6 DIY-able Decor Trends for Home and Virtual Weddings

updated Sep 23, 2020
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Jennifer Larsen and her now-husband Ryan's minimony ceremony.

Celebrations have looked a little different this year, to say the least. But dwindled numbers of IRL guests and venue shifts from hotel ballrooms to backyards have also come with a number of new decorating styles and traditions that wedding industry pros and couples alike are buzzing about. We asked experts to dish on the small wedding trends they’ve seen pop up this year and that they expect to continue making waves through 2021 (no matter what happens with COVID-19 guidelines).

Credit: I Spy DIY

Potted plants as decoration

After choosing to postpone their larger celebration to 2021, New Jersey wedding photographer Jennifer Larsen and her now-husband Ryan wed in a mini-mony in a local park in July. While they enlisted a florist to create some of the day’s arrangements, like the bride’s bouquet, they also placed houseplants in rattan baskets on a boho-chic rug at the altar. 

You can create your own homey, relaxed vibe by integrating this low-key take into your wedding day decor. Plus, an added perk of using potted plants: “When hosting a wedding at home, incorporating decor that you can also incorporate into your home afterward is such a sweet way to surround yourself with wedding day memories,” Larsen says. 

Take a cue from the photographer and newlywed by creating your own centerpiece using a cluster of potted succulents, as Jenni Yolo demonstrated on her blog, I Spy DIY.

Outdoor games and activities

With no clear end in sight for the era of social distancing, many couples throwing at-home weddings will continue to nix a dance floor, predicts Albany, New York-based wedding photographer Michelle Lange. Instead, brides and grooms will likely opt for safer, yet equally memorable ways to celebrate with smaller groups of friends and family outdoors after their ceremony. “Yard games, different seating areas for guests to mingle safely at a distance, and s’mores around the fire are just a few [trends] that I can see making a repeat appearance for the rest of 2020 and into 2021,” Lange says. 

Want to get in on the fun? When it comes to a classic lawn game guaranteed to please any and every guest, cornhole is a go-to. Take things up a notch by building a custom set that you can paint in a palette that matches your other wedding day decor, with help from Laura Gummerman on A Beautiful Mess.

Accentuating your home’s existing features

If you’re getting married at home, you should embrace it wholeheartedly in your ceremony setup and decor, says Los Angeles floral designer Schentell Nunn. “Don’t try to change your home,” she says. “It’s special because it’s yours, so use flowers and decor to enhance what’s already going on.” 

For instance, if you have a stunning fireplace, Nunn suggests installing an attention-grabbing floral installation across the mantle. Alternatively, if you’re obsessed with your sofa and the windows that frame it, curate a decorative display of family photos and heirlooms for those windowsills.

Another idea: transforming a chandelier you already have hanging in your home into a gorgeous, floral-adorned work of art. Find out on Sugar and Cloth how Erin Francois of Francois et Moi did just that, creating a garland for a fixture above her dining table.

Floral backdrops

Once you gussy up a plain outdoor wall or fence with hanging flowers or greenery, there’s a whole lot you can do with it on your wedding day. Use it as a backdrop for your ceremony altar, prop your cake and champagne in front of it for Zoom toasts with faraway family, or leave a Polaroid camera and props nearby so your handful of in-person guests can use it as a photo booth. Or, you know, you can also do all of the above, changing the area’s function throughout the night. 

New York City-based planner Fallon Carter says the trend is “fun and easy” to execute, and suggests stringing palm leaves, sunflowers, or dahlias. 

Ready to make it happen? Over on her blog, Eclectic Spark, Jackie Kelly-Tan dished on how to make a DIY floral wall hanging of your own using a branch, twine, and faux flowers.

Abundant candlelight

Many wedding venues either don’t allow or seriously limit the number of real flame candles couples are able to use to decorate their ceremony and reception spaces. But, of course, when it comes to getting married at home, you get to make the rules! That means you can ditch the battery-operated LED candles and add instant romance with the glowing light of open flames, something Boston area floral designer Erica Jones, of O Luxe Design, says she’s been seeing many couples take advantage of. “At a recent home wedding, our couple’s tablescape included candles of all styles together—floating, pedestal, pillar, and votive—all of which augmented the ambiance as the sun went down,” she says. 

If you’re inspired by Jones’s candle-forward tablescape vision, Liz Marie Galvan showed how to make a guaranteed-to-wow wood centerpiece that holds 21 candles on her blog, Liz Marie Blog.

Even more personalized elements

With a short guest list and their home as their venue, many couples are taking advantage of the added room in the budget to infuse meaningful touches into their day that wouldn’t be possible at a 200-person wedding. As Brooklyn-based planner Jove Meyer puts it, “Small at-home weddings will be more personal. Think handwritten notes, thoughtfully curated menus, and more food than ever before.” 

Whether you whip up each guest’s favorite cocktail or send your small group off with gift bags filled with customized, hand-picked goodies, simple touches like these will make your event all the more distinctive, while also showing loved ones how glad you are they made it there. One more idea: Set the table with these DIY embroidered napkins, from blogger Lauren Saylor of A Fabulous Fete, which serve as place cards and personalized keepsakes that guests can take home.

The Apartment Therapy Weddings vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Crate & Barrel.