The 20 Biggest Millennial Wedding Trends (According to Millennials)

It’s free content week, and we're counting down our five most popular articles of 2017 so far—giving all our readers access to one each day. Here is the 5th most clicked, originally published April 10th, 2017. Enjoy! 

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We asked 800 18-34-year-olds to tell us the new weddings traditions and trends they’ve seen…

Millennials do want to get married, just in their own way. According to our recent survey on weddings, 18-34-year-olds are prioritizing “comfort, personalization, and innovation” on the big day. Millennials are ushering in the age of “bridechilla,” and Pinterest reports that “[t]he new direction of nuptials in 2017 is all about personalization and having fun,” with brunch weddings, personalized drinks stations, brides with natural hair, and off-the-shoulder wedding dresses as some of the biggest rising trends. We weren’t surprised by those findings, as our 2016 survey on wedding trends saw “experience over tradition” as one of the biggest themes. We told you then:  

“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.”

To kick off wedding season this year, and continue to keep you ahead of the wedding trend curve, we once again asked Millennials to tell us the new traditions they’re noticing. Here are the top 20 they mentioned in our recent wedding survey:

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of trends that 18-34-year-olds are seeing. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are seen most. The list is ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred. 

What New Wedding Traditions Have They Noticed?

18-34-year-olds

  1. Hashtags / Social Media
  2. Barn / Country / Rustic Weddings
  3. Photobooth
  4. Mix and Match Bridesmaids' Dresses
  5. DIY / Pinterest
  6. Colored Wedding Dress
  7. Cake Alternative / Cupcakes
  8. Choreographed Dances
  9. Honeymoon registry / Money / Donations Instead of Gifts
  10. Themed Weddings
  11. Mason Jars
  12. Unity Knot / Candle / Sand
  13. Small Weddings
  14. Non-Religious Ceremonies / Friends as Officiants
  15. Non-Dress Wedding Dress
  16. Casual Atmosphere
  17. Digital Invitations
  18. Sneakers for the wedding party / bride
  19. Snapchat Filters
  20. Bridesmen And Groomsladies 

The wedding hashtag isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and it’s at the top spot of our Millennial wedding trend ranking. A new study from The Knot found 65% of 18-24-year-old and 71% of 25-29-year-old brides in the U.S. have created custom hashtags for their weddings, using them mostly as a practical “tool for helping organize and finding things.” Snapchat wedding filters, which are accessible within 20,000 sq. feet of a wedding venue and run around $5, have also been growing in popularity with young couples—and we saw Snapchat filters on our list at #19.

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingThe barn / country / rustic motif (#2) is still going strong with Millennials, who are using DIY and Pinterest (#5) to help them achieve their rustic looks. (Though we will say this trend has been dominating for so long that we wouldn’t be surprised if some more elegant counter-trends started to gain traction.) Part of the appeal of the country-fied style is likely its casual, laid back nature, which at #16 is clearly a big desire. Other trends indicating their desire for casual atmosphere include mason jars (#11), and sneakers for the wedding party / bride (#18). In fact, The New York Times reports a new generation of brides is happy to wear colorful and decorated sneakers with their wedding dresses to enhance comfort on their special (sometimes very long) day. The fashion industry has taken notice, and brands like Keds, Converse, and Tory Burch have added “comfortable yet stylish” sneakers to their collections. According to our survey, 78% of 18-34-year-old females agree that "Being comfortable on your wedding day is more important than looking glamorous." 

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingOf course, trends like bridal sneakers aren’t just about comfort, they’re also about making the bride feel unique—after all, wearing heels on your wedding day is expected but sneakers are far rarer. Unique attire appears several times on this trend list, from mix-matched bridesmaids' dresses (#4), to colored wedding dresses (#6), and non-dress wedding dresses (#15). For the latter, we received mentions of jumpsuits, short dresses, and bridal tuxes. In their new report, Etsy also lists colored dresses for brides as one of the top wedding trends they're seeing, and we named "Saying Yes to the Non-White Dress" as one of the big trends we saw last year as well. It’s no surprise that 73% of 18-34-year-old females told us they want their wedding dress to be unique and different. Colored wedding cakes (#6) and themed weddings (#10) are other indications that the desire to be unique is strong and driving many of their wedding choices, and personal, fun, and unique were the top three qualities that Millennials told us they want their weddings to be. 

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The Newsfeed

“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

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