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8 Wedding Traditions Millennials Are Dropping

Wedding planners give their input on what's in and what's out when it comes to millennial weddings.

The bouquet toss is a wedding tradition that planners say is becoming less common.
The bouquet toss is a wedding tradition that planners say is becoming less common.

As a generation at the forefront of creating new trends—be it for food, lifestyle, or events—it's no surprise that more and more millennials are bucking wedding traditions. From cutting the cake to tossing the bouquet, wedding planners and experts shared rituals they've seen millennial couples dropping—and the trends that are replacing them. 

The bouquet toss. "Most millennials are waiting longer to get married, so they often don’t have as many single friends,” says Andrea Eppolito, wedding planner and event designer for Andrea Eppolito Events. “They also don’t see marriage as a a goal to wish and aspire to, but a partnership that they choose. In that sense, tossing a bouquet or a garter no longer holds that much significance.”

Eppolito says that what’s replaced the toss is anything that gets guests involved. “Millennials are an inclusive generation and things like a ring warming—where the couple’s wedding bands are passed around for everyone to hold and pass energy to—are gaining in popularity,” she says.

Welcome gift bags. Ivy Jacobson, senior digital editor at the Knot, notes that millennials are foregoing guest gifting for interactive gifting lounges. “In the past, couples used to put together gift bags for guests staying in their hotel block, which guests would receive from hotel staff at check-in,” says Jacobson. “Now, couples are setting up interactive lounges, giving guests the option for personalizing their welcome bags and allowing guests a fun, low-key opportunity to mingle during the check-in process before the more formal wedding events kick off.”

One-day weddings. Jacobson also notes that millennial weddings are no longer just a single-day affair. “Today’s couples are creating weekend-long affairs, hosting larger rehearsal dinners or informal gatherings before the wedding day,” she says. “In 2016, 39 percent of couples hosted a post-wedding brunch for guests. With more than one in three wedding guests booking travel and accommodations for weddings, it’s no surprise the couple wants to extend the celebration beyond their ceremony and reception.”

The bride and her father arriving in a decorated car. Ilse Diamant, creative director at Diamant Events, says that instead of the bride and father arriving to the ceremony in a decorated car, a new tradition involves the bride and bridal party arriving to the ceremony in more extravagant cars, or in a trolley or train. 

The receiving line. Blake Bush, wedding planner and event designer for Pure Luxe Bride, says that a tradition she doesn’t see millennials taking part in anymore is a receiving line after the ceremony. “Instead, they make their rounds during dinner to say hello to all of their guests,” she says. 

Cutting the cake. Victoria Dubin, founder of Victoria Dubin Events, says that while cakes are still important to have at weddings, the traditional ceremony of cutting the cake has become less common. “While many still love a cake, they prefer to keep the party going and serve fun specialty or favorite desserts, passed out on the dance floor,” she says. “The desserts are playful, keep guests surprised and entertained, and, most importantly, keep the crowd spirited and dancing from dinner through the after-party.” 

Bush notes that many couples now opt to cut the cake privately with their immediate families. And Diamant adds that more popular alternatives to cake now include cheese towers, doughnut towers, and macaron towers. 

Food trucks. Colin Cowie, wedding planner at Colin Cowie Lifestyle, says that food trucks are becoming less common. “Besides being a thing of the past, food trucks take away from the overall atmosphere of the reception by taking guests away from what’s really important—the party. “Often they get overcrowded, and guests are left waiting in line in order to get their food.”

Cowie says the a trendy alternative is D.I.Y. food stations. “Whether it’s the apps, main course, or dessert, it’s a fun and interactive way for guests to have their meals,” he says. “Some of my personal favorites are comfort foods like mac 'n' cheese or burgers, popcorn with a huge assortment of toppings, build-your-own tacos, and self-serve gelato. 

Hiring one photographer. Jacobson also explains that many couples aren’t sticking to just one photographer to capture key moments during the wedding ceremony. “More and more couples are adding high-tech elements like drones to their wedding day wish lists to capture stunning aerial shots of their special day,” she says. “Couples are also hiring videographers to capture their wedding day, and many couples are requesting 30-second edited clips within days after their celebration. Couples want to showcase a sizzle reel of their wedding on social, and a 30-second clip is often identified as the optimal length for social sharing.”