2020 Wedding Trends

Hosting weddings is truly a great joy for our team. We take pride in assisting with the details of a couples’ day, from rehearsal through sparkler send-off. The best part is seeing the couple with their families and friends, and the outpouring of love and emotion as two individuals start their journey together. Call us sappy, but what can we say – we love LOVE.

On the planning side, a neat part of the job is seeing the vision from couple to couple, and comparing trends from year to year. For 2020, we’re noticing some overlap in wedding trends – which also fit the bill of our venue. For example, incorporating locally-sourced fare and drinks fit with the sustainable culture of Airlie. These are also wedding trends that planners are taking note of on a national scale as well – but while it’s nice to be “in” or “trendy,” don’t be fooled – Airlie has been a steward of the land for many years. Regardless, it’s great to be in sync with a couple and fit into their big day vision as host venue. Read on to take note of our full list of 2020 wedding trend predictions.


Virginia Garden Wedding / Becca B Photography

We started to see this a bit in 2019, and it has been all the rage in styled shoots (a good barometer for upcoming trends) for a couple of years now, so we’re excited to say that color is back! From bright florals to glassware, linens, and China, couples are focusing on bringing beautiful hues into their day. Also, remember that electing a color theme for your wedding doesn’t mean it has to touch every aspect. If you prefer a more muted style for dresses and ties, you can choose a pop of color for bouquets, seating, or place settings.

Boho Island Wedding / Sarandipity Photography

Bold Florals / Experiential Florals / Non-Traditional Florals
In alignment with the color, is this growing floral trend, described in a few different ways: 1. Big. Think grand, complex centerpieces of differing heights; eye-catching bouquets, and lots of additional floral details. 2. Show-stopping, bright, or non-traditional blooms. 3. Florals in other aspects of the day such as cake design or even bridesmaid getting-ready robes. We know that florals and weddings have gone hand in hand since the beginning, but it’s fun to see the trends evolve and grow over time. What’s next?

Say Cheers
Ohhh Bubbly Bar, how we love you. Like the donut wall, but better. In addition to inventive drink delivery continuing as a trend, we’re seeing locally sourced bar menus more as well. As sustainable living trends continue, so does a concerted effort to integrate them into all aspects of our lives – including events. Couples may choose a cocktail from our regular menu, or work with our team to create their own – using garden fresh herbs, house made simple syrups, and other natural ingredients. We regularly source herbs from our Organic Garden to conceptualize cocktails for Harry’s, so checking out our seasonal cocktail menu there is a good place to start. Additionally, we collaborate with regional breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries to carry product which allows our couples to incorporate the signature element of local via their beverage selections.


Food Trends: Comforting and Customized
Wedding customization trends will never cease to impress us. Seemingly every aspect tells a story and contributes to the overall theme of the day – the couple and their journey to this point as they begin a new chapter. At Airlie, our catering menus are completely customizable, and also utilize seasonal ingredients from Airlie Berkshire Farm as well as from our network of local purveyors. Couples could choose to incorporate a memorable entree from their first date, their favorite meal to make together, or even their favorite comfort food. Speaking of comfort food, we’ve had more and more requests for making relaxed fare a part of the celebration. We’re in! Taco bar anyone?


Virginia wedding venue Airlie illustration / Stephanie Dee Photo

Illustrations and Hand Lettering
Invitation suites make some of the most beautiful photos. Often times, our couples have a hand-drawn illustration of Airlie House don their invitations or save-the-date cards. Each time, the image is different, and we love to see all the versions. Including an illustration or element of design on this correspondence is a guests’ first impression of what your wedding day will be like. It gives them a sneak peek into your style and theme for the day. Beyond a drawing of your venue, illustrations could range in variety. Beyond a drawing itself, hand lettering is also immensely popular. From invitations to envelopes to place cards and signage, custom writing is a trend that’s not going anywhere anytime soon.


Intimate Celebrations
There are two ways to look at this trend. One is the fact that we’ve seen guest counts dip a bit over the last two years (average of 100 when our max is 180). Couples are opting to go big on customization (across planning elements) and drop their numbers to accommodate budget. Makes sense. The feeling of togetherness, however, is brought to the forefront of planning no matter what the guest count is determined to be. How do you make 100 people feel relaxed, comfortable, and engaged with not only the couple but with the rest of the invitees? Seating is one way. Long farm tables can seat more than rounds, and allow for more connection. You feel closer to the people both next to you and across. Florals are often set up as lower arrangements or running the length of the table which also allows for engagement to take place more naturally. “Almost every couple hosting a wedding at Airlie are mixing in the long family-style tables with the traditional round tables, we love seeing this new trend work so well with our Pavilion,” says Clare Pennington, Airlie Catering Sales Manager.


Attending Cocktail Hour
Gone are the days of replacing the party with photography – during cocktail hour anyway. Couples are making a concerted effort to join in on the fun as soon as possible.

Clare notes, “A large handful of our couples are ditching the traditional cocktail hour photos and attending the party early. As a Catering Sales Manager we love to see our couples enjoy in all the aspects of the wedding they spent months planning!”

The first look concept (ah-mazing in our opinion) has allowed for a lot of the formal shots to be captured prior to the ceremony including those of the couple, wedding party, and sometimes immediate family. That frees up a lot of time for the couple to attend cocktail hour, start mingling, and likely snap a number of more relaxed shots with guests. Win-win!


Thoughts on our 2020 wedding trend predictions? Give us a shout on social media @airlieva. We’d love to hear from you. Have you just begun the planning process? Check out our blog for recently engaged couples and click over to our galleries. Searching for a Northern Virginia wedding venue? Visit our weddings page.

Photo credits: Stephanie Messick, Becca B. Photography, Sarandipity Photography, Photos by Kintz, Sarandipity Photography, Stephanie Dee Photography, Amanda MacPhee, Amanda MacPhee