The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lot of engaged couples questioning what they should do about their upcoming wedding. Many have resorted to postponing their big day for next year, while others have turned to virtual platforms to exchange vows now. Many are doing both: Often couples plan their wedding a year (or more) and throughout that time, says local planner and designer Lauryn Prattes of Lauryn Prattes Styling and Design, they become emotionally connected to their wedding date. As a result, couples are opting to postpone their larger celebration, but honor their original date by exchanging vows in a small ceremony now. This has left wedding professionals wondering how they can help keep the love alive for their couples and what type of new services they can provide. This past week we’ve seen everything from Instagram announcements to press releases broadcasting new wedding packages that allow couples to tie the knot or honor their original wedding date during the coronavirus. From elopement packages to mini- and micro-wedding services, here are what our local wedding pros are offering.
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When news first broke that large events had to be postponed, Lauryn Prattes of Lauryn Prattes Styling and Design began brainstorming ways to pivot her typical wedding planning and design services to come up with a solution that would allow couples to still be able to celebrate. To help couples seeking a high-end, but CDC-guideline-appropriate wedding, Prattes has teamed up with three industry partners—Buttercream Bakeshop (wedding cake confectionary), Abby Jiu (wedding photographer), Sweet Root Village (florist)—to create a sister company called Petite Soirée. How it works: Petite Soirée offers couples streamlined event packages for “mini-” or “micro-weddings.” To reduce the cost of these weddings for the couples, Petite Soirée plans four such weddings back-to-back at the same venue, allowing couples to share the expense of items like decorative florals, and the services of waitstaff. Each wedding package includes a 15-minute ceremony and a 45-minute Champagne toast for no more than 30 guests (or fewer, depending upon the guidelines on the scheduled date.) Intimate celebrations “are the future of our industry for right now,” says Prattes, “and our couples still deserve a celebration.” After all, “love is not cancelled,” says Prattes. So why wait?
To learn more about Petite Soirée check out their website here.
Pamela Barefoot Events+Design
Another DMV-area planner has been putting her creative mind to the test and after receiving a few inquiries about smaller weddings, decided to launch an all-inclusive elopement package. “We’ve been getting calls for this and I just started to think ‘how can we keep love alive?” says Pamela Barefoot of Pamela Barefoot Events+Design. “These couples still want to celebrate that actual wedding date so I knew I wanted to bring that to life and bring that special feeling of ‘it’s your wedding-day’ to life as well.” How it works: The Elopement Package offers couples an all-inclusive package including an officiant, wedding planner, photographer, music for their ceremony, bouquets, cake, champagne, and vow books. All couples have to do is show up in their wedding-day attire and have their special wedding moment. “Right now, couples want things easy, and if we can relieve any stress from them and they can find some joy in all of this, we want to be part of that,” says Barefoot.
To learn more about this elopement package check out Pamela Barefoot Events+Design’s Instagram here.
Kim Newton Weddings
Kim Newton of Kim Newton Weddings has teamed up with a group of local vendors including venues such as Goodstone Inn and Shadow Creek, photographers Audra Wrisley Photography and Sam Stroud Photography, florist Lori Tran of Wild Green Yonder, Wild Hearts Calligraphy, and more to offer an all-inclusive elopement package from May 10 through the summer. The goal, Newton says, is not for couples to use this package in place of a more traditional affair, but for them to be able to postpone their reception and still be able to celebrate getting married now. How it works: Each package includes a wedding planner, an officiant, photography, floral bouquets and boutonnieres, and a digital invitation and link inviting guests to live stream the ceremony, plus a handful of options for upgrades and personalization including additional florals, favors sent to guests, desserts, videography by and more.
To learn more about Kim Newton Weddings’ elopement package, visit her website here.
Grit & Grace Inc.
Laura Ritchie from Grit & Grace believes that a micro-wedding can still have a macro style. “We want to maintain our standards of service and in doing so we still want to provide a unique reflective event regardless of size,” says Ritchie. The event planner is now offering a special, styled, customized micro-wedding service for couples to hold a personalized and beautiful event. “Whether it’s 10 people or less, [the guest size] does not have to take away from the quality of what we can provide together with our vendor team,” explains Ritchie. How it works: The price point would be lower and the scale of the event smaller than their typical event, but, says Ritchie, “whatever is allowable for headcount will dictate what we will do, but it will not dilute our creative services.” Micro-weddings under Grit & Grace’s direction will still be one-of-a-kind, with a customizable vendor team. “Our creative community is all wanting to work together to help couples. It is still their special day no matter the headcount.”
To learn more about Grit & Grace’s micro wedding services check out their Instagram here.
Claire Duran Weddings & Events
Since postponing their spring weddings, Claire Duran Weddings & Events has launched a sister company, Ceremonia, along with its all-inclusive intimate wedding package that includes a fully planned and designed two-hour private event for up to 20 guests (once allowed) with event partners Rudney Novaes and Lissa Ryan for photography, Buttercream Bakeshop for cakes and dessert, Wander & Whimsy Floral Design for flowers, and Select Event Group for rentals, and more, at one of the company’s venue partners including Tudor Place in Georgetown, Longview Gallery in Shaw and The Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda.
To learn more about Claire Duran’s new company Ceremonia, visit their website.
“Just the Two of Us”
The “Just the Two of Us” wedding package was inspired when Melissa Williams of B Astonished Events helped two clients tie the knot in a two-person ceremony after postponing their April 25 wedding celebration to September. “I reached out to the talented Terri Baskin Photography and Pretty Petals Florals to help create a dream come true for my clients on April 25, 2020,” she said. “After the wedding, I realized that many other couples are currently facing similar issues with not being able to get married on their original wedding date.” And “Just the Two of Us” was born. Vendor partners include Terri Baskin Photography, Blair Williams Productions, Pretty Petals Florals, With This Ring I Thee Wedd, Pastor Marshall, Jenny Baked It, Marquia James Make-up Artist, Tress Art Hair, and more. “We are committed to providing a safe experience in a clean and sanitized environment by complying with all CDC and state guidelines,” Williams says. For more on information about the offering, visit bastonishedevents.com.
Local venues are also helping couples honor their wedding date by rolling out intimate wedding packages. Historic Oakland in Columbia, Maryland is providing a safe way for brides and grooms to exchange vows at the venue’s Manor House by opening their property for “micro weddings,” that can accommodate distant ceremonies, spacious receptions, and virtual gatherings.” How it works: “Intimate packages are offered for guest counts of 10-20 people that can be complemented with masks and sanitizer,” says Historic Oakland’s team. Couples can also opt to return to the property for a larger celebration when it is safe to do so.
Tudor Place (pictured) is catering to couples looking for an intimate wedding celebration at an historic Washington, DC location with a variety of packages ideal for micro weddings, including the following:
- The baseline Washington Package begins at $300 and includes 1 hour on the property for a ceremony and up to 20 guests.
- The Britannia Package, at $500, gives the same time slot but allows for up to 30 guests.
- The Armistead Package, at $1600, allocates 2 ½-hours on the property for up to 50 guests, and suits couples who want more time to enjoy the gardens with family and friends, perhaps followed by cake and champagne.
“With each of these choices, couples can choose one of four romantic garden locations, surrounded by seasonal blooms, for a seated or standing ceremony. The Bowling Green, East Lawn, Temple Portico, and Tulip Poplar offer spacious yet private retreats for couples to celebrate with their nearest and dearest,” explains private events manager Amy Owren.
Holly Chapple Flowers
Hope Flower Farm, owned and managed by Holly Heider Chapple Flowers, is offering packages for micro-weddings and elopements with 10 or fewer attendees (including the photographer and the officiant). The packages range from $950 for a 90-minute block with a ceremony and accompanying rentals and florals, to $2200 for a 3.5-hour block with a ceremony, accompanying florals, and a campfire, with the option to add on a table set for eight and a catering package. Fore more information, visit the website.
Tiny Weddings by Bella Notte, a new offering from Sara Bauleke’s Bella Notte event planning and design company, has partnered with such venues as the Spy Museum and Autoshop to offer couples a 100-minute CDC-compliant wedding package for up to 25 guests. “We’ll design a unique look for each date, and provide couples with a ceremony and short reception with bubbly and cake,” says Bauleke. “All couples need to do is bring their loved ones and marriage license!” In addition to the wedding-day package essentials, Bauleke says, couples can opt to add on additional upgrades such as a live painting by Brittany Branson and a catered meal at home following the reception. Check them out online for more info.
REFINED from Sophie Felts Floral Design
The “Bitty Bash” by Lily & Grayson
Event planning and design company Lily & Grayson has added to their lineup of services the “Bitty Bash” package, which features small-scale events with custom pricing. The packages are designed for weddings or elopements of 40 guests or less, pop-up and live-streamed vow exchanges, as well as original-date celebrations. The company is also offering “highly styled” portrait sessions in venues throughout the DMV.
More to Come
As the regulations on gathering size continue through the coming months, we’re sure many event-planning companies will follow suit with packages. One such company prepping new packages is Event Planning DC, who plans to launch their own micro-wedding services but are waiting for the next wave of CDC regulations to be announced. “We are on-hold with [our micro wedding services] until we hear from authorities with regard to the new guidelines and what will be allowed per state/venue,” says Michelle Palmer of Event Planning DC. Moving forward, she says, her company will offer a package that would allow clients to choose from a limited selection of caterers and other vendors for a streamlined planning process and an event with less than 50 guests, depending upon recommendations of the time.
To learn more about Event Planning DC’s micro wedding services check out their website here. As we continue to learn of new micro-wedding packages, we’ll add them here.