Here at Brides, we're always talking about the latest trends and brainstorming creative wedding ideas, and we especially love doing this at the beginning of each year. What's to come in the year ahead? What will the dress trends be? Is baby's breath still back? Is there a new food truck?
But here's a secret: We're not inventing these ideas and trends from nothing. Rather, our editors look to real couples who are throwing real parties, and planners who are doing the same, for inspiration. (That is, after all, the whole point of the real weddings on our site). And while we could easily tell you to scroll through wedding pics from now until 2022 for inspiration, we thought we would do you a favor by highlighting some of our favorite ideas right here.
Below, you'll find 18 ideas, trends, and thoughts that our editors are excited to see more of this year. From décor moments we're obsessed with to practices we can't wait to see couples borrow, we're revealing our best secrets. And not to brag, but we kind of know our stuff. We look at wedding pictures all...year...long, after all.
In short: These are the ideas that could take your wedding from "cool wedding" to "wedding of the year" (or decade). We hope these ideas inspire you to create some of your own. We'll be right here, ready to compliment your creativity once you do.
Let Art Inspire You
Art is a big theme in weddings this year. From invitations featuring one-of-a-kind logos to creative installations at ceremony and reception sites, couples are looking to the art world to present a new take on traditional wedding décor. Our editors are totally here for it, as are wedding planners, who say they love finding inspiration in art exhibitions, galleries, and fashion shows. See what other ideas they have here.
Prioritize the Guest Experience
You'll hear us talk a lot about guest experience—and that's because it's so important. If you want your wedding to be a night to remember, consider surprising everyone with something really unexpected. You can accomplish this on any scale, so chat with your partner about what makes sense for you, your wedding, and your budget. And don't be afraid to think outside the box: From renting an actual Ferris wheel (yes, really) to hiring special performers (think synchronized swimmers and a bubble-ologist), we feel confident that you can dream up something that's perfect for you.
Have a Themed Pre-Party
No matter your wedding style, consider doing something a bit more creative (and, perhaps, more casual) for your welcome party, rehearsal dinner, or wedding shower. For pre-wedding events, we've seen couples host pizza parties, movie nights, and events tailored to their destination, whether it's a Wild West-themed bash in Wyoming or a barbecue dinner in Tennessee. Whatever style you choose, remember to do it up with a unique dress code, special décor, and a setup that fits the vibe (i.e. picnic tables for a barbecue). It's an opportunity to make your guests feel comfortable and excited about the big day to come.
Rock a Bold Color
If you're looking to wow the crowd, consider doing so with a statement fashion choice. And what better way to do this than by bucking the most traditional bridal tradition of them all and not wearing white? Sure, this isn't a new concept—we've seen colored wedding dresses on the runways for years—but we have a new take on this trend. Gone are the days of a pretty pastel palette. Instead, go bold and rock a color that matches your wedding theme and/or means something to you. We're particularly partial to this golden hue... perhaps it's the new "it" color?
Sport a Photo-Lined Jacket
We're also excited to see guys have fun with their looks. This year, we saw grooms rock shawl collars, green tailored suits (the new navy?), and more than one look. Beyond the outward fashion choices, guys are also personalizing their attire with hidden customizations such as monogrammed patches, embroidery, and more. We want to see more of this year. Take this photo of Washington Nationals player Trea Turner, who wore a suit jacket by STITCHED featuring his engagement photos on the lining, as proof that this idea is a good one.
Set the Scene
This year, we're excited to see couples say "I do" under nontraditional ceremony structures. If you're creating a unique altar or backdrop for your ceremony, make it count. We're in favor of décor that does double duty—and the focal point of the day is no exception. Beyond repurposing florals and structures throughout the night, remember to get creative with the "extras" as well. There have never been more rental services available, and we encourage you to use them to create whatever vibe you're going for.
Utilize Nontraditional Florals
It's time to put a new twist on the greenery and pampas grass trends of year's past. You can accomplish this by playing with different dye colors and textures, says Felisa Funes of Of the Flowers. (You may know her from creating Mandy Moore's romantic ceremony florals last year). A few materials she's loving? Genestra, gypsophila, and phalaenopsis orchids. And colors: "So far, I've played with shades of red and pink but I also love the look of soft blue pampas grass, turmeric, or soft yellow," she says.
Decorate With Wallpaper
It's no secret that wallpaper can transform a space at home—and it's the same when used at a wedding. We're seeing planners use prints on statement walls (behind the head table, as an escort card display) and even as the ceremony altar itself, as this couple did with a de Gournay-inspired design. Feel free to get creative.
Involve Guests in the Ceremony
Make your guests really feel part of the day by involving them in the ceremony. You can take many approaches to this idea and make it your own, but we have a few thoughts to get you started. First, you can make like this bride and groom, who asked guests to read their intentions or goals for the couple aloud before the vow exchange. Or, you can take after the ceremony shown here, where the couple had their wedding party pass their wedding bands in a circle before handing them over for the big exchange. Other ideas we love? A group call-and-response reading (from a favorite book, poem, or song) and a group sing-a-long of a fitting or meaningful tune. In all cases, you'd inform guests of their involvement and print any needed materials on the ceremony program.
Exchange Private Vows
After obsessing over the guest experience and all the ways to make them go "wow," you can't forget to think about yourselves. That's why we want to highlight one of our favorite new rituals: sharing vows in private. This is an especially great solution if you're not an A+ public speaker (because who is?) or if you want to exchange traditional vows during the ceremony. Also, exchanging vows in private gives you more time to focus on your partner and your love... and at the end of the day, what more do you want than that?
Take a Mid-Ceremony Shot
This is another way to involve your guests—and, no, we're not talking about a squad pic. Instead, make like this couple, who actually took a shot during their ceremony. Talk about a great way to start the party—and a lifetime of adventure together.
Involve Loved Ones
Couples are now including their pets in every single detail, even if they're not actually there on the big day. We love this idea and can fully endorse a custom illustration on fun day-of items like cocktail napkins, bar signs, and more. Also popular? Custom cookies and lapel pins as guest favors.
Have a "Touch-Up Bar"
There's always a helluva long line in the ladies' room as girls (by nature) love to fix their hair and makeup mid-party. Thankfully, planner Tara Guérard gave us an idea for a solution: Hire some pros or set up a few touch-up stations at the ready. We're not talking full makeovers here, but a fresh gloss or curl can go a long way—especially if there's a photo booth nearby.
Reimagine the Photo Booth
Forget all the props and make this more of a "moment" for guests. While we're all about an epic backdrop such as this disco ball-enhanced creation, we're also into the latest trend, which is a more elevated portrait-style photo booth. Done well, it gives everyone a chance to show off their big day look and pose in a way that's more "chic" and less "cheesy." (Thanks Hailey and Justin for this trend)
Rethink the Wedding Favor
If you're having a destination wedding, forget stacking your favors on a random table at the end of the night. Instead, surprise your guests by leaving a personalized treat (like these pretty chocolates) in each of their hotel rooms. We think this makes for a five-star experience, even after the party is over. Another plus? Consumable favors (like food and drink) avoid waste.
Play Up the After-Party
The after-party is officially part of the wedding night, so make yours count. Rather than hosting an impromptu gathering at a hotel bar, we suggest finding another space and surprising guests at the end of the night. Even better: Make it themed. We've seen couples find inspiration from places that are important to them—whether it's a bar they frequent, a favorite vacation, or even where they're honeymooning.
Chances are, this is the largest event you've ever produced, and there will be so many factors at play. So, as you select a menu and add on fun details, it's important to consider the environment and be conscious of the decisions you make. Ask your florist to go foam-free. Rethink the exit by opting for biodegradable confetti or a light show in lieu of fireworks. Avoid plastics. Recycle what you can and repurpose flowers with services such as Repeat Roses and Bloomerent. Donate leftovers. The list goes on, but just remember to do your part, give back what you can, and spread the love. After all, that's what weddings are all about.