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Fewer guests and bite-sized cakes: Post-pandemic wedding trends for 2021

New priorities are reshaping the ways that couples say "I do."

CLEVELAND — Heading to a wedding this summer? You may notice some changes from the last ceremony you attended.

“Micro” or “Pop-Up” weddings were just coming onto the scene when everything shut down. Now they’ve exploded in popularity for good reason.

“I think after a pandemic, everybody’s priorities have changed,” says Kattie Cool, owner of Haus of Cool

Cool started her company in 2018 and says that while the first few years were slow, pop-up weddings with smaller guest lists have recently made attendees more comfortable and allow for more interaction with loved ones. 

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“They just want to focus on what’s important at that moment, because you never know what could be taken away from you.”

Outdoor venues are also in greater demand post covid, with many booked solid through 2023. That’s helped to spark the new trend of weddings on non-traditional days, such as Sundays, or even mid-week.

“What we’ve been doing is Friday, Sunday, and Thursday to account for that because of low dates this year,” says Faith Folayan, founder and creator of This Love Weddings.

And when it comes to food, big portions and buffets are out. Bite-size foods are in, especially when it comes to dessert.

“With weddings, there’s been a break in the traditional, all you can have cake-type mentality,” according to Shelby Costo of Sweet Costo Bakery.

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She sees more couples moving away from cake entirely and choosing cupcakes, cookies or pastries, such as cream puffs. There’s also a request for boxed dessert “to-go.”

“I’m also doing a couple of weddings where we’re doing individual s’mores for each person at the wedding. And it’s a way to truly reflect the couple and what they enjoy eating together, versus 'well, you have to have cake, because it’s a wedding,'” she said.

Invitations are changing too. Deanna Sukalac of Rose Gold Studios has seen a demand for new palettes and much brighter colors.

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“People are just excited to party again. And it’s reflected in the bright oranges, bright blues, bright purples, and greens. Colors that really haven’t traditionally been wedding colors. Very vibrant, very full of life. And that is going back to the couple’s style and personalities as well,” she said.  

Bright colors may be in, but dates are out on items like cocktail napkins, keepsakes and signage. A lesson from 2020 that your big day will still be beautiful, no matter what day it happens.

One last trend is evident in the challenge to go local, or support small businesses campaign, often visible on social media. 

After a very difficult year and a half, couples want to give back and support those in their local community.

Here’s your chance too:

Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a story published on June 29, 2021.