The Best 2021 Wedding Reception Trends

A disco ball and twinkle lights at an outdoor wedding reception.

After quarantining for the majority of 2020 due to COVID-19, many couples were forced to cancel or postpone their weddings. 2021 has been a year jam-packed with all of the weddings that were unable to happen the year prior, and with a new year of weddings comes a new year of reception trends! The following are some of the most popular trends we’ve seen this year—and some that may stick around for years to come.

An Intimate Guest List

Crowded indoor weddings with a hefty guest list may be a thing of the past. Although there has been less restrictions for weddings this year, people are still playing it safe and keeping their guest list short and sweet. This serves as a good reminder that weddings are less about the party and more about the love shared between you and your new spouse.

Outdoor Receptions

An outdoor tented wedding reception.

In addition to smaller guest lists, people have also been hosting outdoor weddings in order to maintain social distancing. Even many indoor wedding venues have beautiful outdoor spaces to take advantage of. If you’re worried about the weather, a tent is a really great option. At first thought, tents may seem too informal for nicer receptions, but there are plenty of ways to dress them up with florals, lights, and décor.

Food Trucks and Plated Dinners

While buffet catering has always been a popular way to serve dinner at large weddings, many couples have been opting for plated dinners and food trucks this year for safety reasons due to COVID-19. With plated dinners, the food is brought right to your seat, eliminating the need for hundreds of guests to be touching the same serving utensils. Food trucks also offer a safer alternative, allowing guests to stand in socially-distanced lines outside. The trucks are a perfect concept for outdoor weddings, rather than having to worry about pesky bugs surrounding food as it sits on tables.

Pampas Grass

Pampas grass at a wedding reception.

This feathery floral rose to décor fame around 2019, and has been a popular addition to weddings ever since. While they are most commonly used for boho-style weddings, their versatility allows them to be used for more modern and romantic themes as well. Pampas are easy to maintain, and their neutral colors make it easy to pair them with many other florals. The possibilities are endless for these beautiful stems. They make stunning centerpieces, add texture to bouquets, and are a wonderful way to dress up the bar.


We know your photographer has the professional photos covered, but a photobooth can help engage your guests of all ages. For those who don’t like to dance, a photobooth is an alternative means to get them out of their seats. Not only are they fun to be a part of, but they can also double as wedding favors. There are many different options when it comes to choosing the right photobooth for your wedding. A standard photobooth with a backdrop is a good idea if you have limited space or if you’re on a budget. There are also old vans that have been repurposed into photobooths, which adds a unique experience to an outdoor reception. And don’t forget the props! Providing props and signs for guests to hold up is a bonus and makes the experience and photos that much better.

Neon Signs

A neon sign that says

A neon sign is the perfect addition to a photo backdrop, bar décor, or to simply light up your reception space. The sign can display your new last name or a cute saying such as “Drunk In Love” or “Happily Ever After.” The best part about a neon sign is that it can be displayed in your home once your wedding is over.

Champagne Walls

Whether it’s a do-it-yourself or a rental, champagne walls have been all the rage this year. To take your creativity up a notch, champagne walls can also double as seating charts. Each glass has a name and table number attached to them, which lets your guests know where they are sitting, while also giving them a warm welcome to your reception. Dress the wall up with beautiful florals or a lot of greenery to match the theme and color scheme of your wedding.

Dessert Options

A dessert table at a wedding reception.

It’s frustrating to spend hundreds of dollars on a large wedding cake, just to see all of the pieces of it untouched at tables. Many couples are ditching the expensive wedding cakes and turning to a smaller cutting cake for pictures, along with a dessert table for the guests. Instead of just cake, your guests will enjoy the variety of options like donuts, cookies, cupcakes, and more. A cute donut wall display would also make for some good pictures!

Sweet Favors

This past year, we have seen couples offer a “to-go” bag for desserts as favors. A table filled with different types of cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and more are up for grabs. Many guests love this idea because it gives them something to snack on during post-wedding festivities—and who doesn’t love a delicious late-night snack?

DIY Décor

A wood sign at an outdoor wedding that says

Although many people are using décor rentals to save money, even renting items can become pricey. Couples are getting their creative juices flowing and turning to their Cricut machines or paint brushes to design their own wedding signage. Popular wedding signs we’ve seen are welcome signs, bar signs, and even signs with their favorite love quotes on them. In addition to signage, DIY centerpieces have also been a favorite, whether it be lanterns, hand-picked florals, and everything in between.

Live Streaming

Zoom, Skype, or any other streaming apps allow loved ones to be part of your wedding even if they are unable to attend in-person. This has become very popular after couples have been forced to cut down their guest lists. It’s a good way to help people feel more included and allow them to witness your love from the comfort of their own home.

2021 has proven that although the pandemic may have thrown a wrench in their wedding plans, couples were still able to make the adjustments they see fit to have the wedding of their dreams. We see many of these trends continuing on into the next wedding season, and hope couples will leave their stress behind and focus on what really matters most: their marriage and the love they share!

The post The Best 2021 Wedding Reception Trends appeared first on Weddingbee.