How to have an amazing wedding without guests

In a photo provided by Noemie Tshinanga, Top trends that will make your intimate celebration or elopement extraordinary (Noemie Tshinanga via The New York Times) — NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH NYT STORY ELOPEMENT-TIPS BY IVY MANNERS FOR FEB. 10, 2021. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED. —

As weddings are shifting from monumental binges to low-key celebrations, couples are glad they can focus less on pleasing hundreds of guests and more on creating the perfect day just for them.

“Eloping no longer means that the event takes place on the same day or week that one made the decision to marry. It just means that you will have the excitement and intimate charm of spontaneous weddings but with the planning of a big wedding, ”explains Aya Kanai, head of content and editorial alliances at Pinterest.

And, space and protocol permitting, many grooms are holding ‘mini-ceremonies’ with fewer than 10 relatives and friends from their social bubble. “Small weddings are, of course, a reflection of the times we live in, but the aesthetic of the event is as important as it has always been. They have opened up many opportunities for couples to be more creative, ”Kanai said.

Next, wedding experts share with us the main trends that will make your wedding, whether you are eloping or throwing a cozy party, magical.

Creative locations

Since location is the main ingredient in a wedding, we can expect many changes in the choice of venues for the 2021 nuptials. Couples are narrowing down their guest list, but they are also being very conscientious when choosing where to get married. “The bride and groom have gotten very creative and are getting married in unusual and picturesque locations, alone or with a small group of friends and family, for example, in a beautiful hidden atrium, an endless field full of flowers, or even under a waterfall. ”Said Michelle Norwood, founder and creative director of Michelle Norwood Events, based in New Orleans. “The more epic and unusual the location, the better.” The ultimate goal is to combine the stunning outdoor space with an unforgettable dinner, for example with a private chef on a yacht sailing along a picturesque coastline, or an elegant picnic on a secluded beach.

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Couples are also taking home weddings to the next level and are not settling for the usual marquee – some build temporary structures from scratch or put up clear bubble marquees that feel like private suites. “The bride and groom are looking for chic and immersive experiences for their special day and that starts with a unique venue. They want a space that allows them to live in the moment, ”said Yaz Quiles, founder and owner of POP! By Yaz and Pop! Igloos, based in New York. “The unexpected venues that are best suited for smaller celebrations can be a blank canvas that helps you create the perfect atmosphere.”

A focus on table service

Leaving aside a long list of guests undoubtedly has its advantages when designing a dream wedding. Organizers, floral designers, and even stylists are seeing a trend among couples hosting more intimate events: they reallocate their budget to lush flowers, lavish stationery, and swanky table decorations. The shift to larger budgets for décor has made the table the focal point of the event.

“If you are only going to have a table for less than 10 people or even only for two, imagine how unique it can be. You’re not designing dozens of tables anymore, so you can focus more on the one you have, ”said Kristin Shockley, owner of Norfolk, Virginia-based Luster Theory Styling & Design. “The assembly of the tables is taking a new direction with designs inspired by still lifes, in which hors d’oeuvres are integrated into the decoration, loose flowers are placed all over the tabletop to give it a more romantic touch and bread is not simply placed on in a basket or on a plate, but is displayed on individual wooden slats along with fruits and nuts. So the guests have more things to admire at the table ”. Couples are also thinking about how they can expand their floral designs beyond what they put on the table. “The right florist can transform a small space,” Shockley said. “We are seeing how they play with flowers, for example, entangle them in the legs and backs of chairs, make them sprout from the floor around the table and climb a wall.”

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A well selected menu

By not having to worry about making a guest list, or with only a few guests, couples will opt for a more luxurious and selective menu for their nuptials.

“We will see couples go big on elevated dining experiences, such as multiple courses, food and wine pairings, cheese and sandwich boards per person, and extravagant meals like caviar,” said Alexandra Dettori, executive chef and founder of Alexandra Dettori Catering + Events, based in New York.

Stylish food trucks with creative menus will continue to be popular for guests who want to keep a healthy distance outdoors, and there will also be sophisticated, but cautious (COVID-considering) ways to present food, such as plates and snack tables for each person. “For couples who want a formal and distinguished dining experience, we see that many are taking culinary artifice to a new level,” Norwood said. “We think there will be more couples ordering dishes that look like edible works of art, already served on plates and tables for each guest separately.”

Individual wedding cakes

Elegant and individual presentations will not be exclusive to main courses. The wedding cakes will also be reduced in size but with greater drama. Compact one-tier cakes, petite two-tier cakes, and individual mini pastries will be the climax of the wedding dinner.

“I’m seeing a lot of couples who are doing smaller weddings asking for more attractive snacks. This makes their day more special, especially if it will only be two people, ”said Dawn Konofaos, owner of Alévri & Co., based in Baltimore. “One-tier cakes look interesting if they are tall, at least 8 inches high and 15 inches in diameter. A small double-decker cake is still a bit traditional and the mini single-slice cakes are not only safe for covid, but they are also cute and much more elaborate than in previous years. “

The bride and groom will also be more creative with the flavors of the cakes and will incorporate herbs and spices that are not often used in wedding cakes. “I see that basil, lemon thyme and sage are taking center stage,” Konofaos said. “In terms of aesthetics, we will see more texture and paint-like designs.”

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Quiet music

Small, no-guest weddings are leading to leisurely lunches or dinners with servers using music to complement the menu and guide the event. “Soft background music, played by a soloist or duo, is replacing the energetic dance music played by a DJ or a big band. It’s all about intentionality, mindfulness and designing a wedding that is true to the couple’s love story, “said Keanna O’Quinn, founder of New York-based Honey + Vinyl. “Science tells us that music influences the perception of taste, so we collaborate with the catering service so that there is music that highlights the flavors of the menu, creating a sensory and interactive experience.”

Since many weddings will not dance, couples can be more attentive to the quality of the music. “I see more couples are moving away from typical wedding tunes and creating a playlist with live music, as a personalized soul music setting of less popular but well-known classics.”

Minimalist-maximalist wedding dresses

Although weddings are smaller, brides aren’t skimping on their dress.

I’m looking at simplicity with a ‘more is more’ mentality, which we’ve come to call ‘minimalist maximalism,’ ”said wedding dress designer Sarah Seven. “Two of the main ‘looks’ that brides are asking for are sleek off-the-shoulder outfits and clean silhouettes with more designer details, especially exaggerated sleeves, from puffed to other butterfly-like, sweater-like drapes.”

“After so long without going to any social engagements to dress up for, even the most laid-back bride will want something extra, something simple yet refined with a striking focal point,” said Margo Lafontaine, Amsale’s chief design officer. “As a lot of virtual guests come to mini-ceremonies, details like bishop’s sleeves, a dramatic bow tie and embroidered tulle cape sleeves, which stand out in the camera, become more important.”

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