Millennials have long been known as anti-traditional young kids. However, the youngest millennials are now 26 (and the oldest are 41), so does that stereotype really hold up anymore?
In some ways, it definitely does. Millennials are really shaking things up in the realm of proposal norms. However, as millennials age, there are also certain conventions they hold onto or even re-integrate into popular marriage practices.
Diamonds Are Forever, but Debt Might Be Too
Millennials just don’t buy expensive rings as previous generations did. At the same time, they are very interested in rings that have personal significance. Millennials as a whole are debt-averse when it comes to rings, preferring affordable engagement rings instead.
Proposing Later in Life
While half a century ago, it wasn’t uncommon to propose in your early twenties, millennials aren’t following that trend. In fact, not by a long shot. Among millennials, the average woman gets married at 29 and the average man at 31.
Why are they waiting, you ask? Well, it’s a number of things. While some millennials don’t see the point of the institution or just don’t think they’re ready, their main concerns are economic. Millennials are willing to push proposals a bit farther down the line until their budget allows it, and they’ve got their feet under them a bit more.
Asking Permission for Marriage Is a Mixed Bag
While millennials are often painted as wildly anti-traditional, the numbers don’t always back that claim. Well over half of millennials asked for a parent’s blessing before proposing. In recent history, that makes them incredibly conventional — potentially more conventional (in this regard) than generations gone by.
They Go Big
Millennial proposals are often a sight to behold. They tend to favor larger, more elaborate proposals. Because of that, they also tend to have longer planning periods for their proposals. Couple that with the fact that they’re taking longer to propose in general, and you get elaborate and unique proposals as a general rule.
Even the Bridal Party (and Sometimes the Groomsmen) Get “Proposals”
While not thoroughly uncommon before, millennials definitely do this one big as well. “Proposals” for not only the maid of honor but also the bridesmaids as a whole are becoming more popular. While you won’t find them as elaborate as the proposal itself (at least, probably), these still have a flair of their own.
The bridal party isn’t the only one getting in on this. While less common, millennial men are getting in on the fun of “proposing” to their groomsmen, or at least their best man. For millennials, it almost seems expected to offer some sort of trinket or gift box to the person standing beside you at the altar.
Having Multiple Rings
While few millennials have more than two rings, it’s not at all uncommon to have a pair of rings. While some will opt for a ring and a band, silicone rings are growing in popularity among millennials (and Gen Z, for that matter).
Women Proposing to Men
This isn’t exactly common, still. However, women proposing to men takes up a much larger percentage of total proposals than ever before. With millennials taking a new look at gender roles and eschewing some previous standards, it isn’t out of the question for a millennial woman to propose to a man.
Capturing the Moment
Hidden photographers and videographers are almost the norm at this point. In fairness, why shouldn’t they be? Even if it’s just a friend with an iPhone, it’s great to have that special moment captured forever.
Source: shutterstock.com/Kelli Hayden
Photographers and videographers are a large part of millennials’ extended proposal planning periods. It isn’t just to keep for themselves, though. Millennials are also likely to share photos and videos on social media, especially right after the moment itself.
Getting the idea that millennials really put thought into their proposals? It’s not just wedding planners anymore! Millennials are more likely to call in the help of a pro to make a special and unique moment that will last a lifetime.
Why not add an extra party into the mix? Millennials love having a party planned for right after the proposal. Family and friends are often stashed nearby in anticipation of the couple coming back with good news. Is that banking on getting a “yes?” Absolutely. Probably an awkward party if not. Regardless, the party is becoming an integral part of the whole proposal.
So, are millennials the reckless, anti-institutionalists they’re made out to be? Honestly, not really. While they definitely embrace some new conventions, most of their changes focus on fiscal responsibility, shared experiences and equity in marriage. Regardless of how you want to group millennials, with the amount of planning they put in, their proposals are always an event!