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What's an ‘anti-bride’? The viral wedding trend, explained

Modern couples are saying 'yes' to personal touches and 'no' to traditional expectations.

Planning a wedding is a notoriously difficult to-do. Between booking a venue, saying “yes” to the dress and managing in-law expectations, many couples feel more overwhelmed than excited in the months leading up to their big day.?

TikTok's latest “anti-bride” trend aims to change that.

A growing number of brides-to-be have embraced the wedding trend, which encourages couples to ditch the pressure of conventional wedding traditions in favor of a more authentic and personal experience.

In fact, many modern brides are opting for more minimalist weddings, while some choose to skip the pomp and circumstance altogether.

In early January, TikTok user @knaakwell posted a video about her decision to elope, citing anxiety and expense as two main factors in her choice.

“I wouldn't even be able to feel comfortable or enjoy it,” she says in the clip.

Her TikTok video garnered over half a million views, and thousands of commenters shared their own reasons for eschewing traditional weddings.

What is an anti-bride?

On TikTok, the search term “anti bride trend” has almost 96 million views, and the hashtag #antibride has over 45 million views.

According to the Pinterest x Zola 2023 Wedding Trends Report, searches for “anti bride wedding" increased by 490% last year.

Bride-to-be Sam Hwang frequently posts about her “anti-bride” wedding planning journey on her TikTok account, where she has over 26,000 followers.

She was drawn to the trend because of the flexibility and independence it offers.

“There are no rules, which makes wedding planning almost easier in a sense,” Hwang says. “I feel like the movement allows couples to take the reins and really do what they want.”

Hwang herself is a florist, and frequently creates arrangements for weddings. She has noticed that many couples are letting go of wedding traditions that don’t fit their personalities and lifestyles.

“A lot of people have gone with ‘anti-bride’ to go their own route, and go against the grain and do their own thing instead of falling into having to have a large wedding,” Hwang says. “In reality, most people are paying for their weddings. So why not do it to please us, rather than the guests and the traditions?”

While the ‘anti-bride’ concept is new to some, wedding photographer Nikki Baker has observed the trend's rise in popularity over the last few years.

“It's the idea of doing whatever you want, even if it doesn't make sense to anybody else,” Baker says.

One of Baker's photography clients referenced ‘anti-bride’ as inspiration for their wedding photoshoot, which Baker posted on TikTok in October. “When your bride oozes anti-bride vibes so their cake cutting photos look like THIS,” she wrote over the video.

The video garnered 1.2 million views and nearly 50 thousand likes, but some commenters weren't so keen on the ‘anti-bride’ label.

“Looks like a beautiful wedding but everything about this is classic bride...simple and classic,” one comment read.

Baker clarified her meaning in a follow-up TikTok post: “The concept of an anti-bride is a more relaxed version of what most people would consider traditional weddings,” she explained.

Ultimately, Baker thinks that some people reacted negatively to her video because they felt that the term was derogatory toward those who wanted a more traditional wedding.

“I love the anti-bride trend," she says. “But it's a ‘do whatever you want’ type of vibe. If that fits you, I fully encourage that feeling versus trying to fit into a mold.”

The rise of unconventional wedding planning

For wedding planner Amy Shack Egan, unconventional weddings are far from a passing trend.

Egan is the founder of Modern Rebel, a wedding planning company dedicated to creating unique and personalized weddings.

Dubbed “The Anti-Wedding Wedding Planner" in a 2022 interview with The Cut, Egan's “love parties," are meant to reflect the couple, rather than adhere to societal expectations.

“I was just really excited to create a space within the wedding industry where people could rewrite the rules,” Egan says. “The wedding industry can feel pretty boxy, and a lot of people don’t feel represented.”

Egan notes that the cultural pressure surrounding weddings can be overwhelming. For many couples, the stress of wedding planning can take the fun out of the big day.?

Tropical bouquet from husband
Couples are opting for more unconventional details, including venues, outfits, and bouquets.RUU / Getty Images stock

In Egan’s view, the trend reflects modern brides’ desire to shift societal expectations around weddings and marriage.

“In a world where we have put so much pressure, especially on women, to find the right partner and get married ... I find it really refreshing to see women pushing back on that and saying, ‘I’m going to do what I want,’” she says.

According to Egan, many couples are moving away from typical wedding traditions and focusing on customizing their celebrations to reflect their personalities, cultures, and values. For example, Egan has seen a shift from traditional wedding heels to more comfortable footwear options like glittery sneakers or cowboy boots.

“I really love that people try to deconstruct that and make it make sense for them,” she says. “Women and our culture have evolved in so many ways — the wedding industry has a lot of catching up to do.”

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