I was at two grand weddings last year.
And by grand I don’t mean big cathedrales, long gowns with longer trains, a Rolls with a string of cans, or guest lists a mile long. I mean grand in that they were each set with the grandest background imaginable: the open sky.
One was on a trout stream. The other in a barn the couple built with friends.
Weddings are a significant milestone in life, and they often reflect the cultural norms and values of the time. The typical wedding in the 1980s (I had one!) was a reflection of the baby boomer generation, known for ostentatious and extravagant lifestyles, exemplified in popular culture by characters like Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. However, as we move into the 2020s, millennials have taken a more restrained approach to weddings, opting for a more intimate and personalized experience that still allows for exuberant celebration.
Hand made. Sincere. And intimate.
In the 1980s, the typical wedding was an extravagant affair. Baby boomers were known for their love of luxury and excess, and weddings were no exception. The weddings of the 1980s were often large, formal events held in grand ballrooms, with the bride in a poofy white dress and the groom in a tuxedo. There were usually several hundred guests in attendance, including distant relatives, colleagues, and acquaintances. The ceremony and reception were often held at different venues, with elaborate decorations and expensive floral arrangements. The goal was to create a grand and impressive spectacle that would impress the guests and demonstrate the wealth and status of the couple.
Maybe the inlaws-to-be had run amok.
However, as we move into the 2020s, I feel millennials have taken a more restrained approach to weddings. The focus is no longer on impressing others with an ostentatious display of wealth, but rather on creating a more intimate and personalized experience that reflects the couple’s personality and values. Instead of large ballrooms and fancy decorations, millennials are opting for more unconventional and creative venues, such as outdoor locations or art galleries. The wedding party may be smaller, with only close family and friends in attendance, and the dress code may be more casual.
The kids are calling the shots.
One of the most significant differences between the typical wedding of the 1980s and the 2020s is the attitude towards money. Baby boomers were known for their love of material wealth, and weddings were often an opportunity to show off their financial success. Millennials, on the other hand, are more focused on experiences rather than material possessions. The cost of the wedding is less of a concern than the quality of the experience for the guests. This means that millennials are more likely to prioritize good food, entertainment, and a relaxed atmosphere over expensive decorations and lavish venues. Weddings now may also have a more relaxed dress code, with guests encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. The schedule may be more fluid, with fewer formalities and more opportunities for dancing and socializing.
In this regard, I think I’ve always been millennial.