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

Quote of the Day: “Being famous is overrated. I would be more happy [sic] being locally known for the good I do in the world in a popular way but not for the wrong reasons.”—Female, 16, UT

Minecraft is being used to get kids interested in reading actual, real books. Litcraft recreates the world of a book as an interactive Minecraft map, adding “educational tasks” throughout. Treasure Island was the first completed world, followed by Kensuke's Kingdom, while The Lord of the Flies and Dante’s Inferno are in the works. Trials at U.K. schools are being met with “an enthusiastic response,” so Litcraft is eyeing a larger rollout. (The Guardian)

Nordstrom is stocking up on Instafamous brands like Allbirds, Everlane, and Reformation. The company announced that “strategic” brands account for about 40% of their current revenue and that’s expected to rise. While they benefit from indie brands’ popularity with young consumers, the direct-to-consumer brands are getting an expanded physical footprint, too. In the case of Reformation, Nordstrom explains that they “can bring sustainable fashion to a new (and much bigger) group of customers and closets.” (Business Insider)

A baseball team struck out with their “Millennial Night” promotion, putting Twitter in an uproar. We’ve warned brands that making fun of Millennials is not the way to get earn their spending power, and minor league baseball’s Montgomery Biscuits learned the lesson first-hand. Their “Millennial Night” offered participation ribbons, selfie stations, napping areas, and “lots of avocados,” while playing into stereotypes about Millennials being lazy. A Biscuits exec explains that “Something got lost in the sarcasm,” but instead of offering an apology, they doubled down with another cutting tweet. (AdweekInc.)

Nearly half of Millennials think that “their credit scores are holding them back.” OppLoans found that 27% of 18-34-year-olds haven’t been approved for a new car because of their credit while 25% have been declined for an apartment or house. Debt, a top financial concern for Millennials, is partly to blame: 15% said that their debt “is unmanageable.” Education could help dig them out of the hole, as 24% feel they’ve never learned how to build good credit. (Moneyish)

Baby Einstein is growing up for Millennial parents with a new mission and campaign. Their “Ignite a Curious Mind” effort goes after parents, not kids, with short spots that encourage curiosity. They’re also working on new toys, moving beyond their “sweet spot” of zero to 12 months for toddlers. Baby Einstein’s parent company, Kids II is also planning on reworking other brands, like Bright Starts and Ingenuity. (Ad Age)

Quote of the Day: “[American Eagle Outfitters’] clothes are generally what I wear and are my style. They're comfortable and affordable. They do not do a great deal of vanity sizing and offer something for guys and girls of every size.”—Female, 23, GA

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