2020 is almost over (cue applause and cheering), and we’re looking forward to a safe and busy year filled with events in 2021! We’re not going to try to predict everything (because I think we learned our lesson this year), but we do have some thoughts on event trends for next year from popular decor to the format for events.
1. Smaller, more intimate events:
This year brought on the necessity for smaller events due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic. However, we think that even if the situation improves in 2021, these smaller events will stick around. We also see elopements taking center stage for weddings in 2021. Whether it’s weddings, birthday parties, or baby showers the intimacy of a smaller event with the people you care about most is far more enjoyable and memorable than a large event. During these large events, it is common for the guest(s) of honor to barely speak to or even see all of the guests present at an event.
2. More focus on the details:
With smaller events comes more opportunity for personalization and details. What we mean here is that it’s far more feasible to create customized favors for a guest list of 30 than a guest list of 130. A smaller guest list allows for more time (and budget) to focus on aspects of the event such as the perfect flowers, custom signature drink, or patterned linens. Details that show off your interests, hobbies, and personality create a sense of yourself to your guests. The more personalization and detail focus an event has, the more memorable it is for guests.
3. Virtual events:
Virtual events took center stage this year to accommodate health and safety regulations. Whether this meant live streaming an event with a small in-person guest list or something entirely virtual where all guests were sitting in their living rooms using a video meeting software. We believe this format for events will continue through 2021 and beyond, even after the COVID-19 situation improves. This is because live streaming an event is a great way to involve guests who cannot attend due to distance or other commitments, in addition to keeping people safe and healthy.
4. Individual hors d’oeuvres + charcuterie:
Hors d’oeuvres are a staple for any event and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t love a good charcuterie board. However, passed hors d’oeuvres and large grazing charcuterie boards are so “pre-2020,” and individual charcuterie cones and appetizer boards have grown in popularity and availability. We love this idea because it’s extremely customizable for each guest to accommodate preferences, intolerances, and allergies, as well as being more hygienic and health-conscious. Plus, the mini charcuterie boards are ADORABLE! Appetizers can be placed at place settings ready to eat when guests arrive and no one else is putting their hands all over your favorite salmon puffs.
5. Dried and textured florals:
Pampas grass has made a huge impact on the decor aspect of events since 2019 and is possibly the biggest trend in wedding florals of 2020. Dried and pressed florals are also making their appearance in floral arrangements and decor. We think that both pampas grass and dried florals will continue to be largely present in all types of arrangements, and will be mixed with live florals to add texture and unique colors.
6. DIY decor:
DIY event decor has been popular for years and continues to grow in popularity. DIY supplies have also become increasingly available online and in brick and mortar stores. With the accessibility of these supplies and the popularity of Pinterest to give party throwers inspiration and ideas for their events, we see this trend continuing throughout 2021. The type of DIY decor can vary but typically will include table centerpieces, backdrops, place cards, and balloon décor. DIY signs, banners, and buntings are also extremely popular for baby/bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and birthdays because they can be easily customized to the guest of honor.
7. Outdoor events:
Outdoor events are another trend that made our list due to the current global pandemic and COVID-19. Many events this year were moved outdoors to accommodate health guidelines and we see this trend continuing throughout 2021 and beyond. Outdoor events have additional perks - beautiful nature backdrops, fresh air, and increased space (just to name a few), in addition to the health benefits. Tents, outdoor heaters, and portable bathrooms can be brought into most locations to make these events feel more luxurious, elegant, and less rustic if that’s your style!
8. Intentional lighting:
There are so many ways to add personal touches to events that lighting can sometimes be forgotten. Intentional, accessory lighting including candles, string lights, chandeliers, lanterns, and lamps convey different moods and environments for event guests. Lighting is also a relatively inexpensive decor addition to an event and options are easily available to purchase or rent in most areas. As an example, renting a standing chandelier to position over a styled outdoor lounge adds gorgeous detail and a perfect spot for photos!
9. Assigned seating:
For the last few years, couples have strayed away from assigned seating at weddings, believing that because they want their events to have a more casual vibe they want to give guests the freedom to choose their own seats. However, we’ve noticed that this could do more harm than good. If guests don’t have assigned seats, it could make finding a space to sit with friends or family at an event almost impossible. It also causes stress on those guests who don’t know many others at the event when looking for a seat. This past year, assigned seating is starting to make a come back due to COVID, and we think (and hope) it’s here to stay!
10. Nostalgic details:
We’ve seen a recent switch from ultra-modern, non-personalized styling and details at events to more intentional, nostalgic, and even heirloom decorations. With friends and family members not able to attend every event, having those décor pieces that have meaning behind them helps people feel closer together. Photos and tickets from family trips, pieces from your favorite collection, and wearing a family heirloom or jewelry piece help to make you feel as though all your loved ones are present and add beautiful decor to your special day.
Whatever events look like in 2021, we're excited for it! We can't wait to see these trends unfold throughout the next year and hope to see some of our favorites. Happy 2021!!
Catherine Campo is the Owner + Executive Planner of Spellbinding Soirées. Spellbinding Soirées is a full-service event planner and rental décor company servicing the greater Southeastern Wisconsin area (Milwaukee/Madison, WI).
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