Millennials’ preferences are leading to major changes in the wedding industry

Millennials are ditching formal weddings.

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Millennials are ditching formal weddings.
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Madhatter101/iStock

  • Millennials are favoring less traditional weddings.
  • This has led to a decline in the number of couples opting for traditional wedding venues such as banquet halls and hotel reception rooms.
  • Meanwhile, unconventional venues such as barns and farms have grown in popularity.

The days of sitting under the glow of glitzy chandeliers, dressed head to toe in uncomfortable black-tie garb on your friend’s wedding day, are fading away.

According to a survey done by The Knot, the number of couples choosing to celebrate in traditional wedding venues such as banquet halls and hotel reception rooms has dropped significantly in the past eight years. Meanwhile, unconventional venues such as barns and farms are growing in popularity.

“We’re seeing fewer formal and black-tie weddings as couples choose to tie the knot in nontraditional locations that let their unique story shine, require fewer embellishments and call for a smaller budget. Whether it’s a low-key barn venue or a historic library with tons of character, couples seem to favor sites that reflect their personalities,” Maggie Seaver, an author for The Knot, wrote in a recent blog post.

Ashley Douglas, a wedding planner in Connecticut, New York City, and the Hamptons, said that most of her clients are now steering away from a traditional wedding. The main reason for this, she said, is that many couples are getting married later on in life and are able to contribute more to their weddings financially. This means they often have more control over the format that their wedding takes.

“Ten years ago brides and grooms were relying on their parents to solely fund weddings. Now people are empowered by doing what they want to do and they want it to be a reflection of who they are,” she said to Business Insider.

This doesn’t necessarily mean they want to be casual, though – they just don’t want to appear to be trying too hard, she added.

“They may go for a barn, but it has to be clean and updated,” she said.

Industrial spaces and lofts are also growing in popularity.

“They offer couples blank spaces that allow them to create a unique environment that reflects their vision,” Anne Chertoff, wedding trends editor at WeddingWire told Business Insider.

“Couples are looking for large spaces – often old factories – with brick walls, concrete floors or walls and high ceilings that let them string up bistro lights and hanging floral structures, which are trending right now in wedding décor,” she added.

The casualization of wedding dresses

It’s not just the venues that are changing – brides are also steering away from more traditional wedding dresses.

As a result, some of the stores selling these designs have been hurt. Alfred Angelo, which offered bespoke dresses, is one example of the trend. The store abruptly closed and filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2017.

Then, in February of this year, the credit-rating agency Moody’s downgraded David’s Bridal, a 300-store chain that sells wedding and bridesmaid dresses, to negative from stable, citing falling traffic and same-store sales over the past two years.

“In our view, this is a reflection of the intense competition in the sector and casualization of both gowns and bridesmaids dresses,” Raya Sokolyanska, a Moody’s analyst, wrote in a note to investors at the time.

David’s Bridal had made an effort to adapt to the trend.

“We have seen an uptick in the trend towards casualization in weddings, likely attributed to the increase in brides willing to shop online,” a representative for David’s Bridal told Business Insider in February. “We’ve certainly reflected this in our bridal assortment.”