Wedding season is right around the corner, so naturally, we’re wondering what noteworthy trends we’ll see this year. We asked some of our favorite local wedding experts to share their observations and predictions for the most significant trends to keep an eye out for, and — from bold colors to sustainability — here’s what we can look forward to.

9 Inspiring Wedding Trends for 2020

Color Trend: Bold Colors

“Color is one of the more exciting trends,” says Ashley Hayden of Infinity Hospitality’s The Bell Tower. “We’ve been seeing a lot of neutrals and subdued hues, which will always be timeless, but we’re excited to see some more personality with vibrant colors incorporated throughout the day.” And those dynamic hues are permeating every detail: “Colorful invitation suites; bright, whimsical floral arrangements; and fun linens are just a few ways to take advantage of this trend,” she says.

Hugh Howser, one-half of the event-planning duo behind H Three Events, confirms the bold color trend, saying that vivid colors are taking weddings by storm. “Brides are venturing away from neutral and tiptoeing slowly into jewel tones and bright weddings,” he says. “I believe they, too, have been to so many white weddings that they want theirs to be memorable.” He also adds that, for the moment, white and blush are gone. “They’re basically the leggings and flowy tops of weddings!” he quips.

Even makeup is getting in on the bold color action. “Right now I’m loving some of the softer makeup looks with bold lips that brides are going for,” says Karissa Paulk, store manager at The Blowout Co. in The Gulch. Mandy Burnett, owner of Harper and Olive Boutique Salon seconds that, adding, “Deep cranberries and purples, such as Tom Ford’s lipstick ‘Ingrid,’ are an absolute win for this year!”

Bold color wedding trend for 2020- purple decor and lighting

This wedding reception at The Bell Tower is aglow in stunning shades of purple. Image: Details Nashville

Bold Color trend in blue and green pattern on tablescape

Bright colors and patterns are making an appearance at weddings in 2020. This striking table linen, in shades of blue and green, pairs beautifully with the floral centerpiece and detailed menu cards. Image: Kendall Rock

RELATED: 10 Questions with Hugh Howser & Kate Steele of H Three Events

blue and green receptions decor for wedding trends in 2020

Splashes of color draw guests down a path to the reception bar. Image: Kendall Rock

Guest List/Invitation Trend: Personalized Touch

With more weddings gravitating toward exclusive guests lists with only a couple’s nearest and dearest, we’re seeing a significant rise in the sort of personal touches that boost a wedding’s memorability factor. According to Graham Harlin, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Fairlane Hotel, that means “smaller, more intimate ‘micro’ weddings with meaningful details and ‘Instagrammable’ visual features.”

Jenny Morris, Special Events Manager at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, agrees. She’s seeing a tendency toward small-scale guest lists that stay under 50 people. “These brides have the same budgets as other larger ones,” she tells us, “but they are putting more dollars towards giving each guest a more elevated and personal experience. And an elevated, intimate experience means more room for customized touches that are unique to the bride and groom.”

What sort of personal touches in invitations are trending? “Like the invitation suite with a nod to fly fishing, where the couple met,” suggests Valorie Cole of Valorie Ward Cole Calligraphy, referring to a client’s request. “Incorporating flowers with wedding colors or a painting or drawing of the [wedding] venue somewhere in the invitation suite has become very popular this past year, and I see that continuing.”

Invitation suite from Valorie Ward Calligraphy

This classic invitation suite by Valorie Ward Cole Calligraphy includes a nod to fly fishing, for a personal element that’s unique to the bride and groom. Image: Valorie Ward Cole Calligraphy

Food Trend: Non-Traditional Menus

“Late-night snacks are still going strong,” says Kristen Winston of Kristen Winston Catering. “Couples want to make sure their guests are happy and well-fed for the duration of the evening. This is an opportunity to bring out those decadent bites and be creative, such as an elevated twist on a childhood favorite or guilty pleasure food.” She also says we’ll be seeing “more customized and non-traditional menus, giving guests plenty of variety to please many preferences and diets. Couples are being thoughtful when planning their menus.”

vegan-friendly dish at wedding reception

This vegetarian plate from Kristen Winston Catering is an example of the thoughtful wedding menu choices we’ll see in 2020. Image: Kristen Winston Catering

Milkshakes and cookies- a late-night snack fro wedding trends in 2020

Kristen also says couples are still gravitating toward serving fun, late-night snacks. This cookie and vanilla milkshake combo looks both tasty and nostalgic. Image: Kristen Winston Catering

Hair Trend: “Bouquets” and Unique Accessories

While past wedding hair trends have leaned more traditional and meticulously coiffed, 2020 is looking at dreamier down-dos. “Sleek polished updos seem to have exited the wedding scene and have been replaced by loose, tousled looks,” offers Karissa Paulk of the Blowout Co. “I feel like we’re seeing brides and bridesmaids wearing their hair down more than we ever have. And the romantic waves are making a comeback,” she adds.

Loose romantic braid for wedding trends in 2020

Loose, romantic styles are on-trend for 2020. Image: Karissa Paulk of Blowout Co.

“The days of structured updos and very cemented hair are gone!” agrees Harper & Olive’s Mandy Burnett. She also notes the accessories that accompany that vision. “Large bows, pearl headbands, glam clips and bobby pins steal the show for this year’s bridal hairstyles. These looks have been seen on the runway as well as magazines, and add such a unique flair to any hairstyle.” She’s also getting plenty of requests for hair bouquets and hair accessories, such as bows and berets. “Hair bouquets on the runway this season came in all shapes and sizes,” Mandy says. “My personal favorite is the crown. Both fresh flowers and dried flowers, these crowns add a beautiful and romantic edge to your ensemble.”

floral crowns are a wedding trend in 2020

Floral crowns are in! Image: Instagram

Dress Trend: Letting Go of Classic Stereotypes

The 2020 wedding scene adds an element of outside-the-box thinking — especially as it pertains to bridal couture. “The top trends that we are seeing in wedding dresses right now are sparkle and black wedding dresses,” says Jillian Porter, Bridal Manager and Buyer for Brides by Glitz. “Whether sequins or sparkly fabric, there is shimmer everywhere — even in veils. The brides are loving the ability to add some subtle glimmer to their dresses without the need of beading.”

And what about those black dresses? “We started to see the trend last year,” explains Jillian, “but it has definitely gained even more speed this year. The dresses can vary from being all-over black to having black lace details.”

bridal party in sparkly bridesmaid dresses

Wedding wardrobe trends for 2020 include black dresses and sparkly embellishments. Image: Rafferty Photo

Drink Trend: Craft/Custom Cocktails

As we move into more customized weddings, we are also moving toward intriguing new cocktail options. Kristen Winston of Kristen Winston Catering says, “Couples are planning cocktails reflecting their style, tastes and heritage, which adds a personal touch.” Graham Harlin of the Fairlane Hotel adds that fermented beverages such as kombucha and makgeolli (a lightly sparkling Korean rice wine) can add an exceptional element to the big day.

craft cocktails are a wedding trend for 2020

Craft cocktails are the new trend in reception beverages. Image: Kristyn Hogan Photography

Gift Trend: Thoughtful Sustainability

In general, we see the continued growth of a more eco-conscious, thoughtful mindset — even in weddings. “Couples are looking at what impact they’re making on the environment and taking steps to reduce their ‘wedding footprint,’ so to speak,” says Ashley Hayden of Infinity Hospitality’s Bridge Building. “It will be important to work with vendors who also take strides to reduce waste, like working with florists who don’t use floral foam blocks or caterers who source their food locally and organically. Another way to make your wedding more sustainable is by opting out of paper goods and coming up with unique alternatives for table numbers, ceremony programs and escort cards. Eliminating any plasticware will also be a big priority, so no more personalized plastic cups or straws on the bar. Similarly, instead of personalized party favors, couples are opting to make charitable donations in honor of their guests. Every effort — no matter how small — makes an impact, so it’s important to focus on what’s most meaningful to you as a couple.”

donation rather than send home gifts at wedding for trend in 2020

To be more eco-conscious, some couples are opting to make donations to nonprofits rather than giving personalized party favors. Image: BlueGenes Photography

Floral Trend: Raw, Natural Greenery

From bouquets to major foliage installations, the outdoors is finding its way into wedding ceremonies and receptions everywhere. “Organic and overrun foliage will be highlighted and requested, especially when it comes to arches and ceremony backdrops,” says Sara-Jane Kerstetter of Selah-Vié. “Vibrant and rich natural greens will be emphasized and play a key role as they are incorporated in abundance this year. We love how this trend looks like a forest casually crept into your ceremony. Placing raw greens in spaces beyond the table allows for elements to be connected from floor to ceiling, creating a more aesthetically cohesive setting.”

Other trends include arch installs and even tree installations, bringing elevated, nature-inspired decor to a whole new, floral-forward level.

greenery with white petal path leading to altar

It’s hard to believe this is an indoor wedding space. Image: Rene Zadori | Designer: Andrea Eppolito

arch install for wedding trend in 2020

This unique indoor arch adds a romantic focal point for the ceremony. Image: Gruber Photographers

Tree installation at wedding

“We’re kicking off a new decade seeing floral trends once again evolving in a powerful way that elevates nature and upgrades both ceremony and reception spaces,” says Sarah-Jane Kerstetter of Selah-Vié. This trendsetting tree installation proves it. Image: Rene Zadori | Designer: Andrea Eppolito

Planning Trend: Using Social Media as a Planning Resource

Wedding planning is taking on a slightly different spin as social media helps brides weigh in on everything from cake design to venue decor. “Brides today are exposed to a whole lot more. They’re studying up. They investigate, know what they want and come in with it,” says Johnny Haffner of Johnny Haffner Catering. “I did a brie soup with a seared scallop on top for a first course because the bride saw it on Instagram.”

Johnny also notes the fact that this generation of brides tends to eat out more, which broadens their menu horizons and expands their palates. He chalks this up to a somewhat older audience than in past wedding seasons. “28 is the average age of my brides so far this year, so they know what they want,” he says. “When I got married a hundred years ago, we just showed up. Our parents took care of everything.”

brie soup appetizer with scallop on top

Johnny Haffner created this beautiful first course of brie soup with a seared scallop. Image: Johnny Haffner Catering

RELATED: Southern Hospitality Breathes Life into This Couple’s Nashville Wedding

From floral design to venue decor, wedding trends in 2020 promise to impress. Enjoy this year’s wedding season!


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