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

“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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