It is indisputable that wedding trends for 2021 are going to be influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown of 2020. From helping the Maltese economy recuperate by rising up to the occasion for postponed weddings to down-sizing and adopting a more sustainable approach, the time we have spent locked up in our homes, unable to hug those we love will have a profound effect on how we choose to celebrate this day.
Lockdown has strained Maltese economy, having exposed the fact that our tiny island’s market heavily relies on import. In 2021 more couples will choose to buy local, supporting a network of suppliers and small but talented independent business owners that have grown and enhanced their products and services. Having been deprived from the traditional vendor-client relationship for so long, there is a newfound thrill in sourcing vendors directly. It has become a luxury to go to bridal salons to see and touch the fabrics, to walk through the venues in person, and to have a clearer hand with catering. Artisans and craftsmen will take precedence over big corporate brands like Amazon for jewellery, stationary and décor. Clients will now choose to invest in the economy at their doorstep because this is what we have learnt from this experience.
In the forthcoming years, whether local or a destination one, weddings take on a special meaning on the value of thankfulness. It is a good moment to stop and reflect on the sacrifices of many these past 12 months, on the good health and safety of our loved ones, and the opportunity to finally be able to celebrate. Subtle acts of gratitude are incorporated in thank you notes, be it on place setting biscuits and beautifully decorated notes or a memorable souvenir.
This closeness with the guests is further rendered in reviving treasured memories to make new ones. A defining feature of these weddings will be tradition. More couples will be celebrating their marriage ceremony in their childhood church, and opting for a small place they feel connected with for the wedding venue. Brides will be honouring their family legacy by wearing their mothers’ or another close relative’s wedding dress and donning jewellery of sentimental value, while ordering bouquets, sometimes even of wild flowers and weeds they can vividly recall from their juvenile years.
Another important element in weddings this coming year will be sustainability. To start off with, more and more couples will be opting for a locavore menu- consisting mostly of the freshest seasonal local produce in support of our growers and producers. For instance, a Maltese spring menu will comprise of crisp and fragrant greens and potatoes harvested from different regions on the island, while in summer, desserts are revamped to include the bittersweet flavours of nectarines and citrus downed with the customary shot of prickly pear liquor.
Venues will also be chosen with the environment in mind. Couples will be opting for beautiful and well-maintained gardens that look beautiful in their own right, without having to make purchases of lavish decorations that ultimately end up in a landfill. An increasingly popular option is that of using plants as decoration which can be taken by the couple or the guests to enjoy in their homes or planted elsewhere.
This goes as far as the bride and groom doing their due diligence in seeing from where and how their clothing for the day is produced. Does the designer house have the environment in mind? Is staff treated ethically behind the scenes? An ethical and more personal option would be for the bride and groom to design their own piece and have it made by a small-time professional tailor. Satin and traditional Maltese lace will be taking precedence over silk and imported lace varieties.
Lockdown has given many couples the opportunity to try their hand at something completely new. With budgets stretching further than ever before, they will be utilising their new skills with the help of close relatives to craft anything from decorations to souvenirs. Imagine creating an immersive ambience of macramé weaves or tulle and fairy lights, and gifting guests jars of homemade jams as a thank you for being a part of the special day. As destination wedding planners, we encourage couples to try this out and send over their creations for us to display them on their wedding day.
The build-up of 2020 weddings spilling into 2021 as well as budget considerations for couples who have been more stretched than expected will lead to an influx of invites to weekday weddings. Venues and suppliers are cheaper on weekdays and availability is more likely.
Finally, we’ll be seeing a lot of couples swaying to Etta James’ ‘At Last’ for their romantic first dance: a little tongue-in-cheek jab for having to postpone their big day.
It is evident that weddings in 2021 will be effected by the current health crisis and all the other things that surround it. Despite the sombre circumstances that surround this period, love should always be celebrated and perseverance should be admired and rewarded. So if your big day happens to fall in this coming year, remember to find something old, something new and something blue. And maybe something yellow and made by you.