks Photography

Food & Drink Trucks

From cocktail hour to the after party, food and drink trucks are versatile, fun and add a unique experience for guests. Along with the nice perk of being budget friendly, these trucks often offer personalized options – from serving the bride and groom’s favorite foods and drinks to adding a customized menu board to fit the wedding day style. Why not surprise guests at the end of the night with a food truck to satisfy those late-night munchies?

Zoya Dawn Photography

Epic Photography

Elaborate and epic wedding-day photo shoots are all the rage this year. Couples are making use of drones to capture unique angles and overviews that you’d never see in their parents' photo album. They’re also taking more time for creative, stylized photoshoots on their wedding day, especially for sharing these wedding day moments with family and friends who couldn’t make it. Couples who choose a smaller guest count for a more intimate celebration are leaving more room in the budget to go big with amazing photography.

See more of Rachel & Clayton's wedding here. Photo by Chugach Peaks Photography.

Going Virtual

We’ve learned to live stream our social lives in 2020, so why not apply those new-found digital skills to your big day? Virtual weddings with a live stream broadcast allow couples to say their “I do’s” and still have their nearest and dearest watch. Even couples with smaller in-person weddings are inviting loved ones who can’t attend to tune in and enjoy everything from the music and vows to the speeches and bouquet toss. Help remote guests feel included by addressing them specifically during the ceremony and thanking them for joining in, and even inviting them to sing along to any songs or to give their blessings to you as a just-married couple.

Greenery Galore

One of the year’s biggest wedding decor trends is the inclusion of luscious greenery, including ferns, succulents and garlands of eucalyptus. Dress up tables with cascading foliage or adorn ceremony arches with masses of greenery. Or, hang lush florals and greenery from above to drape down over your guests for that extra “wow” effect. These natural décor items work well with almost any style of wedding, from rustic farmhouse to modern industrial. Succulent centerpieces also double as great wedding favors for the guests to take home.

See more of Mazzy & Luke's wedding here.

Light It Up

Transform any wedding or reception space into a dreamy backdrop by adding innumerable strands of fairy or twinkle lights. Lighting can work especially well when used to transform a space from day to night and you can create all kinds of effects with up-lighting and by projecting patterns, images or even video on blank walls. Neon signage can be customized to suit your wedding style and space. Candles in each of the table centerpieces will also set the mood and create a cozy ambience.

Get Glamorous

We’ve all been stuck inside wearing sweatpants for too long – and couples and guests are feeling the itch for some glamour. This year, look for a return to Hollywood glamour as well as lavish and extravagant décor. For glamour, you’ll see grand-entrance gowns, hair accessories adorned with sparkles or pearls, chandelier earrings, statement necklaces, and photo perfect hair and makeup. Décor will have an over-the-top feel, such as larger floral installations, oversized balloons, smoke bombs, photo op boards, and plenty of decadent food.

Headpiece by Maria Elena

Everything Old is New Again

Weddings are seeing a return to the more traditional, with timeless dresses and accessories, heirloom pieces, traditional speeches, and a focus on more treasured memories with friends and family. Many couples are choosing ceremony locations with sentimental meaning to them, such as their local childhood church or on the grounds of their parents’ home. Other sentimental aspects might include a special dance tribute, an acoustic performance of a meaningful song, or even a visit from a favorite school mascot. Pinning something to your flowers can be a lovely way of carrying something sentimental with you, such as a photograph of a loved one or a piece of heirloom jewelry.

See more of Bri & Ben’s wedding here. Photo by Chugach Peaks Photography.

Entertaining Experiences

This year, couples are focusing more on "experiences" that make the day extra special and fun for guests – and live, interactive entertainment is the hot ticket. Ideas include roaming musicians that entertain guests at their tables, interactive cocktail stations with a mixologist, street artists that sketch guests, and more. A slideshow of photos of the couple’s childhood and relationship can be a real highlight of any wedding – and maybe a tear-jerker too. Or consider pre-produced videos where loved ones, who are unable to attend, create short videos in your honor, and your videographer compiles them into an edited film – these can be as a simple as a short speech from grandparents or as elaborate as your cousins performing a choreographed dance. These special “experiences” will create a big impact in the overall atmosphere of the wedding.

Buying Local

Lockdown has put a huge strain on the local economy and, this year, we’re going to see more couples choosing to support local suppliers, bridal boutiques and independent businesses with their hard-earned money. Locally crafted items will play a big role at weddings as well as locally farmed meats, locally grown produce and locally sourced flowers (such as peonies). It’s a beautiful idea: Show your love for each other as you show your love for local!

Chugach Peaks Photography