Millennials are putting their own spin on wedding traditions, and doing “I do” their way. As more and more Millennials walk down the aisle, and more of their peers are attending weddings, this influx of brides, grooms, attendants, and guests is a boon to some brands—so we’re continuing to keep tabs on the trends the new generation of brides and grooms are ushering in. According to our research, 9 in 10 18-33 year olds have been to a wedding, and almost half (45%) will be or already have attended a wedding this year. As Millennials take over the wedding world, we asked them to tell us what, if any, new wedding traditions or trends they have noticed lately. Here are five they told us:
1. Experience Over Tradition
Not too surprisingly, throwing tradition to the wind was a major theme that Millennial wedding-goers say they’re seeing at nuptials today. One 32-year-old female says that brides and grooms are “making it more about the experience and less about tradition.” “Non-traditional” came up again and again, when talking about cakes, dresses, ceremonies, engagement rings and more. The traditions that are being phased out were also frequent mentions. One 32-year-old male says there’s, “No more ‘I now for the first time introduce you to Mr. and Mrs.'s Male Name,’” and a female 24 year old says “no tossing of bouquet.”
2. Hashtags Everywhere … Except For Unplugged Weddings
Almost 4 in 10 (37%) Millennials who have been to a wedding say that the couple incorporated social media in some way, and we have seen the rise of wedding hashtags for some time now. Many of the Millennials we spoke to told us that hashtags are a major trend, and hashtag signage can now be purchased on Etsy to tell guests exactly what they should be including when posting those reception pics to Instagram. However, another trend is on the rise that takes all the hashtagging out of the day. Perhaps to stand out, or to keep some things private (imagine!), some are choosing to have “unplugged” weddings, asking guests to put away their phones and be present in the moment. One 25-year-old female told us she’s seeing “tech-free ceremonies (no cameras other than the hired pro).”
3. Saying Yes to the Non-White Dress
Though parent company Anthropologie’s sales are a “disappointment,” bridal brand Bhldn’s sales have “skyrocketed” in the last few years, and the brand credits their unique gowns for their success. Our research found that 62% of Millennial females say they would want a wedding dress that has unique elements, and 22% want a wedding dress that is completely unique and different from what others have worn. The desire for uniqueness may be why non-white wedding dresses continue to be on the rise. Many female respondents told us that “brides wearing different colored dresses” or “colorful wedding dresses” are a trend they’re seeing, and a few respondents mentioned “black wedding dresses” as a new trend.
4. Mix & Match Bridesmaids
The mismatched bridesmaids outfit is another sign that uniqueness is ruling the wedding world. “Bridesmaids dresses that don't necessarily match,” “bridesmaids wearing a different color,” “mismatched bridesmaid dresses,” “ombre bridesmaid dresses,” “same color bridesmaid dresses but different styles” were all named by Millennial wedding guests as a trend they’ve spotted. This trend is easy to see online as well. Every wedding blog features pictures of bridesmaids in different, yet coordinating, outfits. The caption on one photo of mismatched bridesmaids on Bhldn’s Instagram feed reads, “When choosing your bridal party look, don’t limit yourself to the rules of tradition. Experiment with color, print, and texture. We promise, you’ll find the perfect mix!”
5. The New Dancing
The first dance is a long-standing tradition that Millennials aren’t necessarily tossing out—they’re just making it more elaborate than ever. Perhaps inspired by the many, many viral wedding dances that can be found online, Millennial brides and grooms are dancing up and down the aisles, and dance routines are popping up throughout the night. One 28-year-old male tells us he’s seeing “more surprise dances from the bride and grooms to their partners,” and a 20-year-old male says, “Prepared viral dance routines” are a trend to watch.