Each and every year, we look forward to creating a list of the top wedding trends for the upcoming season. It’s a labor of love for our team, and always exciting to hear from pros about the unique ideas that we can expect to see in the months ahead. However, we can’t ignore that this has been a wedding season like no other. Events are back in a big way (hello, wedding boom!), and with gathering restrictions loosened, couples can have more flexibility in terms of guest lists and seating arrangements. But with the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and shortages rocking the industry, anyone who’s planning a wedding right now deserves a major round of applause (and perhaps a strong beverage).
Given all that’s going on in the world, we wanted to present a somewhat different take on our 2022 wedding trends report this year. Yes, it’s fun to look at lofty trends, like multi-course tasting menus and over-the-top favors, but we’re all about keeping things real here. You’ll find that our 2022 wedding trends are less about specific items and “must-dos,” and more about new ways of thinking about your wedding as a whole and providing options for all couples.
“Although it feels like we are just now catching our breath after one wild 2021 season, we could not be more excited about all that is to come in 2022,” says Nora Sheils of Bridal Bliss in Lake Oswego, Oregon. "And what is so unique about next year is that it is somewhat of a non-trend trend year. Whether our couples are focusing on what truly is important to them or a push towards individuality, we are seeing more of our couples marching to their own drums, picking colors they love, flowers that they are drawn to, and celebrating with their favorite people.”
We’re totally on board with that. These 2022 trends are ones that anyone can incorporate into their wedding.
As we’re entering into a new wedding season, there’s been a major shift in the industry. And no, it has nothing to do with color schemes, themes, or style—it’s a change in mindset. “We're rapidly moving away from a couple-centered celebration to a guest-centered mindset,” says Kristy Rice of Momental Designs in Wyoming, Pennsylvania. “Couples are returning to ways they can pamper their guests, make them feel at home and cared for. Couples are realizing that their wedding is the first time many families are coming out into the world of parties again and are being exceptionally sensitive to this fact.”
And no, focusing on the guest experience doesn’t mean blowing your budget. It can mean something as simple as changing up the seating arrangement during your ceremony. According to Natasha Celestin of Just4U Wedding Coordination and More in Fort Worth, Texas, circular wedding ceremonies, where guests are seated in a circle around the couple, are gaining popularity. With this setup, guests are able to see the couple and each other from all angles, making for a more comfortable and community-focused ceremony experience.
Or you might consider adding a surprise element to the day, whether it’s a special song-and-dance number or a candy truck featuring your favorite childhood treats. “Surprises equal memories, and it’s more important than ever to create memories with the people you love the most after a year in lockdown,” says Amy Shack Egan of Modern Rebel & Co. in Brooklyn, New York.
…But Still Keeping it Personal
At the same time, when it comes to decor and style, couples are eschewing tradition and making decisions based on their own personal taste. “The trend we're seeing unfold is one of artistic freedom,” says Kristy Rice. “Many couples have postponed, changed, rearranged their lives and finances to finally celebrate their dreams, so they are no longer making as many concessions for family expectations and demands. And what is coming out of this trend? Some of the most aesthetically courageous events we've seen in years!” This means adding personal touches to stationery, including illustrations of pets, favorite foods, beloved vacation spots, and more.
Bold and Bright Colors…and More of Them
When it comes to the hot color scheme for 2022, there’s a bit of a dichotomy between bold brights and earthy neutrals. What is consistent, however, is the idea that color schemes are loose and flexible—couples are choosing a wider, more malleable palette of six to 10 hues, rather than picking two or three Pantone chips and never straying. And with the supply chain issues of late, flexibility and a focus on seasonal, sustainable choices are key, says Amy Shack Egan.
Many wedding pros are predicting a return to bright colors, particularly in the realm of floral decor. Expect to see bold pinks, purples, reds, and oranges—and lots of mixing and matching—throughout weddings in 2022. “Color is back and is becoming not only a wildly sought-after design element but an emotional metaphor for breaking free of the chaos that was wedding planning in 2020 and 2021,” says Rice “Couples are increasingly walking into a color expression like we haven't seen for over a decade. Get those sunglasses on!”
Adds Andi Schilawski of Musa Weddings in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania: “I think we will see lots of bold colors in the coming weddings, people want to celebrate big and that also usually comes with bright and bold color palettes to showcase the couple's personalities.”
…But Also, Earthy Neutrals
Other pros expect to see more muted hues take center stage. “The color palette we are seeing emerge is earth tones—nude, beige, soft white, dusty rose, and rust,” says Sheils. “While these colors are pretty in their own right, it has been rumored to be making more of an appearance due to an increased focus on the environment post-pandemic.” (More on that later.)
Margaux Fraise of Harmony Creative Studio in Santa Monica, California agrees, predicting sunset tones and muted rusts, tans, and ambers will be big in the spring and summer of 2022.
Throughout the wedding planning process, couples are keeping the environment top of mind and finding ways, big and small, to minimize waste.“A focus on the environment is being echoed in our couples' desire to have a smaller footprint; whether, through sustainable catering, digital RSVPs, or a desire to utilize local vendors,” says Sheils.
In 2022, expect to see an increase in dried flowers as part of wedding decor, a trend that’s both stylish and sustainable. “Sustainability and reduced waste have encouraged an increase in dried florals and earthy, natural tones to compliment them,” says Sophie Barry of Events by Sophie in Waldorf, Maryland.
And according to Amy Shack Egan of Modern Rebel & Co., charitable favors are a way to share your values with your guests and reduce waste. “Couples are increasingly excited to give back through their events,” Shack Egan says. “We’re seeing couples donate a set dollar amount per guest toward a non-profit they care about—it feels good and makes a difference!”
Switching Up the Timeline
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, couples got creative when it came to their wedding timeline—and we’ll continue to see this ripple effect throughout 2022. Couples who had eloped or hosted a minimony last year are ready to celebrate. “For many couples, skipping the formalities is a stress reliever and they can focus on just having a good time,” says Shack Egan.
If you’re hosting a more traditional ceremony and reception on the same day, there is another way to switch things up. According to Lahoma Dade of Events Unleashed in Austin, Texas, more and more couples are opting for a pre-ceremony cocktail hour, enjoying cocktails and greetings up front, followed by the ceremony and reception.
Along with a wedding boom, we’re also experiencing the beginning of a travel boom. Why not combine the two by hosting a destination wedding? “More than half my clients are now destination weddings,” says Keith Willard of Keith Willard Events in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "That is a massive change from just a year ago. When I ask my couple why they chose to go elsewhere, the biggest response is that we just wanted to get out! After a year and a half of being cooped up and also saving money, the couple is ready to travel.”
And no, we’re not saying that you have to book a private jet and rent out a European castle to take advantage of the destination trend (though hey, if you can swing it, go for it!). While yes, Europe is becoming a wedding hotspot, couples are also opting for more local destinations—places that are a few hours’ drive from their home city, but feel like a vacation.
Fun with Food
Yes, guests are looking forward to watching you wed, but they’re also in it for the food. In 2022, expect to see couples and their caterers take cuisine to the next level by adding a sense of whimsy to every course. We’re seeing couples infuse their menus with both cultural and sentimental dishes (riffing on the food from the restaurant where they had their first date or a favorite childhood dish).
According to Jen Avey of Destination Weddings Travel Group, couples aren’t only offering signature cocktails, but including a signature mocktail on their drink menu—making sure that guests who don’t drink are included in the fun. “This is yet another layer of inclusivity that modern-day couples are conscious of while planning their reception details,” she says.
Incorporating a food truck into the wedding meal—whether it’s during cocktail hour, for the main meal, dessert, or a late-night snack—makes for a surprise guests love. “You simply can’t go wrong with a food truck,” says Natasha Celestin. “It’s definitely a head-turner and guest favorite for sure.” And yes, a food truck may be an added expense on your wedding budget—but just think, you’re supporting a local business!
During the pandemic, couples who were forced to shrink their guest lists utilized livestreaming technology to include loved ones who weren’t able to attend. And while most gathering restrictions have been lifted, livestreaming is here to stay. “There’s definitely a rise in new streaming companies and videographers are now adding this service to their current packages,” says Natasha Celestin. “Pre-COVID, guests had two choices when it came to accepting an invitation—yes or no. Now couples can offer their family and friends a great alternative to attend their wedding.”
Online RSVPs are also rising in popularity. “About eight out of 10 of my clients are opting for their guests to RSVP via their wedding website,” says Gina Geiler of Gina Marie Weddings & Events in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “They still have an RSVP card and then direct their guests to their website. I also have guests who are getting custom QR codes for guests to scan and take them to their websites.”
Looking for our 2021 wedding trends? See the rest of our expert trends:
- The 2021 engagement ring trends »
- Here's what marriage proposals will look like in 2021 »
- The wedding colors you'll be seeing in 2021 »
- The 2021 wedding dress trends »
- What the 2021 bridesmaid dresses will look like »
- The wedding cake trends that will be on dessert tables this year »
- The 2021 wedding flower trends engaged couples should know »