Wedding trends in 2018

According to Nielsen ratings, 29 million people woke up early to watch the May 19 royal wedding between Prince Harry and Megan Markle. This is a surprising number, according to the popular ratings company, which stated that this drew in larger audiences than his brother Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.

It wasn’t only the wedding, however, that people were watching. It was everything else that got people blogging and tweeting. For many days following, there were endless commentaries on flowers, dresses, food choices, etc. Wedding trends seem to fascinate us and it is also a glimpse into what is popular today. Because summer is typically wedding season, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what are some of the 2018 wedding trends.

When we speak of wedding trends, we speak mostly about things that enhance the day such as types of flowers, dress colors and music choices. The actual Order of Celebrating Matrimony does not trend with the times as frequently. Ironically, it did undergo a change in 2016. This is only a mere 45 years after the release of the first English translation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony published shortly after Vatican II.

If you have attended a Catholic wedding Mass recently, you may notice deeper theology in the introductory language or adding the Gloria. Some choose beautiful adaptations such as the giving of coins (arras) between the couples to highlight their commitment to share together all the goods which they will receive during their married life. Another is the Lazo (Veil) which signifies two becoming one flesh covering each other with a veil of protection. These and other changes help all those attending celebrate in an abundant and beautiful way with the couple as they begin their new life together.

What does ebb and flow with the times are other trends you may be seeing at weddings this summer and beyond. So what can people expect to see at current weddings? Simplicity, variety and fun are the themes that stand out in many bridal blogs.

Bridal websites, such as Brides.com, suggest getting back to nature in a simple and elegant way. If you saw pictures of Prince Harry and Megan’s wedding, you may recall the big, beautiful arch at the entrance of the chapel overflowing with greenery and white flowers. According to bridal websites, this element is repeated at many weddings. Brides are opting for greenery and simplicity, small simple centerpieces and even clear acrylic chairs. Growing in popularity is renting clear top/sided tents that allow guests to see nature all around resembling greenhouses as seen in wedding pictures across the internet.

Options, options, options. This is the upcoming trend for weddings. Many bridal blogs cite giving guests the opportunity to customize their experience at the wedding. For instance, serving dessert bars in addition to, or instead of, the traditional wedding cake, offers a variety of sweet treats for guests. Wedding planners suggest having a table with an assortment of take-home treats for guests replacing the table wedding favors of yesterday. Articles tell brides how to make DIY drink stations so guests can make their own drinks in lieu of having bartending stations.

Finally, one predominant theme published on many bridal websites is that weddings should be fun for the guests — more than music, dancing and the inevitable chicken dance. Wedding planning magazines encourage couples to provide numerous fun activities at the reception.

Modern weddings will now feature lawn games, selfie stations and even one trend which encourages couples to rent a white bouncy house wedding castle for guests of all ages. Balloons can be seen more often at weddings this summer and there is an increased attention given to not only celebrating the day with the happy couple, but making sure that there is variety of fun for guests of all ages.

Wedding trends are fun to see in pictures and share with family and friends, but ultimately they shouldn’t distract from the main purpose of the event, which is sharing in the day that a couple begins a lifetime of covenantal love together. Covenantal love, or a total self-giving love, is meant to last a lifetime and will not ebb and flow with current trends. It will grow in maturity over time, and you as the wedding guest are there to support them both now and hopefully into their future.

Weddings are a beautiful day of fun. Marriages, however, should reflect the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Tremblay is coordinator of the diocesan Office of Marriage, Family Life and Pro-Life.