2022 is supposed to be a wedding boom, but Gen Z and Millennials think these three wedding traditions are going out of style…
- Traditional white and ivory dresses are no longer the default choice for young brides—more are choosing colorful, bold, and celestial-inspired patterns
- Grooms are stepping in to help plan weddings instead of leaving it all up to the bride, as more young couples say goodbye to gendered traditions
- Big, expensive engagement rings are slowly going out of style among young people opting for simpler, affordable gemstones and gender-neutral statement bands
The wedding industry is certainly one that was hit hard by the pandemic. But The Knot predicts there will be a wedding boom in 2022 with an estimated 2.6 million wedding celebrations expected to take place this year. Meanwhile, YPulse’s recent weddings report shows that 35% of young people have attended or plan to attend a wedding this year, compared to 29% in 2021. The wedding boom is on—but what wedding trends will come with it?
Brides and grooms might be leaving some traditions behind in this new wedding wave. We told you about the top pandemic wedding trends young consumers think will stay in style, which included everything from backyard weddings to micro-weddings with a few friends and family. Our behavioral data found the number of young consumers who say big receptions are staying in style went down from 80% in 2019 to 64% in 2022. So, even though experts are predicting that some couples are expected to host “blowout bashes” to make up for lost time, many are still opting for smaller wedding celebrations to continue keeping themselves and their guests safe, with some hosting “sequel weddings” (multiple weddings with smaller guest counts). In fact, some wedding planning businesses have already adapted to this change: D’Concierge Weddings, Essential I Dos, and Minnie Weddings began offering a “micro-wedding package” for their clients early on during the pandemic.
But our research has been showing that some wedding trends have been falling out of style with young consumers for some time. In our behavioral survey, we asked 13-39-year-olds “Do you think the following wedding traditions are staying in style?” and compared them to previous years. Along with big receptions, we found that these three wedding trends have seen significant declines among Gen Z and Millennials:
Brides Wearing White / Ivory Dresses
Gone are the days of brides only wearing traditional white / ivory wedding dresses. YPulse research found that the majority of young females want their dresses to be unique and different, and the number of young consumers who say wearing traditional white / ivory weddings are in style went down from 78% in 2019 to 60% in 2022. And the proof is in the dresses: We told you that dopamine dressing was one of the fashion trends that would take off in 2022, and that seems to be applicable to wedding fashion, too. Etsy predicted that colorful wedding dresses would be hot this year, and it’s already been showing up everywhere. Celebrities like Mandy Moore, Gwen Stefani, and Kaley Cuoco have all donned colorful dresses on their big days—and designers including Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, and Dior have incorporated “fabulous prints and colors” in their bridal collections. Social media-famous dress brand Selkie has been a popular pick for young brides (and their bridesmaids) and while its bridal collection offers some white options, plenty of the designs feature pastel colors and bright, floral patterns—many of which are sold out on the site. Meanwhile, cosmic wedding dresses have found their way into the bridal fashion space as well: Pulling on their obsession with astrology, young females are showing interest in designs with a celestial feel that are “highlighted by flowy, cloud-like tulle and embellished by moons, stars, or other tiny trinkets to resemble the night’s sky.” In fact, one of last year’s most-talked about bridal looks was from 26-year-old heiress Ivy Getty whose “unique” wedding dress was designed by John Galliano, and featured pieces of broken glass from a real mirror. Pinterest’s trend report shows that searches for “moon wedding dress” were up 180% in 2021, while celestial-themed events like “star-themed parties” and “moon party decorations” have also been driving up searches.
Brides Planning The Wedding Without The Groom
However, wearing all-white isn’t the only tradition that brides are saying goodbye to. While it used to be accepted that women plan weddings alone, Millennial couples have been saying goodbye to this tradition—especially with the rise of degendered weddings. About two in five young consumers tell us they don’t want their wedding to be traditional, and one Seattle-based wedding planner told USA Today that couples have been questioning “anything that feels super gendered or patriarchal or anything that supports the notion that women are property to be handed off from one man to another man.” Traditions like taking the husband’s last name, the father giving away the bride, and the bouquet and garter toss are some of the gendered traditions couples are choosing to forgo. And yes, this includes brides planning the wedding without the groom. Our research shows that young females are more likely than young males to say that planning a wedding is too much work—and the number of young consumers who say brides planning the wedding alone are staying in style went down from 78% in 2019 to 47% in 2022. And more grooms have been vocal about supporting their brides-to-be during this time. One 32-year-old groom told Brides that when it comes to planning weddings, couples “are in it together,” while another 32-year-old groom told the same publication that couples should agree on “a wedding that is a unique reflection of both you and your partner.” Even the engagement process is becoming more collaborative, with 60% of young consumers telling us that couples should shop for an engagement ring together.
Big, Expensive Engagement Rings
“Big” receptions aren’t the only thing going out style, according to young consumers. YPulse research found that the number of young people who say big, expensive rings are staying in style went down from 69% in 2019 to 58% in 2022. In fact, the majority of 13-39-year-olds tell us that engagement rings are too expensive, and that engagement rings don’t have to be diamonds. While some young consumers are opting for sustainable, lab-grown rings (which YPulse has been tracking as a trend for some time), others have been going for simpler, less expensive gemstones. Etsy predicts that colored gemstones like rubies and sapphire, which are more affordable in comparison to diamonds, will be big this year. The company reported that they saw a 249% increase in searches for ruby engagement rings and a 12% increase in searches for sapphire engagement rings. Meanwhile, The Knot expects standalone bands, which are gender-neutral and more affordable, to be in style in 2022. In fact, we told you brands like Tiffany & Co., Brilliant Earth, and other indie jewelers have been introducing engagement rings for men.
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