Getting married in 2021? Take note of these wedding trends

The wedding industry may have taken an unexpected hit in 2020, with many celebrations big and small having to be postponed or cancelled––or going online––due to the outbreak of Covid-19, but whether you’re re-thinking your plans or starting from scratch, we’re listing the trends that are set to be huge for next year.

From wedding sizes, location to the all-important decor, expert planners, Joan Auyang from Hong Kong based White Bridal and Lelian Chew, of The Wedding Atelier tell us what to have on your wedding radar for 2021.

See also: Love In The Time of Corona: Max Levy And Izaskun Fontanals' Wedding

1. Micro weddings

First things first, when it comes to wedding size, it's no surprise that celebrations are having to stay on the smaller side for now, with this continuing to be the case well into 2021.

Joan tells us that "government regulations on guest size have changed a few times, but no matter what, couples have at least been allowed to hold ceremonies", with the current maximum of people permitted in Hong Kong capped at 20. 

In light of this, Lelian states that "the couple will have to select families and friends who they cannot live without to join their celebrations." With this in turn leading to us seeing "more intimate and smaller scale weddings in 2021".

Joan also adds that "given this situation, more and more couples are becoming keen to the idea of tying the knot in a small and intimate setting first, and then hold off their large celebration banquet/party until 2021 or even 2022", noting that "the great thing about holding off the fantastic large celebration until 2021 or 2022 is that it can be planned properly without the pressures of the actual wedding day."

Editor's note: From October 23, wedding ceremonies in Hong Kong will be allowed up to 50 guests.

See also: Event Planning In A Time Of Social Distancing: How To Choose Your Guest List

2. Multiple celebrations

Due to the restrictions on wedding sizes, many couples are also opting to hold multiple smaller celebrations, rather than hosting the usual supersized bash. 

Lelian explains that "couples will host more events, but each event will be smaller, to accommodate all their guests. For example, couples will have a signing ceremony with their closest friends and families, followed by wedding celebrations on another day".

See also: 7 Best Bridal Boutiques In Hong Kong To Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

3. Weekday ceremonies

"With so many weddings from 2020 postponed and prioritised by venues and vendors to peak weekend dates in 2021, newly engaged couples are warming up to the idea of having their wedding celebrations on available dates during the weekdays." explains Joan.

Lelian agrees with this sentiment, stating "many venues have been fully booked on 2021 weekends and weekday weddings will be a new normal!".

She also notes that weekday weddings may be a good option for those who are on tighter budgets, adding that "pricing of venues and vendors will usually be lower when comparing with weekends and this give more options to couples who are more budget concerned."

See also: Postponing A Wedding: Expert Tips For The Process

4. Al fresco venues

Traditional wedding banquets held in cavernous ballrooms may soon be a thing of the past. With Covid-19 putting a limit on guest lists, couples are opting for less traditional style venues to better suit these smaller, more intimate celebrations.

As destination weddings are also currently off the cards, Joan notes that Hong Kong wedding venues with al fresco spaces are proving popular with those planning upcoming weddings.

"Places that have an outdoor element are more popular now, especially for those couples who aren’t able to travel abroad for a destination wedding with a beautiful scenic view or gorgeous natural surroundings"––with the planner noting that venues such as The Lawn at Rosewood Hong Kong, The Lawn at The Upper House, Garden Suite at The Peninsula Hong Kong, The Upper Garden in Clearwater Bay, The Lawn at The Repulse Bay all topping the list.

See also: 11 Beautiful Hong Kong Wedding Venues That Aren't Hotels

5. Zoom weddings

Zoom is no longer reserved for work calls. As a key way that many have stayed in touch with friends and family near and far throughout 2021, Zoom has also allowed those unable to attend weddings in person to experience a little of the magic––albeit virtually. 

This trend has been a common one throughout 2020 with those who have chosen to go ahead with their nuptials, and it's likely to not go anywhere for 2021, with Lelian stating "with the travel restriction, overseas guests will not be able to fly to attend the wedding but they can join the celebration on Zoom as if they were there! We are seeing wedding videographer companies launching Zoom wedding package which includes hosting the Zoom wedding with technical support, playing of medias (e.g. slideshows and music) and recording of ceremony footage etc."

Joan echoes this, stating "for guests who can’t be physically present to celebrate with the couple, there is always the option of live streaming so that those guests can still be part of the big day in a different way."

6. Extravagant décor

Weddings may be staying on the small side, but that doesn't mean that couples can't still have some fun and arrange gorgeous ceremonies for themselves and their guests to enjoy.

Many couples have had to postpone celebrations, so still want to go all out when timings allow––with smaller ceremonies also meaning that more budget can be used on areas such as decorations and food.

"Couples have waited months and they can finally have their loved ones witness their celebration! We expect couples to spend more on decoration and oversized floral arrangements, which will be perfect for pictures! Lighting will continue to play a big role for decoration, for example LED lightings, fairy lights and neon lights." explains Lelian.

Joan also notes this trend, stating that "even though many couples are tying the knot the intimate way, it doesn’t mean they will be cutting back on beautiful and extravagant decor. With guest sizes being cut down, it also means more budget to create something gorgeous and lavish or to make a statement with a smaller group. At the same time, bearing in mind of the postponement issue, I see couples selecting decor items that can be more easily re-used or are more eco-friendly such as using more greenery."

See also: Real Weddings: Inside Rina Hiranand & Aaron Davis's Chiang Mai Celebration

7. An eco-friendly approach

It's not just when it comes to the decor that couples are being more savvy about choosing to be more eco-friendly. Along with opting for greenery and plants and reusing decor, everything from the invites to the food are all getting more sustainable, with our planners predicting that this trend will continue to be on the rise.

From a practical stand point, printed wedding invites are the most sensible option due to the pandemic putting many plans on edge and venue, date and guests list changes happening last minute. Due to this, Joan explains that she advises "clients to send out digital Save the Dates first, say, anywhere between 3 to 6 months in advance. The digital Save the Dates not only serve the purpose of getting guests to actually save the date, but also helps couples to get an initial idea of who would be able to come or not, as you can ask the invited guest whether they initially know whether they can make it or not."

As well as being more practical, the digital alternative proves to be more eco-friendly, with her adding "another way of saving the need of doing invitation reprints is to just send out digital invitations which no doubt is more eco-friendly."

Lelian also notes that many are choosing to minimise waste, opting to "give out wedding flowers to guests as favours, use plant seed paper for printing, or source local food and products."

See also: A Guide To Modern Wedding Etiquette And Customs

8. "New normal" favours

For all of 2020 and into 2021, the health, safety and hygiene of those attending and hosting all celebrations will of course be at the forefront, but those planning can still have some fun and work "the new normal" into their weddings in a tongue-and-cheek way.

With this in mind, Lelian explains that many are choosing to "embrace the new normal––with functional wedding favours like customised masks and mini sanitiser bottles with personalised stickers being the must have items at any wedding!".

See also: Wedding Inspiration: 5 Trends For Your Special Day

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