How Millennials Feel About Various Wedding Traditions + Trends

Should they stay or should they go?

Wedding traditions can feel like they are set in stone, but they can come and go like trends – they just tend to last longer. At one point a white bridal gown was just a new trend started by Queen Victoria, and then it became the standard choice for brides everywhere. As blush, lavender, beige, and other hues for wedding dresses become their own trend, who knows how long this tradition will last? Given that this generation currently spans the average marriageable ages, it’s not surprising that the industry is looking to millennials to learn what traditions are holding strong, and which are falling by the wayside.

young bride and bride bridesmaids groomsmen in front of church traditions
Photo by John Cain Photography; Floral Design by Bella Flora of Dallas; Planning & Design by Emily Clarke Events

The team behind jeweler Jean Dousset conducted a survey of 1,850 newlyweds to see what traditions they took part in, and what new trends they embraced.

wedding traditions millennials are skipping, wedding traditions millennials follow 
Source: Jean Dousset Wedding Traditions Survey

As this graph shows, the wedding cake and white dress are still pretty popular, though not overwhelmingly so. Having a “first look” as opposed to waiting to see each other until the ceremony is just about equal, while matching bridesmaid dresses is becoming the minority of weddings. Classic traditions such as a receiving line, divided ceremony seating, and a shower of rice are the least powerful.

Millennials tend to be less religious than previous generations, so it is not surprising that the survey reports that less than half have religious ceremonies, and three out of four prefer nonreligious venues. 

do millennial women change their name after marriage?
Source: Jean Dousset Wedding Traditions Survey

Patriarchal traditions are starting to see resistance, though still occur for the majority. Two out of five millennial couples do not ask for a parent’s blessing before getting engaged, but 71% of brides still changed their last name after marriage. 

As for wedding trends that are gaining steam with millennials, 38% of survey participants included an after-party, while 33% wrote their own vows. The most important thing, however, is that 93% of respondents said the big day lived up to their expectations. 

For more wedding inspiration, get ideas for modern alternatives to the receiving line and discover charming wedding traditions from the South.

Authored by: Emily Lasnier