This Is the Year of the Anti-Bride: Wedding Professionals Break Down 2023’s Latest Trend

anti bride wedding trend: 90s harsh camera flash, dress changes, and ditching white
Abby Jiu/ Clark Brewer / Rachel and Noah Raye

Micro weddings. Eco-friendly wedding guest favors. Something rust, instead of blue. It seems that everywhere, couples are finding ways to break with tradition—lace, personalized favors and ten-tiered cakes that taste like cardboard begone. So, it’s no surprise that, according to Pinterest and Zola’s 2023 Wedding Trends Report, this is the year of the anti-bride wedding. From food trucks and CBD bars to holographic manicures and bowling after-parties, these ceremonies defy convention. That’s why we turned to a wedding planner, makeup artist, cake designer and weddings editor to break down the trend and exactly what you need to make it your own.

Meet the Experts

  • Alexandria Gilleo is a celebrity makeup artist and founder of Bridal by Alexandria. She has worked with clients that include Free People, Forbes, Etsy, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith and Babs Costello.
  • Brittny Drye is the founder and editor of Love Inc. Magazine, a publication whose mission is to create diverse, inclusive wedding content for all couples. Drye has been recognized by the likes of Forbes, The New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, Refinery29, and Cosmopolitan for her efforts to make the wedding industry more inclusive.
  • Kelly Gray is a wedding cake designer and founder of Kelly Gray Cakes, based in Los Angeles and Telluride, Colorado. Gray creates for celebrity clients, corporate parties and premieres. Her work was featured on the Kelly Clarkson Show.
  • Neillie Butler is the founder of Mariée Ami, a top wedding planning, production and design firm based in Birmingham, Alabama. Butler’s clients have included Fortune 500 CEOs, owners of professional sports teams and national universities. BRIDES named her one of the best wedding planners in the South and in 2021, Butler was recognized as a leading female entrepreneur by the Tory Burch Foundation.

Yeehaw! The Fall Wedding Trend We Didn't See Coming

What Is the Anti-Bride Wedding Trend?

A quick search for “anti-bride” on Pinterest and you’ll find nary a garter in sight. Instead, it’s rife with ‘90s instant camera snaps (with blinding flash), soft-goth lug-sole boots, wedding pantsuits, cheeky cakes and tiny bouquets filled with unexpected blooms. In short, it’s unpredictable and hard to pin down.

“Think of this trend as the rebellious sibling of traditional weddings. She is sassy and has a kick-ass approach to celebrating love, where all the rules are thrown out the window like last year’s bouquet toss,” notes Gilleo. People are chucking cookie-cutter options in favor of decisions that feel more authentic to themselves. It’s about “saying goodbye to aspects of traditions that no longer mean anything to them, replacing them with details that symbolize and represent their union in a way that is unique,” Gray says.

So, what makes the “anti-bride” and “anti-wedding” so appealing? It’s the opportunity to break free from customs and be given the creativity to create something that reflects the couple’s personalities and values. “They’re trying less and less to conform to society or familial standards and do something that feels fresh,” says Butler.

Who Is It For?

“This trend is for everyone and allows for any detail to be personalized and 100 percent unique,” Drye says. “The anti-wedding trend encourages couples to plan the wedding they really want and not the wedding they think they should have.”

Butler observes that platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have saturated the conversation with trends and etiquette. And while we love a trend as much as anyone, they aren’t exactly the definition of timeless...or you.   

“The anti-wedding sentiment is taking the reins and making your day supremely personal,” Butler shares. “We find most couples leaning toward this trend are a bit more modern than conventional. They often look for more of a celebratory party than the formalities of a wedding ceremony and reception. They may be a bit more daring when it comes to travel, fashion, art and culture.”

How to Plan an Anti-Bride Wedding

1. The Timeline, Decor & Venue(s)

“Planning-wise (decor, venue, etc.), the hallmark is literally doing whatever the heck you want. No rules,” Drye declares. “Instead of a traditional reception, I’ve seen couples take their friends on a tasting train through Napa Valley. I’ve also seen couples who weren’t into music and dancing host another form of entertainment for their reception, such as a magic show, roller skating or bowling.”

Butler adds that couples are also getting unconventional with their timeline. Some will choose to get married earlier in the day, with a brunch reception to follow, while others have split the festivities over several days.

“We would encourage our couples to look outside of Pinterest and wedding blogs/publications,” she says. “[Ask yourself], ‘what do you do for fun on the weekends? Where do you like to travel?’ Then, insert a wedding into that—this will help you achieve clarity on the perfect ‘anti-wedding.’”

2. Fashion

If you’ve typically balked at the idea of a wedding dress or have always dreamed that your wedding would also be a smaller version of Paris Fashion Week, the “anti-bride” camp is where you belong. Drye has observed that couples are gravitating toward looks that might not be associated with nuptials—whether that’s grabbing something off-the-rack or just an outfit they feel good in.

On the other hand, some of Butler’s clients have treated their wedding like a runway. “Multiple looks seem to be the norm—[including] bedazzled, floral prints, color, pant suits [and] blazers,” she says.

3. Glam

As with everything else associated with the “anti-bride,” there’s no conventional makeup look to describe it. For Gilleo, it’s all about bringing out the person’s individuality and self-expression.

“It’s about letting your inner beauty and unicorn shine through and choosing a look that feels best for you,” she says. “Most of my clients want to go with a beautiful, natural, soft and timeless look, however, I’ve had a few clients also want vibrant and bold products that make heads turn faster than a bridezilla’s meltdown. We’ve had a few fun looks using glitter and glue on sparkles that could light up a disco ball."

The look isn’t complete without freshly manicured nails, and Gilleo says it’s time to ditch that French mani.

“I’ve seen many clients this year go fun and have funky nail art, from holographic designs to glitter and prints. Don’t be afraid to let your nails be the loudest party guests. The key to nailing the anti-wedding look is to stay true to yourself and have fun with it.”

4. Cake

Is cake out? Depends. Butler has seen many clients ditch the traditional wedding tiers in favor of a favorite dessert (churros, anyone?) or skipping it entirely. Similarly, Gray has seen cupcakes, pies and mini cakes have their share of the spotlight. But don’t knock that seven-tier creation just quite yet.

“It is an art piece that the couple puts thought into and then gets to share it with all of their family and friends. It is literally breaking bread,” Gray says. “As a cake designer, I approach this by paying attention to the little details of my clients that make them unique and then taking their special connection into consideration when designing their cake. Everything from where the couple lives, to what kind of music they listen to influences the direction of their design.”

5. The Plot Twist

The surprise wedding is one of Butler’s favorite micro trends to come out of the anti-wedding movement. But don’t panic: it’s not the stuff of those internet horror stories, where one of the partners is invited to a “fancy party” that turns out to be their own (undiscussed) nuptials.

“This is when you invite your family and friends to a party to celebrate your engagement. However, when they arrive, you surprise them by getting married before the celebration begins,” Butler says. “Because this type of ‘alternative wedding’ is a surprise to family and friends, it takes away the pressure that can come with traditional planning and allows everyone to focus on the surprise celebration.”

This Gen Z Wedding Trend Is Moody, Magical and Confusing the Hell Out of Millennials

MW 10

Associate SEO Editor

I’ve covered the lifestyle space for the last three years after majoring in journalism (and minoring in French) at Boston University. Talk to me about all things sustainable &...