New Survey Highlights Bridal Trends for 2011

Following the flurry of engagements from Thanksgiving to New Year's, the fifth annual "What's on Brides' Minds" survey by David's Bridal reveals that there are some new twists changing up the tried-​and-​true wedding rituals. 

Additionally, smaller budgets continue to be the norm, and brides-​to-​be are feeling more financially secure despite the economic climate. Today, more than half of brides (54%) have decreased their bottom-​line wedding expenditure due to the economy, which is an improvement from the 68% who tightened their budgets in 2010. In fact, 45% of respondents plan to spend less than $10,000 on their nuptials. Regardless of the effects of a still unstable economy, the outlook for 2011 weddings is positive, as brides adjust to changes in both their budgets and trends.

Vows Go Viral

A paperless wedding invitation isn't the only way weddings are saturating the digital world, as couples look to showcase their weddings online.

  • Facebook Official: Nearly half (48%) of brides-​to-​be update their Facebook with new name or relationship status within a day of taking their vows.
  • YouTube Sensation: 2 in 5 (44%) brides are interested in doing whatever it takes to get their fifteen minutes of YouTube fame, like a choreographed dance down the aisle or first dance.

The New Bridal Elopement 

Over-​the-​top weddings are becoming a thing of the past, and brides are now opting for more intimate affairs that will allow them to save for the ever after.

  • Less is More: Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) brides have considered having a small wedding, with 80% saying their reason for considering the smaller ceremony is to save money.
  • How Small is Small?: 80% of brides-​to-​be believe a small wedding is 50 guests or less and almost half (44%) define it as a wedding with 30 or fewer guests.
  • Nuptial Necessities: Of those who had to reduce their budgets, 61% said the wedding planner was the first to go, followed by decor (59%) and venue (57%). Brides identified alcohol as the least likely to be affected by budget cuts.
  • Saving for the Future: 32% of couples agree that their top economic priority, aside from the wedding, is saving money to go towards a down payment on a house, compared with 24% of couples in 2010.

Non-​Traditional Nuptials

Some customs of previous generations are losing their luster and brides are looking for updated ways to say "I do."

  • Starting a New Tradition: Borrowed traditions are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as nearly 4 in 5 (79%) brides reveal they have a wedding tradition they wish they could do away with.
  • Alternative Aisles: 2 in 5 (40%) respondents would marry outside a church or synagogue in a non-​religious setting, and two-​thirds (66%) have considered having a family member or friend deliver their vows.
  • Eliminating Expectations: Additional traditions brides-​to-​be would likely do away with, include wedding speeches (37%), wearing white (25%) and choosing something old, new, borrowed and blue (22%).
  • Reality Check: While watching wedding reality shows may be a guilty pleasure of brides, 69% said they'd never let their wedding be featured on a controversial reality show in order to save money and get five minutes of fame.

Green Still Looks Gorgeous

Environmentally-​friendly continues to stay fashionable, as brides find ways to make green the new white.

  • Eco-​Chic: 78% of respondents would take steps to make their weddings more environmentally-conscious.
  • Shades of Green: 37% of brides donate leftover food from the reception, and 35% plan to serve locally sourced dishes and/​or decorate with locally sourced flowers.
[Source:  "What's on Brides' Minds" survey.  David's Bridal/​Wakefield Research.  13 Jan. 2011.  Web.  14 Jan. 2011.]