Why is wedding planning so stressful? I mean, a lot of reasons, like the fact that weddings are expensive, your family members are probably difficult, and wedding trends are constantly changing. Like, I’m sure the first few people to put tea lights in a mason jar for their reception were seen as super thrifty and inventive, but now you can’t even breathe the words “burlap” during the wedding planning process. So before you make a wedding faux pas, we spoke to Kristen Maxwell Cooper, Editor-in-Chief of the nation’s leading multiplatform wedding resource, The Knot, about what new wedding trends we should look out for in 2020. Get your notebooks out and pay attention, because according to The Knot’s Annual List of Wedding Details to Watch Out For, these are going to be the top wedding trends of 2020.
1. Eco-Conscious Sustainability
If there’s one thing I learned from the AP Environmental Science class I took in high school, it’s that the Earth is like, in trouble. And I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the news, but caring about the environment is cool now. Even though your wedding is supposed to be all about you, you don’t have to totally trash the planet in the process. With that said, the first new 2020 wedding trend is…drumroll…going green! (Not the color, obviously.) Sustainable weddings are on the rise, and honestly, it’s about time. According to The Knot’s list, couples have been asking wedding catering companies and bartenders to bring reusable drink stirrers and straws to avoid using plastic. They’ve also been asking decorators to install gently used lounge furniture for guests to chill on, sourcing local food, choosing stationery with fewer designs and invitations using soy-based ink. I get that that’s kind of a lot, so if that’s too much for you, have no fear! There are lighter versions of being eco-friendly, like reusing flowers and decorations from the ceremony and bringing them to the reception as centerpieces or cute table decor. That’s seriously so smart. Who even pays attention to the ceremony decorations? Everyone’s too busy getting drunk and looking at the bride, anyway. Also, I feel like reusing decor saves a lot of money, and, let’s face it, nobody ever looks back at their wedding and wishes they’d spent more. Everybody wins.
2. Inclusive Menus Everyone Can Enjoy
Since everyone has suddenly decided to become vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or just be allergic to everything, one new wedding trend has couples covering all of their guests’ dietary needs. Think super creative menus with food options for even your most
unbearable unique guests. Couples have also been thinking of ways to make the culinary aspect of their wedding more interactive. Appetizers on conveyor belts and dessert stations that freeze handpicked flavored creams on-site using liquid nitrogen, anyone? I asked Cooper what she thought might be the next trendy wedding dessert, and she says we’re in for a literal treat. “We’ve been seeing tons of dessert shooters—think mini parfaits in shot glasses—which we anticipate to continue into the new year, as they can incorporate a variety of different flavors and textures,” she revealed. “Plus, they’re a quick dessert option that won’t take guests away from the dance floor for too long.” Sweet.
3. Guests Are Serving Themselves at the Bar
Ever dream of being a bartender? Me neither, but one of the newest wedding trends this year is to basically become one. Wedding guests are starting to serve themselves at the bar, and I don’t mean pulling Mango White Claws out of the cooler. Instead, this new wedding trend includes things like wall-mounted dispensers and margarita bars that allow guests to mix their own drinks all night without having to waste 20 minutes trying to get the bartender’s attention. Not to mention, you can’t complain that the pours are weak.
4. New Types of Bold Lighting
Creative couples are incorporating new types of lighting to set a different kind of wedding vibe. If you think there isn’t that much you can do with lighting, think again. Couples have been trying out new bold LED cocktail bar fronts, tube lighting draped on ceiling beams, and even creating visual art using lights. If you feel like creating a comfy, homey feeling outdoors in tents and reception areas, you can—this new trend incorporates decorative hanging lights beyond the chandelier including basket lights.
5. Florals… But Groundbreaking.
Florals are going beyond the bouquet this year, as couples have been using edible flowers in salads, ice cubes, water infusion, on desserts, in drinks, and basically anything else. If you’re obsessed with flowers like I am, this trend is probably a favorite. Florals now have couples exploring different flowery textures and shapes for a more monochromatic wedding look. By grouping similar-colored flowers, couples have been loading up on the same color petals, but mixing up different textures to create a high-end looking installation you can put on the bar or on reception tables.
6. Live Entertainment and Experiences
As if spending thousands of dollars on a wedding venue, dress, invitations, and catering isn’t enough, this new wedding trend has couples providing live entertainment and experiences for their guests at the wedding. This is the most surprising trend Cooper has witnessed so far. “One trend that surprised me at first, but that I’m excited to see more of, is live entertainment that goes beyond a band or DJ… like a magician or champagne stations,” Cooper said. “While couples have been increasingly prioritizing guest experiences over the years—the average guest count has decreased in recent years, while the spend per guest has increased; $258, up from $194 in 2010—this trend takes guest experiences to a whole new level.” As a guest, I’d be totally into this. Entertain me! But as a bride, this might be too much. Can’t we just stick to hairspray and mints in the bathroom? Apparently not, because we’re seeing more couples do make-your-own scent bars, and, yes, champagne stations in lounges outside of the restroom to make sure
you get blackout drunk the party doesn’t stop, even off of the dance floor. I’m sorry, is this a wedding or a bar mitzvah?
7. New Fashion
For our lucky number seven 2020 wedding trend, we have couples using wedding fashion to showcase personality and attire preferences. What does that even mean, you ask? Couples have been looking for fashion that fits their own personal style and sense of expression. Rather than the usual white, this trend calls upon the unconventional: jumpsuits, bolder wedding dress colors, unique textures, exaggerated sleeves, and dramatic ball gowns. I actually love this so much, considering I can barely tell one wedding dress from another and would love to see more exciting gowns. Brides and grooms have also been wearing clothes with personal and cultural significance, or twinning in “till death do us part” custom leather jackets similar to Hailey Bieber’s Off-White wedding gown.
8. Barrettes and Combs Are Having A Moment
You guys, barrettes are back, and now they’re adorned in pearls, rhinestones, and colorful enamels. “Barrettes are definitely having a moment right now and we love it—they’re a great added touch for a classic or simplistic style much like tiaras were in past years,” says Cooper. I probably wouldn’t use a barrette for my first look going down the aisle because my mother-in-law would slay me, but this could be really fun for a second reception look. Don’t worry, veils aren’t going anywhere, but this new trend comes as a cute and trendy addition.
9. Wedding Registries to Last Forever
incase anyone was confused, the best gift to give for a wedding is cold, hard cash
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) November 14, 2019
Couples have been using their registries to share more about their future plans together, as well as their values and interests. They’ve been looking to popular pop culture shows like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones to inspire registry asks such as flights to Europe or New Zealand to see where the shows were filmed. Says Cooper, “Creating and managing a wedding registry has evolved to become more digital over the years. According to The Knot‘s 2019 Registry Study, nearly two in three couples (60%) set up their primary registries online (up from 33% in 2013) and almost all (97%, up from 81% in 2013) manage their registries digitally. Couples are particularly loving all-in-one registry tools like The Knot Registry to manage all of their registries in one place, including cash funds so their guests can contribute to upcoming finances the couple is anticipating for their newlywed lives.” So basically, using tools like The Knot Registry, couples can add items from their favorite stores and tactfully ask for what they actually want: cash.
10. Unplugged Honeymoons
if I don't use my phone on my honeymoon how am I gonna know how many likes my wedding posts are getting
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) November 13, 2019
One in three couples ask guests to limit their cell phone use during the wedding ceremony, and now, since this trend keeps gaining momentum, couples have been unplugging for their entire wedding day and on their honeymoon. Unplugged honeymoons sound so good. Yay, pay attention to just me the whole time! We don’t have to go all out though, says Cooper, “At the end of the day, remember that unplugged weddings and honeymoons don’t have to be ‘all or nothing’, as you can ask guests to restrict cell phone usage just for the ceremony or even limit your phone usage to an hour per day on your honeymoon without restricting it entirely. We recommend couples opt for whatever works best for them and their partner.”
Wedding trends come and go, but we can at least expect these ten to stick around for the coming year. “As with any trends, popular wedding elements tend to fluctuate based on a variety of factors, from celebrity weddings and impactful moments in society to social issues and innovative new ideas from industry pros,” says Cooper. She adds, “Each year we release the most popular wedding details our team of experts love and anticipate to be popular in the year to come, however there’s always room for additional wedding details to become popular as the year goes on.” We’ll keep our eyes peeled and our wallets out because if there’s one thing that’s never going to change, it’s that having a wedding is expensive AF.
Images: Alasdair Elmes / Unsplash; The Wedding Artists Co. (5), haileybieber, betchesbrides / Instagram; betchesluvthis, betchesbrides / Twitter