If this year’s home and fashion trends have taught us anything, it’s that 2021 is all about expressing individuality, embracing eccentricity and being unapologetically ourselves. However, we’re pretty sure we didn’t really know what that meant… until we saw next year’s wedding predictions. From bold colors and unordinary decor to fantastical themes and innovative venues—it seems as if there’s a widespread wedding rebellion occurring. And we get it: After months of cancellations, postponements and compromises, couples are ready to “stick it to the man” (and by man, we mean pandemic) and start creating their own rulebook. After all, what’s the point of being normal when there is, uh, no “normal” anymore? Here, find seven of next year’s top wedding trends to shock and awe you right into 2023.
1. Bridgerton-meets-Cottagecore Aesthetics
You may have seen this one coming (or if you haven’t, you may need to sit down): 2022’s hottest wedding trend fuses Bridgerton’s dramatic Regency setting with the romance and whimsy of the cottagecore aesthetic. For those of you who haven’t seen Netflix’s record-breaking series, Bridgerton follows the story of Daphne Bridgerton, an elite family member who searches for love while navigating a competitive marriage market in Regency London. And, as if the wedding-based storyline wasn’t enough, the show is brimming with venue inspiration from historical architecture and baldachin ceilings to grand ballrooms adorned with lavish white blooms. (Psst: If you’re feeling that look, here’s how to have Bridgerton-themed wedding—minus the cottagecore connection.)
However, as addicted as we are to watching this drama unfold on screen, most of us would prefer to keep our weddings drama-free. That’s where cottagecore—a shabby chic design trend centered around pastoral-perfect living—comes into play. Picture idyllic wildflower fields, adorable woodland creatures and a quaint English cabin with a blueberry crumble pie cooling in the windowsill. It may seem like a stark contrast to the Bridgerton look, but weaving in elements of this humble, laid-back aesthetic keeps things from feeling stuffy. Picture Regency-era wedding venues with magnificent, sprawling ballrooms juxtaposed against whimsical, romantic florals and decor that speaks to cottagecore’s paradisal vibe.
2. Vintage Furniture and Nods to Nostalgia
After numerous pandemic-related curveballs, most brides have given up on the idea of planning *the perfect wedding.* Instead, we’re seeing more sentimental decor and furniture that speaks to finding beauty in life’s imperfections. “The standing tradition of ‘something old’ is taking on new life. It now feels frivolous to fill an event's design or a wardrobe with all things new, new, new,” writes HarpersBAZAAR.com’s Weddings and Travel Director, Carrie Goldberg. . As a result, bringing in a one-of-a-kind table or vintage bar cart from the ‘20s allows couples to celebrate the unprecedented times we’re living in, in a way that feels personal and authentic to them.
Furthermore, if you’ve been following this year’s design trends, you already know that vintage furniture and decor are taking the industry by storm. And if you think about it, this trend makes total sense. As we yearn for a brighter, COVID-free existence, we can’t help but wax nostalgic for the good ‘ole days. “Having missed out on so many trips and gatherings over the last year or so, we're seeing a lot of couples putting an emphasis on their favorite memories,” says Alyssa Fiorentino, co-founder of Partier, a company that creates custom merch for nuptials. This could be anything from important dates and events to previous trips and travels, where “many couples swapped table numbers for tables named after the cities they've visited together or the places around the world that are most important to them,” says Fiorentino. It even comes down to the bridal party gifts and favors handed out. The bought-in-bulk “Bride Tribe” tees and sachets of Jordan almonds have given way to more customized mementos that tell the couple’s story. “With so few opportunities to create new memories together during the pandemic, there’s a real desire to give guests a keepsake that will remind them of this special day each time they use it,” she explains.
3. Inside-out Garden Venues
Perhaps one of the sightliest safety precautions to emerge from the pandemic is the idea of bringing the outdoors in with indoor/outdoor venues. Think tents, patios, backyards and barn settings that flow from the house—or venue—into a garden or backyard. However, these are not the rustic DIYs and country cookout weddings we’ve seen in the past. Oh no, this year’s iterations skew more Jane Austen and (less Dirty Dancing) with elegant, secret-garden-style atmospheres and estate venues that are anything but down and dirty. Rachael Burnosky, senior sales associate at Alpine Party Rentals tells Sarah Hanlon of The Knot: “if you can't find a venue that speaks to the theme, look for anything with an open air space that you can decorate from scratch… you can transform any space with draping [and] fabric adds a whimsical, elegant vibe to any location.”
As if the sophistication of this trend weren’t enough, most couples are drawn to an inside-out wedding because it’s one of the safest ways to bring people together in 2022. Award-winning wedding planner JoAnn Gregoli explains: “the pandemic has shifted the landscape of weddings completely,” where 2020’s open-air policies still play a vital role in social gatherings and celebrating safely. According to WeddingWire’s 2021 Report, couples have prioritized the health and safety benefits of having an outdoor celebration, where nearly 60 percent of this year’s receptions were held either fully or partially outside. “Smaller ballrooms without ventilation are not something couples will even entertain as an option,” says Gregoli.“Instead, it’s about open-air, tents, patios, backyards and safety first.”
4. Scaled-down statements
Has anyone ever told you that life’s best gifts come in the smallest packages? We think this is what they meant. Instead of a decadent five-tiered wedding cake, “people are having smaller, more detailed cakes, with separate 'cutting cakes' in the back for larger guest numbers," according to Fen of MonAnnie Cakes. However, this doesn’t need to be a Sophie’s Choice situation. While some couples go all-out by ordering 4-inch mini cakes for each and every guest, others will display a larger, two-tiered cake and order a petite version, just for the head table. Either way, as the crusade for personalization continues to define wedding trends in 2021 and 2022, it makes sense that custom, individually crafted micro-cakes are gaining popularity. It marks "a move to more bespoke designs that create a complete story for the couple to share with their guests on the day," Fen explains.
Similarly, posy bouquets are another *adorable* micro-trend to emerge from the pandemic. While we may have loved over-the-top floral arrangements in the past, we think a miniature bouquet is more attuned to the times. Plus, the sheer uniqueness of this trend allows you to take a ‘less is more’ approach to making a bold statement. Courtney Sixx, Founder of Bouquet Box, explains: “Some of the top floral trends are really in keeping with the times—many people are living more low-key lives, so designs tend to be more minimal—in size, varieties and sometimes color.”
5. Vintage, Moody Metallics
What came first, the moody metallics or the vintage furniture? If you think about it, you really can’t do one without the other, and as vintage furniture and antique decor take over the 2022 wedding scene, the color palettes seem to be following suit. Instead of the pastel hues, blush tones and baby blues we’ve seen trending for years, this year is taking a sharp turn toward smokey grays, romantic reds and midnight blacks. And you can say goodbye to silver and gold accents; instead, this look is being paired with antique brass and patina mirrored finishes that swing less glam and more dramatic.
When it comes to crafting your tablescape, try contrasting deeper, moody hues in your florals with lighter linens to make a statement. Or, if you’re trying to stick with the unconventional floral trend, you can offset some dramatic greenery with a centerpiece of fruits and foods in rich, eye-catching tones. Then, go for gilded tableware—including vases, candlesticks and votives—to even things out. The final look should be somewhere between Great Gatsby glamour and Fifty Shades of Grey seduction.
6. Reverse-destination themes
As rising delta variant cases continue to create an unpredictable future, people are hesitant to plan destination weddings. However, it seems as if couples have taken life’s lemons and made lemonade because the reverse-destination trend of 2022 is anything but boring. “Couples are creating their magical wedding day wherever and however they can — in a backyard, on a beach, at a small restaurant,” explains Partier co-founder Danielle Tullo. “In 2022, I think weddings will focus on escapism, with a ton of whimsical and romantic details...in lieu of a Positano wedding, they're instead recreating that dreamy, lemon-filled celebration here.”
One of the most interesting aspects of this trend is that it relies heavily on recreating the experience of a destination wedding with authentic, immersive and tactile additions that appeal to our senses in addition to the right decor and furnishings. Goldberg explains: “Whether you set up tropical arrangements that call to the lush greenery of Bali, deck tables with accents that remind you of your favorite meal in Provence or include Moroccan-inspired lounges with trays of abundant fruits and candies, immerse your guests in menus, music, scents, blooms and multisensory experiences of your favorite destination in the world—even if you're actually at home.”
7. Bold florals and air-purifying greenery
In addition to scaled-down floral arrangements, the blooms themselves are going in one of two directions: bright and bold, or mellow and nature-inspired. First, a look to the bright side:“Pretty much all of our event clients have requested flowers with colors to express optimism and empowerment… [they] want to use flowers as their medium to spread positivity and joy,” explains Ingrid Carozzi, owner and creative director of Tin Can Studios. These can be anything from bright yellow goldenrods and forsythias that symbolize messages of encouragement to fiery orange marigolds and zinnias that represent positive energy and feelings of excitement.
Then, in addition to cheerfully optimistic hues, you can expect to see florals with the same warm, earthy tones that swept 2021—but with a twist. According to Helen Pye of HitchedUK.com, “trend forecasters predict that vibrant pink-purples, earthy olive greens, creamy yellows, tropical oranges, and ocean blues will all be popular interjections of color in spring and summer 2022 nuptials.” Furthermore, experts are also seeing requests for tons of greenery with uses that extend far beyond centerpieces and floral arrangements. Florists at Hayford & Rhodes predict that “air-purifying potted plants such as maidenhair ferns, English ivy, peace lilies, orchids and fig trees” will be big, as well as dried foliage and flowers, “such as pampas grasses, bunny tails, dried ruscus, poppy and nigella pods.”