Hello, 2018! A new year means new wedding trends, and here are six to pay attention to as you plan for your big day. From adding personal touches to your ceremony to throwing the ultimate brunch bash, these fresh ideas from the pros at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will make your celebration stand out from the rest.
Plan a playful wedding by hosting and toasting at brunch instead of dinner. This trend is popular for those that are looking for a lavish weekend reception at a more attainable price. Plus, who doesn’t want a jovial dance party with breakfast appetizers and mimosas in hand? For mid-morning events, try Lorien Hotel & Spa with BRABO’s popular brunch items fixed for a crowd, including brioche French toast and waffles with Korean fried chicken, kimchi, and mae ploy. Also explore the Glover Park Hotel, serving Aperol spritzes and coastal Italian-inspired fare from Casolare’s James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schlow in an airy new ballroom.
From monuments to the cherry blossoms, DC is one of the most photogenic cities in the U.S. On your big day, take advantage of some of the eye-catching venues the city has to offer with backdrops you and your guests will be inspired to share, such as sweeping rooftop views at Mason & Rook and Donovan Hotel, both in Logan Circle, or the historic ballrooms, eclectic design, and iconic staircases at Hotel Monaco. Don’t overlook pretty details while you’re getting ready – think curated vanities and artful dress hooks at Hotel Palomar and beautiful artwork by world-renowned Michele Oka Doner at the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel.
Personalization is Key
Your wedding should reflect you as a couple – one popular way to add a special touch to the big day is by creating a specialty cocktail using your favorite spirits. For one couple that fell in love with Virginia wine country, Hotel Monaco created a bubbly bar including a selection of sparkling wine, rosé, and cava plus delicious handcrafted mixers. Or, incorporate an element about the place you met – maybe a cigar rolling station if your relationship blossomed in Miami.
“Couples increasingly want to incorporate what they love to do in their spare time at their wedding – for example, a wine tasting station with BRABO’s sommelier, or a fun Bourbon and bacon tasting station – two of our most recent grooms’ favorite things,” said Donna Vaughn, director of catering at Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa.
Gone are the days of 400+ person weddings — couples are choosing more intimate celebrations, ranging in size from five to 40 guests. Instead of inviting everyone they know, couples are making their guest list count and inviting only their top tier for a close-knit soiree that’s more personal, affordable and less stressful to plan. If this sounds up your alley, look into the intimate terrace suites overlooking Old Town or the brick and ivy-lined courtyard at Lorien Hotel & Spa, or consider a picturesque hotel suite such as the Donovan Hotel with floor-to-ceiling window views of Thomas Circle, or Hotel Monaco’s Majestic Suite for an ultra-luxe venue with photo ops galore. As with any wedding event, large or small, Kimpton has dedicated planners that can select every detail with you and execute the event with ease.
Emphasis on the After Party — And Other Wedding Activities
With guests traveling from all over the country (or world), couples want to make the most of their time together with a weekend full of activities, including welcome parties, post-wedding parties, and day-after brunches. Kimpton’s famous Wine Hour is a great way to gather your guests if they’re staying at their hotels – it’s complimentary from 5pm – 6pm nightly. For fit couples, Glover Park Hotel can arrange an in-house trainer for a morning session to sweat out any pre-wedding stress. Or for those wishing to party late into the night, post-reception gatherings at Hotel Palomar’s Urbana or Mason & Rook’s Radiator fit the bill with fare that satisfies late-night food cravings like pizza or a taco bar paired with creative signature cocktails. The next morning, soak it all up with a farewell brunch before your guests leave town. The George’s classic setting, serving delicious French fare from Bistro Bis with standbys like eggs benedict and hair-of-the-dog mimosas, is just right.
With packed wedding weekends increasing in popularity, couples are deciding on less formal sit down dinners and opting for cocktail-style receptions instead. With unique appetizers, creative bar options, and a live band or DJ that cranks hit tunes all night, this setup gives couples more time to socialize.
What to serve? At Hotel Palomar, Urbana’s chef Ethan McKee dishes out beef tartar bites with truffle aioli and a raw bar with crab salad, clams, chilled shrimp, and oysters on the half shell. At Mason & Rook, couples love Radiator’s hors d’oeuvres like short rib empanadas with cumin rice or Serrano ham and fontina croquettas with fig jam along with lead bartender Sarah Rosner’s signature drinks.
“I’m seeing a shift from traditional sit-down dinners to much more casual cocktail-style receptions with lots of hand-passed items and interesting food stations,” said Candace Mauerhan, director of catering at Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel. “It can also give couples the opportunity to invite more guests since seating isn’t an issue. It’s all about the dancing and partying!”