Planning a COVID wedding? The gurus of wedding decor tell us what's trending now

Clothes, make-up and accessories apart, the design gurus of wedding décor tell us what’s changed in a post-pandemic ceremony
Backyard wedding by With Love, Nilma
Backyard wedding by With Love, Nilma

If the mainstay of wedding décor in the pre-pandemic era was about grandeur and OTT design, weddings now are all about intimate ceremonies, personalised experiences and attention to detail with an enormous focus on safety. So, if you have managed to resist the temptation of having a wedding over Zoom, you can now look forward to celebrating your big day with loved ones — fairy lights, layered backdrops and sanitisation stands all included. Destination weddings might be out of the question, but don’t lose heart. This year’s décor themes promise to make the occasion memorable, no matter where you choose to say ‘I do’. We spoke to five top wedding décor designers to understand what brides and grooms-to-be must keep in mind as they plan their nuptials.

The A-cube Project, Ambika Gupta, Chennai

Post-pandemic changes in wedding decor: With restrictions capping the number of people in attendance, clients are allocating bigger budgets for customised and highly detailed wedding decor. For a recent wedding that was inspired by an idyllic locale in Italy (known for its food, wine and olive oil) we transposed the rustic charm of the lovely countryside by including detailing in the form of olive oil bottles, lemons, checkered table cloth, cutting boards, wine bottles and bread to recreate the ambience.

Design directives: Rose gold wedding décor has been trending for a while now, and it’s the prettiest addition to any wedding colour palette. Whether you’re talking table décor, wedding cakes, or even engagement rings, it is always a good decision.

Next best thing to destination weddings: Explore the outskirts of the city you are in. Properties like old heritage villas, farmhouses, open lawns — they all lend their own unique charm.

Pre-COVID trend to keep: Themed weddings!

Pre-COVID trend to ditch: It’s time we gave cane furniture a break. While we all love the rustic vibe and the earthy undertones that wood and cane decor add, the trend has been overused. A master tip: Give yourself and your designer enough time to plan.

Atisuto Events, Sabah Sheikh, Mumbai

Post-pandemic changes in decor: With constraints on the number of guests in attendance, there is less wastage. Also, greater importance is being given to eco-friendly décor. And hence, we have been opting for sustainable materials. Safety norms to keep in mind: Safety is going to play a key role when it comes to wedding venues. Make sure your decorators check that all raw material and finished products are sanitised before they are put to use. Also, ensure that sanitising stations are allocated at every corner for all the guests during the ceremony.

Design directives: Some of the trending themes include classic monochromatic, boho-chic and layered backdrops.

Next best thing to destination weddings: Think about hosting ceremonies in your hometowns or even backyards and farmhouses. Imagine a beautiful garden wedding with planted aisles with neon and light-infused décor!

Post-COVID trends to keep: Safety measures dispensed in the most creative way possible and sustainability. A master planning tip: Do not change what you’ve always wanted. Just find a way to scale it down creatively.

Theme Weavers Design, Prerana Saxena, Delhi

Post-pandemic changes in wedding decor: At a recent ceremony that we designed, each table was set three meters apart and only four chairs were placed around a five-feet diameter table. Contactless pedal sanitsers were placed at the entry, at the buffet counter, and at each dining table. The clients, their guests, and our team were also given wristbands that were filled with a sanitiser. 

Design directives: Florals and crystals continue to be in vogue. Inspired by Isha Ambani’s wedding décor, floral peacocks, elephants, and large floral installations continue to be in demand. Marigold, lavender, pink carnation, pink roses, baby’s breath, pink daisies, blue and purple orchids, and pink hydrangea.

Trending themes: A sun-kissed poolside lunch at a wedding was inspired by the Italian-town of Ravello. The entire the set-up was done by the pool and the decor included blueprints and lemons that offering a refreshing feeling on a sunny day.

Next best thing to destination weddings: Since most weddings are being hosted in hometowns, to give it a feel of a destination wedding, local musicians and artisans are being roped in to add a destination wedding vibe to the celebrations.

Pre-COVID trend to keep: Themes are here to stay. Despite the social distancing norms, grand décor will always be preferred by the hosts. Installations, photo booths, and other décor elements are getting grander to create an impact.

With Love, Nilma, Nilma Deelipan, Bengaluru

Post-pandemic changes in wedding decor: We have had to relook at all our choices considering the current situation. Since flowers cannot be flown in from abroad, we are sourcing local flowers from our farmers. This reduces human contact and our carbon footprint. Small guest lists also reduce the amount of wastage and the overall set-up. A lot of families are coming together to make handmade props for weddings. We are also noticing people are moving back to using crockery and silverware, instead of disposable cutlery. In catering, there is a marked rise in the popularity of home chefs, small-scale caterers.

Design directives: Local, handmade and eco-friendly décor. We have been enhancing our set-up with props like pickle jars, urlis, lamps — little knick-knacks that you’d usually see in a home.

Next best thing to destination weddings: Find quaint venues and spaces which were not usually considered earlier. For a wedding next month, we are setting up in the private garden of a suite at a 5-star hotel. The garden has a stunning backdrop of trees. Earlier, one would have never considered it, since there are usually more than 50 guests. Small farmhouses, terraces and homes are go-to.

Pre-COVID trends to keep: Detailing and attention to specifics is something we can retain since everything is on a smaller scale now.

Abhinav Bhagat, Delhi

Post-pandemic changes in wedding decor: With smaller venues, focus has shifted to creating one or two highly detailed elements, instead of dressing up the whole location. Trendy and elaborate wedding mandaps and table centres are popular right now.

Design directives: Going local is a big new wedding trend we’ve seen in recent years. Sourcing Indian flowers from your nearest florist is a great way to put your personal stamp on the day. Expect to ‘smell’ scented florals like mogra and lotuses throughout in the upcoming year.

Trending themes: Go big with your use of colour. Liven up your space with bright, vibrant summer hues.

Pre-COVID trends to keep: We should stick with the intimate gathering format — they allow you to keep things chic and classy.

A master planning tip: Don’t invest in entrances and ceilings. Invest in mandaps, photobooths and table decor. Guests spend a lot more time around it and take more pictures around them. This way, your wedding will Instagram-perfect and will be on everyone’s timelines!

Aakar Wedding and Events, Anoop Singh, Delhi

Post-pandemic changes in wedding decor:  We planned a few weddings during the lockdown phase and have observed that clients are consciously spending on the elements that are truly important rather than going all out with their expectations. The need for too many elements or customisation has reduced drastically which has affected the wedding industry overall. 

Design directives: For mehendi functions, pop colours are the trend. People are opting for quirky, whimsical and candy colours like fluorescent pinks and greens along with silver and golden. Also, dramatised and oversized props are what is making up for a fun event. For the wedding look, metallic tones like a silver element is what people are pairing with beautiful tuberoses or the nargis flower.

Trending themes: The use of mirror and gota on the walls add to the glamour and femininity of the look. 

Pre-COVID trend to keep: Detailing and using unique props and elements. 

Pre-COVID trend to ditch: Opt-out when it comes to extra loud and huge setups.

A master planning tip: Guide your planner to execute exactly what you expect the wedding to be. The additional elements can be taken care by your planner according to his/her expertise.

With inputs from Rebecca Vargese, Ujjainee Roy & Ayesha Tabassum

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