Bridebook Engagement Trends Report: 13 Key Wedding Trends for 2024 and Beyond

If you’re curious about what the key wedding trends will be for 2024 and beyond, you’ve come to the right place. Our Engagement Report provides unparalleled insights into the ever-changing landscape of weddings. Based on feedback from over 3,500 engaged couples planning weddings for 2024 and beyond, the report sheds light on the evolving preferences and trends that shape today’s weddings. Read on to get the low-down on the biggest trends for the year ahead, along with some expert insights from Fran Everist, Director of Sales and Marketing at Hedsor House in Buckingshamshire, on what’s popular with today’s couples, and why.

As the average amount couples spend on their wedding continues to rise in recent years, and as Gen Z couples come of age, we’re seeing plenty of new wedding trends emerge. From changing proposal dynamics and evolving style trends, to prioritising personalisation and guest experience to blending tradition with innovation, to embracing both sustainability and technology, 2024 weddings promise to be a unique tapestry of meaningful connections and stand-out experiences. Today’s couples are redefining traditional norms to create bespoke celebrations that reflect their diverse tastes and interests. Here are our top 13 trends to watch…

1. Gen Z is coming of age

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According to our survey, the average length of dating before engagement stands at 4.7 years, with 30-year-olds dating for 4+ years most likely to plan an engagement. And yet, in a notable shift, 23% of engaged couples are now part of Gen Z, a 12% increase from those married in 2022.

Gen Z, who are currently represented by those aged 11-26, are known for being digital natives with short attention spans (8 seconds!). They’re visually and video-led, and value social proof, authenticity, personalisation, and sustainability.

Younger couples, particularly 20-somethings, favour outdoor proposals specifically, and 27% choose to pop the question while on holiday. Family involvement is highest among Gen Z couples, with 49% seeking parental blessings in advance.

Perhaps surprisingly in today’s digital landscape, 61-71% of all couples don’t film or photograph their proposals. However, 67% share their engagement on social media within one day.

2. Couples are discussing marriage in advance

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Our Engagement Report reveals a significant difference in how Gen Z couples approach engagements. A notable 53% of 20-somethings discuss plans for marriage in advance of the engagement, compared to 32% of 40-somethings, which suggests transparency and shared decision-making are a key priority for younger couples specifically.

Commenting on this trend, Hamish Shephard, Bridebook’s founder and qualified wedding planner, notes, “Gen Z is redefining the narrative of engagements. Their decisions reflect a generation that values considered, meaningful connections, with an emphasis on taking the time to build a solid foundation before making lifelong commitments. Gen Z is clearly challenging traditional norms, clearly valuing open communication and partnership. The modern couple is breaking away from stereotypical gender roles, viewing marriage as a shared and collaborative journey.”

3. Pets are getting wedding invites, while parents’ friends are out

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Less than half of today’s couples will invite their parents’ friends. Our Engagement Report reveals that only 42% of Gen Z, 38% of Millennials and 27% of Gen X will invite them.

On the other hand, nearly 1-in-5 (21%) of Gen Z couples will include pets on their guest list. So it’s good news for your furry friends, though not quite so good news for your parents’ friends! Fran Everist tells us that Hedsor House has “seen a big leap in the numbers of couples bringing their dogs to their wedding. Take-up of our Canine Concierge service has trebled in the last year, with couples very much seeing their dogs as an essential part of the family. Pet donkeys, llamas and cats have also made it onto the guest list!”

On the subject of guest lists, half of couples will also allow children at their weddings, with older Gen X couples being the most likely to include children. When it comes to children at weddings, Fran Everist adds that while this does not yet relate to Gen Z couples, Millennials also “seem to be increasingly having  the house and children first, and the wedding afterwards.”

4. TikTok as a wedding planning tool

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A notable 41% of Gen Z couples are using TikTok for wedding purposes, the highest among all segments. This represents a huge jump from 11% of all engaged couples in 2021, and not only suggests a preference for digital expression, but also highlights the profound impact that social media platforms can have on shaping the narrative of modern weddings.”

Hamish remarks, “As true digital natives, Gen Z couples are rewriting traditional approaches to wedding planning. We’re seeing a drive towards fostering a sense of community and inspiring others to embrace new and creative wedding trends.”

5. The rise of AI

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Today’s couples are embracing technology, with 7% using AI for music playlists and 5% turning to generative content for speeches, invitations and vows.

This again highlights that as weddings become both more personalised and tech-savvy, couples are embracing innovative tools to craft a truly unique celebration.

6. Sustainability takes centre stage

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Today’s couples are increasingly incorporating sustainability tactics into the weddings, from favouring lab-grown diamonds to upcycled decor and paper-free invitations. They also enjoy second-hand, meaningful items, especially jewellery:

  • 47% will have plant-based confetti, the most popular eco-friendly activity.
  • Preference for ethical jewellery has more than doubled from 6% to 14%.
  • Preference for pre-loved attire has also more than doubled from 7% to 16%.
  • Upcycled decor and paper-free invitations have risen by almost 10% since 2022.
  • 22% use second-hand items (such as grandmother’s ring, or family heirloom jewellery).
  • Many are considering selling their wedding decor and fashion items.

Gen Z are revealed to be most committed to sustainability, and are the group that is most likely to resell their wedding items, from decor to bridesmaid’s outfits and their wedding dress (21% of Gen Z will consider selling their wedding dress compared to 18% of Millennials).

Commenting on this trend, Fran Everist notes that “Hedsor House, which launched the very first carbon-neutral wedding package last year, is seeing a gradual shift in couples wanting more sustainable choices. Whether it’s swapping cut flowers in favour of faux blooms, or wanting their wedding breakfast to be locally sourced, couples are making meaningful changes to their day.”

7. Unique speciality catering is what it’s all about (especially pizza)

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Unique specialty catering gains popularity as couples look for new and different ways to entertain guests and create bespoke experiences. Couples want that stand-out, ‘wow’ factor.

Most notably, 16% of engaged couples want food trucks at their wedding. Of these planning for food trucks, nearly three-quarters (71%) will have a pizza van specifically. So if you’re fancying a fun and more laid-back catering option for your wedding next year, you won’t be alone! And this culinary customisation extends beyond savoury food: 1-in-4 (25%) couples plan to have pick ’n’ mix sweet stations, while 1-in-5 will have signature cocktails as the most popular specialty drink.

Fran Everist associates this trend with the rise of outdoor weddings, as more and more couples look for “relaxed dining options which mirror the vibe. Hedsor House is seeing an increase in requests for BBQs, hog roasts and street food. The classic English Afternoon Tea is also a growing favourite for those looking for elegance and insta-appeal.”

8. Champagne still rules as the top wedding drink

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Classic bubbly remains the favourite celebratory drink among today’s couples. Champagne will be served at 1-in-5 (21%) weddings in 2024. On the other hand, beer proves to be an unpopular wedding drink, with only 4% of couples planning to serve it.

Not many couples are going teetotal next year. Only 4% will have a completely alcohol-free wedding, while 3% will have a deliberately low-alcohol wedding. So it’s all about the bubbles!

9. Rustic vibes and green tones will reign supreme, while themed weddings gain in popularity 

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Rustic vibes will dominate 2024 weddings, with greens reigning as the top wedding colour. Unique gemstones like emerald and moss agate gain popularity as 39% of Millennials and Gen Z couples plan rustic-style weddings, including having a barn or farmhouse as their wedding venue. A rustic wedding is a more informal style of wedding than is traditional. It’s one which draw inspiration from the countryside, incorporating elements of nature, vintage decor, DIY touches and warm, earthy tones, and ties in nicely with today’s couples’ commitment to sustainability and environmentalism.

Couples are clearly being drawn to the authenticity and intimacy that rustic aesthetics provide, and want to create a wedding atmosphere that feels both timeless and personally meaningful. 2024 weddings will celebrate individuality and depart from the conventional. Move over luxury glam or elegance! Next year is all about natural charm grounded in charm and simplicity.

Fran Everist notes that Hedsor House is seeing “couples increasingly wanting to marry outside which is very much about wanting to enjoy the unique country setting.”

Among Gen Z in particular, themed weddings are also in, with 6% of these couples planning a themed wedding. Popular themed wedding styles include Disney, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Halloween, celestial, festival and throwbacks like the 80s or TV sitcoms or movies. 

Fran Everist agrees that “couples are increasingly bringing their unique personality to their nuptials. Hedsor House has seen a rise in themed weddings with Harry Potter, Pokémon and Mario Kart being recent examples.”

10. Top first dance songs combine the classic with the contemporary

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The top 25 first dance songs of 2024 feature legendary classics alongside contemporary hits, with Elvis Presley reigning supreme amidst male vocal ballads and country songs.

The no.1 first dance song of the year is an old favourite, “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, by Elvis Presley – no doubt seeing a revival following the 2022 biopic ‘Elvis’ – while Ed Sheeran, Shania Twain and Elton John each hold two songs in the top 25.

Male vocal ballads are trending as well. In particular, James Arthur, Lewis Capaldi, Biffy Clyro and Clinton Kane are firm favourites for 2024 first dance songs.

Country music songs are gaining popularity, with Luke Combs and Lonestar ranking the highest.

11. Weddings will be fun and games

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Weddings aren’t just the greatest parties of all time. They’re fabulous, showstopping spectacles, and a chance to enjoy unique experiences with the ones you love. Given today’s couples preference for unique, bespoke celebrations, it’s no wonder that couples are going beyond classic wedding music entertainment, like bands and DJs, opting to explore fun and quirky non-music entertainment too.

Couples getting married in 2024 don’t want stiff formal affairs, but are instead embracing informal playfulness. Most notably, our Engagement Report reveals that 23% of engaged couples want garden games to feature at their weddings. Think horseshoes, giant Jenga, lawn bowling, and croquet, and even old sports day classics like egg and spoon and sack or space hopper races. 

In general, couples are looking to showcase a wide variety of entertainment. 19% will have fireworks, while 8% enjoy the idea of secret singers or singing waiters. Other interesting wedding entertainment options for 2024 include magic mirrors, a live portrait artist or caricaturist, axe throwing, and even mini golf/crazy golf. Couples are embracing anything and everything. The point is to put fun at the heart of their wedding, and to really prioritise guest experience.

Commenting on this trend towards spectacular and unique wedding entertainment, Fran Everist observes that “fireworks continue to be very popular at Hedsor House, and classic English lawn games like croquet are on the rise as couples embrace the outdoor country house vibe.”

And to hold on to these unique memories, 1-in-10 (11%) will have an audio guestbook. What a great way to bring guests’ experience to life, beyond the more traditional written notes.

12. Out with (some of) the old

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In the realm of wedding traditions, the ‘first look’ trend remains en vogue. More specifically, 22% of Gen Z couples enjoy this trend, the highest among all generational groups. Some other traditions are standing the test of time. For example, walking down the aisle by one or both parents, exchanging rings and vows, first dance, wedding speeches, and cake-cutting.

Yet other old wedding traditions are on their way out. Half of couples won’t have confetti or rice thrown at their wedding (Fran Everist comments that bubbles and sparklers are popular alternatives these days), and only half of couples will offer wedding favours to their guests.

Tossing the bouquet and carrying the bride over the threshold represent some of the least used traditions in today’s weddings. Couples are instead tossing away tradition, and turning to social media instead – specifically viral TikTok trends – and we’ll only see more of this moving into 2024.

Weddings in 2024 will clearly be an interesting tapestry of tradition and innovation, showcasing the diverse tastes and values of today’s progressive couples, who on the one hand continue to uphold traditions that remain relevant to them, but who equally aren’t afraid of creating bespoke experiences that to fit their unique vision and values.

13. Multi-day weddings and bigger is better

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When it comes to wedding lengths and timings, our Engagement Report shows that younger couples are favouring longer multi-day affairs, with 36% of Millennials and 34% of Gen Z planning weddings spanning more than one day to truly celebrate in style. Who can blame them? After all, why have just a single wedding day when you can have a wedding weekend! The younger generation clearly want to stretch out the celebrations as much as possible and make the most out of their weddings, following the American trend of having a rehearsal dinner the night before.

Fran Everist agrees that “multi-day weddings are definitely on the rise, whether that’s at weekends, or during the week. Rather than the inconvenience and expense of going abroad for destination weddings, many couples are choosing to create more relaxed UK experiences with extended celebrations. Morning-after brunches and night-before BBQs are often highlights; couples enjoy using all of the venue’s spaces for different aspects of their experience, including the grounds.”

This relates to a wider cultural shift among the youth of today. After the years of enforced isolation at the hands of the pandemic, followed by the war in Europe and the cost of living crisis, those who can afford it want to party, and bigger is better than ever. It’s all about the energy and all about the fun. And here at Bridebook, where creating joy underpins everything we do, we’re all for it.

The bottom line on 2024 wedding trends

There you have our top 13 trends of next year! With the influential rise of Gen Z weddings, 2024 weddings are poised to be a fusion of tradition and innovation and, above all, celebrate each couple’s joy through hyper-personalisation. Weddings have changed a lot in recent years, and are set to change even more before next year is out, while still clinging on to what makes them so special. Which of these new trends will you be incorporating into your own big day?

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Happy Planning!