2023 was a record year for weddings and events at the Lightner Museum. We can’t wait to see what 2024 will bring! As we ushered in this much-anticipated year, our team took the time to reflect on some of the top wedding trends. We’re sharing our list of predictions for what trends are going to be “in” and what’s “out” for 2024.

If you’re a couple who likes to stay on the cutting edge—or if you’re just looking for ways to add a touch of personality to your wedding—we’ve gathered a list of the hottest wedding trends to inspire you!


Wedding Trends For 2024: What’s Out

Following tradition is out and non-traditional weddings are in!

Couples are no longer following tradition for tradition’s sake. Instead, they want their big day to reflect their personalities and create a memorable guest experience. As a result, 2024 weddings are starting to look very different from the events your grandparents may be used to!

For instance, brides are steering clear of large wedding parties with matching bridesmaid dresses, opting for more colorful palettes and unique styles. We’re also seeing shorter ceremonies and more personalized vows.

During the reception, traditions such as the cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss, champagne toasts, and even wedding favors are being reinvented or skipped entirely. In fact, some couples find that these outdated traditions make their guests uncomfortable!

At the end of the day, the new wedding rules are simple: it’s your day; include any traditions you want (or none at all)!


Wedding Trends For 2024: What’s In

Wedding Trend #1: Weddings on Non-Traditional Days of the Week

With only 52 Saturdays in the year, setting a date for your wedding can be difficult, to say the least. Thankfully, couples are starting to catch on to the best-kept secret in the wedding industry.

Getting married on a non-traditional day of the week (such as Friday or Sunday) is a great way to save on wedding vendors, travel, and accommodations and helps you extend the festivities into a fun-filled wedding weekend.

flat lay of wedding invitations

Paige and Sean got married on a Friday at the Lightner Museum | Photo: Angelita Esparar


Wedding Trend #2: Private Last Dance

One trend that we never want to say goodbye to is the private last dance.

Rather than spending the day lost in a flurry of constant activity, couples are opting for traditions that allow them to take in every detail.

During a private last dance, you and your new spouse share a special dance with just the two of you (and maybe your photographer), while your guests wait outside for your grand exit. Simply having a few moments to themselves at the end of the night is, for many couples, one of the most meaningful parts of their big day.

Morgan and Michael share a private last dance after their wedding

Morgan and Michael’s private last dance in the Lightner Museum Historic Pool | Photo: Janelle Elise Photo


Wedding Trend #3: Rehearsal Dinner Speeches

If you’ve spent much time planning your wedding day timeline, you know how packed the evening can get. Many couples are getting creative and moving the best man and maid of honor speeches to the rehearsal dinner instead.

Because this is a more intimate setting, speeches tend to be more appreciated at the rehearsal dinner. There’s also plenty of time for your closest friends and family to share their favorite memories of you without feeling rushed.

man giving speech at rehearsal dinner

Madison and Jeffrey listened to heartfelt speeches during their rehearsal dinner in St. Augustine | Photo: Café Y Estilo Photography


Wedding Trend #4: Specific Guest Dress Codes

We’re starting to see a lot of wedding invites with dress codes that go outside the norms of “black tie” and “casual chic.” The latest wedding trend is seeing more specific dress codes that provide themes, colors, and even inspiration pictures to make it easier for guests to get dolled up.

If you’re hosting a themed event, this can be a fun and creative way to ensure that your guests blend right in with the décor!

Bride and groom raising glasses for champagne toast at their wedding

Danielle and Randy requested that all of their guests wear black to their wedding at the Lightner Museum. | Photo: Travis Daniels Photography


Wedding Trend #5: Outfit Changes

Another thing that’s becoming less traditional? Bridal style!

Brides are embracing the trend of donning a new outfit for the reception. Mini dresses, jumpsuits, sparkles, and other fun fashion trends are having their moment. Grooms are also getting in on the action with colorful or patterned jackets and fun footwear.

Photo collage with bride in long lace wedding gown and then in a short mini dress

Nicole changed from a classic lace wedding gown to a fun and flirty mini dress for her reception. | Photo: Angelita Esparar


Wedding Trend #6: Flash and Documentary-Style Photography

One cool wedding trend that’s continuing into 2024 is the preference for documentary-style wedding photography over the more posed, portrait-studio shots.

Documentary wedding photography takes a more candid approach to your event. Rather than stopping the action to get the subject into the “perfect” shot, this photography style captures the action as it naturally unfolds.

The result is an authentic record of your big day’s most magical moments.

black and white photo of man walking daughter down the aisle

Black and white photo of empty champagne flutes and oyster

Photographer Brian D Smith captured modern black and white photos of Nicole and Chris’ wedding at the Lightner Museum.


Wedding Trend #7: Private Vows

For some, marriage is an intimate thing that’s best shared with the two people making a lifelong commitment. Others may simply feel awkward sharing their deepest feelings in front of hundreds of people!

Either way, couples have started to catch on to the idea that they can share wedding vows in private. Many couples choose to exchange private vows during their first look, or, if they want to save the moment they see each other for the wedding ceremony, during a “first touch.”

bride and groom sharing private vows outside the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida

Diane and Demarcus shared a private moment before their ceremony. | Photo: Stephanie Velez


Wedding Trend #8: Private First Looks

We are still seeing plenty of private first looks between couples, but not as many of these moments with parents or bridal parties.

If you’re working with a tight wedding day timeline, this is an easy way to free up some time for additional portrait photos (or more time on the dance floor).

bride and groom doing private "first look" before their wedding

Meredith and Jerry did a private first look before their ceremony. | Photo: Bow Tie Photography


Wedding Trend #9: Honoring Pets At Wedding Events

We call them our “fur babies” for a reason—pets are part of the family. Why shouldn’t they be included in your wedding as well?

There are so many ways to include pets in your wedding, from bringing them into your portrait session to having your dog be the ring bearer.

Even in cases when your pet can’t be there in “person”—due to their temperament or venue restrictions—couples are honoring their furry companions in new, creative ways. At the Lightner Museum, a favorite method is naming a signature drink after your pet and including their picture on the beverage menu!

napkin with sketch of dog

Bri and Dane’s pup Kevin made a special appearance on bar napkins. | Photo: We Are the Bowsers


Wedding Trends #10: More Color!

While plenty of couples are still opting for a classic white wedding, others are infusing their event with colors that reflect the theme, season, or venue.

From pretty pastels in spring to bold, jewel-tones for a fall wedding, couples are getting more creative when choosing their wedding colors. But this isn’t just limited to floral arrangements. We’ve even seen several wedding dresses embracing color!

bride and groom posing next to wedding bar decorated with colorful floral arrangement

Meredith and Michael’s wedding was full of beautiful, colorful blooms. | Photo: Walls of Jerico 


Wedding Trend #11: Non-Traditional Ceremonies

For many couples, wedding ceremony traditions are determined by their cultural background or religious faith. However, for those hosting an interfaith wedding—or who simply don’t feel bound by these traditions—the freedom to think outside the box offers plenty of creative options.

Incorporating things like handfasting ceremonies, jumping the broom, or non-traditional vows not only adds a personal touch to your wedding, it makes for a truly memorable experience for your guests (not to mention some great pictures)!

Wedding Ceremony at the Lightner Museum

Groom William brought the laughs with his funny reactions during his wedding ceremony at the Lightner Museum | Photo: Lyndsey Anne Photography


Wedding Trend #12: Tableside Wine Service

While unique and eye-catching wedding bars are a great way to wow your guests during cocktail hour and the reception, offering a selection of wines tableside ensures that plated dinner service doesn’t get interrupted by multiple trips to the bar.

Ask your caterer about wine pairings for each entrée selection for a luxury experience they’ll never forget.


Wedding Trend #13: Dinner Party Vibes

In the spirit of moving away from a “traditional” wedding, couples are opting to create an atmosphere that mirrors the warmth of a gathering of close family and friends. Think long communal tables laden with delectable bites, a playlist that feels like your favorite mixtape, and cozy mood lighting.

With this trend, formality takes a back seat, and authenticity reigns supreme. It’s not just a wedding; it’s a celebration that exudes the charm of a relaxed dinner party, where laughter echoes, stories flow, and the love is as genuine as the smiles on your guests’ faces.

wedding guests at long rectangular table with cozy vibe

Paige and Sean used long rectangular tables to create a dinner party vibe for their reception | Photo: Angelita Esparar


Your Wedding, Your Way

One of the best things we’ve seen in recent years is that couples seem to be caring less about what others think, and are really leaning into what makes them happy! Whether that’s narrowing down your guest count to only include those who are closest to you, planning a destination wedding in the location of your dreams, or including your pets on your big day—there are countless ways to make your wedding unique to you and your love story!

We are always in awe of the incredible creativity our couples and wedding vendors bring to each event. We can’t wait to see what other wedding trends we are going to see at the Lightner Museum as 2024 continues!

As always, if you need help with wedding planning, the experts at your favorite St. Augustine wedding venue are here to help. We have a front-row seat to all the changing wedding trends and are always happy to give you the information you need to have a fantastic day!