The term ‘millennial’ has been used so often that is has ceased to have any true meaning. Still, ‘millennial’ weddings do have a distinct sort of style to them. It’s somewhere between retro and hipster, and is certainly not the kind of wedding their parents had. It’s an interesting shift, because a few decades ago, there was a surprising decadence in nuptials, often followed by bitter, equally expensive divorce. It seemed the more lavish the wedding, the more querulous its dissolution.
These days, marriage doesn’t seem as important as it used to be. Wedding rates have gone down, but so have separation rates, and even us Aussies have given gay marriage legal sanction. People are getting married older, having fewer kids, and as a result, divorcing less. We assume that their higher maturity levels and more deliberate selection of life partners gives their marriages a better chance.
Of course the difference could be far more fundamental. In the past, marriage was a social obligation largely driven by financial incentives. Women were expected to get married (to men), settle down, and have children. Men felt slightly less pressure, but at some point, mature bachelors started to lose their clout in the career chain unless they had a wife and kids to keep them ‘responsible’.
Man And Wife?
These days, gender roles are more fluid, and the structure of coupling and family is less conventional, so a lot of the symbolism of weddings has been shed as well. Unions are more driven by affection and compatibility, and many couples want to express this perspective shift in their wedding celebrations.
One of the clearest signs is the non-traditional wedding dress. Brides are now more open to flirty bridal gowns that they can continue to wear after their wedding day. It’s no longer a thousand dollar dress that you’ll only wear once. It could be a short, flirty number, a cocktail dress, or even a pant suit. Even for those with conventional leanings towards ruching and trains, they’re more likely to wear a peach, pink, or blush number like Maggie Sottero’s Serenica instead of bridal white.
Bridesmaids are given similar leeway. Gone are the days when a bride would pick the ugliest dress she could think of and force her friends and sisters into them, in a twisted tactic to keep attention on herself. These days, bridesmaids can wear mismatched dresses if they prefer, but only if the bride allows it.
Some brides will simply suggest the colour or fabric they want, then allow the bridesmaids to buy, design, or tailor a dress in the right shade, but in a style of her choice. It makes for a prettier line up, because each bridesmaid can pick something better suited to her body type, and all the ladies end up gorgeous and un-cranky.
Wedding cakes no longer have to be multi-tiered fruitcakes baked months in advance. An increasingly popular option is to have cupcakes or wedding cookies baked around the theme of the day. They’re certainly easier to serve, and they make great wedding favours for the guests to take home. They can be customised for each guest if needed.
Depending on how elaborate the cup cakes are, they could end up being more expensive than regular wedding cakes though, especially once you veer into the sugar-free no-gluten territory. Elaborate invitations are fading away too. Today’s couples are just as likely to form a Facebook group, build a wedding website, or send you an invite via WhatsApp. The upside here is it only takes a click to rsvp, and it saves on trees and paper.
In the past, a wedding would have a live band or maybe a DJ, and the dance floor would be opened by a bridal dance with her dad before the couple’s first dance. These days, there’s more likely to be a choreographed routine or three. The couple themselves will often take dance lessons, but the bridesmaids and groomsmen might also do a ditty of their own.
These dance routines can be quite elaborate, and seem designed to go viral. They’re often rehearsed more than the wedding itself. On that note, the conventional church wedding is rare among this demographic. You’re more likely to have a garden ceremony officiated by a non-denominational celebrant. Some couples opt to have a friend or family member marry them especially now that anyone can get online certification to officiate nuptials.