Once upon a time, weddings typically followed a cookie-cutter template: big poofy gown, satin bridesmaid dresses, voluminous floral displays, and vintage cars. Over the decades, things have seemingly changed very little – until recently. Many of the fiercely enforced rules about weddings have been thrown out of the window. Church weddings and religious ceremonies are declining in popularity, party sizes are getting smaller, and the tradition of wearing white has fallen out of fashion. Increasingly, couples are looking at destination weddings, eloping, or just keeping things simple as an alternative wedding.
What does an alternative wedding look like?
Alternative weddings can take many forms. They often still take place in religious locations, and many include elements of traditional ceremonies, though they tend to include more modern or ‘trendy’ additions. For example, the bride might opt for a suit, a shorter dress, or casual clothes. If she does go for a traditional ensemble, however, she might pair it with trainers.
The bride may also look to high fashion, luxury brands to offer up an alternative. Today, this is becoming a popular option as women seek to invest in timeless designer pieces that they can wear again, rather than a large dress that will only be worn once. They can still look a million dollars on their big day while investing in a clothing piece that can be used again and appreciated for other events.
Clean lines, structure, and classic looks are the most in-demand for this category of buyer. Marc Jacobs is a popular choice with a range of whimsical prints, light fabrics, and capped sleeves. Other brands, such as Moschino and Dolce & Gabbana, have also gained the attention of brides-to-be due to their bold prints combined with classic, structured tailoring. He may opt-out of wearing a suit or might just stick to suit trousers with a colored shirt in terms of the groom.
Locations are also becoming less conventional: castles, historical ruins, beaches, gardens, and even people’s own homes gain more traction. Many are shunning religious ceremonies or large venues due to costs and the difficult logistics of such a big event.
Themed weddings have garnered more attention in recent years, too. ‘Travel’ is among the most requested themes, but we’ve seen everything from Harry Potter to ‘festival’ or ‘bohemian’ events. Weddings can also be designed in accordance with their location. That could mean creating a green or floral motif that matches a garden backdrop or a rustic aesthetic that suits a farm setting.
Sit-down meals are out of fashion. Instead, there’s been a rise in buffets, snacks, or even burgers. Cocktail bars and kegs are also more in demand. Even wedding favor fashions have changed, with couples opting for hangover relief kits, doughnuts, and artisan teas instead.
What’s driving the change?
Overall, the number of people getting married is decreasing. Numbers have been on the decline since the 1970s, driven by an increase in cohabitation and general disbelief in the importance of marriage.
Those who do still want to get married see less value in spending a fortune on just one day. In 2019, the average cost of a wedding was almost $39,000. Today, those tying the knot prefer to spend less, doing away with the formalities and traditions that can lead to a much larger event.
Couples are now focussing on ceremonies that reflect their personalities, budgets, and lifestyles, rather than elaborate events that keep their relatives happy. This trend is likely to continue as we move forward, as people move further from tradition and prefer to embrace what makes their relationship unique. Of course, there will always be a place for the conventional white wedding’, but this will become more of an option rather than just a norm.
Featured Image by Gerald Friedrich from Pixabay