From simple details like more tailored guest lists and trending wedding colours, to much bigger considerations like sustainability and eco-credentials, the wedding trends for 2023 are set to shake up weddings as we know them.
New research from wedding planning platform Hitched.co.uk reveals what the average UK wedding looks like in 2022, and which wedding trends are set to be huge in 2023.
Wedding trends for 2022/2023
Wedding fashion trends
While wedding fashion from the 80s will likely have you thinking about frou-frou sleeves and taffeta layers, the decade had a lot more to offer than Princess Diana’s iconic gown – the 80s have had a seriously modern glow up.
The catwalk at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week was full of puff sleeve designs, and Google searches for the statement piece have grown by 39% year on year. ‘While 90s styling is still big news, the previous decade set the tone for some of the most head-turning bridal styles in Barcelona,’ says Anna-Marie DeSouza, Editor at Bridal Buyer.
Marie says: ‘The 80s are back, and with a level of finesse that makes the dramatic detailing have an elegant flow. Viktor & Rolf had lots of texture and movement in their new collection, with some rah-rah skirt inspired detailing on their shorter styles.’ It’s not just the puff sleeve that’s back with a bang, as satin bows are also having another moment.
Viktor & Rolf chose to give lots of their models delicate veils that only just covered the face, complete with a bow on top, showing that there are plenty of ways – from over the top to the simple cherry on top – to include a bow in your bridal look in 2023.
At the opposite end of the fashion spectrum, bridal suits are also on the way up. As we emerge from a period where weddings were pared back and scaled down, it seems the desire to keep your wedding day look sleek and chic is sticking around, as searches for ‘wedding suits for women’ have rocketed by 125%.
Searches for the term ‘male bridesmaid’ have increased by 23% as couples move to create wedding parties that reflect their actual friendship groups, and searches for ‘man of honour’ hit 1,000 a month in 2022 with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
‘Bridesmates’, ‘wedding squad’ and ‘I do crew’ are just some of the terms couples are adopting as inclusive names for their wedding party.
Sustainability continues to be part of the conversation around weddings, as the National Wedding Survey revealed that more than a fifth of couples consider sustainability as part of their wedding planning.
Zoe Burke, editor of Hitched.co.uk says : ‘This is reiterated in trends – there’s no escaping the increasing urgency around the climate crisis, and couples are applying more thought to their wedding choices, with eco-friendly favours, locally sourced food and flowers and upcycling their accessories – Granny’s pearls are not just your ‘something borrowed’ anymore, they’re an environmental statement.
‘Princess Beatrice put this on the map when she revealed that she’d had a micro-wedding in the pandemic and chose to wear a dress belonging to the Queen for her big day.’
Searches for ‘wedding dress hire’ have risen 132% as couples look for more economical ways to plan a wedding. Renting a wedding dress is a savvy way for a bride to get their hands on a gown that may have previously been beyond their budget.
Rosie Rowley Poole of Rowley Hesselballe bridalwear explains: ‘A lot of brides want to have a more sustainable approach to their wedding day outfit, for many brides their wedding day dress never leaves their closet after their big day, and with the new generation of brides increasingly concerned with wastefulness, renting is a great solution to this.’
The eco-elements extend beyond wedding outfits, with interest in eco-friendly wedding favours soaring by 1,500% in the last year, as nearly three quarters of couples admitted they wanted to still give a traditional wedding favour to their guests, but didn’t want to contribute to landfill by giving something that would end up in the bin.
‘Consider thank you cards made from cardboard and seeds, so guests can plant them in their gardens and have a beautiful reminder of your wedding,’ suggests Hattie Creese of events company Marble Private. ‘Even simply avoiding paper in this way can help the environment massively.’
Another way couples are combating waste is by sharing food and favours after the event, through apps like Olio, where any surplus produce is shared with the local community rather than being thrown away.
New trends for 2023
While there are a number of new traditions on the horizon, none is more relatable than the update to the first dance as half of couples revealing to Hitched that they are nervous about the first dance, and more than a fifth admitting they are ‘dreading it’! What’s more, more than one in ten couples are set to skip the ritual altogether in 2023.
Newlyweds Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker are the latest celeb couple to put elopements back in the spotlight. Since their surprise Vegas ceremony in April, searches for ‘destination weddings’ and ‘elopements’ have soared, with interest in private ceremonies up more than 200% and 128.7k searches for elopements globally in May 2022 alone.
Zoe Burke says: ‘I’m so happy to see some new traditions being introduced as the latest generation of couples begin to tie the knot. From the first look to the first dance, we’re seeing couples are really making their wedding days more about them than ever before – and in some cases, only about them.
‘We found that more than 10% of couples decided to forgo the old fashioned idea of not seeing one another before the ‘I do’, and instead chose to do a ‘first look’ – a moment for the happy couple to have some time alone before they hit the aisle – and a trend made popular on TikTok of all places!’