There are hardly “industry standards” for weddings anymore. Brides instead make their wedding day decisions based on their personal preferences (and, of course, the groom’s as well!), forgoing the norms and expectations. However, each year, we see a few wedding trends that catch on a little more strongly than others. These are the ones that seem to stick around a little longer — the ones that make memorable impressions on the wedding guests. We notice that many of these have come about not to accommodate the bride, but actually to improve the experience of their guests and bridal party throughout the wedding and wedding season. Here are seven current wedding trends that are gaining in popularity.

7 Wedding Trends to Watch

1) A Bridal Party Change

If you notice that the altar appears distinctly more intimate, that may be on purpose — and on trend. Instead of being surrounded at the altar by their their wedding party, more and more couples are choosing to tie the knot face to face, standing solely with their officiant at the altar. Whether they decide to do away with the idea of a wedding party entirely or elect to have them seated during the ceremony, this wedding trend indeed offers a more intimate appeal.

For some, the decision comes simply out of necessity — a smaller venue without room for the entire party or even because they want a longer ceremony, but don’t want to make their party stand the entire time. In this case, brides will have their bridesmaids sit at the front, still donning bridesmaids dresses and flowers.

Others, though, simply choose not to have a wedding party at all. Brides and grooms may have a hard time narrowing down their group or might want to include more than possibly could fit at the head of the church. By eliminating the party altogether, they avoid those tough decisions while also making the statement that each of their invitees is special to them in their own way — without having any sort of hierarchy. In addition, many brides and grooms feel that a bridal party adds a feeling of responsibility or, unfortunately, creates a hassle for their most beloved friends and family. Instead of concentrating on the “must-dos” as a wedding party member, they are invited to enjoy the day and celebrate the couple without any other duty to fulfill.

7 New Wedding Trends to Watch – Bridal Party Change

Marie Stitt and Edward Crouse forgo the tradition of a large bridal party. Image: Rylee Hitchner | View wedding here.

2) Bridesmaids’ Choice

While we’ve grown accustomed to a bevy of bridesmaids in matching dresses – both in style and color – brides are definitely branching out more than ever when it comes to what they want their bridesmaids to wear. A few years ago, we started to see brides offer their bridesmaids options for their dresses — ones that were of the same color and designer, but offered different silhouettes so that each bridesmaid could choose one that felt best for her. Today, we see even less direction from the bride, many offering simply a color, pattern or even range of colors to their bridesmaids so that each one’s unique personality and style can shine.

7 New Wedding Trends to Watch – Bridesmaids' Choice

This bride gave her bridesmaids an option to select their own dresses, which resulted in a beautiful array of blush and ivory gowns, all tied beautifully together with their bouquets. Image: Melissa Dooley Photography | View wedding here.

3) The Afterparty Surprise Guests

Venues may have strict curfews or noise ordinances that dictate when the party needs to come to a close. If it’s earlier than the newlyweds would like, the couple may wish to keep the party going elsewhere and for as late as they want, which is the basis for the next wedding trend: the bride and groom meeting their friends and family at the afterparties. After the couple’s grand sendoff, newlyweds are opting to make surprise appearances at the hotel bar or post-reception meeting place to spend more time with their guests. There are very few times other than your wedding when both you and your spouse’s nearest and dearest are in one place (if ever again!), so why cut the night short? After all, the newlyweds have the rest of their lives to be together — a few hours spent with all of their favorite people, not so much!

7 New Wedding Trends to Watch – Afterparty Surprise Guests

We’re not sure there has ever been a more fun afterparty than Megan Adams and Will Jenkins’ disco nightcap! Image: Julia Wade Photography | View wedding here.

4) Breaking Tradition: Bride and Groom Getaways

These days, we’re seeing brides and grooms tamper with tradition by offering their own spin on the getaway. In fact, there are two different trendy iterations of this classic post-reception escape that we’ve noticed. First, the bride and groom getaway happens after the ceremony instead of the reception. As they leave the church or venue, guests excitedly gather, throwing rice or rose petals, as the just-married couple departs. This exit provides both stunning photos AND a pre-finale for the evening, which is especially fun for those who stick to a strict bedtime. Family members, especially, feel that they can enjoy the reception without being obligated to stay until the very end.

In conjunction with the last wedding trend of the bride and groom attending the afterparty, we have the “faux” getaway. To wrap up the evening and grab those coveted getaway photos, the happy couple may exit the reception in their getaway car, only to be reunited with their guests shortly after. Again, it gives a go-ahead to guests looking for an earlier evening to head home and gives the bride and groom that special moment surrounded by their wedding guests!

7 New Wedding Trends to Watch – New Getaways

There are no longer any rules for the getaway! Image: Clay Austin Photography | View wedding here.

 

5) The Bride’s Attire

Bridal fashion changes with every season. However, a few new styles have appear and stuck around — giving us no reason to believe they’ll be “out” anytime soon. Off-the-shoulder wedding dresses have been bridal favorites as of late. While not a typical off-the-shoulder style, we saw a glimpse of this in Meghan Markle’s wide boatneck in the Royal Wedding this year. Brides are also ditching the veil. Instead of holding onto the long-standing traditions — dating back hundreds of years! — brides decide for themselves if a veil is something they want for their day. If not, they may opt for other adornments in their hair, including everything from fresh-cut flowers to headbands to pretty pins. Finally, and this might be our favorite wedding trend of them all, brides are wearing two-in-one looks on their day, making their dress do double-duty. Many wear a lace overlay to cover their shoulders and arms during the ceremony and then remove it for the reception. Or, they might have an extra long train for the wedding and remove it completely to better enable them to dance the night away! Oftentimes, the dress is traditional with a functional, modern touch that makes it feel updated and fresh.

7 New Wedding Trends to Watch – Off-the-Shoulder Wedding Dress

Holly wore a tulle wrap around her shoulders for the ceremony — touching two wedding trends in one! Image: 6 of Four Photography | View wedding here.

6) A Feminine Touch: Bows!

Bows are popping up in weddings in a multitude of ways. One that has caught on quickly is the incorporation of bows or long ribbons into bridesmaids’ bouquets. This feminine touch is a fun stray from the norm – one that results in some beautiful photos! Additionally, bows on wedding dresses are back. Often paired with more modern, clean-cut dresses, they offer a bit of elegance – or a boldly feminine statement! Be on the lookout for creative ways that brides incorporate bows in the coming months … we’re confident that this wedding trend has yet to hit its stride!

7 New Wedding Trends to Watch – Feminine Bows

A statement-making bow on the bride’s dress is one of our favorite styles. Image: Kelly Cummings of Spindle Photography | View wedding here.

7) Trading Places

In maybe the largest shift of tradition on this list, a growing wedding trend is a bride not wearing white. More and more brides are selecting dresses that are blush, for a subtle change, or, believe it or not, floral, for something a bit more statement-making. In this case, the bride might choose to have her bridesmaids in traditional shades of white or ivory in her place. The result, as you can see below, is a light, ethereal combination that still feels decidedly bridal.

7 New Wedding Trends to Watch – Trading Places

A bride in blush and the bridesmaids in ivory is a welcome change! Image: Allison Kuhn Photography | View wedding here.

As fall weddings ramp up (is it ever not wedding season anymore?!), keep an eye out for these trends as well as those that will surely emerge by the end of the year. And check out our predictions for 2018 wedding trends right here.

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Do all of these wedding trends have you looking for more wedding inspiration? Look no further.