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Are These the Next Big Millennial Wedding Trends?

Move over DIY barn weddings and photobooths, these new burgeoning wedding trends might be the next big things in Millennial nuptials…

When we asked Millennials to tell us the biggest wedding trends they’re seeing right now, hashtags, barn/rustic motifs, photo booths, mix and match bridesmaids’ dresses, and DIY/Pinterest-inspired aesthetics topped the list. But these are, of course, just the trends that are at their peak, so popular that they’ve become ubiquitous among Millennials getting hitched. Take DIY weddings—they’re not just a major trend here, but among Millennials in the UK as well. Rustic/barn weddings are so trendy that they’ve become the overwhelming standard, with one Millennial woman telling the Washington Post, “If I see another photo of a woman wearing a garland around her head posing with her husband with a beard in the woods, I’m going to throw up.” So now that these Pinterest-favorite wedding details have become widespread, what are the next wedding trends to transform the traditional? Here are five to keep an eye on:

1. Eloping

Eloping is trending, as more Millennials eschew traditional weddings for smaller, cheaper ceremonies. Wedding expenses are at an all-time high, reaching $35,329 last year across the U.S., and some couples are even taking out wedding loans to pay for their guests. Almost nine in ten 18-34-year-olds tell Ypulse they agree that weddings today have become too expensive. Is it any wonder that a far cheaper way of getting hitched is starting to appeal to more couples? Whether it’s dropping by city hall, or inviting a few close friends—or even just a photographer—on a vow exchange getaway, eloping is striking a chord with young, pragmatic, non-traditional couples. Pop-up wedding companies offering “all-inclusive elopement” are one way young people are tying the knot. One such business, Eloping is Fun, tells Glamour their “business has kind of doubled every year” because for Millennials, “things are tough financially” and “they don’t feel like they have to follow any sort of traditional norms anymore.” From Rocky Mountain National Park to Iceland to the local courthouse in a pinch, elopements are diverse and not always officiated by an Elvis in Las Vegas. (Though Vegas weddings have started to resurge in recent years as well.)

2. Surprise Ceremonies

Jessa on Girls did it, celebrities have done it, and now it seems that more Millennials are getting on board with the surprise wedding trend. According to the New York Times, the new take on weddings is having “a moment” as brides and grooms fast-track their big day and keep loved ones in the dark until the last moment. Usually, the couple in question invites their friends and family to another event—often their engagement party—and then spring a ceremony on the crowd while everyone is gathered together. So why skip the traditional wedding day for a bombshell “I do”? Surprise ceremonies eliminate the long, often stressful, wedding planning period, and are, more often than not, far less expensive than a full traditional wedding. Think a backyard barbecue, or big restaurant dinner, as opposed to a major catering hall or country club to-do. Considering that 68% of 18-34-year-olds tell Ypulse that planning a wedding is too much work, that’s a pretty big motivation. Oh, and those pricey bachelorette parties and wedding party outfits are skipped as well. Another motivation, not too surprisingly considering the generation, is uniqueness—what better way to stand out than to have a wedding that bucks all the norms? The Instagram pictures alone are reason to consider it. (Yes, #surprisewedding has almost 25K public posts on the platform.)

3. Off the Rack Dresses

The fashion industry is being disrupted by young consumers’ love of fast fashion and access to real-time trends—including the traditional bridal gown industry. More Millennial brides are choosing cheaper, trendier alternatives to traditional gowns and garb, and e-commerce is a rapidly growing part of the bridal-wear industry as a they look for more affordable dresses online. According to e-tailer ModCloth, the “shopping pattern has shifted,” as more brides now “want convenience, speed and to still feel amazing about their wedding dress.” The indie brand is one of the online-only sources offering original gowns for brides, who may choose multiple outfits for activity-filled and Instagrammed wedding weekend celebrations. Topshop, H&M, and Asos are just a few of the other brands who have rolled out collections for the modern Millennial, and the lower-priced dress market will likely continue to grow. Brides on a wedding budget, especially as more couples pay for their own weddings, are helping to boost the market. And it’s not just major fast-fashion and online retailers who have picked up the trend; new start-ups are popping up to cater to the brides who aren’t interested in the traditional bridal salon experience. Racked reports that online retailer Floravere delivers unique wedding dresses to the doorstep of soon-to-be brides about 10-15 weeks after purchase, to replace the sometimes stressful experience of bridal shops, which often have a minimum of six months’ turnaround time. Targeting a “modern woman who’s very comfortable online and loves digital experiences,” their site allows users to choose from a limited selection of designer dresses that are customizable and closely reflect styles trending on social media.

4. Weed Weddings

We’ll give ourselves a pat on the back and say we first reported on this burgeoning trend all the way back in 2015. When we told readers that wedding weed bars were trending back then, it was a more rare occurrence, with one particular wedding in Oregon going a bit viral because the bride and groom chose to serve weed instead of booze at their reception, and set up a “weed tent” for their guests to enjoy. Now, trend pieces on weed weddings are popping up more and more frequently, Vogue has published a piece on how to host one, and #weedwedding has reached almost 2K public posts on Instagram. There’s even a Cannabis Wedding Expo to help guide marijuana-friendly couples through a world of “custom hemp wedding dresses, cannabis floral arrangements, cannabis-friendly venues, caterers, photographers, transportation companies and more.” From offering “budbars” or edibles for guests to enjoy at the reception to including cannabis culture details like weed bouquets and boutonnieres, this trend is continuing to grow. And while we’re still sure it’s not something that will be adopted by the majority of Millennials, it’s certainly more common than it ever was before.


5. Group Honeymoons a.k.a. Buddymoons

The group-oriented generation is known for wanting to do everything as a tribe—and they’re taking it to the next level with group honeymoons, also known as buddymoons. Once reserved for the bride and groom to have solo time, bringing the whole squad along is reportedly growing in popularity, with 12% of respondents in a survey saying they’ve been on one. According to HelloGiggles, “buddymoons” are emblematic of the generation’s more casual take on traditions, as well as the fact that honeymoons are far less of a milestone for couples today, as they’ve likely already been cohabitating and travelling together for years. Some couples are making a group honeymoon part of their wedding plans, wanting to continue the celebration with friends and make their travels more meaningful—and fun. One bride tells Brides magazine, “’We had a lot of friends flying in from New York and London, and we wanted to be able to spend as much time together as possible. We knew the wedding day itself would be a blur, so we decided to host a buddymoon.'”

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.