Think destination events, intimate guest lists, and…tossing tradition.

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A new year means a fresh perspective and lots to look forward to, especially if turning the calendar means it will finally be your wedding year. Although your Big Day may seem far away (daily countdown, anyone?), now is the time to start planning while incorporating trends that the experts are forecasting. From event planners to wedding pros, we have insider advice on what to look forward to—and start planning for—if you're having a 2022 wedding.

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Pre-Wedding Toasts

Although toasts traditionally occur during the reception, there is a trend towards moving them to more intimate events. "We are seeing a shift more and more where toasts are taking place during the rehearsal dinner instead," says Meredith Ryncarz, owner of Meredith Ryncarz Photography in Savannah, Georgia. "This provides for a great opportunity for more intimate speeches and less awkward inside jokes that no one else understands." Of course, a big plus about moving toasts is that it allows more time to dance and catch up with folks during the reception. But, of course, you can still do a short, simple toast so that your guests can raise a glass.

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Curated Guest Lists

As a result of the pandemic, couples have felt more freedom about culling the number of attendees. "Most of our 2022 couples are planning more intimate weddings with 50 or fewer guests, which is allowing them to stretch their budgets in other ways," states Amanda Mejias, owner of Flora Bloom Photography in Orlando, Florida. Smaller weddings—also known as micro weddings—give couples the freedom to spend in more areas, such as flowers and specialty vendors, instead of having an extensive food and beverage bill.

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Weekday Events

Another trend borne out of 2020 and 2021 cancellations is the presence of off-day events. Couples postponed their wedding dates, and, of course, folks continued to get engaged, which resulted in high competition for weekend weddings. "Date availability is slimmer than ever for couples planning their 2022 weddings," advises Bri Marbais, bridal stylist at The Bridal Finery in Winter Park, Florida. "Many venues and hotels are completely depleted of weekend dates for the upcoming year." Other services, such as photography and planning, are also booking quickly, so start securing your vendors as soon as you can.

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Destination Weddings

Getaway weddings are growing in popularity, as a smaller guest count offers more flexibility with location. Marbais is noticing that cooped-up folks are ready to get out of town and have a change of scenery. "Having a destination wedding offers the couple and their guests not only the time to celebrate the marriage itself but a vacation all wrapped into one," she says. Also, don't let the term "destination" mislead you. Many couples are escaping to nearby towns or fabulous Southern cities for their big day instead of jetting overseas.

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Multi-Day Experiences

Consider spreading it out over a few days when you're planning a getaway wedding—or one in your hometown. While everyone is in town, seize the opportunity to schedule pre- and post-wedding events. "Having a three-day weekend experience that allows guests to not only celebrate with you on the wedding day but to create some additional memories with friends and family," says Bobbi Brinkman, owner of Bobbi Brinkman Photography, in Savannah, Georgia.

Sarah Horne of Anthem House Events in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, has also noticed this trend. "I believe 2022 will have couples planning their wedding with smaller guest counts adding in more experiences than just the single wedding day." Additionally, her couples are booking local rental homes and hosting everything from wedding parties to farewell brunches for their guests.

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Tossing Traditions

Today's couples are beginning to wonder the "why" behind many wedding traditions, so if you don't want to incorporate an expected element, don't. "Many couples are now opting out of wedding day staples such as the bouquet toss, the garter grab, and even the formal reception introductions," offers Mejias. "Couples are choosing instead to be more guest-focused and making sure their guests are having a good time." Swapping traditions and focusing on the experience will cause folks to look back on your day fondly.

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Bold Color Palettes

Muted tones have been popular for years, so the emergence of bright color schemes is a welcome one. "Recently, we have seen a lot of couples going with a bolder color palette," says Horne. "Whether that's earth tones or more vibrant colors, some couples want to veer away from the traditional look and bring in a design that will stand out." So use whatever scheme inspires you, whether that's a fully vibrant palette, bold monochromatic tones, or unexpected pops of color.

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Gold Tones

Rose gold, move over, there's a new (ok, well old) metallic in town: gold. Gold is one of the most traditional hues, but after years of standing in the background, the color is making a resurgence. Laura Maddox, the owner of Magnolia Celebrates in Atlanta, Georgia, is seeing the tone everywhere. She says, "Gold is 100% in right now. Gold chairs, gold flatware, gold chargers, gold in the linens, etc. It's making a comeback!" The hue blends with every style of wedding, whether you adore classic touches or modern styling.

bride and groom with mariachi band
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Specialty Wedding Vendors

Of course, your big day requires staple wedding professionals, such as a venue and caterer, but couples are now incorporating unique vendors. "We're starting to see a lot of our couples bringing in unique vendors that aren't part of a traditional wedding day team," says Mejias. "There's also been a shift toward providing more entertainment for reception guests. This could be in the form of performers or even interactive stations." Her recent couples have included live event painters, dueling pianos, and beer burros into their receptions, all of which have resonated well with guests.

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Statement Details

Smaller weddings equal more room within the budget to splurge on extras and unique details, such as floral installations and specialty rentals. Horne suggests neon signage, personalized wedding menus, and lavish guest book displays. Ryncarz has also noticed this trend. "From beautiful residential chandeliers used to fill the reception space to comfortable seating and custom throw pillows, the intent is to bring a bit of comfort and nostalgia into the wedding space," she says. Unexpected details and thoughtful touches will elevate your 2022 wedding for both you and your guests.