Connie Dryden, owner of Island Flowers, and Dewayne Ross, owner of Wedding Bliss Events, are members of the Galveston Bridal Group, a consortium of Galveston-based business owners who specialize in weddings and share space at 2328 Market St. in Galveston. They helped to compile this list of the top five wedding trends for 2020/2021:

CUSTOMIZED WEDDINGS

Cookie-cutter nuptials have given way to highly personal affairs, with couples incorporating special themes that are meaningful. Dryden sees a lot of fun Aggie- and Louisiana State University-themed weddings that incorporate school colors and other proud alumni touches.

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is a personalized goal for many couples looking to reduce the typically large carbon footprint of big weddings, Ross said. Couples are opting for vintage or heirloom engagement rings, eliminating leave-behinds such as favors, repurposing décor and just generally looking for more sustainable options, he said.

MORE INTIMATE WEDDINGS

“It used to be common for a bride to have 12 to 14 bridesmaids,” Dryden said. “But not anymore. I’ve even seen weddings where the bride and groom don’t even have attendants.”

The current COVID-19 crisis has eliminated large gatherings, and Ross believes that will translate into a trend of micro-weddings with no more than 50 people.

“Receptions are becoming less formal and more of a gathering,” he said.

INNOVATIVE EATING AND SEATING

Gone are the days of stuffy sit-down dinners at large, round, uniform tables. Today’s couples are more interested in informal seating arrangements with tables of different sizes and shapes scattered around the room.

Some couples are opting for conversation areas with sofas, settees and occasional tables, Dryden said.

Table décor leans more toward a “tablescape” concept with intriguing elements that play off each other rather than match identically. Big, individual centerpieces that hinder conversation are no longer preferred.

This all leads to more informal eating options, with many couples preferring cocktail hours with drinks and hors d’oeuvres over sit-down meals where everyone eats the same thing once they get beyond the usual choice of chicken or fish.

“Classic buffets are coming back,” Ross said. “Dessert stations in addition to wedding cakes are coming into play, and full bars with a signature drink are often a choice, too.”

The feel is more like a nightclub setting than a traditional wedding reception, Dryden said.

INTO THE CLOUD

One super-trendy wedding effect is “dancing on a cloud,” where the couples’ first dance, father-daughter or mother-son dance is enhanced with low-lying colored smoke coordinated with the music.

Darker Side DJs, another member of the bridal group, specializes in the effect, which creates a romantic, fairy-tale look both on the dance floor and in photos.

UPDATED REGISTRY

Bridal registries have long focused on household goods that help the newlyweds amass things they need to settle into married life. Today’s registry is geared more toward experiences than things, Ross said.

Instead of listing guest towels, slow cookers and tableware, couples instead are asking for cash, contributions to a honeymoon fund or even to a local charity in lieu of gifts.

Quick tip: What’s out?

Favors have fallen out of favor, and along with them have gone sign-in books, the bouquet/garter tosses, cameras on tables, receiving lines, over-the-top decorations with tulle and fake greenery and fireworks/sparklers, Dryden said. Church weddings also are on the decline, with more couples exchanging vows outdoors. 

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