The wedding boom is already here, but brides- and grooms-to-be should expect to feel the force of this explosion well into 2022. After a difficult season sans large-scale events, celebrations are back, and they truly are bigger than ever before, which is something that our 2022 wedding trends forecast confirms. We polled top-tier wedding planners and event designers across the country, asking them to share the predominant elements that will pull away from the pack next year; virtually all of them noted that these leading motifs, like bold color, new-age florals, interactive entertainment, and fun, are driven by this return to party-mode. We're here for it, and know you are, too. Ahead, discover—and get inspired by—the wedding trends to bookmark in the new year.
Yes, entertainment has always been a central focus of weddings, says Lynn Easton of Easton Events, but over-the-top musical elements are a top ask right now. "We frequently add a string section to the band for depth or include a pop-up boy band to rev things up," she adds. "From headliners to Hamilton solos, we are seeing a ton of musical diversity becoming an absolute priority." According to Xanath Banuelos, who helms XB Destination Weddings & Events, this approach will extend beyond music: "New surprise entertainment—think fortune tellers and professional dancers—will be embedded into the guests' space, making the wow factor more legit."
Michelle Norwood of Michelle Norwood Events agrees, noting that there's yet another layer to consider: Couples are now "segmenting" their event's performances and choosing specific artists for each part of their event. "At one event, we had a cello for the ceremony, a second line, a violinist for cocktails, a brass band for dinner, and Elan Artists for the dancing portion of the evening," she says. "Attendees were blown away—I see this trend in all of my 2022 events."
Shannon Leahy is calling the 2022 bloom scene "mono floral," which will feel decidedly less garden-inspired (romantic, lush arrangements dominated in 2020 and 2021). Smaller, grouped collections of blooms in similar hues will take center stage, she says; Laurie Aarons of Laurie Aarons Special Events agrees, predicting that "monochromatic tones of florals in different vessels for texture" will be a leading style choice. This trend might be borne out of style and necessity, as flower shortages continue across the globe. Norwood ("Clients are choosing greenery over flowers," she says) and Banuelos affirm this: "We're using less florals—but more delicate, bigger solo blooms that are very in line with the Japanese style." Rishi Patel, the event designer behind HMR Designs, notes that his couples are focusing their time and attention on more tactile tabletop details. "Many of our clients are investing more in unique linens, china, glassware, and flatware than the floral on the table itself," he explains. "These are intentional layers of detail which guests discover upon being seated—it's an elegant way of hosting."
Expect to see a reinterpretation of color and neutrals in 2022. "Green—my favorite color—will be the neutral of choice," notes Aarons. "Touches of green go with any palette, since flowers come in every shade with green leaves or stalks. It's always pretty, rich, and natural." While nearly half of our experts cited colorful events as a leading trend (Banuelos predicts that blue will be the stand-out shade of the year), Sarah Tivel of GATHER Events shares that tried-and-true neutrals (think cream, ivory, beige, and gray) aren't obsolete: "Couples want the timeless look of a neutral palette, but are adding in an element of surprise with a bright pop of color that accentuates the tones they're already working with," she says. "Think sweet mauves and blushes with a pop of bright red, or whites and greens with splashes of chartreuse or marigold."
"Based on fashion trends, I have a feel the '70s are coming back to weddings," says Banuelos. There are a myriad of ways to interpret the period, but according to Amorology's Heather Balliet, a few up-and-coming relevant motifs are ribbed textures (corduroy bell-bottoms, anyone?) and pressed florals. Expect to see the former "on candles, rentals, or paper details," since the "fun texture adds all the warmth, while still leaning on the side of romance." As for the latter? "Pressed florals are making a comeback! We have seen them on cakes, invites, and table numbers, but using them on place cards or in an escort seating display will be a hit." Bonus points if you go for the disco-themed after-party, too.
Micro weddings abounded out of necessity in 2020, and while guest counts have since risen, small events have imparted a lasting lesson: "Our clients want to make their weddings feel intimate even if they are not," says Aarons. "We're doing this by creating cozy spaces that complement the setting." Summer Newman attributes this pull to "over a year of separation from family and friends," adding that her couples "can't get enough" of her efforts to weave these connection building blocks right into their décor schemes.
"People are ready to party!" says Balliet. "Gatherings of large groups are coming back in full force and duos want to celebrate their big day with all of their loved ones near and far." Creating an upbeat, ebullient atmosphere, then, will be key in 2022—something Newman (who notes that "fun" has been her recent couples' word of choice) says to achieve through design, entertainment, and surprise elements that leave a "euphoric after-taste." "We're creating the kinds of parties that guests will be talking about for years to come," she adds. Leahy suggests tacking on a late-night after-party with a "completely different and fun vibe" to maximize the joy.
According to Newman, "Destination events are king." Thanks to ramped up vaccination rates and loosening global restrictions, we're predicting a return to faraway-celebrations in the new year. Lea Stafford notes that her current clients are planning at least one of their nuptial parties on the water: "Whether it's a sailboat, catamaran, or yacht, being out on the water during sunset just sets a tone that is unmatched," she says. However, creating that destination environment, adds Newman, is possible whether you decide to physically host a far-flung wedding or not. "Couples unable to travel out of the country comfortably want to bring their destination of choice to the states," she says. "They want to take a blank space and completely transport themselves and their guests to another place and space in time. They are treating their loved ones to beautiful aesthetics, authentic cuisines, and awe-inspiring entertainment—it's a combination of creating a memorable experience that touches all the five basic senses. I don't see this trend slowing down any time soon."