With the pandemic upending the wedding plans of thousands of couples in 2020, brides and grooms are getting creative, changing their ceremony and reception details to reflect a more intimate celebration.
“We’re seeing micro events for the rest of 2020 and early 2021 with an increase to back-to-normal guest sizes starting next summer,” says wedding planner and event designer Annie Lee, owner of Plannie, an online platform with event planners available by the hour, ideal for couples who don’t need a full-service package.
Micro weddings, Lee explains, are split into two categories: elopements with a handful of guests, or intimate dinner parties with around 20 guests, up to a maximum of 50. But the limited guest list doesn’t mean couples can’t plan a fabulous event that’s unforgettable.
“While many elements are being scaled back, such as a smaller band to provide background music rather than dance music, we are seizing the amazing opportunity for heightened personalization and customization that can be done only at small and intimate dinners,” says wedding and event planner Lindsay Landman of Lindsay Landman Events. “We’ve been working with couples to create a more elaborate wine pairing for the dinner, have monogrammed blankets available for each guest, and leave hand-written notes from the couple as a keepsake to make the experience feel special for everyone.”
Re-planning a wedding can bring a lot of tension to an already stressful situation, but finding a dress to wear shouldn’t have to be.
“While some brides who have already purchased their wedding dress have chosen to wear them, brides who haven’t are looking for something chic and simpler to go with the times,” explains bridal fashion stylist Julie Sabatino, owner of the Stylish Bride.
While micro wedding dresses may be more understated, they still allow a bride to let her personal style shine through the silhouette, fabric and embellishments. Illusion fabrics encrusted in crystals or beads can add a bit of glamour, embroidered florals complement a backyard or garden setting, and for civil services, separates can be quite elegant.
“I’ve seen a tremendous increase in more sleek, close-to-the-body styles, with detachable dramatic sleeves or Watteau trains, which keep the romantic feeling but with a slimmer gown,” shares Mark Ingram, the owner of Mark Ingram Atelier. “With these smaller weddings, all the details become more special and curated, to give their guests a very special experience, and one that lasts a lifetime for them as well.”
Bridal salons are ensuring that the shopping experience follows health and safety guidelines but is still memorable. “During the state’s order to close all nonessential businesses we reconfigured the layout of the salon to add Plexiglas dividers and hand sanitizers to high touch-point areas,” explains Jennette Kruszka, director of marketing and public relations at Kleinfeld Bridal in Chelsea. “We also cut our capacity limitations in half, are limiting the number of people a bride can bring with her to two, and created a dress sanitation station so every dress tried on is sanitized in between appointments.”
Several salons are offering virtual appointments, as well as speaking with sales consultants in advance. David’s Bridal, with several stores in the tri-state area, partnered with Vertebrae to enable brides and bridesmaids to see life-size digital images of what a dress would look like on them.
“We took the opportunity to reimagine the experience and help bring excitement to shoppers at home,” says Lizzy Ellingson, chief digital experience officer at David’s Bridal. “The renderings, in fine detail, help women narrow down options and buy online, which is something we know brides are becoming more comfortable with every day.”