As with most generations, millennials have redefined the way we think about many industries. They have different expectations, desires and priorities when it comes to their relationships, so it only makes sense that millennial wedding trends are a reflection of their expectations.
Millennials are changing the wedding industry. Of course. Many might have already said as much. But the ways millennials are impacting this industry aren’t obvious or simple. They’re re-making their weddings from the ground up, and the changes they inspire will likely alter the face of the wedding industry for years to come, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s take a look at a few millennial wedding trends and how they are changing the wedding industry today.
Much has been said about the spending power of millennials. In general, this generation spends money cautiously, in part due to the financial turbulence they’ve experienced.
The cost of the average U.S. wedding peaked at around $35,000 in 2016 and has been declining ever since. In response to high costs, millennials began seeking more cost-effective options to replace traditional wedding staples like the expensive ball gown and large guest list. As small, casual weddings take the place of grand affairs, the wedding industry will need to adapt.
Some new brands have gotten involved with the wedding scene, increasing competition for old mainstays. For example, in response to millennial demand for affordable wedding dresses, H&M launched a wedding shop with wedding gowns priced as low as $129. To compete, more traditional dress shops have started including casual and lower-cost options.
While millennials are opting for casual and cost-effective weddings, they’re also raising expectations for what weddings should look like. Social media plays a huge role in these weddings — from Pinterest planning to special wedding hashtags for guests. Photography has become particularly influential. Social media calls for more creative photos and fewer posed snapshots of the festivities, and decorations and food all need to be photo-ready.
Another millennial wedding trend is the shift from extravagant possessions to memorable experiences. Increasingly, millennials spend their money on unique and personal experiences instead of material items, and their weddings reflect this preference. Destination weddings are particularly popular with millennials because they allow for a more extended and intimate wedding experience. While local weddings only allow for a single day of celebration, a destination wedding gives couples and their guests several days to spend in each other’s company.
At destination weddings, millennials put more focus on the trip than the ceremony. They want to explore local culture and experience a true vacation. For resorts that host destination weddings, this new demand means they must adapt by providing opportunities for guests to get off the property and explore the local area.
The popularity of destination weddings also speaks to another millennial wedding trend: small weddings. One survey found that 70 percent of millennials prefer a small wedding to a large one. These millennial wedding trends means that couples are more likely to invite a few very close friends on a vacation than a few hundred to a traditional reception. Accordingly, vendors must adapt to providing a smaller, more personalized experience.
Millennials are also changing the way people think about weddings. Today, many millennials want their weddings to be personal rather than traditional. Accordingly, millennial couples are ditching unhelpful and outdated wedding traditions.
One way millennials are shaking up wedding traditions is by changing the composition of their wedding parties. While some couples do still have very gender-specific wedding parties, more couples are opting for a co-ed experience, especially because brides and grooms want to incorporate all of their closest friends regardless of gender. Best ladies and men of honor are welcome at millennial weddings.
Additionally, millennials are ditching traditional items on wedding registries for more useful gifts. Though dishes and toasters may be useful to some newlyweds, others have been living together for years and would prefer their guests to gift them other things. Many modern couples are asking guests to contribute to the honeymoon fund or donate to a favorite charity in lieu of a traditional gift.
Millennials welcome new wedding traditions, and the wedding industry is taking note. Many successful millennial wedding vendors approach their work from new angles, prioritizing a personalized and stress-free wedding experience.
Every generation brings new attitudes and expectations. Industries inevitably adapt. Though millennial wedding trends tastes differ from traditional fare, they also bring fresh new ideas that create opportunities for vendors. As they keep getting married — and as younger generations grow and fall in love too — the wedding industry will continue to change.