Wedding fads might come and go faster than you can say “I do,” but no recent trend has had as much influence as the rush of micro-weddings. In 2020, many couples trimmed down their guest lists and pivoted to smaller ceremonies to adhere to the CDC’s recommendations. According to Ashley Drago, creative director of White Plains–based florist-and-event-company Damselfly Designs, the pandemic prompted a seismic shift throughout the industry.
“As a profession that specializes in events — quite literally an industry centered around in-person gatherings — we had no choice but to shut down and regroup,” she explains. “We set forth to not only adapt to a new sense of normal but also to rework our entire approach with one goal in mind: finding a way to help couples continue to celebrate while keeping our clients and staffs safe.”
Now, as social-distance restrictions are lifted and larger gatherings are permissible, many couples are hitting resume on their once-postponed nuptials. Though Drago envisions a future filled with large, extravagant weddings — parties that can rival the Roaring Twenties — some trends from the era of sizing down will live on for years to come. To bring a little something new to upcoming nuptials, Drago shares the micro-wedding trends that are poised to scale.
For couples who are just beginning the planning process, the traditional wedding venue has been traded in for a smaller, more personalized location.
“When traditional venues had to close their doors due to capacity and safety restrictions this past year, we found an entirely new set of doors opening when it came to event locations,” Drago explains.
From a favorite restaurant, like the Bedford Post Inn, which was the backdrop for this photoshoot, to a meaningful outdoor location, the shift toward personalized sites will empower couples to create a special day centered around their unique love story. But unlike traditional venues, which offer package tiers and a full staff to streamline the festivities, a unique location will challenge couples to design their weddings from the ground up. Fortunately, a surge of event-production companies, like Damselfly, will make it easier to do just that.
“Think of a tented wedding in an open field or a private beach ceremony,” Drago says. “Every single element, from flooring to electric to fire codes, would need to be considered, and that’s what we’re here for.”
As the past year’s string of micro-weddings proved, absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Thanks to video platforms like Zoom and FaceTime, guests who weren’t able to attend the celebration in person could celebrate from the comfort of their couches. While couples can now increase their guest lists, loved ones will still be able to dial into the big day.
“When I think back to some of our destination weddings and events — everywhere from Hawaii to different parts of Europe, across Southeast Asia and beyond — it would have been wonderful to offer this as an option, to include guests who were unable to attend,” she says.
Drago predicts destination weddings will make a comeback in the years to come; however, guests will have the option to celebrate from a distance. Moving forward, invitations will include a live-stream link to tune in remotely.
Speaking of RSVPs, gone are the days of formal, cookie-cutter invitations. Similar to the venue, couples will pepper in personal touches, laying the groundwork for an intimate affair to remember. For this shoot, the Bespoke Designs stationery formed a loosely shaped, open-wreath motif that embraced the couple’s initials.
According to Drago, a beautiful wedding will be swathed in small, personal touches — right down to the centerpieces.
“Tablespaces have become more detailed and personalized since we’ve needed to customize and provide all the elements a traditional venue would usually supply,” she shares. “These personalized touches and thoughtful details have been so well-received across the board that I feel this is a trend that is here to stay.”
Fortunately, it is possible to maximize your tablescape without going over budget. Instead of assigning attendees to numbered tables, Drago recommends adding a bespoke card to each place setting. “It offers guests the exclusive air of an intimate dinner party while allowing the couple to add a touch all their own,” she adds. For a note of glamour, Drago paired the bespoke cards with crystal candlesticks, vintage china, and timeless stemware.
The same approach can be applied to every facet of the big day — especially in the large floral arrangements that have been a popular addition to micro-weddings. To play up the ethereal environment of the Bedford Post Inn, Drago made a statement with florals. The garden-inspired floating arch adds some personalization to the intimate ceremony, while the mix of ornamental, seasonal zebra grass, explosion grass, and reed grass enhances the outdoor terrace’s natural beauty.
For Drago, the biggest, boldest micro-wedding trend with staying power is the rise of individuality.
“In the past, you could easily spot the latest and greatest fashion accessory of the season or newest DIY craze, but now it truly feels as if everyone is doing something different,” Drago explains. “We’ve seen everything from personalized wedding masks as favors to individual cakes to immersive Zoom weddings where all attendees receive a personalized care package in the mail — and everything in between.”
With the rise of individuality comes the downfall of the pressure to please, whether that pertains to following the latest trends or appeasing requests from loved ones.
“The realization that time is precious and that the ability to celebrate with loved ones is something to be cherished, some of the pressures or presumed obligations we’ve seen couples dealing with in the past seem to have definitely shifted for the better,” Drago explains. “Couples are finding unique and personal ways to celebrate more than ever before, and it has definitely helped to cast a bright silver lining on such a gray, bleak year.”
With any luck, this is one trend that will never go out of style.