The Top Wedding Trends of 2018

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wedding reception table with tropical leaves and flowers including suspended orchid flowers

Naked cake. Rose gold. Daytime casual. Make-your-own s’mores. If any of these things feel familiar, then you probably attended a wedding in 2018. While some traditional wedding elements remain fixed throughout the years—there will be music, there will be food, there will be dancing—anyone who has a Pinterest account knows that wedding trends can sweep in swiftly and furiously, dominating couples’ choices for their wedding day décor, food, drinks, attire, and  general details.

Ignoring our Insta feed for a moment, we here at Zola were curious to know what’s really going down at weddings these days—so we went right to the source. We interviewed over 550 couples getting married in 2018 to find out what they’re planning for their big soirées. So if you’ve got more than one wedding invitation magnetized to your fridge right now, here are the top wedding trends of 2018 that you can expect as a wedding guest.

champange flutes lined up on a table with pink rock candy sticks stuck inside

Photo Credit || Amanda May Photography

Wedding Trends: Fashion & Beauty

Get your wardrobe ready—54% of 2018 weddings will be cocktail attire, and another 20% will be black tie-optional.

  • 15% of weddings will be “daytime casual.”
  • Couples aren’t shy about unique themes when it comes to wedding attire. 6% are going outside the box with dress codes that include “tropical chic,” “western semi-formal,” “flannel and denim,” and “costume party.”

Matchy-matchy wedding parties are over! Over half of surveyed couples (53%) will coordinate their wedding party’s outfits, but not match them exactly.

  • Bridesmaids in long dresses are still in, even in the summer. 75% of bridesmaids will wear long dresses, and only 11% will wear short dresses.
  • 5% of bridesmaids will wear separates or a jumpsuit. Holler! 
  • When it comes to groomsmen attire, 59% will wear a nice suit while 24% need a tux.  
bride and many bridesmaids standing in a row all wearing different shades of pink

Photo Credit || Brooke Beasley Photography

It’s all about the one wedding dress. Only 14% of brides will change for their reception.

bride lying on a plaid blanket on the grass leaning on a groom's knee both in wedding formalware

Photo Credit || Weddings by Adrienne and Amber

70% of brides spent under $100 on their wedding day shoes. The top wedding day shoes include:

  1. Traditional high heel (33%)
  2. Flat or sandal (27%)
  3. Kitten heel (10%)
  4. Bridal sneaker (6%)
  5. Wedge (4%)
  6. Other

Brides still want their hair styled in some way. 41% of brides will wear their hair in a half-updo, 40% will wear their hair in a full updo, while 19% will wear it down.

bride in a white wedding gown standing looking out a window with an updo hairstyle

Photo Credit || Danyel Stapleton Photography

Wedding Trends: Food & Drink 

Get ready to chow down on local delights, tacos and comfort foods, and wash it all down with a craft beer. The most popular wedding food & drink trends of 2018 are, in order:

  1. Custom cocktails (38%)
  2. Food local to the area, like Philly cheesesteaks and Maine lobster (34%)
  3. Late night bites (32%)
  4. Craft beer selection (31%)
  5. Vegan and gluten-free options (31%)
  6. Comfort food as the main meal, like mac & cheese and fried chicken (30%)
  7. Make-your-own food stations, like taco and s’mores (20%)
  8. Ethnic food that’s a reflection of the couple (14%)
  9. Other interesting menu details include BBQ, a bacon bar, a pig roast, and a popcorn bar.

More than half of weddings (54%) will be buffet style.

  • 27% of couples will serve a traditional seated meal with multiple courses.
  • 10% will serve their guests a family-style meal.

Cake is still king—77% of couples will have a wedding cake. Here are top wedding cake trends of 2018:

  1. White on white cake (40%)
  2. Naked cake (24%)
  3. Gold or rose gold designs (14%)
  4. Succulent toppers (10%)
  5. Watercolor cake design (5%)
  6. Ombré cake design (4%)
  7. Black or navy frosting (4%)
  8. Geode cake design (3%)
white wedding cake with succulents and small gold balloons on top that spell LOVE

Photo Credit || Lindsey Romo Photography

But guests shouldn’t fill up on just cake! 50% of couples will have additional sweet treats. The top 5 wedding dessert trends (apart from cake) are:

  1. Doughnuts
  2. Pie
  3. Milk and cookies
  4. Cake pops
  5. Ice cream sundaes

Wedding Trends: Details & Décor 

50% of couples are getting married where they currently live.

  • 22% are getting married in the location where one person is originally from.
  • 20% are getting having a domestic destination wedding.
  • Only 5% are having an international destination wedding.

As for specific venues, we heard about everything from a zoo to a post office to one couple who said they are “literally getting married in a cave.”  The most popular types of wedding venues in 2018 are:

  1. Historic home or mansion venues
  2. Rustic barn venues
  3. Lush garden venues
  4. Banquet hall venues
  5. Beach venues
bride and groom standing in front of a brick archway in a garden looking at each other

Photo Credit || Taylor Rae Photography

The top 5 most popular wedding décor trends in 2018 are:

  • 46% of couples will incorporate gold or rose gold into their wedding décor.
  • 22% will have flowers or greenery hanging from the ceiling.
  • 20% will incorporate succulents. 
  • 16% will have an entire floral or greenery wall.
  • 6% will have balloons.
wedding reception dinner tables with suspended roses and vintage light bulbs over the tables

Photo Credit || JoPhoto

Wedding Trends: Guest Experiences

What’s actually memorable about a wedding? 26% of people say the love between the couple. Aw! But besides that…

  • 25% say the food
  • 18% say the music & dancing
  • 13% say the ceremony
bride and groom kissing in front of a vintage Rolls Royce white limo

Photo Credit || Rachel Mae Photography

Lastly, here’s the worst thing thing a guest could do at a wedding, according to our surveyed couples. Turns out there are many things worse than wearing white…

  • 25% say the worst thing a guest could do is make their own public announcement, like propose or announce a pregnancy.
  • 20% say complaining about the wedding.
  • 19% say when guests get too drunk.
  • 11% say forgetting to RSVP.
  • 13% say giving a morifying toast.
  • 6% say wearing white.


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