Wedding season is fast approaching, and whether you're planning your own big day or you're preparing to attend a handful of receptions, the trends you can expect to see this year are already surfacing. Think matte metallics, bright flowers, plenty of greenery, and tasteful DIY elements. "We always tell couples that it's your day, so do what you love," says Vishal Joshi, CEO of the free wedding website and app Joy. While there is no reason to conform to anything simply because it's on trend, crafting a theme and understanding your personal style can significantly streamline the wedding planning process.
Ahead Joshi explains the colors, textures, flowers, and details for the perfect wedding reception décor.
According to Joshi, string lights are an increasingly popular trend. "Weave them over your dance area or above outdoor tables to infuse the entire area with an air of festivity," he says. This sparkling accessory goes well with both modern and rustic settings, and Joshi points out that most venues will offer them as part of a package, so be sure to ask what options are available when booking your venue.
"The flower arrangements that work best are the ones that make you the happiest," Joshi says. Keep this in mind when designing your bouquets and centerpieces. "Flowers have a unique ability to completely alter the aesthetic and overall feel of a room, so if you don't feel personally attached to the flowers you select, then you won't feel as passionate about the overall space." However, there are some logistical factors to keep in mind as well. "You have to consider the season and the place you are having your wedding, of course, which will reduce your overall choices but hopefully will blend well with the surroundings and settings," Joshi explains.
"People often make a mistake of thinking about menu elements or place cards in isolation," Joshi says. Instead, she recommends that couples think about their wedding style holistically, this way you'll save time when thinking about each detail and every aspect of the reception will feel connected. "Whether a bold floral or modern stone theme, the idea is to have an initial inspiration from which you can draw when making decisions for various accessories."
"We are also seeing a lot of hanging botanicals—and frankly more greenery in general," Joshi notes. "It appeals to environmentally conscious millennials and their principles." He suggests that this mentality may also explain the increasing movement toward digital save the dates and invitations, as opposed to traditional stationery.
When it comes to creating the perfect atmosphere, lighting is key. Along with string lights, Joshi names candles, lanterns, backlights, and LED lights as trending wedding reception décor. If you go for candles, Joshi suggests using the element to signify different parts of the evening, as well as setting the mood. "We love the idea of having staff circulate and light the candles as the lights begin to dim later into the evening—it really helps separate the event into two distinct phases," he says.
For a fairy-tale look, go for lanterns. "Try hanging lanterns on trees or simply make them centerpieces on the table for a unique style dynamic."
Along with hanging botanicals and other plant-based wedding reception décor, Joshi indicates that outdoor weddings, in general, are on the rise. Consider a relaxed outdoor reception where nature takes center stage as the backdrop to your big day. "As weddings continue to move outdoors, greenery is a very organic part of that evolution," Joshi says.
"Table settings are an easy way to make your wedding feel cohesive via a theme," Joshi explains. This year, trending wedding reception décor includes slate, marble, and granite placemats, matte finishes of gold, silver, and copper, and bold florals. "In the past, couples used to feature pastel roses often, but we're seeing a shift toward bolder colors like red, orange, dark blues, and violets when it comes to flowers at weddings," Joshi says.
When it comes to the wedding favors, don't be afraid to play with a little DIY flair. "DIY wedding favors are an awesome way to save on costs but also give your guests a gift that feels extra personal," says Joshi. Think homemade jam, mini s'mores kits, soap, potpourri, or flower seeds. "Anything that shows off your passions is a good way to infuse your wedding with a little something extra."
In addition to homemade offerings for guests, incorporate personal touches through other aspects of the reception. "While a bit cliche, mason jars are a really fantastic go-to if you're looking for something inexpensive and simultaneously rustic chic," suggests Joshi. Try filling jars with sand, shells, flowers, or lights for a unique centerpiece.
If you're a wine connoisseur, think about utilizing old bottles for holding table numbers, flowers, or serving as decoration. Joshi suggests painting them a matte color that fits with the rest of your décor. You can also create a guest book that serves as a scrapbook for the day, filled with photos of you and your love. Anything handwritten, from the table assignments to the place cards, adds something special.
"It’s worth noting that a 'theme' doesn’t have to be limited to two colors or one specific shape—it can encompass many different elements in a dynamic way," Joshi says. Let your personality shine and incorporate aspects that define who you are and what you love as a couple. "Don’t feel like you have to conform to any one concept if that’s not your style."