With restrictions on the number of people gathering, wedding venues have had to think outside the box when it comes to helping their couples celebrate their big day — even if it’s in a smaller way. Some venues created a beautiful space for numbers of elopers to enjoy a quick, but beautiful 15-minute ceremony, and others have reinvented their entire service to focus on micro and mini weddings that cater to COVID couples. Let’s take a look at a few ways venues are getting creative with their space during COVID.
Events may be smaller these days, but they call for just as much creativity — if not more.
Minimony, nano nuptials, sweet and petite — no matter what you’re calling them, weddings have had to get smaller very quickly, so wedding venues have had to get creative quickly. And while some of their ideas are born from necessity, we can see them becoming trends in the long run.
MAXIMIZING THEIR OUTDOOR SPACE
There have been fluctuations in the numbers that are allowed to gather as well as what safety regulations are best for the health of guests, so wedding venues are going above and beyond to ensure the safety of their couples — as well as any guests. This means that many indoor ceremonies have been moved outdoors to accommodate even the small number of guests that are allowed.
The Parlour at Manns Chapel in North Carolina is utilizing areas like their courtyard and even the chapel steps for the micro-weddings and minimony celebrations. Areas that used to be touted as reception areas or places for guests to mull around have become the center stage as more and more couples are happily looking for a quaint spot for their vows.
Photo by Hosanna Wilmot Photography
Ivy & Oak near Atlanta used to cater to wedding parties of up to 250 guests, but during the pandemic, they have pivoted to create elopement packages with up to 18 guests or minimonies for up to 40 guests, as regulations allow. They renovated a 100-year-old farmhouse with modern touches such as a bridal house and groomsmen suite as well as a barn space. Their elopement packages primarily focus on that outdoor space leaving 12 feet between their vintage bench rows. In an interview with the local news station, the owners said that they were keeping it simple and that at the end of the day it’s about getting to marry the person you love.
Photo courtesy of Ivy & Oak
Even garden wedding venues have looked for creative alternatives to their previous wedding packages. Rock Creek Gardens near Seattle is a 20-acre privately-owned estate with an English-style garden setting that is now offering a myriad of choices for eloping couples including a private ceremony under their pergola.
Photo by A Tale Ahead Photography
Because everyone has been on lockdown and quarantine for quite a while now — being outdoors is more popular than ever, which makes this outdoor wedding space trend something that we’ll likely be seeing for a long time.
WEDDING VENUES ARE MAKING THE DAY A TURN-KEY EVENT
In a bid to take some of the stress away from couples who are dealing with daily changes, many wedding venues are partnering with planners or a group of wedding vendors to create full packages that offer a big-day feel in a mini-sized celebration.
The Harding Waterfront Estate in Ontario partnered with Beth Jacobs Weddings and Events to create an elopement that offers all the pomp and circumstance of a traditional wedding day!
The special event is called Elope On the Estate and the experience includes a three-hour booking complete with pre-planning and wedding day coordination along with hors d’oeuvres for the bridal suite, chilled water station for up to 30 guests, photographer, cinematography, decor, and design. As if that weren’t enough, the package includes invitation design, florals for the couple, a two-tiered cake for photography and one for guests as well as a harpist.
Image courtesy of Beth Jacobs Weddings and Events
Luxury Yacht, Carolina Grace partnered with the Micro-Wedding Collaborative to offer COVID couples a unique opportunity. This is a group that knows something about the intentionally small wedding and even they are thinking outside the box with their Minimony Cruise promotion. Couples get a two-hour all-inclusive event with the officiant, all the necessary rentals, champagne cocktails, coordinator, bartender, florals for two, cake, and sound system for up to 10 people. All the couple needs to do is show up!
WEDDING VENUES ARE CREATING PACKAGES AND OPTIONS FOR EVERY NEED
One of the biggest ways wedding venues have been getting creative is with their packages. Prior to COVID, many venues had standard set-ups that they didn’t deviate from. Post-COVID, venues have looked for ways to stay flexible with the ever-changing circumstances including how and when people can get together.
For example, Dream Point Ranch has created an elopement package perfect for COVID couples that includes a 1.5-hour micro-wedding with access to bride and groom rooms, restrooms, outdoor chairs for up to 10 people, bistro tables and two arbors. Plus, they allow the couple access to the grounds for an engagement photo session — or for COVID brides, perhaps bridal portraits. A bonus feature is that with less than a month to your date, they allow couples to book on any day of the week.
Like a growing number of venues, The Parlour offers a Modern Elopement package complete with a licensed officiant, a photographer, dressing areas for the couple, and a champagne toast among other things for up to 10 people including the couple.
Whether it’s setting up their venue so couples can have a quick 15-minute booking to elope in a beautiful spot with an hour of access to the grounds for photographs and a toast, or outfitting a micro-wedding with 40 guests that all need to social distance, venues are working hard to make sure they make the most of their space — and every couple gets what they want for their big day!
Written by Corrie McGee
Photo courtesy of Dream Point Ranch