According to top florists and designers.
WRITTEN BY: Molly Allen
PHOTO BY ALEX MICHELE PHOTOGRAPHY
One thing we do know for this year’s upcoming weddings is that planning has become more intentional than perhaps ever before. Menus are being reconsidered, cakes are being reimagined, and the same sentiment goes for choosing wedding flowers.
Just as the pandemic forced a shift for so many industries (include the wedding industry), flowers were definitely hit as well. As the demand for flowers went down, growers made adjustments so they wouldn’t be throwing away their crops. With that, 2021 may continue to be a year of pivoting, working with your designer to find the best fit for your big day.
“Many 2021 weddings were supposed to be 2020 weddings, and one of the many adjustments couples may face is that their dream florals may no longer be in season,” says floral designer Shean Strong. “Right now, I suggest couples rely on their floral designer to curate and select blooms for them. Working within a color palette and ‘feeling’ in lieu of specific flowers will allow your florist to create the atmosphere you envisioned.” Plus, as an added bonus, florists definitely have a robust knowledge of flowers that you may not be aware of. You just might find something even more unique and beautiful along the way!
In whatever shape or hue, wedding flowers have always been known to make a statement. But this year, beautiful blooms are being taken to the next level. “Because guest counts are smaller and each guest is able to really take in every detail of the wedding day, couples are emphasizing a desire to be intentional about every detail,” says Erice McNeff, owner of Everbloom Floral Design. And we’re definitely here for it.
Ready to dive in on planning the floral elements for your own wedding? Read on for predictions from top industry experts.
Expressive Color Palettes
Since we’re all ready to have a bit more fun, many couples are opting to ditch the traditional constraints of a standard color palette.
“Couples have been anticipating this celebration with friends and family for many months, and that excitement is translating into a truly celebratory mood around each couple’s unique love. Selecting colors that feel more representative of personal style is the 2021 trend,” says Strong. “We are setting aside the traditional blush, creme, and gold palette and elevating our color stories.” (PHOTO BY KELLY BERRY PHOTOGRAPHY; FLORAL DESIGN BY SHEAN STRONG)
More Playful Blooms
Big, bright peonies and beautiful, intricate dahlias will always have their place. But for 2021, couples are letting tiny blooms have their time in the spotlight a bit more. “Clients have been raving about sweet pea, tweedia, hellebore, and heuchera,” says Lauren Palmer of The Wild Mother.
Annie Armstrong, owner of Best Day Ever Floral Design, says she’s seeing a change as well. “There's definitely a shift towards more playful blooms,” she says. “I think because, for a lot of couples, this may be their second time around planning, or since they're opting for a more casual or smaller celebration, people are ready to have more fun with design and get outside the box!” Armstrong says gerbera micro piccolini and celosia are definitely making their way into more designs. (PHOTO BY SIDNEY BENSIMON; FLORAL DESIGN BY DESIGNS BY AHN)
Not only are couples playing with color palettes, but the texture is being taken to a whole new level as well. “I've been doing a lot of mixing dried and fresh flowers and loving the juxtaposition of these textures,” says Armstrong. “A lot of brides don't want greenery in their bouquets, but they don't want a ball of flowers either. Something like dried Queen Anne’s lace or lepidium can create a wonderfully textural base to then layer fresh flowers on.” (PHOTO BY LUCY CUNEO; FLORAL DESIGN BY SARAH WINWARD)
Earth tones will forever have a seat at the table, especially for fall or boho weddings. That’s not changing for 2021, but some of the colors in those traditional earth tone palettes may be shifting. “What was once the request for dusty pinks and mauves is now being replaced with demands for coppery terra cottas, rusty oranges, and honey yellows,” says McNeff. (PHOTO BY KAMI OLAVARRIA)
Pretty, Petite Bouquets
We think Strong says it best when it comes to ditching huge, heavy bouquets. “The petite bouquet is the leading lady for trends this year. Effortless, refined, and intentional are the characteristics you should be striving for,” he says. “We’ve all been carrying heavier things from the year behind us. Don’t let your bouquet be one of them!”
Floral designer Amy Osaba echoes that sentiment, noting that her clients are drawn to smaller, more demure bouquets this year as well. “In my opinion, this edited down bouquet reflects an old-world quiet humility that has been missing in the last few years of floral design,” she adds. “I am seeing a much more understated elegance for our 2021 brides, which can be so chic and visually captivating.”
But this doesn’t just apply to bridal bouquets. “We’re projecting that more and more clients will ask for nods to wedding classic traditions like small, frilly posies carried by bridesmaids,” says Palmer. (PHOTO BY CAROLINE YOON PHOTOGRAPHY; FLORAL DESIGN BY RION DESIGNS)
For many, telling a color story may include a monochromatic approach. “2019 had wildflowers, 2020 had gradients, and 2021 is all about the monochromatic bouquet,” says Strong. “The key to the monochromatic design is to work within subtle shades of the same color to not lose any of the beautiful details.” (PHOTO BY ADRIANA RIVERA; FLORAL DESIGN BY CCC EVENT PLANNING)
More Grounded Installations
We know, the idea of hanging floral installations has been going strong for years, and rightfully so. But 2021 is looking to stay a bit more grounded. According to Strong, selecting floor or wall designs seems a bit more popular this year. Rachael Lunghi owner of Siren Floral Co. says she’s had far more requests for statement bars and stair installations for 2021.
“Our couples are really embracing their venue spaces and incorporating more large scale installations,” adds Amanda Theodoropoulos and Lidia Stupak, owners of Twisted Willow Flowers. “They make for statements rather than spreading the budget over too many spaces that don't have as much of an impact.” (PHOTO BY NICOLE CLARY PHOTO; FLORAL DESIGN BY SHEAN STRONG)
Enhancing the Aisle
Whether you’re tying the knot in front of 10 or 20 of your nearest and dearest, that walk down the aisle is just as special. According to Strong, the concept of creating an “aisle meadow” is definitely trending for 2021. This creates a way to frame the couple, along with their guests, during the ceremony. “Aisle meadows are serious focal points,” says Strong. “But couples are using this as an Instagrammable moment for their guests to take photos with as well.” (PHOTO BY KT MERRY; FLORAL DESIGN BY JACKSON DURHAM EVENTS)
It’s your party, and you should have bright, bold blooms if you want to! This trend is definitely amping up for 2021 as couples are choosing to stray from traditional color palettes. “I am seeing couples that are ready and excited to incorporate bold, lush colors into their design. People are ready to be expressive,” says Osaba. Armstrong says she’s still seeing neutral palettes, but with bold pops of color such as a fiery orange-red, periwinkle, or marigold. “Personally, I've been loving blue, taupe, and rust together lately,” she adds. (PHOTO BY ROSS HARVEY; FLORAL DESIGN BY TULIPINA)
Eternity arches were definitely having their time in the limelight for 2019 and into 2020. And while those installations are certainly stunning, many couples are requesting options that are even more creative. “Couples have been very open to letting their planners and florists run wild with ceremony concepts,” says McNeff. “I'm seeing lots of installations hung to hover over couples during the ceremony, as well as ‘illusion arches.’” McNeff adds that these arches are designed with floral pillars to frame the couple on either side. They curve just enough to nearly touch overhead, creating a beautiful, artistic setting for saying “I do.” (PHOTO BY ANYA KERNES PHOTOGRAPHY; FLORAL DESIGN BY REKINDLE CREATIVE)
This will definitely be a trend that lives on forever, and 2021 is no different. According to Theodoropoulos and Stupak, clients have been requesting more local blooms that are in season. Plus, what a great way to support your local community after the year we’ve all been through! (PHOTO BY LAURA GORDON PHOTOGRAPHY; PLANNING AND FLORAL DESIGN BY GREENWOOD EVENTS)
If you’re a couple that’s sick of waiting after putting your 2020 wedding on hold, this may be exactly your mindset. “It seems that many people are asking for a more artful approach. They want more intentional and special blooms and less fluff,” says Lunghi.
That intentionality comes from wanting to truly make your big day count after waiting for it to arrive for so long. “Here is your chance to highlight your favorite bloom or imbue significance with the flower you choose,” says Strong. “Select a flower that symbolizes something important to you as a couple–the original language of flowers.” (PHOTO BY HEATHER KINCAID; FLORAL DESIGN BY MARK'S GARDEN)
Weddings may be looking a bit different for 2021, but there’s still a lot of focus on having a beautiful meal around a stunning table, even if it’s just for 10!
“Guests are spending more time seated at the reception table (due to limited dancing), and this change has made the aesthetic of the reception table more of a priority for couples,” says McNeff. “There are lots of requests for ‘still life’ tables—décor that feels inspired by still life paintings,” McNeff says these gorgeous setups include layers of gauzy table runners anchored by lush, overgrown centerpieces, candles, and a few unexpected elements mixed in such as fruits, nuts, and books. (PHOTO BY CINZIA BRUSCHINI; FLORAL DESIGN BY NINA E I FIORI)