9 Wedding Trends to Watch for in 2022

Wedding reception tablescape with a blue table runner, candles, and pink bouquets

The last two years have somehow managed to squeeze a decade of change into about 104 weeks, so it’s no surprise that weddings are changing too. Check out these wedding trends on the table for 2022 and see how floral fads, different décor, and an eye toward sustainability could alter how you approach the altar.

1. More outdoor weddings

Wedding ceremony in a beautiful field

With COVID-19 mandates still restricting the size of indoor gatherings in many states, expect to see carryover or even an increase in the number of outdoor weddings. This isn’t the first year for this trend — 57% of ceremonies took place fully or partially outside in 2019, and that figure jumped to 68% in 2020.

That could mean more summer weddings — or we might see outdoor weddings that embrace somewhat rugged elements like getting married on the deck of a ski chalet with strategically placed heaters helping to ward off the chill. Of course, couples who want to get married outside but don’t particularly want to say “I do” in the snow can always hold their winter weddings in a tropical locale or even in the continental U.S. by picking a place with a more temperate climate.

2. DIY décor

Woman putting together a bouquet with dried florals

Many people are already noticing bare or sparsely stocked shelves in their favorite grocery and crafting stores. Experts put that down to lingering supply chain issues, a problem that will likely continue well into 2022. For some couples, hiccups in the supply chain will be almost imperceptible, but for others, it could mean not getting the tablecloths they hoped for or waiting for vase fillers that never come.

The cure for that uncertainty lies in DIY. Being flexible and using resources like Pinterest and DIY wedding blogs will help crafty couples put together everything from stunning tablescapes to homemade cakes. It may even be a money-saving maneuver, as making your own centerpieces and artificial flower backdrops is typically cheaper than hiring a professional to do it for you or buying pieces ready-made.

3. Eco-friendly décor and more

Wooden bride and groom chairs decorated with signs and flowers

For some of the same reasons people are leaning toward DIY décor — supply chain issues, etc. — as well as a growing awareness of how we impact the planet around us, brides- and grooms-to-be are also finding ways to make their weddings more environmentally sound. If you’re getting married in 2022, you’ll likely be able to find lots of wedding décor available for sale or even for free. And you can return the favor with your décor once you’ve said I do. Put your thrifted dinnerware, chalkboard signs, glass drink dispensers, and bar made out of reclaimed wood up on local resale sites and pass the love and supplies onto the next person.

Other options for sustainable wedding goodies include:

  • Sending save-the-date magnets that double as keepsakes

  • Having a wedding website that serves as a one-stop-shop for wedding updates (versus repeatedly sending paper updates as details change/plans evolve)

  • Streaming your ceremony to friends and family in other states or countries to save on the carbon emissions tied to air travel

  • Holding your ceremony and reception in one spot (less fuel used to travel between locations)

  • Composting and recycling whatever décor you can’t reuse or sell

  • Choosing a caterer that sources ingredients locally

  • Working with a local florist and opting for seasonal/sustainable blooms

  • Renting your wedding dress and tux or suit

4. Speaking of rental dresses and suits…

Bride unboxing her beautiful wedding dress

Tux rentals have always been a thing, but now luxury designers and retail shops are getting in on the sustainable movement while saving brides and bridal parties tons of money. Rental dresses can sometimes be found locally, but most companies operate using a mail-order approach. You rent the dress (sometimes two sizes for the price of one, just in case), it comes in the mail, you wear it, and then you send it back. Boom! No thousand-dollar price tag for something you’ll only wear once.

Your bridesmaids, the mothers of the bride and groom, and the flower girl can get in on the act, too. You can even rent clothes for your honeymoon, such as an evening gown for a special night out while you’re abroad or cruise wear so you look your best when making your first appearance as a married couple.

5. Pretty pastels… but also bold contrasts

Wedding reception table with lilac tablecloths, pastel flowers, and colored drinkware

Get ready for a return to romance with swoon-worthy colors like lilac, rose, mint, and lemon all making their way back into wedding décor, bridesmaids dresses, and beyond. Then there are the couples who are done with feeling hemmed in by quarantine and mask mandates and want to use their wedding as an expression of freedom, joy, and in-your-face color. That’s when you can expect unexpected color combinations and even prints to make an appearance.

Pantone, the company that releases its color expectations and an “official palette” for each calendar year, predicts 2022 will bring shades that promote simplicity and spontaneity. Take a peek at hues like Coral Rose, Potpourri, Popcorn, Cascade, Super Sonic, and Bubblegum, and you’ll definitely see both ends of the spectrum.

6. Hello, cottagecore

Wedding reception décor with wooden chairs, moss garland, and wildflowers in assorted vases

What do you get when you bring together the pretty posies and Regency fashion epitomized by Jane Austen and revived by Netflix’s red-hot series Bridgerton? No, you don’t get a dashing duke or blushing society bride, but you will discover a little niche design style called cottagecore.

Fans of cottagecore love the nature-inspired mood boards that include lots of gnarled grapevines, lush greenery, straw, and wildflowers draped over latticework and stuffed into baskets. Touches of charm like vintage books stacked to create centerpieces and mismatched colored drinkware snagged from various thrift stores helps bring the look together. Oh, and lace — don’t forget the embroidery and lace!

7. Non-traditional dining ideas

Wedding reception table with plates of food on it

If the idea of a three-course sit-down dinner with guests’ choice of chicken or fish is your idea of a good time, then go for it. But many couples are craving something a bit different, and that means eating outside the box. Book a venue for a brunch reception, call up a few food trucks and have dinner al fresco, lay blankets on the ground or over hay bales and have a picnic, make your wedding a happy hour event with finger foods and signature cocktails — it truly is up to you.

Except all these food concepts and more in 2022, along with less Pre-COVID options like buffets and chocolate fountains are now considered more high-risk (or at least harder to safely staff and execute) and you may not want to include them in your 2022 wedding.

8. Destination weddings that are a lot closer to home

Bride and groom embracing in archway of building with columns

Travel is still a bit of a sticky wicket thanks to the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than risking having to postpone or cancel their wedding due to travel restrictions, some couples are reformulating their idea of a destination event to include special venues closer to home. For some, that means renting a luxury mansion or historic home a few states away. For others, it’s staying in the same city but using VRBO or Airbnb to find a unique spot like a working farm or collection of tiny homes that will accommodate the wedding party and guests.

There are all-inclusive resorts in the United States, too, and some are even somewhat exotic. Imagine enjoying spa treatments in the shadow of a mountain range in Arizona or relaxing in a bungalow in Key Largo and you’ll see why so many people are realizing that staying stateside doesn’t have to mean settling.

9. Revamped wedding registries

Happy bride and groom holding hands while walking in a field

Ask your friends who actually use their gravy boat. Now think about all the items typically put on a wedding registry. Modern couples are less likely to wait until marriage to move in together, which means they don’t necessarily need gifts intended to help them setup house. What they need is money to buy a house.

In 2022, couples are going to get practical with wedding registries focused on funding a particular experience, like a honeymoon in Bali, safari in Tanzania, or a major purchase like a home. Some couples even ask for help with the fees associated with IVF or adoption.

Basically, 2022 is going to be a fascinating mix of nostalgia and “anything goes.” Keep an open mind and, if you’re planning your own wedding, decide what’s truly important to you. Make that the theme of your wedding day, and you’re almost guaranteed to have no regrets.