Wedding trends and party trends are topics our team will never tire of. Thousands of real events from some of the world’s top venues, event planners, caterers, and florists flood PartySlate year after year, and we eagerly await the opportunity to predict new event trends for the upcoming year.
Whether it was predicting that “tall wispy grass” — better known as pampas grass — would consume our feeds as we headed into 2019 (thank you, Mandy Moore), or anticipating that baby’s breath would take over as an oh-so-popular wedding trend in 2020, we can assure you that you’re in the right place for 2021 wedding trends and party predictions.
We’re seeing innovation in response to safety considerations, and other new ideas and designs that simply woo our event-driven hearts.
It’s true that having 2021 on the horizon is filling us with hope. We have hope for a year with more small gatherings, more beautiful designs, more innovative event elements, and more celebrations of life’s precious moments. With a promising year ahead comes several of the most inventive, and creative party trends we’ve ever seen.
We’re seeing innovation in response to safety considerations, and other new ideas and designs that simply woo our event-driven hearts. Discover your favorites and prepare to wow your guests. Trust us, this is a scroll worth taking.
1. Domes That Protect — and Perfect — Your Food
Let’s kick it off with catering. If there’s anything that’s going to look completely different in 2021, it’s meal prep — and we’ve spotted some bold new presentations that were born for the better.
Bell-shaped glass coverings, also known as cloches, were originally made with the agricultural purpose to protect plants, but we think they’re fitting into the catering scene just fine. The elegant appearance of glass domes allows for a safe solution to event catering without reminding guests why they’re a necessary addition.
Glamorous Germ-Free Apps
This small birthday dinner for four introduced us to the idea of a clear covering for passed apps — and we haven’t looked back since. Something about this classy presentation makes the evening’s hors d’oeuvres look even more mouthwatering and luxurious. Your guests can’t enjoy their cuisine if they don’t feel comfortable eating it, and we’re calling this the perfect solution.
Cloches Cater to Our Needs
We love how this elegant garden wedding took safety precautions in the most subtle ways. An assortment of covered appetizers were passed around on their own mini plates, offering a safe, seamless option for delivering your fare. We’d love this look in any year, but you’re going to feel especially royal as you grab a polished bite in 2021.
2. Small Charcuterie Boards With Big Flavor & Appeal
It’s pretty clear why this made our 2021 trends list. Charcuterie boards are a party staple — but in this day and age, no one wants their food shifted and skimmed by hands that aren’t their own.
Small celebrations stand out with memorable details, and your guests will never stop talking about these adorable (and clean) presentations. Not to mention, these personalized boards are the ultimate reason to let your phone” eat first”.
The Sharpest Reception Element
If you haven’t seen this at-home wedding, we highly recommend taking a peek. The bride and groom offered a drive-by celebration as a way for their entire network to be a part of their day, then kept their indoor reception private. Each of the eight wedding guests in attendance were blissfully shown to their seats with individual charcuterie boards. What’s more appealing than your own personal cheese and charcuterie board? We can’t think of anything.
A Little Slice of Heaven
Gone are the days of reaching over others to grab that one perfect cube of cheese. In 2021, it’s all yours. Aside from being one of the most-viewed small events on PartySlate, this bridal shower is setting a party trend for many celebrations to come. Each guest could grab their own mini charcuterie board for a bite while lounging in the bride’s backyard — and somehow, these little plates of perfection actually match the event’s boho balloons and décor.
10 Boards are Better Than One
This networking event took its cheese boards seriously, offering each guest a perfectly-curated ratio of cheese to jam, mini toasted bread slices, and a touch of fresh fruit. Each slender board sat atop one larger wooden tray so that the highly-anticipated appetizer could travel from guest to guest without being touched by a buffet line’s worth of attendees. Click through so you don’t miss the clever way the sparkling wine was served.
RELATED: 30 Social Distancing Birthday Parties, Baby Showers, Weddings, & More to Inspire Your Safe Celebration
3. Reimagine Your Birthday Wishes
We all want to sing you “happy birthday,” but after the year we just had your guests might not be too thrilled about eating a cake on which you’ve blown out candles (spreading germs in the process). Someone had to say it.
Luckily, we found satisfying solutions to top our 2021 party trends list so you can have your birthday cake — and everyone will eat it too.
A Faux Cake Maintains the Fun
This Beyoncé-themed birthday is checking off plenty of boxes for our 2021 kids party trends, but the one element that truly caught our eye was the “faux cake.” Once the birthday girl made her wish, guests were able to indulge in a real cake with no concern over germs — and no chance of disappointing the guest of honor on her special day.
photographer: Afritina Coker | planner: RosesRntRed Events | floral: Rae Lawson | floral cake: Sweet Thangs. by Lo’ | cheetah cake: A Cake Maker | props: AliJo Events
Find Your Seat With a Placecard You Can Eat
We’re seriously obsessed with these mini cakes as both a beautiful seat indicator and a delightful dessert. Everyone has a birthday coming up in 2021. Apply this party trend to your next celebration for an easy way to blow out your candles without worrying about safety. Plus, you’ll eliminate the need to slice your confection and distribute plates across the table — just sing happy birthday and dig right in.
Wishful (Centerpiece) Thinking
We could talk about the intricate attention to detail at this butterfly garden lunch all day. The small table was filled with delicate décor, but our favorite part has to be these chunky pastel birthday candles that lined the center. If you’re not a dessert enthusiast, this is the perfect option for your next birthday. The guest of honor was able to blow out her candles without the need for a sugary sweet underneath — and we have to say, the final photos look so incredibly chic.
Colorful Confections & Cakeless Candles
This fun-loving event planning company threw themselves a “birthday” party in honor of their two year anniversary — and it’s just as dazzling as you’d expect. Boldly frosted cakes in various shades of neon lined the geometric linen-covered table, with bright candles forming colorful centerpieces in-between. We love the idea of swapping one large, multi-tiered cake for multiple mini cakes that offer easier access to all — as well as keeping the candles off the cakes and instead lining the table’s center with them.
4. Paperless Menus are the Future
We’re living for this limitless 2021 party trend. In 2020 we watched as restaurants made the switch from paper menus to barcodes that let you browse on your phone — and the events industry is not far behind.
This new menu method allows for creative minds to awe guests with never-before-seen presentations, not to mention, is a welcome eco-friendly addition to our list. We wouldn’t be surprised if this new trend stuck around for a long time.
Cocktails as the Center of Attention
Yes, this is pop singer Bebe Rexha’s backyard birthday party, and no, that’s not the only reason it made the list. Aside from the fact that her candles go perfectly with the latest birthday party trend (see #3 above), the actual base of the centerpiece doubles as the dinner’s drink menu. One thing’s for sure, you’ll never forget what you want to order next with each cocktail beautifully inscribed in front of you.
Food as Its Own Menu
The catering at this reception is setting standards for 2021 wedding trends — starting with the variety of mini appetizers that satisfied all senses. Forget the time you’ve spent wondering what ingredients are in which sandwiches. These branded bites are the most adorable way to differentiate your appetizers without having to spell it out on a menu. BLT, anyone?
5. Masks That Match in Detail
We don’t know how long we’ll need masks at events — but while we do, this party and wedding trend is everything. Make mask wearing more enjoyable by thoughtfully matching them to your party’s style or theme — but take it a step further than simply complementing a color.
Guests will feel like they’re becoming a part of the event design on top of adhering to safety protocols when they put beauties like these on. Keep reading for a few ingenious examples.
Custom Coverings That Reflect Your Centerpiece
Delicate lavender florals were intertwined with bouquets of yellow roses and citrus-infused greenery (an ever-green summer trend) to fill this outdoor dinner party’s table. We can’t help but immediately notice that the small soirée’s intricate floral-lined masks complemented the table’s centerpiece all-too-perfectly.
photographer: Shumanev Production | planner: David Tutera Planning and Design | floral: David Tutera Planning and Design | tent: Raj Tents | printed material: Dogwood Blossom Stationery | favors: SoBelle Favors | rentals: Theoni Collection
Masks That Tie Back to the Invitations
Where do we begin with this “fish camp”-themed kids birthday party? We could go on and on about how the party creatively social-distanced families by assigning them personal tents, or the fact that it incorporated scavenger hunts and “donut fishing” (you’ll have to click through to see) as engaging, safe activities.
But right now, we need to talk about how custom masks were designed to perfectly reflect the party’s original watercolor invitation set — and it doesn’t stop there. From the event’s balloon entrance to branded blankets and even decorated cookies, these masks completely tied the celebration’s design together — and dare we say, were even fun for kids to put on.
Logo-ed Masks for Milestone Moments
Bar and Bat Mitzvah designs are often comparable to corporate events with lots of branding, logos, and custom prints. Take this Los Angeles Bar Mitzvah, for example, which boasted a signature tropical leaf for use throughout the party, including on décor, favors, cuisine — and even on its entrance-framing linen masks.
This thoughtful touch signals that hosts were well-prepared and ready to keep guests feeling safe and comfortable. Masks were certainly not an afterthought here.
6. Decorate Your Home From the Outside In
So, you want your event to make a statement. We get it, first impressions are important. That’s why extending your event décor to the outside of your house is going to be all the rage in 2021. Whether you’re signaling an all-out theme from the moment guests pull up or setting the tone for a fiercely festive event, including décor on your front door will make guests forget that they’re partying at home.
We’re Here for This Whimsical Garden Entrance
Something about this fluffy arrangement of greenery and crisp white roses has us enticed by this at-home wedding from one photo alone. Go inside and you’ll find heaps of white hydrangeas paired with blush roses, a romantic first look, and catering that will truly make your mouth water. But let’s stay outside just a minute longer to enjoy all that this welcoming installation has to offer.
Bling Out Your House
Now this is how you decorate your house. This glitter-and-gold-themed 30th birthday party stuck to a dazzling black and gold décor palette — and the birthday girl’s home just happened to match perfectly. We can’t pinpoint exactly why this gold balloon chain completely brings the house to life, but let’s not question it. If you need us, we’ll be parked out front enjoying the creative beauty and theming opportunities that come with hosting a party at home.
Blow Guests Away With Balloons
We’re no strangers to the fact that 2020 was a hard year to be a graduate. Graduation marks a milestone that is often celebrated with warm embraces, lots of loved ones, and joyous parties. Not so for 2020.
But this family didn’t let anything get in the way of safely celebrating their daughter’s achievements — and it all started with a gorgeously decorated home. A UC Berkeley-themed installation framed the home’s front entrance with sparkling fringe, breathtaking balloons, and even the school’s mascot, Oski the brown bear. We’re prepared to see a lot more elaborate front door designs in 2021, and we honestly can’t wait.
7. Go Big With Your Small Table’s Centerpiece
Tables are getting smaller, centerpieces are getting bigger. Yes, you read that right, and it’s all possible with the art of the high-to-low arrangement. Deck out your table with towering centerpieces, while still being able to see the friendly faces sitting across the table.
Believe us, a hovering installation with bountiful florals, enchanting lanterns, or glamorous chandeliers will make your small celebration feel completely grand.
Somewhere Beyond the Sea is This Special Setup
This family channeled a lush country garden at their beach house birthday party. Decadent, cascading greenery both lined the textured linens, and majestically hovered above the table’s center. We can’t stop staring at the stunningly set table for 8 — not even to look at the sparkling Pacific ocean backdrop.
photographer: Ka’mera Productions by Nareg Frandjian | planner: Veronique Events | design & floral: Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle and Design | caterer: Angelini Osteria & Alimentari | rentals: Theoni Collection
We Would Rosé All Day at This Delectable Table
A rosé-inspired birthday? Say no more. This table for 10 is leaving a lasting impression with light and airy lanterns that gracefully dripped pink peonies across the spread. The multifaceted arrangement leaves the impression of a bigger table — as if it’s taking up more real estate within the bright white room — while keeping line of sight clear so guests could continue to mingle as they took their seats in awe.
A Taste of Italy = a Treat for the Eyes
If you weren’t on board with this 2021 party trend before, we bet you’re coming around to it right about now. This outdoor dinner table consisted of rustic chandeliers, draped vineyard-inspired greenery, and a bold pop of red and orange florals.
The table alone is truly enough to make you say wow (not to mention the string light-lined dance floor, deep velvet purple cocktail tables, and moss-covered bar). The hosts wanted to bring Italy to Southern California, and from this bold and beautiful dining set up, we’d say they successfully transformed their backyard into a private vineyard in Tuscany.
photographer: John Watkins Photography | planner: Elite OC Productions | floral: Paul Fenner Floral Design | rentals: Above The Top Party Rentals; Signature Party Rentals | lighting: Above The Top Party Rentals
No Trips Left Unturned
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Let us tell you a little about this special dinner experience for three couples. Their long awaited 2020 Danube River cruise with destinations including Hungary and Germany was cancelled. But their almost-experience was savored in the form of this experiential party.
It all started with this mesmerizing centerpiece, which set the scene for a vibrant evening in “Budapest” (but really in Canada). We can’t stop marveling at the gravity-defying table installation guests sat under as they enjoyed several courses, each of which took them to a different stop with culture-rich flavors.
photographer: Charmaine Mallari Photography | planner & décor: French Accent Design | furniture & rentals: C&T Event Rentals | backdrop & props: Creating a Scene Winnipeg | lighting: Event Light Winnipeg
RELATED: Best Wedding Centerpieces [Guide]
8. Dinner Parties With Daring Presentations
Consider yourself informed, this 2021 party and wedding trend is about to ramp up around the world. With smaller guest lists comes a greater ability to dive into detail. For dinner parties, this means going all-out on epic presentations for every. single. course.
Dining experiences bring people together whether it’s for a special occasion (milestone birthdays, holiday parties, intimate weddings, and the list goes on) or for no specific reason at all. Create memories, indulge in delicious cuisine — and maybe even take a few Instagram photos along the way with this new and exciting event trend.
A Seriously Cool “Dinner en Noir”
This small, but very special, backyard dinner party celebrated a 48th birthday with an all-black dining experience. From live music to an orchid and candle-lined table, each lucky guest had a one-of-a-kind meal they’ll never forget. Up first? A fresh course served on a bed of ice with an abbreviated happy birthday message carved along the top. What better way to keep seafood fresh than on a frozen plate?
It’s safe to say guests craved more courses, and we’re definitely craving more photos.
9. Unexpected Color Combinations Will Catch Your Eye
Anything goes in 2021 — and we’re predicting an influx of surprising color combinations will cover events. Neons paired with neutrals, unusual wedding palettes, color wheel clashings, and more unique splashes are on our list of designs to look out for.
This party and wedding trend may sound daunting, but hear us out, there’s a lot to love about the art of the unexpected.
Eclectic in Paris
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
When we usually think of a Parisian-inspired party we imagine dreamy pinks surrounded by black and white, neutral stripes and polka dots, soft florals, or maybe even a pop of rouge.
Enter a new era of color scheming and palette dreaming. This small backyard party switched it up with an eclectic assortment of hues from our anticipated pastel pinks to wonderfully shocking oranges, flashy yellows, and even some neon aqua. Consider us charmed.
photographer: Charmaine Mallari | design, décor & floral: French Accent Design
Opposites Attract (and Contrast)
Can you think of wedding colors as unforgettable as this ballerina pink and baby blue duo? We certainly can’t. We love how two of our all-time favorite florals (pampas grass and baby’s breath, of course) were tinted to create this absolutely ethereal tented reception that evokes cotton candy, clouds, and all things dreamy.
Not many designs put us at a loss for words, but all we can say to this unexpected garden is: can we get more?
10. Tie-dye is (Still) In
Go with us on this one. If 2020 was the year of the tie-dye sweat sets, 2021 will be the year of the tie-dye florals and décor. We’ve seen (and still love) ombré, but we’re ready for a less orderly floral and design display. And honestly, what’s not to love about your favorite pastels swirled into one?
Tie-dye took flight in the 1960s, and they say vintage fashion fads always find their way back. Nearly sixty years later, it’s in the form of fabulous florals and the brightest balloons. Who knows, maybe it will even trend into our food and drink in 2021 (*winks at caterers*).
Pastel Delphiniums are a Vintage Vision
2021 event hosts, take note. This tented anniversary party’s theme was technically “vintage cotton candy,” but we’re getting all the tie-dye vibes from this floral-lined stage. Pops of periwinkle, bubblegum pink, and a cool mint green made for the most delicious blend of colors to create a design we won’t soon forget.
Your Favorite Pattern is Blowing Up
This poolside baby shower-turned-gender reveal brought tie-dye balloons into the mix with bursting boxes, teddy bear-adorned installations, and more. The mom-to-be’s backyard was decorated with tie-dye covered lounges, a cake, and, of course, tie-dye masks that prioritized every guest’s comfort and safety while staying on theme.
photo courtesy of, planner & design: Victoria Dubin Events
The Coming of Age Ahead of Its Time
From tie-dye party favors to signage, menus, masks, and a cascading balloon installation, this pastel patterned Bat Mitzvah was social-distanced perfection.
The creative display of colors is the true reason we can’t keep our eyes off the divine design. Even the to-go bakery boxes (which were handed out in place of a dessert bar to keep guests sufficiently spaced out) were labeled with a soothing blend of lavender, pink, and blue.
Perfect Your Pattern With Pampas Grass
The tie-dye inspired floral arrangements at this boho beachside dinner party are enough to make us completely rethink our next party’s palette.
No bouquet is as fun to look at — our Instagram friendly — as the sprawling florals that graced this summer night. Not to mention, the event’s ombré glassware fit the niche color scheme seamlessly. Sign us up for al fresco 2021 dinners like this, please.
photo courtesy of, planner & design: Twenty Three Layers (23 Layers)
11. Recreate the Past in the Present
You can thank Kim Kardashian for this one. If you truly keep up with that famous family, then you know Kim’s surprise 40th birthday took her down memory lane with sentimental décor and technology that brought all of her childhood milestones back to life.
From her first birthday to her first car, this inspired idea was so meaningful we knew it was far from the last time we’d see it. So here comes one of our team’s most highly anticipated 2021 party trends: recreating old memories at special celebrations.
Everything Old is New Again
This 50th birthday party gave the guest of honor’s childhood passions an adult makeover. We’re talking lego jello shots, a chic Star Wars-inspired table design (yes, we used “chic” and “Star Wars” in the same sentence and you need to see it), and his favorite movie characters-turned figurine place cards. When it comes to a one-of-a-kind milestone, it doesn’t get much better than this.
photographer: Kelli Hayden | planner & design: Bluebell Events | floral & décor: Shawna Yamamoto Event Design | caterer: Good Gracious! Events | linen & chargers: BBJ Linen | lego décor: Mini Fig King; Leandervention
Your Barbie’s Dream House Brought to Life
If you want to host a standout event, look no further for inspiration than this Malibu Barbie dream house celebration. What 80s or 90s baby wouldn’t feel a sense of nostalgia sweep over them while walking past the fuschia (punch) buggy, through the hot pink home, and under the signature cursive “Barbie” entrance? One thing’s for sure, you don’t have to be a Barbie fan to appreciate the inventive elements that went into this plastic world. (It’s fantastic).
photographer: Line 8 Photography | planner: Colin Cowie Lifestyle | design: Jonathan Adler
Turning Back the Clock at 60
Guests partied like it was 1978 at this unique 60th birthday bash. The event took the guest of honor back to his college days, where he was a member of the fraternity Fiji at Texas University. Jello shots (we’re starting to think they should be a trend of their own), group photos, fraternity flags, his university mascot, and more made this special day unlike any other.
The birthday boy was even surprised with custom napkins that had his infamous one liners printed across the bottom — just another reason to love a personalized party.
photographer: Cory Ryan Photography | planner & design: Brock + Co. Events | floral: David Kurio Designs | décor: Townsley Designs | caterer: Eat Plus Drink Austin | rentals: Dart Collective; Whim Hospitality; Marquee Rentals; Loot
Make New Memories With Old Ones
Where do we even begin with this impossibly perfect party? We’ll start with the birthday cake, which was an exact replica of the 1967 red Camaro the birthday boy built with his father once upon a time.
The dinner menu consisted of the guest of honor’s favorite childhood meal — but with a savory-chic twist. “Beer-mosas,” stuffed french toast, a pressed egg sandwich, and more made up the bold ‘breakfast for dinner’ menu. All the while, a playlist of the newly-turned 30-year-old’s favorite songs filled the intimate event space.
RELATED: How to Throw a Celebration Following CDC Guidelines — According to Khloe Kardashian’s 36th-Birthday Party
12. Swap Your Tent for a Cozy Cabana
You heard it here first. We’re briefly breaking up with tents for a chic solution to small outdoor gatherings. Cabanas offer a way to frame your intimate party without the empty space that makes your table feel too small. In other words, it’s the “just right” fit you’re looking for when it comes to enclosing your small outdoor event.
Cabanas can take your intimate party from day to night, frame separate event spaces and activities, or simply add some dimension to your small outdoor dining table. Whichever use you choose, we’re all-in with excitement.
Cabanas Aren’t Just for Shade
White-draped cabanas lit up after dark for this hybrid dinner party. We love how the use of two separate coverings form defined spaces: one for dining, and one for enjoying decadent desserts.
We imagine the use of small cabanas for different party elements will follow us well into 2021, from separating dining and dancing (when it’s safe to do so) to setting a variety of event activities into separate spaces.
photographer: Shumanev Production | planner: David Tutera Planning and Design | floral: David Tutera Planning and Design | tent: Raj Tents | printed material: Dogwood Blossom Stationery | favors: SoBelle Favors | rentals: Theoni Collection
Redefining the Poolside Cabana
Not all cabanas are for lounging poolside. In this case, the chic ivory and black setup was meant to frame a luxurious, wellness-inspired luncheon. Patterned pink linens and a colorful assortment of tropical florals dressed up the 8-person table. We don’t think this show stopping design would be complete without such a chic structure around the table. Hold up your spiked smoothie and say cheers to more small event designs like this in 2021.
Don’t Cover Your View
A Sangeet for the Friday night books. This mountainside celebration paired cabanas with stunning hilltop views for the perfect al fresco fête. The choice to go small with the event’s coverings kept the setting’s picturesque views intact, while still ensuring guest’s had the option to find shade and seclusion. We especially love the hint of color and the lavish feel of the gold tassels.
13. Indoor Furniture at Outdoor Events
We’ve all seen tufted couches and elegant chairs at outdoor cocktail hours and receptions — but what we haven’t seen are full-blown living rooms and kitchens bearing the elements. As events increasingly move outside, our furniture is going with them. Get ready, this 2021 wedding trend is going to have your guests feeling right at home — and make your photos look extra chic.
Watch “I Dos” From the Comfort of a Couch
Navigating the ins and outs of pandemic wedding planning is no easy feat. But with innovative thinking comes creative event solutions — and we’re in love with this spaced out ceremony seating. Luxe velvet couches and royal arm chairs stacked this perfectly manicured lawn to create a comfortable (and aesthetically pleasing) way to seat guests 6 feet apart from those who aren’t a part of the same household.
photographer: Sarah Mack Photo | planner: Above All Catering & Events | design & floral: Shawna Yamamoto Event Design | venue: Fete the Venue | rentals: Signature Party Rentals | signage: Nopalito Graphics
Your Rustic Rug Looks Better on Grass
What’s dreamy and rustic with rugs all over? This small summer wedding reception, of course. Sleek wood kitchen tables and eclectic patterned carpets were brought outside to create this intimate boho dining experience. Ratan chargers, cozy candles, and sheer linen runners topped off the tablescape for an outdoor dining experience that could be mistaken for your family’s lovely living room.
photographer: ellAdele photography | planner: Marquette Avenue Events | floral, caterer & venue: Big Delicious Planet | décor: Bowery & Bash | rentals: Tablescapes Event Rentals | linen: BBJ Linen | glassware: Nimble Well
14. Virtual Entertainment You Can Touch
Zoom fatigue is on the rise — but so are virtual events. Selecting the right activity for your onscreen gathering is crucial to its success. In order to create an experience that is truly engaging and interactive, you want guests to feel some sort of unity. This interactive entertainment starts at the source.
Think identical cocktail kits, catered meals, boxed desserts, uniform cooking ingredients, on-theme décor, and more. Having physical items on hand is the key. Read on for inspiration.
Lift Your Spirits With a Mixology Class
Virtual activities that bring guests together are going to be everywhere in 2021 — and believe it or not, they’re really fun. Take these cocktail kits for example. Send each of your guests one of these and let the professionals virtually teach your co-workers, friends, or even close family how to craft the perfect sip from the comfort of home.
photo courtesy of & cocktail kits: Labaratory by Scarlette
Let Virtual Wedding Guests Experience the Party
There will always be guests that can’t attend important events, especially weddings — and this hybrid celebration is the way of the future. Virtual wedding guests were made to feel like they were truly a part of this celebration thanks to mailed gift boxes and state-of-the-art technology. Each custom box included mini champagne bottles and individually wrapped wedding cakes, enabling Zoom attendees to toast with their loved ones and eat alongside the bride and groom. If you haven’t already seen the photos from this special celebration, we highly suggest checking it out before planning your own.
photographer: André Maier Photography | planner: Stillwell Events | décor & floral: Adam Leffel Productions | venue: Lavan 541 | stationary & dance floor design: Ceci New York | a/v: Total Entertainment | balloons: Balloon Design Studio | caterer: Thomas Preti Events to Savor | linen: Nuage Designs | cake: Everything Lulu
Call it a Corporate Comeback
Virtual and hybrid events offer the opportunity for very special experiences, indeed. With rapid testing and an outdoor setting, Lexus hosted a hybrid charity dinner for 13, where guests could virtually interact with an incredible line up of well-known chefs.
Attendees enjoyed four incredible courses — all while watching how the meal was prepared on screens that spanned the table. The interactive broadcast allowed guests to ask the all-star chefs questions as they devoured the professionals’ very own cuisine.
photographer: Sarkis Studios | technical production: Pacific Event Services | floral: Butterfly Floral & Event Design | caterer: Good Gracious! Events | calligraphy: Calligraphy Katrina | rentals: Town & Country Rentals
15. Make Room for Opulent Outdoor Movie Nights
Retro drive-in movies are officially making their comeback — but this time, they’re taking over our backyards. Outdoor movie screenings are the perfect way to entertain your guests while also encouraging a safe distance between them.
But to be clear, these aren’t your average movie nights. Picture coveted candy carts, over-the-top popcorn stations, custom cocktails, and décor that might even draw your eyes away from the projector.
The Best Seat Behind the House
It’s easy to sit back, relax, and enjoy a movie at a party like this. Plush pillows, blankets, and poufs offered the perfect place for guests to sprawl out and enjoy the film. We can’t let this one go without talking about the makeover they gave your typical movie snacks.
Guests grabbed cocktails housed in lidded jars (probably to prevent spills as much as to keep out germs), then headed to a heavenly seat where they would soon discover their own charcuterie boards. How would we ever choose between snacking from the chic balloon-bordered popcorn cart, the pampas grass topped candy cart, or the sweet cotton candy station? Click to see them all.
A Luxury Camping Experience
There were plenty of outdoor activities to love at this social-distanced birthday party, but the main event consisted of a movie screening from the comfort of each family’s very own tent.
Not to be confused with the type of tent you sleep in when you’re “roughing it” — these personalized mini-campsites offered each family their own s’mores kit, charcuterie boxes, inflatable lounge areas, and even some ombréd balloons and string lights as a treat for the eyes.
A Night (In) for the Ages
Small soirées have proven to be some of the most meaningful ways to celebrate a milestone — and this 50th birthday was certainly one to remember. We love how the outdoor movie night took social distanced entertainment to the next level with a touchless photo booth: just scan the Qr code to see your pics.
A pool-front screening of the guest of honor’s favorite film left guests feeling relaxed and carefree under the summer stars. The group of friends and family celebrated late into the night with individually packaged meals, craft cocktails, and spiked freeze pops — all enjoyed from the fluffiest of outdoor movie chairs.
photographer: Torey Hayden | planner & floral: Atelier de LaFleur | outdoor movie theater & photo booth: A Social & Co.
16. Convey Your Comfort Level in Color
No matter the safety precautions or circumstances, attending events after a year of immense social distancing can leave some people feeling on edge (and others feeling like a million bucks). These clear color indicators let others know if you’re open for a hug, would like to keep your distance, or if you fall somewhere in-between — all without the awkward two minutes of explaining to your longtime neighbor why you’re backing away from their embrace.
You’re going to see this wedding and event trend at plenty of celebrations in 2021 — and the best part is they come in all sorts of creative forms.
A Mask With Extra Meaning
Grey means go, black means stand back, and white means please stay 6 feet away. These were the color-coded indicators at this small corporate celebration. Each guest selected their mask with meaning as they entered the party, which saved them from uncomfortable interactions. It’s important to make sure your guests don’t feel pressured to adjust their perceived comfort levels with the norm of the group, and these face coverings were the perfect solution.
photographer: Mo Davis Photography | planner: Michelle Norwood Events | venue: New Orleans Pharmacy Museum | linen: Nuage Designs | invitations & print: Eglantine Rose Letterpress | furniture rentals: Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals
Oh, the Color You’ll Choose
We could go on about this Dr. Seuss-themed baby shower all day, but we’ll spare you the extra sentences and let you check out the photos for yourself. What we will highlight are the very clearly colored bracelets each guest was required to pick up before entering the party. The choice of neon wristbands in red, yellow, and green created socializing guidelines that were hard to confuse or forget — even after a few of those delicious milkshake martinis (you’ll see).
photographer: Shawn Connell Weddings | planner: In Any Event | décor: David Beahm Experiences | printed materials: Ceci New York | balloons: Balloon Design Studio | caterer: Creative Edge Parties | lounge: Taylor Creative Inc.
It’s Like a Pandemic on Your Wedding Day
“Love is infectious…Please wear your masks.” That was the quote sprawled across signage at this outdoor ceremony. It’s clear this couple didn’t try to belittle safety measures, especially when it came down to these color coded bracelets. We’re all for the intuitive red, yellow, and green system. If you can cross the road, you can understand the meaning of each brightly-hued accessory from a mile away.
RELATED: Latest Trends for an Inspiring Bat or Bar Mitzvah Party — Think Custom Food Trucks, Swag Essentials, and More
17. String Light “Tents” Are Ready to Dazzle
We’ve talked about guest lists getting smaller, and soirées gravitating outdoors — but what we haven’t discussed is the lighting trend that we’re seeing as a result of those two trends.
String light “tents” are the perfect way to frame a small (or large) celebration, without enclosing your guests from your yard or venue’s natural surroundings. We can’t think of anything dreamier than an evening beneath the stars — and string lights.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Tent
Las Catalinas, Costa Rica
This tropical wedding reception took place under uniformed rows of glistening string lights. The structure provided a home for the dining experience, rather than leaving the single table out in the open. But above all, it created the most mesmerizing dinner experience with a warm golden glow. We’d go as far as saying it’s one of the most romantic dining setups we’ve seen.
photographer: Sylvia Guardia – Destination Wedding Photographer | planner: Flores de Campos | design, décor & floral: Flores de Campos | lighting: Los Primos Designs | chair rentals: Costa Mesa | rentals: Los Primos Designs
Designs Imitating Nature
An awe-inspiring arrangement of string lights completely lit up this secluded garden reception, which took place in the middle of a greenery-dense island. The installation’s height made the intimate celebration feel absolutely grand, as the slightly curved “roof” drew guests’ gaze upwards with it’s illusion of an especially starry night.
photographer: James Phuket Best Photography | planner & floral: Unique Phuket Wedding Planners
Friday Night Lights
By day, this set up wowed guests with heaps of pampas grass and fall-inspired florals, rows of chic ghost chairs, and hints of red and pink roses. But by night, string lights that hovered above and around were what stole the show. The mirrored glass table beautifully reflected each sparkling light, creating the most incredible glow from all angles. It’s true: one incredible element can further elevate your entire event.
photographer: Anée Atelier | planner & floral: Pejy Kash Events | floral: Ivie Joy Floral Arts | venue: The Village Club at Lake Success | lighting: Universal Light and Sound NYC | rentals: Party Rental Ltd.; Great Neck Games Productions
We can’t think of anything dreamier than an evening beneath the stars — and string lights.
18. Traditional Checkered Dance Floors are Being Remixed
We can just hear wedding classics play as we envision couples twirling across black-and-white checkered dance floors. To our delight, these traditional designs are about to make a major comeback at events — but this time, they’re coming in color.
Whether you bring in bright checkered designs with linens, floor installations, wall coverings, or dance floors (when it’s safe to do so), prepare for these patterns to become the focal point of your celebration. After all, it’s not easy to peel your gaze away from these hypnotizing displays.
Growing Green With Ivy
Green was the theme of this tented wedding reception, and trust us, we’ve already marveled over every fresh detail. What’s especially memorable about this design is how the patterned dance floor totally transformed the space. The reception swapped one of two typically neutral checker colors for an ivy green that linked back to the entire celebration. We imagine guests felt like they were in the midst of a completely cohesive, unique, and astounding design as they swayed across the floor.
photographer: Twah Dougherty Photography | planner: The Lynden Lane Company | floral: Lark Farnum Design | dance floor: HCD Portable Dance Floors | lighting & draping: Amber Event Production | tent & structures: Bright Event Rentals | rentals: The Oni Collection; The Ark
Double Down on Your Pattern
From this photo alone, it’s clear this was a wedding reception unlike any other. The dance floor design included a clear nod to the 60s with animated flowers, while also maintaining the checkered pattern we love so much. This two-sided design goes to show, there are no limits when it comes to interpreting trends.
photographer: Hannah Pickle | planner: Vicki Evans Events | floral: Antigua Florals New Orleans | venue: NOMA | design support: BBC Creative Services | stage wrap: Ad Event Group | lighting & sound: Crescent Sound & Lights | rentals: Perrier Party Rentals; Distressed | Rentals & Revival; Luminous Events of New Orleans | linen: BBJ Linen
19. Find Your Seat With an Artful Installation
Place cards and table assignments are an evergreen event element, especially at weddings. We’ve loved watching them evolve over time from plain cards to large static charts back to escort cards, but with unique shapes and colors, all the way to stunning installations.
This year, we’re calling out the installations that let you find your seat in architectural style. From signs that sway to oversized clips, meet the suspended forms of signage that guests are not going to only need to look at — they’re going to want to stop and stare.
Signage That Stays Stationary
The ocean breeze only serve to make these installations more mesmerizing. White framework adorned by dried grass created a perfectly modern-meets-boho design for this secured seating chart. The sleek arrangement contrasted in the most whimsical way with the celebration’s serpentine ceremony aisle and plush pampas grass-filled reception.
An Installation to Suit All Styles
We love this design for any occasion, from dinner parties to birthdays, and of course, weddings. Oversized wooden clips held up scrolls of names that were able to sway every so slightly in the wind. Asymmetrical bouquets added the perfect touch of botanicals to the display. Somehow, this seating chart suits boho, modern, rustic, romantic, and vintage styles — all in one.
photographer: Matthew David Studio | planner: COJ Events | floral: Arrangements Design | venue: Indian Wells Golf Resort | lighting: The Lighter Side; Perfect Touch | rentals: Signature Party Rentals; Planks & Patina
20. The Silver Lining of Hosting at Home: Pets at the Party
We’re not through yet. After happily seeing hundreds of backyard weddings and at-home celebrations take place, we can no longer imagine these special milestones without our furry family members in attendance (special thanks to the amazing photographers that capture it all). Home celebrations mean it’s easier than ever to make bold choices. Introducing the 2021 wedding trend that’s here to make you smile: pets at the party.
May I Have This Dance?
This couple’s stunning courtyard-style backyard was the perfect spot for an exchange of vows and daytime celebration. Their handsome golden retriever, fitted in a sleek black bow tie, couldn’t resist joining in on their very first dance as husband and wife — and it looks to us like this little family is going to live happily ever after.
A Friendly (and Furry) Officiant
There are plenty of photos of this bride and groom with their two little pups (and we highly recommend going through every adorable frame), but the one we couldn’t resist was their fluffy friend smiling up between them as they said their “I do’s.” This wedding radiates sunshine from the technicolor florals that filled their backyard, to the couple’s first dance with their dogs, and we bet they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
photographer: Hannah Costello | planner: Heartthrob Weddings & Events | floral: Hannah Costello
Be Still, Our Corgi-Adoring Heart
Not only will this fun-loving couple remember their home’s rooftop as the spot where they wed, but their two very special family members became a major part of their day. From a day-of walk (pictured in the event) to the walk down the aisle, these good, bow tie-wearing boys kept the bride and groom laughing all day long. And to make it better, they were even the inspiration behind the wedding cake toppers (click to smile).
21. Welcome Back: The Year of the 80s and 90s Themes
Disco was so last year. In 2021, it’s going to be all about the rad 80s and the totally animated 90s. We’re predicting these two decades as major contenders for the year’s most popular party theme — and who could blame us?
These spunky and color-filled decades are the perfect crowd pleaser for a celebration of any size. As if we would forget to give you examples. Keep going for some major throwback party inspiration.
If It’s Good Enough for Draymond Green, It’s Good Enough for Us
An NBA star’s surprise birthday party took guests back in time — and took him back to his 90s childhood (see party trend #11 above). Graffiti art, a roller blade wall, arcade games, vintage poster clippings, and a Missy Elliott-inspired entrance were just a few of the elements that transported guests to the throwback era. Don’t miss Draymond Green’s truly inspired photo-spot where revelers get to star in their own show.
We especially love the prop wall that read: “Remember when we needed all of these to do what a single phone can do now?” The answer is yes, yes we do.
photographer: Joshua Dwain Photography | planner, design, décor & customizations: Exhilarate Experiential | venue: Dream Hollywood | balloons: Top Hat Balloon Werks | furniture: Revelry Event Designers | nostalgic props: Platinum Props
It’s Not Unusual to Have Fun (as a Fresh Prince)
Only true Fresh Prince of Bel Air fans will get that headline (watch “The Carlton Dance” if you’re not familiar — you can thank us later). Dances aside, this 90s sitcom-inspired birthday is the perfect example of why a good theme can make such a big impact at any size celebration. This backyard party had a small guest list, but a major design with a 90s fashion-inspired photo wall, dessert spread, balloon installation, and more.
photographer: Imagery By Jules Photography | planner: KeAira Chantell Events | floral: The Simon Design | cake: Deja vu Sweets | cake topper & charms: Ten23 Designs | custom décor: Elf’s Prop Shop | balloon art: Maggie Creative Design | caterer: Sensory Delights Catering | branding & stationary: Papered Wonders
Hanging Out in the Arcade
Look at this picture and repeat after us: it’s all in the details. This 80s-themed birthday used retro arcade-inspired lettering to create custom napkins, imprinted ice cubes, and drink stirrers in the guest of honor’s name. There are even a tetris guest book station and vintage gaming machines to enjoy during the party.
photographer: Janine Licare Photography | planner & design: Kate Siegel Fine Events | floral: Loop Flowers & Event Arts | caterer: Jessica Lasky Catering | signage & installation: Underwood Letterpress | rentals: Hensley Event Resources
Put on Your Best Neon
This party certainly hit us with its best shot, especially when it came to the sweet treats. PAC-MAN frosted cupcakes, a Rubik’s Cube-topped cake, and cassette-inspired fondant were a few details that we find totally rad. Don’t miss the legendary 80s artist-themed bars — and all of the guests’ outfits, of course. It’s safe to say each attendee walked into a total time warp — and we’re completely envious.
photographer: Show Ready Photo | planner: All Set Events | rentals: Blueprint Studios; Bright Event Rentals | lighting: Got Light | cupcakes: Shibby’s Cupcakes | cake: Shibby’s Cupcakes | entertainment: Boutique DJs & Entertainment