The wedding and event industry has seen countless trends come and go with the times, from doughnut walls to burlap-clad Mason jars. Yet, nobody knew what to expect when COVID struck and changed the very fabric of live events.
As we approach the later stages of the pandemic and see events coming back in full form, there are a number of trends that have risen out of the circumstances that are here to stay. In many cases, these trends were born out of necessity—and some will continue to become industry shifts that last well beyond the lifespan of the average trend.
Editors are privy to the many trends that span the industry, providing insight into what to expect in certain regions, age groups, and other demographics.
Here are the five hottest trends to know for 2022 and beyond and what each means for event professionals and their clients’ experiences.
Perhaps one of the biggest trends to come from the pandemic, micro-weddings were actually on the scene before COVID. However, it wasn’t until group restrictions were mandated that they skyrocketed in popularity. Since small weddings of 50 people or less were possible, many couples cut their guests lists and went on with their nuptials.
In that, people have realized the beauty and freedom associated with micro-weddings. They see that their dollars can stretch further, allowing for an intimate atmosphere and more customization opportunities. Event professionals should be prepared to keep up the momentum with micro-wedding offerings for years to come, as we anticipate this to become an ongoing shift in couples’ preferences.
As the industry’s focus moves to Generation Z and younger millennials, sustainability must be considered in all aspects of an event. Today’s market recognizes the importance of protecting our planet, and their planning decisions reflect this mindset. From electric vehicles for guest transportation to venues fueled by solar power, the modern client is mindful of how their actions impact the environment.
For businesses, this means finding ways to eliminate or reduce their carbon footprint and offer eco-friendly solutions, like plant-based menus, plantable invitations, and plastic-free goods. As a result, prospective clients will be more inclined to book with vendors who will support and enhance their mission, whether it’s a zero-waste wedding or a vegan luncheon.
Diversity & Inclusion
Just as the modern event client is mindful of their environmental impact, they are also hyper-aware about social issues impacting people of color and LGBTQ+ communities. Gen Z and millennials are passionate about their values, and they expect to book professionals that share their perspectives. They want to make a difference and support meaningful causes, and their weddings and events are an extension of this mindset.
To remain relevant, event professionals must be more vocal about their values and share the causes that matter to them. Potential clients will look for a business’s philanthropic efforts to ensure their preferred vendors give back to charities and invest in their communities out of an authentic desire to help.
The pandemic revealed how much we can truly do online, and there’s no going back now. Today’s market expects the ability to conduct business virtually. They also want to embrace event technology to boost the guest experience, like live-streaming a wedding ceremony or keynote speech for guests who could not attend.
From contracts and invoices to design meetings, successful event businesses must have digital solutions in place to optimize the client experience. How this looks will vary from business to business. For example, an A/V company may invest in video mapping technology, whereas a planner might adopt a robust software program to allow for seamless collaboration. Regardless of your specialty, using tech to simplify your clients’ lives and enhance their celebrations will keep them coming back for more.
While this trend connects to eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness, it’s also tied into a client’s emotional response to their celebration. Whether it’s a wedding, a retirement party, or a quinceañera, people want to remember their events for years to come. So beyond photos, reusable décor provides hosts (and, in some cases, their guests) with keepsakes to take home and preserve their memories.
We’ve recently seen this trend hit the floral industry as dried flowers rise in popularity, particularly for weddings. Many couples host multiple celebrations, so dried floral arrangements allow them to save money and use the same bouquets for all events. On a similar note, artificial blooms—like silk and linen flowers—are getting new life, with today’s options looking better and more realistic than ever before.
These trends are positioned to evolve into a long-lasting shift in the industry, as they are rooted in the modern client’s values rather than surface-level aesthetics. Pretty is nice, but it’s not enough — a celebration must also feel personal to be a success.
Lead photo courtesy Diego Taroni Photo27