Weddings & Celebrations

Not Your Mother’s Wedding

A guide for parents of today's engaged couples

Weddings have evolved significantly over the years, undergoing a transformation strikingly different from the ceremonies you most likely experienced when you tied the knot. From innovative trends to more choices than you can imagine, today’s weddings offer couples and their families exciting avenues for personalization and celebration. 

However, some of these options and changes may seem unconventional or out of the norm to you, which is why we’re walking you through the world of weddings in 2023. A lot is riding on the event, both financially and emotionally. And the last thing you want is disagreement or drama while planning. So as parents, understanding these changes can help you better support your engaged children as they embark on their journey to say, “I do.” Here are some of the most significant changes:

The average marriage age has increased:

Couples in the past tended to marry young—often in their early twenties. Couples are now finishing college and beginning their careers before getting married, with the average age in the late twenties or early thirties. 

Guest lists are down:

While large, lavish affairs were once the norm, intimate gatherings, and micro-weddings have gained popularity. These smaller celebrations allow for more meaningful interactions and enable couples to focus on what truly matters. 

Prices have gone up:

Like everything else, costs for weddings in Texas and the country have significantly risen, with $37,120 as the average amount spent in the Dallas–Ft. Worth area.

More couples are paying for weddings themselves. This phenomenon is due to various factors, including rising costs and financial independence. Have an honest talk with the couple at the beginning of the planning process so that all understand who is paying for what and that no misunderstandings arise. And even if you are financing the entire night, respect the couple’s choices and remember that it’s their wedding, not yours. 

Wedding season has shifted:

Traditionally, summer was the most popular season to get married, with June as the top month. While summer is still in demand, there’s been a shift in recent years to fall, with October now the most requested. 

Wedding venue
Cross Creek Ranch, Parker Texas |

Unconventional venues:

Gone are the days when weddings were primarily in places of worship or banquet halls. Modern couples choose unique venues that hold sentimental value or resonate with their interests. Barns, art galleries, beaches, and private residences have become popular. 

Farm to table/sustainability:

A significant shift in recent years has been the emphasis on sustainability and eco-conscious choices. Many couples choose eco-friendly practices, such as locally sourced catering, biodegradable décor, and sustainable fashion. 

Technology and social media:

Technology has revolutionized weddings in ways unimaginable a few decades ago. Social media, wedding websites, and virtual reality have become integral to planning. Couples now create wedding hashtags and Snapchat filters, live-stream ceremonies for distant relatives, and even use drones for breathtaking aerial photos. Some forego traditional paper invitations for electronic ones, while others include QR codes for efficient guest responses. They’re even hiring content creators who capture, edit, and post photos and videos in real-time to TikTok and Instagram. As parents, you can offer guidance on navigating the digital landscape, ensuring that technology enhances the celebration rather than overshadows it.

Alternative traditions and rituals:

Modern weddings are redefining traditions, allowing couples to infuse new meaning into age-old practices. Couples might opt for a friend to officiate the ceremony, write their own vows, or skip certain traditions altogether. Some no longer open gifts at the bridal shower but spend that time one-on-one with their guests. Moms, dads, and grandparents can show support by being open to these changes and expressing a willingness to learn about the alternatives. 

Changes in wedding attire:

Brides are wearing colors other than white (think pink, gold, light blue, and even black), bridesmaids don’t need to match, grooms are wearing suits, and a second dress for the reception is a popular trend. 


Since many couples live together or have established their own homes, they are skipping traditional registry items such as linens, china, and silver. Instead, they prefer honeymoon registries, practical appliances, and tools for their new homes.

Reception décor and details:

Instagram’s “must haves” keep growing. From signature cocktails, floral walls, food trucks, and entertainment to personalized signs, LED robots, photo booths, and lounge furniture, there’s no shortage of unique additions to the day. But remind the engaged couple that what they see on Instagram is not reality. The options can quickly become overwhelming, so only choose the ones that make the most sense for the couple’s personal style — and budget.

No matter how you decide to celebrate this milestone event, know it will be one of your life’s most extraordinary days. Direct communication with the couple goes a long way in ensuring a smooth planning process. And understanding some of these changes in traditions will help you relate to your kids as they plan their big day.


Molly Gregor

Molly Gregor is the founder and editor of and has been writing about weddings for more than 25 years.

Related Articles

Back to top button