Wedding trends 2023
Updated: May 2
We’re as passionate about elopements and intimate wedding as the couples we help. Over the past 10 years, from conception of our business idea through to today where we help thousands of couples every year to find their perfect elopement or intimate wedding venue. We’ve seen smaller weddings grow in popularity for a myriad of reasons including: micro-weddings being normalised during the COVID years; to couples wanting their wedding to be a more authentic expression of their relationship rather than a formula driven day based on wedding traditions; practical considerations, such as, couples seeking to balance creating a special wedding day experience with realistic budgets. (Click here for guidance on how to make your wedding budget go further and how to elope)
We are super-lucky to be speaking to couples on a daily basis about their wedding plans and helping them at the start of their wedding journey. Unique access to this inside track means we’re able to share up to the moment insight with you on the wedding trends we see coming to the fore in 2023 and 2024.
1. Guest lists maxing out at 50
In 2022 we saw couples rebel against the strict mirco-wedding limits imposed during COVID, and that saw the average number of guests at a wedding hit 89. (Source: Hitched.co.uk) The opportunity to gather as many of your tribe around you after years of being told “no” was hard to resist. This year we’re seeing wedding guest numbers trend back down. With most couples inviting 50 or fewer guests and the highest popularity for searches on our site being seen in the 2-12 and 20-35 wedding sizes brackets. You can learn about the benefits of down-sizing here. Going hand in hand with this trend is couples opting to hold their smaller weddings in truly unique destination wedding venues: just like Chloe & Nick’s at Brickhouse Vineyard in Devon featured in this blog. Couples are recognising that fewer guests can afford you an upgrade in your overall experience.
2. Bridal parties are on the decline
Couples are taking wedding traditions and adapting them and owning them in their own unique ways. The traditional gendered line up is being replaced with mixed bridal parties that include brides-men, best women and even dogs playing these roles. And why not? Your dog is part of the family and who can resist a dog in a bow-tie or flower collar? Taking this a step further, we see many couples like Chloe and Nick cutting right back to one or two of their closest friends and family to be part of their special day rather than large, bloated guest lists. Read more about the true meaning behind the most popular wedding traditions and how you can adapt them to own them.
3. Wedding budgets are falling (and prices are rising) – but the quality of wedding experience is not up for debate
The average wedding pre-pandemic in 2019 was £33,000, whereas in 2022 this fell to just over £17,000. Having a small wedding is a great way of assuring the quality of your wedding day experience as you are able to spend a higher amount per head. What’s more, you’ll get to spend quality time with your hand-picked micro-guest list, creating a supportive a loving environment that money just can’t buy. Smaller does not mean inferior in any way. In fact, we’d argue that choosing a smaller wedding is a prime example or where less is most certainly more. Beautiful small wedding venues like Brickhouse Vineyard are just perfect for elopements and intimate weddings, being purpose designed from the get-go to host high quality small weddings and elopements with no compromises.
4. Mid-week weddings and winter weddings
Saturdays will always be the most popular days to get married because of our traditional working patterns. However, we are seeing an increasing number of mid-week weddings, with Tuesdays and Thursdays being right behind Saturdays as the most popular days to wed. This is the effect of couples taking advantage of better value packages from many venues for mid-week dates. What’s more the registrars’ fees are less on mid-week days too!
The other cost busting trend that’s becoming more prevalent is winter wedding dates. Think candles, furs, holly and ivy punctuated with deep red berries, mulled wine and mince pies and feasting on hearty winter favourites with your closest friends and family – an experience that really warms the soul! These dates offer couples more choice and often at a cheaper rate than the height of the summer season. What’s more couples also get a better choice of wedding day service providers as, again, diaries are much less busy during the winter period. You can read more about winter wedding ideas here.
5. Nature-inspired wedding cakes
Pinterest Predicts report, tells us there’s been:
85% increase in people searching for daisy cupcake ideas,
110% increase in wildflower cupcakes, and
210% increase in sage green cupcakes.
We love for nature-inspired wedding, and how this cakey-trend extends the theme. Brickhouse Vineyard is a perfect venue for couples who love the beauty of the countryside, yet don’t want to compromise on elegance and luxury on their wedding day. The full-length windows on the round house give the feeling of the outside coming in, and when the weather is good, can be opened up on to the beautifully planted outdoor “aisle” through the terrace which can also be used for after ceremony drinks and canapés, allowing you and your guests can take in the stunning views across the vineyard and rolling Devon hills beyond.
6. Festival weddings on a mini-scale
When it comes to micro wedding themes, the headliner is still festival weddings…but without the mud and wellies. We like to think of these as “grown up festival weddings”! All the fun and yet no sacrifices in terms of comfort, luxury and decadence. This style is all about creating unique, memorable experiences: think uber-relaxed and fun. And what better way to kick back on your wedding day than a fun-packed mini-festival, in a stunning private location, with your closest friends and family?
7. Take two!
Couples who recently tied the knot under less-than-ideal circumstances, are tearing up the vow renewal rules: vow renewals are no longer reserved for milestone anniversaries. We’ve had more vow renewal bookings for 2023 than ever before. Many couples were married as recently as recently as 2021 in between lock downs. Masked up, socially distanced and marrying in a registrars’ office may have “made things legal” but many couples still hanker for a celebration that delivers fabulous memories, beautiful photography in a stunning location surrounded by ( and able to hug!) their original guest-list. They’re telling us they want to add to their wedding day story now rather than wait until an arbitary 5, 10 or 25 years and do things as they would really have liked. Find out more about vow renewals here.
8. Dressing up the dress
“The Dress” has always been a big focus for most brides. The secret has always been to find the perfect (white) dress, and let the dress do all of the talking. Yet the biggest dress trend we’re seeing this year is accessorising. And not just subtle little accessories to complement the dress: we mean bold statement pieces that bring pops of colour, character and reflect the bride’s personality. 2023 is about dramatic accessories that "dress the dress". Think dresses adorned with flowers, bright kick pleats, mismatch separates, dramatic statement capes, opera gloves, lace gloves, bows, hair florals, bridal fascinators and even hats. Brides no longer feel the need to “dress virginal” so expect to see some truly stunning adaptations and creative accessories taking to the aisle this year and next.
9. Eco-conscious weddings
Sustainable weddings are most definitely on the rise. This is one of the reasons we are seeing guest lists getting down-sized as couples seek to limit the carbon footprint of their ceremony and celebrations. We’re also seeing more:
- Décor hire rather than buying
- Dried flower or recycled compostable confetti
- Re-cycled wedding dressed – either hired to order, or "found treasure" in charity shops or a relative’s wardrobe and restyled for the bride’s special day. Remember how stunning Princess Beatrice looked in one of Queen Elizabeth’s old dresses? If it’s good enough for the royals, then it’s good enough for us!
- Vegan, 100% organic, locally grown, sustainable food sources dominate menus
- Florists who use no plastic in their creations, and even recycling petals from your flowers to create thank you gifts for your guests.
- Use of dried flowers and feathers that can be enjoyed way past your wedding day.
10. Flash and film photography
A photography trend that has been gaining in popularity over the past 18 months, has been flash and film photography, and from what couples tell us, it’s only going to get bigger in 2023. It’s practical way of capturing an evening ceremony and celebrations as well as being a great way to capturing natural shots, picking up the beautiful light from fireworks, candles and sparklers, resulting stunning images that rekindle the best moments from your special day. Film photography is a big trend on social media. It has a nostalgic feel, with added depth and a vintage feel making it the perfect way to capture your special wedding day moments for prosperity.
You just have to take a look at the beautiful photography by Emma Barrow at Brickhouse Vineyard to see how special intimate weddings can be. You can still have everything you ever dreamed of: stunning location, with beautiful personal details, a ceremony and celebration in your own unique style all enveloped by that special brand of love and support only your inner circle can provide. A beautifully romantic wedding day, lifelong memories with amazing photographs to boot and all yours, totally stress-free. When you think about it, it’s no wonder that intimate weddings are on the rise.