No One Wants a Gravy Boat: Millennials and the New Wedding Gift Norms

It only makes sense that with a generation that not only move in with one another but often even buy a house together before getting married, registering for products to fill their newlywed home doesn’t really make much sense. In just the last few years, new trends in non-traditional wedding registries that have nothing to do with gravy boats and toasters have become the new norm for many Millennials heading down the aisle. As with so many things, their rethinking of tradition involves doing away with unnecessary goods and embracing experiences as valued currency instead. The most popular wedding registry gift categories for 2013 were all about getting out and making big dreams come true. With Millennials aging up and millions getting married each year, new and innovative registries are a big opportunity for whole new categories of brands and businesses. Here are some of the new norms for wedding gift giving:

 

The Honeymooners: With many Millennials getting married at older ages, there are also more newlyweds who have helped foot the bill for their nuptials, and 50% of couples expect that they’ll be paying for the wedding themselves. Between the expense of the wedding itself and the many other bills that Millennials are dealing with, a honeymoon can start to seem like a pipe dream. To solve the problem, registries like Traveler’s Joy and Honey Fund let young couples ask their guests to help them see the world. Traveler’s Joy lets users create customized gifts to fund pieces of their honeymoon like plane tickets, hotel costs, and fun activities, allowing the gift givers to feel like they have contributed something specific to the experience. Generally, honeymoon registries take a small piece of the amounts given, and then allow the couple to withdraw all the funds contributed in a…

 
 

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“I observe holidays and religion-based traditions but am more connected to it as a culture than as a religion.”—Female, 27, MA

Chinese youth have a “selfie obsession” that’s changing beauty standards and creating a new tier of celebrity. The Influencer Effect is full blown in China, where young consumers are beautifying their selfies via filter apps like Meitu and plastic surgery—all in the quest to look more like wang hong, their internet celebrities. One influencer, HoneyCC, argues that “Selfies are part of Chinese culture now, and so is Meitu-editing selfies.” But some say the trend is pushing the population to become more homogenous by favoring certain features, and headlines have lashed back against the whitening of skin prevalent in social apps. (The New Yorker)

Eighty-one percent of Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily’s Millennial readers say social media is the best way for advertisers to reach them. Bustle’s latest questionnaire also found that 40% of their 18-34-year-old readers prefer Instagram for brand communications, followed by trusted websites, email, and online articles. Some other fun insights: Over half believe that a company should give back, instead of just turning a profit, and 49% think “companies should do more to protect the environment.” (Adweek)

Drug use is down among teens—except when it comes to marijuana and vaping. From the 1990s to 2017, the percentage of teens who said they’d been drunk dropped from 46% and 58%, and those reporting they’ve smoked cigarettes from 26% and 17%. However, marijuana use increased for the first time in seven years in 2017, while vaping is up as well, with at least 19% of high school seniors, 16% of sophomores, and 8% of eighth-graders saying they’ve vaped in the past year. (LATimes)

Two modern dating shows are coming to Facebook Watch. The first “unscripted dating show” from SoulPancake, Love & Longitude, is shot on iPhones and shows two potential love interests’ relationship blossoming across FaceTime, social media, and other digital interactions. The second dating show from Machinima, Co-Op Connection, plays into the esports craze. One bachelor gets to pick his partner based on their personality—and their skills at the videogame, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. (tubefiltertubefilter)

Some cities are past their “peak Millennial” populations, as the generation increasingly finds new digs in the suburbs. Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles all reached their highest Millennial population in 2015, and New York and Washington D.C. are showing slowing Millennial growth, according to U.S. Census data. Meanwhile Chicago’s suburbs and others have seen an uptick in their young adult populations—another Millennial myth debunked. Which urban centers are still attracting the demo as they age up? “Tech hubs” like Seattle and San Francisco. (Time)

“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

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