Last week we took a look at how Millennials are approaching the wedding years—and how they could change the traditions of the big white celebration. Our infographic revealed that 60% say planning a wedding is too much work, and 45% say weddings today aren’t as important as they used to be. The rise of the big-budget wedding over the last few decades has made wedding planning, and major nuptial splurging a well-publicized part of Millennials formative years, and it looks like they might not be buying into the hype when it comes to planning their big day. 62% agree that weddings have become too big, 73% say they would rather have a small inexpensive wedding than a big expensive wedding, and a whopping 83% say that weddings today have become too expensive. It’s no wonder: In 2012, the average cost of a wedding rose to over $28,000—a hefty amount for a generation suffering from student debt and low employment, especially when 46% of them say that the couple paying for the wedding themselves is in style. The recession has made this group at least temporarily, if not permanently, budget-conscious. Though weddings won’t stop being big business anytime soon, a growing segment of young future brides and grooms are looking to more wallet-friendly options for their celebrations, and smart tuned-in brands are starting to respond. Here are some of the affordable wedding options that Millennials are beginning to tap into, from engagement to reception.
Fast Company has called the traditional three-months’ salary engagement ring “a prehistoric idea“ for Millennials, who put more emphasis on having luxury experiences than owning luxury goods. Qualitatively, we see that more Millennials are turning towards vintage rings to cut costs. Another developing trend is the understated engagement ring, which trades big bling for creativity and uniqueness. Endswell, the company that prompted Fast Co.’s commentary on Millennials and rings, is a jewelry business that creates 3D printed rings for the next generation of brides and grooms. Founders Andrew Deming and Rachel Gant were inspired during their own hunt for an engagement ring, when they found themselves struggling to find a “minimalist but meaningful” piece. Their Endswell rings are devoid of stones, instead using creative geometry as decoration, making them both unisex and affordable: the line ranges in price from $275 to $675. Catbird, the Brooklyn-based retailer that specializes in curated independent designers, has also recently ventured into the understated engagement market. Their “The Swans” collection is a line of “elegantly modern” rings priced from $364. These rings feature black and white diamonds, but in scaled-down sized compared to your average Tiffany fare.
Millennials might be changing some wedding traditions, but 67% say that the bride wearing a white/ivory dress is staying in style. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re all willing to break the bank to get one. Despite the somewhat shocking pricetags flashed across the screen on Say Yes To The Dress, many Millennials are finding alternate options to cut the cost of “the most important dress of their lives,” and these days they’re finding more options than ever before from brands who are recognizing the desire to go budget on the gown. Last month, fast-fashion giant H&M introduced their first wedding dress, which they’re selling for just £59 (around $100). Vintage-inspired online retailer (and Millennial darling) ModCloth has been offering affordable wedding ensembles for brides, bridesmaids and guests for some time now, and recently launched their own “Something Bold, Something New” jewelry collection specifically for wedding shoppers. For those looking for something slightly more high end, sustainable fashion brand Reformation launched their own ‘90s-inspired (read: spaghetti strap-heavy and streamlined) wedding gown collection last month. The collection includes eight dresses available in seven colors, with the ivory silk versions priced at $518 to $588.
Generally, the largest wedding cost is the location—especially today, when many brides and grooms forgo a backyard wedding in order to give their guests a full weekend experience at a special location. But for Millennials who are just looking for a location that fits within their budget, new tools are coming to their rescue. The Hitch is a venue searching site that allows users to find a space in their price range, and give them an idea of what their wedding will cost overall. Once again created by a Millennial struggling to find the right venue when planning his own wedding, The Hitch was inspired by Millennial-friendly sites like Airbnb and Homeaway, which simplify a search and make visuals a major priority. Launched in beta December of 2013, the site is working to grow to include more venues and become a one-stop-shop for budget-conscious young couples.