Bento Boxes. Tiny toasts. Custom sneakers.
As the saying goes: Necessity is the mother of invention.
Bridal trends for 2021 are no exception. Everything from crowd size to fashion choices reflects the aftermath of COVID-19’s appearance. Nevertheless, hope and flexibility have prevailed.
While virtual weddings and live-stream parties are popular, in-person events are still an option, though some traditions have a new look.
“Think like a local,” sums up the number one suggestion at harpersbazar.com. With an emphasis on sustainability, locally sourced food, vendors and locations are on the rise. Add to that smaller crowds and the result is more intimate and personal celebrations. Think dinner party under the stars versus formal gala. Micro weddings (usually no more than 50 guests) are trending.
Individualized touches are the new “wow” factor as quality trumps quantity. While some opt to splurge on bold centerpieces, others might emphasize atmosphere, choosing to string sparkling lights inside a large tent or hire a strolling violinist instead of a six-piece band. Adding splashes of color and staging big photo ops is also trending.
According to theknot.com, long speeches are out, while multiple “tiny toasts” are in. Pre-plated appetizers or individual bento boxes have replaced self-serve hors d’oeuvre trays and the traditional multi-layered cake has dissolved into bite-size confections.
Casual is the new formal, so look for mismatched seating, living room décor, and individual decorative boxes with essentials like hand sanitizer, masks, and programs.
Cassandra Gamble, owner of Blush Bridal & Formal Wear in Bluffton, says some of those trends are certainly evident here in the Lowcountry, but the South always has a few unique standards of its own.
Although bling is on the wane, traditional veils and trains are still in style.
“Brides are loving train details like older lace patterns or bold floral lace,” says Gamble. “And many are going to ivory- or champagne-colored dresses, though not too dark.”
While the bride always takes center stage, grooms are making fashion statements of their own. “I can’t get enough shades of blue in here,” Gamble laughs, adding that gray menswear is also popular.
She reminisces about one groom who added a full-length wool vest underneath his blue tux to add some texture and pattern.
“Honestly,” she muses, “I think they’re trying to show up the brides, but it’s kind of fun to let them have at it.”
“On the way out,” she sighs.
Although the wedge is still a popular option, custom sneakers are all the rage.
“I carry a pair that have fun ribbons on them,” says Gamble. “Everyone wants comfort.”
Personal touches like adding leather or jean jackets are encouraged.
“We just worked with a local painter to get a custom hat made,” says Gamble. “It was a BOHO-style (Bohemian) hat with hand-painted flowers on it. Definitely on trend with that.”
Although the bridal industry needed to do a major pivot last spring, Gamble feels confident things will pick up this year.
“We’re starting to get a lot of calls about the fall,” she said.