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Young Bride and GroomCheck the news from the last few years, and you’ll see headlines bemoaning a wide range of millennial spending habits and lifestyle choices. As a demographic cohort, adults born between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s have been accused of "killing" everything from disposable paper napkins to football. While some millennials are marrying later or not at all, they won't single-handedly put the kibosh on weddings any time soon. Nevertheless, their choices are causing some shifts in the wedding industry.

Who Is a Millennial?

Demographers tend to disagree somewhat on where to start the millennial generation. Some sources such as MetLife, Nielsen Media Research and Mobilize.org start the generation with those born in 1976 or 1977, while others such as Gallup and PricewaterhouseCoopers start with those born at or after 1980. Nearly all researchers mark the end of this generational cohort with birth dates in 1994, 1995 or 1996.

So, What’s Going on Here?

Are millennials marrying later and less often? Some statistics seem to say, “Yes.” Science Daily reported that the rates of people reaching age 23 and not having already married varies between 81 and 88 percent for individuals born in the 1990s. For folks who have attained the age of 33, the numbers of those not yet wed range between 47 and 50 percent.

It’s important to remember that while a generational group can share some tendencies and interests, a multiplicity of factors can impact individual choices. For instance, the 2015 Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges decision opened the door for marriage equality, but more people are also embracing non-monogamy. Moreover, a 2016 Business Insider article points out that millennials tend to carry more debt due to increasing educational costs, and such financial insecurity can cool any immediate desires to say, “I do.” This isn’t surprising, given The Knot's report that the average cost of a wedding hit $35,329 in 2016.

Popular Millennial Wedding Trends 

Regardless of what accounts for millennial preferences when it comes to crafting nuptial celebrations, their choices can be seen collectively as a breath of fresh air. It’s paving the way for cool developments such as alternatives to traditional cakes, abandoning gender norms in recruiting their wedding parties, new formal attire options and an increased preference for outdoor ceremonies and receptions. In another piece from The Knot, contributor Maggie Seaver listed these and other trends favored by couples in this demographic. Top picks also included heavier social media sharing, photo booths, colorful wedding gowns, creative themes, smaller shindigs and nonreligious ceremonies.

While some of these inclinations could be prompted by budgetary concerns, others might simply be logical outcomes of the availability of new technologies, along with a greater willingness to break from established customs, embrace creativity and adopt more common-sense practices. Furthermore, millennials may be benefitting from sage wisdom offered by friends and wedding bloggers who have “been there and done that.” For instance, nonmatching bridesmaid dresses may be a direct answer to the awful, ill-fitting “cookie cutter” frocks decried by wedding attendants in the past. Sneakers worn by the couple and their wedding party can be a comfortable alternative to spending all day in painful high heels or stiff oxford dress shoes.

Millennials Are Changing the Face of Weddings

Weddings aren’t going the way of the dinosaur, but millennials are abandoning some traditions once lauded as nuptial “mainstays.” The rental tuxedo and diamond engagement rings are just a couple of examples, pushed aside in favor of options that are more affordable and convenient while emphasizing a personalized approach. At the same time, they could also be starting new customs for future generations. Whatever the reasons, they’re broadening available choices and making nuptials more fun and meaningful.

Category: Wedding Planning Society

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