By Katherine Hahn
Even in the crazy universe that is 2016, nothing screams “traditional” quite like a wedding. Crisply ironed tuxedos, luscious white cakes, perfectly posed photos and a general decorum typically define the celebration of marriage. But in a time when traditions are constantly being challenged and re-imagined, not all weddings are going by the book.
All around the world, 20- and 30-something couples are not just bending the nuptial rules; they are re-writing them.
“Millennials today are very liberal, open-minded and innovative, and those characteristics are inspiring the next generation of wedding trends, “ says creative director and trend expert Chelsea Krost.
Without further “I do,” check out these telltale signs that you’ve found yourself at a millennial wedding:
1. YOU POST EVERYTHING
If you have an Instagram in 2016, then chances are you’ve come across more than a few so-called wedding hashtags. Couples create clever hashtags that might read something like “#FinallyMcPherson” or “MarryingMcKinley.” Alliteration and snappy wordplay aside, these hashtags actually serve a practical purpose.
“Wedding hashtags allow your guests to post about or from your wedding in real-time,” Krost says.
Family and friends can capture those candid, priceless moments and relive them immediately, she explains.
“I knew I was at a millennial wedding when my cousin had flyers all around the wedding telling everyone to post their photos on social media,” says 21-year-old Peter Phraner, a fashion marketing student in Manhattan who dutifully used the wedding hashtag.
Some couples, however, have kicked their social media game up a notch.
“A recent wedding I attended in Taos, New Mexico, had its very own Snapchat filter,” says Sydney Lim, a 23-year-old tech recruiter living in Manhattan. The wedding was dispersed between the family home and a neighboring resort, so the bride and groom designed a colorful filter that fit the Hawaiian theme and included the couple’s names and date.
“It was the perfect way to capture all the fun within the two venues,” Lim says. The filter was a big hit with the young crowd at the wedding.
2. THERE’S A POP OF POP CULTURE
“I definitely think [millennials] are willing to go above and beyond to make their weddings stand out from the crowd,” says 26-year-old Tara Mastroeni, a Philly-based freelance writer/producer.
Tara was the maid of honor at her college roommate’s wedding last year and recalled how the bride and groom incorporated “Star Wars” by posing with light sabers in their photos.
3. DIY DOMINATES
Weddings are expensive, no matter the generation.
“By and large, the wedding parties can’t actually afford to be participating,” Mastroeni says, only half-kidding. As a way of saving money while getting cute photo ops, many millennial brides (and grooms) opt to to do-it-yourself.
She mentions “mason jar-y” décor and a general obsession with hand-crafted invitations, table settings, and more. (Hottest Trends in Wedding Eats)
“Social media provides so much inspiration for every aspect of a wedding, especially social sites like Pinterest and Etsy,” Krost says.
She plans to incorporate some of those trends into her own wedding in October.
4. DOG OF HONOR?
The best man is old news, but what about man’s best friend?
Jake Sanow, 22, a Florida pharmacy student, is planning a 2018 wedding with his high school sweetheart, Rachel Wilkins, 20.
He shared a photo his fiancée posted on Instagram, showing their tiny Yorkie-Chihuahua mix, Samson, wearing a sign hand-painted with the words, “My humans are getting married!”
“She got that from Pinterest,” Sanow says.
TBD if Samson will be making an appearance on their big day.
5. BLACK TIE? MORE LIKE TIE-DYE
Even in 2016, the word “wedding” still calls to mind formal wear: black tuxes, white gowns, groomsmen in matching ties and bridesmaids in satin. Regardless of these traditions – or perhaps in spite of them – some millennial couples are opting for a more modern dress code.
“Half my cousin’s attendants were Brooklyn hipsters, whose occupations were either foodie, fashion editor, or coffee shop owner,” joked Phraner.
Many millennials at his cousin’s New York vineyard wedding interpreted cocktail attire as flannel shirts with bow ties and bohemian-style sundresses.
Krost also mentions mix-matched bridesmaid gowns as another way young people are revamping traditional wedding attire.
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