What We Loved About Weddings in 2020 and 2021

For so many reasons, both 2020 and 2021 were years like no other. Between the global pandemic, civil unrest in America, and a presidential election, the world changed. And so, weddings changed with it. But one byproduct of the difficult couple of years were all the ways couples got creative in celebrating their love, even if they couldn’t do it in the way they first imagined. Looking back, here’s how weddings changed over the last two years. 

Weddings Got Small 

Because of the pandemic, celebrations became smaller than ever. Enter the Micro Wedding, a family-only (or just a few loved ones) affair that stressed intimacy—and a small guest list. According to the 2020 Brides American Wedding Survey, 47 percent of respondents planned to trim their guest lists because of COVID-19. 

Intimate table setting covered in blush velvet with sprawling florals. Set beside a river.
Table setting with blue table covering and freeform floral arrangements. The same style arrangements adorn the aisles of the rough-hewn wooden benches at the ceremony.
Freeform floral arrangements adorn the aisles of the rough-hewn wooden benches at the ceremony nestled in a tree spotted valley.

Photography: Elizabeth Lanier

Weddings Went Online

Some couples chose to share their big day with guests via Zoom. That way, friends and family across the globe could “attend” safely. The Zoom Wedding has even altered the new industry for planners, who now could help make your broadcast beautiful, from adjusting angles to fixing microphones for your tiny big day. Bakeries got creative too, with some even sending mini cakes to all guests so that they could get a taste of the celebration.

An intimate table setting in neutrals, dotted with accents of black in various elements. Fall-colored florals explode from every surface.
Family members in masks look on as a loved one is wed. A camera set-up for a live stream is in the background.
An intimate table setting in neutrals, dotted with accents of black in various elements. Fall-colored florals explode from every surface.  A couple in formalwear looks into their dinner space.

Photography: Clark Brewer

Dresses Were Simple 

Maybe it’s because weddings became less lavish affairs, but unembellished dresses ruled the year. From simple satin frocks to unadorned mini dresses, the wedding gown got a serious makeover—or should we say makeunder? 

Brides in simple gowns in varying shades of white, holding floral bouquets.

Photography: Clark Brewer; Anna Shackleford

Couples pose for portraits. The brides each chose short white dresses.

Photography: Hannah Mayson; Rachel and Noah Ray

Minimoons Ruled

Because of travel restrictions, couples who did tie the knot in 2020 chose to go on smaller honeymoons than they first imagined. Whether it was a romantic long weekend in a woodsy retreat, or a charming cottage in the South, spending time together in a local location became the new honeymoon.

Tropical foliage dots a walkway at Montage Palmetto Bluff.

Photography: Clay Austin

Restful countryside retreats

Photography: Sarah Ingram; Kristin Sweeting

Snow covers a field at Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa. A rustic barn sits in the distance surrounded by snow capped tall evergreens.

Photography: Ashley Sawtelle

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