While some couples have opted to postpone their weddings, others have decided to marry in intimate settings with small groups of family and friends sharing the moment. Whether they said their vows in a garden, a hotel, a campground or their backyard, they certainly will have a unique story to share about tying the knot at this unprecedented time in history. We reached out to 10 experts to give us a glimpse into today’s wedding world. Love really is a beautiful thing!
“As a recently opened hotel, “micro weddings” is a new trend for us, however we can absolutely see why this intimate affair will be one for the books even past COVID. People want to be able to celebrate safety, this means a guest list of up to 50 people, including immediate family and close friends, making Quirk Hotel Charlottesville the perfect spot to tie the knot,” said Whitney Dang, DOSM of Quirk Hotel Charlottesville. “While the blow-out wedding surely isn’t going anywhere, but an increasing number of couples are shaking the normal tradition and setting their sights on a celebration that’s not only way more affordable, but socially distanced while still together.”
Surrounded by the stunning waters of Lake Huron, Mission Point has been the backdrop for hundreds of memorable remote weddings, with intimate outdoor ceremonies held on the famous Great Lawn. The historic property wants to help the bride and groom celebrate with one last ‘Mission to the Altar,’ a package specially crafted for an unforgettable experience before saying “I do” – from a relaxing day at the spa to exploring any of the 70 miles of hiking and biking trails. The picturesque island provides an ideal romantic escape for couples looking to get away from it all with limited modes of transportation of horse-and-buggy, walking, and biking.
Camping and glamping
While some have canceled or postponed their traditional weddings this year, more and more couples are saying ‘I do’ to smaller guest lists, wide-open spaces and remote destinations. Glamping weddings are no exception, offering nearby picturesque settings while honoring safety guidelines and practices. Campspot, the largest online marketplace for RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins, glamping options and more, with access to 100,000 campsites across the United States and Canada, has seen a 10x rise in new bookings since spring 2020, and offers a variety of campsites perfect for intimate weddings.
“We have seen great interest around camping weddings this year. Not all couples wish to postpone their plans. However, they are seeking options that are responsible and safe but still magical. Camping weddings certainly deliver on safety and aesthetics, with the option to say ‘I do’ in wide open spaces set against stunning mountainscapes, lakes, and more. With access to more than 100,000 sites, Campspot offers a wide variety of options for couples, no matter their budget or level of glam. From rustic to glamping, from a party of two to 10, an idyllic wedding is still possible this year. And it’s easy to extend your stay for a remote honeymoon or much-needed getaway for guests,” notes Caleb Hartung, CEO of Campspot.
Luxury micro-wedding buyouts
The intimate, twelve-room hotel offers an exclusive, luxury buyout option for micro weddings. With breathtaking spaces and design elements including a 10-feet antique mirror from an opera house in the south of France, vintage furniture, and the large custom-made antler chandelier lacquered in white and layered with crystals, Washington School House offers an exclusive luxury retreat for up to 34 people. The buyout includes a 24-hour concierge, private chef for gatherings and special meals and the WSH team is there to ensure the happy couple has nothing to worry about. Washington School House is located just 25 minutes from Salt Lake International airport and airport transfers are included for buyout guests in the hotel’s private fleet.
At the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, one of the most popular venues in the city for weddings (mostly outdoors), has been following local, state and federal guidelines (and CDC guidelines) to host weddings.
1. We’ve limited the # of guests. When we first opened, we could only have 10 guests (including the bride and groom), so that’s what we did.
2. We’re making it more intimate in the many gardens we have.
3. We’ve seen weddings at all times of day — 10 a.m. — to beat the heat!
4. Outdoor is In! Now that we’re up to 50 people for weddings, we notice that outdoor venues, particularly our shadier gardens, are popular.
“We’re seeing that people are still craving celebrations, but getting more creative. They’re looking for safe ways to mark big occasions like weddings, bridal showers, or engagement parties. Before COVID, our average party size was about 12-15. Now, we’re seeing two trends. For virtual weddings it’s smaller parties of 2-12 in different households, and for couples hosting IRL, up to 30. While an at-home wedding may not be what some have dreamed of, people still want to make these moments beautiful, memorable and special by doing something out of the ordinary. We work closely with our customers to help select the best looks for their themes, and add on custom touches like luxe place cards while keeping the process very easy and stress-free. This season, the most popular wedding looks have been Provence, Sea Glass, True Blue and Essential Sage. And since shipping can be unpredictable these days, we’ve updated our looks to include more non-perishable, sustainable dried and faux flowers which elevate the at-home experience,” notes Jessica Latham, Co-Founder & CEO, Social Studies.
Social Studies boxes include designer dishes, florals and glassware all in one box that you ship back as soon as you’re done. The service has been touted by everyone from Reese Witherspoon, to Gwyneth Paltrow, to Whitney Wolfe Herd.
“Smaller numbers are giving couples the opportunity to create a different type of wedding day- to dream big!. Whether it’s going over the top with florals, adding in Fireworks, or going for a tasting menu for the wedding meal, the new more intimate wedding day can become something very special. Couples have the opportunity to re-imagine the day, so it will be even more memorable,” says Elaine Mc Fadden, Kilkea Castle‘s Wedding Manager.
“The retro-glam hotel has shifted to offering virtual ceremonies. While many venue are offering this service, it is often one flat fee from the start to the end of the event which may not be cost effective for couples. Most guests only want to see the ceremony portion and not the dancing and celebration. So to accommodate this, we are now offering a 30 minute ceremony packages which allows 100 guests to join via zoom for a cost effective price,” says Carolyn McCammon, Director of Sales, Marketing and Events for The Confidante Miami Beach.
“At Woods Hill Pier 4, we have many options to meet the changing landscape of weddings today. Our expansive 5,000 square foot patio has some of the most magnificent views overlooking Boston Harbor and has plenty of space for social distancing in the fresh air. Additionally, much of the patio is covered and in the case of inclement weather we always have a back up plan indoors. We also have plenty of other various private event spaces for parties of all sizes. Our event spaces also feature private entrances and bathrooms. Full service catering is also now available for off site events as well. We have space and sustainable, delicious culinary options from Chef Charlie Foster for all needs, whether you are planning a micro wedding, standard wedding, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, engagement party or post wedding brunch.” – Hilary Neville, Event Planner Woods Hill.
“At Hidden Pond, we’ve shifted our focus towards smaller, more intimate ceremonies. Our elopement package, which includes a three-course dinner at Earth Restaurant with a champagne toast and a wedding cake for two, massages at Tree Spa, an officiate and witnesses to the ceremony, and extra-special touches, has been increasingly popular as an alternative to postposing larger weddings.
Smaller weddings (or “micro-weddings”) have also been trending – this month we’ve hosted 12-person and 7-person weddings on-site, which have been absolutely stunning and intimate while still offering enough space to properly social distance. At Earth Restaurant, we also have two free-standing private dining sheds to host small wedding parties for dinner – they’re perfect, almost as if they were designed for this type of circumstance!
Additionally, we began offering a “Honeymoon at Home” package – a beautiful wooden box that includes various items to have a “Honeymoon at Home” for those unable to travel for their honeymoon. The package includes a gift card for a future stay at Hidden Pond as well as Hidden Pond robes and slippers, treats from Earth restaurant at Hidden Pond, spa supplies from Tree Spa at Hidden Pond and more local goodies from Kennebunkport.” -notes Kristen Caouette, General Manager of Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Stacey Marcus is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle writer, publicist and content strategist. Her work has appeared in Boston magazine, Boston Common, Bride & Groom Magazine, Destination I Do, Modern Luxury Weddings Boston and Chicago, Ocean Home and playboy.com among others. A former senior editor at New England Bride Magazine, Stacey is also a publicist for non-profit organizations and small businesses. She is the author of a children’s book, A Bed for Every Bear: Tuck’s Tale. Stacey enjoys writing about travel, trends, and romance.