There’s nothing like planning a wedding to highlight differences between generations. Today’s mothers of the bride are coming to the table with memories of receptions and lead-up bridal events that can vary drastically from what we as millennials have gotten used to (in the ’80s, nearly every groom wore a tux and no one had to brainstorm a brilliant hashtag). A new study conducted on behalf of Best Buy is pointing out the specifics, comparing the experiences of couples married within the last five years with those hitched 20+ years ago.
Grooms are much more involved. Guys are playing a bigger part in wedding planning, with 69 percent of recent brides saying that their fellows played a “significant” role (they were most likely to help with picking food, beverages, and music). In our parents’ generation, only 49 percent of men were active in the process.
Everything is more elaborate. From the send-off brunch to welcome dinners and organized after-parties, the number of activities surrounding today’s weddings are mind-blowing to couples who wed decades earlier (46 percent of current couples take engagement photos; 45 percent plan bachelor and bachelorette parties). Seventy percent of newlyweds report that their weddings were more elaborate than their parents.
Some things stay the same, some things don’t. Contrasting the numbers, there are certain wedding mainstays that have stuck around—the number of couples who took time to ceremoniously cut the wedding cake and planned rehearsal dinners is about the same between both groups of marrieds. The largest differences? Our parents were more likely to have a garter toss (50 percent versus 32 percent now) and millennials are more likely to be proposed to in an organized, public way (23 percent versus 7 percent).
Wedding registries are more practical. In the past, couples didn’t vary from the traditional registry categories: fine china, crystal, and practical kitchen items for couples who were just starting to build their household. Now, whether because of an enhanced selection or since couples might already live together, brides and grooms are asking for tech gadgets (74 percent of recent couples say it’s appropriate, compared with 58 percent from earlier generations). When asked if they would want to update their registry if getting hitched now, 75 percent of our parents’ generation say they’d definitely put some tech items on the list.
The top items Best Buy is seeing couples register for include some classic kitchen items with a tech spin (like Ninja blenders and electric wine openers) but gadgets totally of our generation too—think Apple TVs and Nest thermostats.