Wedding season is fast approaching, and to get prepared, we tapped local industry experts — from wedding photographers to master hairstylists — to find out what rising trends they’re seeing in the wedding world. Whether you’re getting married or attending a loved one’s nuptials, these are the top 2020 wedding trends you’ll likely see.

10 Wedding Trends to Look For in 2020

Guest List Trend: Intimate Numbers

Vulcan Park & Museum has seen a rise in smaller weddings (think 50-70 guests instead of 300). Director of Marketing & Public Relations LaShana Sorrell credits technology as the instigator for the change. “With the technological world we live in today, you have access to hundreds of people at a time. Your wedding is something special you want to share with your closest friends and family — then you can share it with the world later,” she says. “We see couples wanting to focus on the people who they interact with (in-person) daily.”

Wedding crowd outside at Vulcan Park & Museum

Vulcan Park & Museum offers multiple spaces (indoor and outdoor) for weddings of every size. Even if you are in an indoor venue that holds 300 people, you can make it feel cozy for a smaller guest list. Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

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Décor Trend: More Lighting

In setting the mood for your ceremony or reception, nothing can transform a space like lighting. LaShana Sorrell sees couples incorporating more lighting into their wedding design  — whether the event is inside or outside. She explains that “Vulcan is a blank slate and lighting can transform our spaces into something totally different.”

Wedding reception setup with candles and string lights, a wedding trend in 2020

Lighting can totally transform a space. Candles and string lights make for an elegant vibe at this Vulcan Park & Museum wedding. Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Menu Trend: Outside-the-Box Options

In the past, a beef carving station and mashed potato bar may have been enough to keep everyone full and happy. Not anymore. Now, the trend is personalized menus that cater to the couple’s preferences (both in taste and diet). Elyton Hotel Social Sales Manager Katharine Fesperman notes holistic menus (such as Keto and Whole30) as a growing trend. According to her, we can also expect to see more late-night hor d’oeuvres and infused drinks. She tells us, “Couples want a unique experience; they want to stand out on their special day and move away from the traditional bridesmaids’ lunches and garter tosses.”

Floral Trend: Wonderlands of Flowers

Eric and Jamie Gay, the husband-wife wedding photographers behind Eric & Jamie Photography, are the perfect people to see trends in action. What’s one trend they expect to see more of in 2020? Floral wonderlands. “We’re not sure there is such a thing as ‘over-the-top’ when it comes to wedding florals,” says Jamie. “Plus, soft color palettes are gorgeous but bold, bright colors are making a comeback.”

White wedding reception with floral decorations, a wedding trend 2020

Flowers are the star of this otherwise white wedding. Keep things simple and let the art-like arrangements shine. Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Cake Trends: Statement Displays

The duo behind the camera directs our attention to another trend: statement cake displays. “We are seeing a lot of brides and grooms using their cake as the main focal point of their reception design — and they are going all out! We love shooting beautiful cakes that include lighting, draping and florals,” shares Eric of Eric & Jamie Photography.

Wedding cake surrounded by art and flower, a wedding trend in 2020

Make your cake a focal point by creating a display complete with lighting, flowers and even art. Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Guest Book Trend: Coffee Table Books

The staff at A’mano Gifts, including Director of Sales and Marketing Kirby Whitehead, has seen the growing trend of using coffee table books in place of traditional guest books. “The traditional guest book tends to end up tucked away in the basement, while a cool coffee table book can always be on display,” she says. “Brides tend to choose the table books based on the couple’s interests or wedding/honeymoon location.”

Bridesmaids’ Dresses Trend: Neutral Palettes

The team at Bella Bridesmaids believes we will see more brides asking their gals to wear the same dress, something that was popular, then unpopular, and is now popular again. Additionally, clean lines and neutral palettes result in a timeless look. “For colors, you can expect dove greys, earthy sages and creamy ivory. The array of neutral colors have extended well beyond the typical champagnes and blushes,” says Jeana Lee Thompson, co-owner of Bella Bridesmaids. “A neutral palette for the bridesmaid dresses creates a soft contrast next to the bride’s gown, making her the focal point.”

Bride with bridesmaids in tan dresseses

At this Highlands, North Carolina wedding, the wedding party looked lovely in neutral bridesmaid dresses. Image: Leslie Hollingsworth

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Wedding Hair Trend: Classic & Whimsical

A typical bride doesn’t take chances when it comes to wedding day beauty. Even if brides opt for a more on-trend dress, they tend to play it safe with their hair and makeup. Thankfully, master stylist Melissa Bogardus is an expert in trendy and timeless looks. She believes that “classical and whimsical updos are always on-trend, as well as romantic, effortless curls.”

Bride with curls on wedding day

Romantic, effortless curls will never go out of style! This bride’s hairdo by Melissa Bogardus is timeless. Image: Eric & Jamie Gay Photography

Bridesmaids’ Gifts Trend: Personalized

Coffee table books aren’t only being used as guest books. “In the South (especially here in Alabama), it has become a huge trend among brides to spoil their bridesmaids completely,” explains A’mano’s Kirby Whitehead. “We are talking about a gift to ask the bridesmaids, sometimes a gift during the bachelorette weekend, and then another gift during the actual wedding festivities.” Brides love to gift coffee table books because it will stay with the bridesmaid forever. “It will sit on a coffee table or bookshelf for years to come and always be a reminder of a special friendship between the bride and bridesmaid.”

Variety of coffee table books from A'mano Gifts for wedding presents in 2020

If you are looking for something personal to gift your bridesmaids, include a hand-picked coffee table book to give alongside a pair of matching pajamas. Image: A’mano Gifts

Registry Trend: Casual Selections

As one of Birmingham’s go-to places for couples to register, Bromberg’s is a trusted source for registry trends. Julia Glass, of Bromberg’s, shares that brides (and grooms) are gravitating toward less formal selections, such as everyday dinnerware, flatware and stemware. “Italian pewter has replaced fine silver platters as well as Annieglass serving pieces to reflect a more casual lifestyle,” she says. “Many are still selecting formal patterns for dinnerware, but some will select patterns that can transition from casual to fine with the addition of a salad plate or some other place setting item.” For brides who register for both casual and formal, mixing-and-matching is a great way to use everything. “Throw out the rule book for a table that is more eclectic and use something with an emotional attachment (an heirloom piece) with something new and updated.”

Casual dishware as a wedding gift from Bromberg's

Whether you want casual or more traditional, Bromberg’s has it all. Image: Bromberg’s

Which trends will you try this year?


For more stunning Southern wedding inspiration, visit our wedding archives HERE!