By LAURI GROSS
Save the date! That happy rallying cry from people planning big, important, joyful events is once again being heard across The Land. Save the date for 50th anniversaries, for milestone birthdays and, of course, for weddings. Calendars are filling up and area experts are ready to help create unforgettable weddings.
Emily Baber, marketing director for Spice Hospitality Group says their catering calendar for weddings is pretty packed, “and next year is filling up more quickly than we’ve seen in previous years.”
Ellen McFadden, owner of Radiant Bride on Detroit Road in Rocky River sees more of an interest in smaller weddings driven by the remaining uncertainty of Covid. On the flip-side, she says, “We also do see excitement to return to full-blown gatherings and traditional-style weddings.”
Emily said, “We have had some large guest counts, and we’ve also seen a lot of smaller celebrations; some casual, some upscale.”
As for the wedding gowns themselves, Ellen says she is seeing “more brides looking for minimal gowns, and the trending silhouettes are A-lines (with fitted waistline and flared skirt) and fit-and-flare (hugs the body more tightly and flares out below the hips). “Lace is very popular,” she added, “and the trend of beige and blush underlays helps to highlight the lace on the dresses.”
Radiant Bride carries a wide range of wedding-gown sizes, including a beautiful selection of plus-size gowns. Ellen explains, “Bridal sizing runs much smaller than standard sizing, so it is very important to us to have samples that every beautiful bride can wear.”
Radiant Bride carries gowns from designers in Australia (Essense of Australia, and Madi Lane), Spain (Pronovias), Ukraine (Milla Nova) and several designers from the United States (including Enzoani and Allure).
Ellen adds. “We are thrilled to be the only bridal shop in NEO to be launching the brand-new Vera Wang Bride collection in October of this year. Vera Wang has partnered with the iconic Pronovias company to launch a new, high-fashion bridal line that is in a more affordable price point ($1600 – $4000). It is a gorgeous mix of edgy, confident and romantic gowns. We can hardly wait!”
Radiant Bride carries dresses that range from $1,200 to $4,000, with most between $1,600 and $2,400. “We do always have a sample sale rack going with most dresses marked down to $799,” Ellen says.
The shop’s offerings also include a wide selection of veils and as well as some headpieces, such as crowns, combs, and headbands.
When couples plan their wedding menus, Emily says the majority still want a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and dessert. “We offer packages with variations on this format, with stationary and passed hors d’oeuvres, family-style, buffet, plated dinners, and options for cake and other desserts,” she says. Many couples also include fun, casual fare in a late-night snack menu.
When Covid was raging, many couples got married in small, private ceremonies and are having bigger celebrations this year. “Some of them are choosing a simpler cocktail party,” Emily says, “and some are doing the full wedding reception experience.”
To be Covid-safe, Spice was avoiding passed hors d’oeuvres and walk-up bars. Now, Emily says, “We’ve brought back a more normal service style, but some things have stuck, like our individual charcuterie cups. Everyone fell in love with them! We are still minimizing shared food contact and taking precautions with cleaning, and will continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations moving forward.”
While choosing a gown and planning the menu and other wedding details, some couples simultaneously plan their honeymoon. But lately, due to Covid and just because of evolving trends, many couples are putting off the honeymoon till the excitement – and bills – from the wedding are in the rear-view mirror.
Fofie Hoyt, owner of Falls Travel on Washington Street in Chagrin Falls says, “A lot of people have delayed their honeymoons, and they are saving it to take a nice trip to Europe. They say ‘We want to take a couple days off after the wedding and then we are going to wait and take a longer trip to Europe.’”
Fofie says it’s hard to point to one reason for the change since “nothing is normal anymore,” she laughs as she adds, “I have couples that have gotten married and they say, ‘We never took a honeymoon and we planned on this and it’s been a year or two later and now we want to take a trip.’”
Rather than jam everything wedding-related into a brief window of time, Fofie explains that these couples prefer to enjoy a nice respite weekend – often in the Caribbean or Mexico – right after the wedding and then plan a longer trip later.
As for choosing a destination, some couples take trips inspired by Hollywood. Fofie cited Scotland trips that she’s planned for couples that love the movie “Braveheart,” or Harry Potter-themed trips in London, for fans of the boy wizard.
Just like before Covid, today’s weddings are as varied as each bride and bridegroom, and the events celebrate the hope of a Covid-free future as much as love itself.
Relaxation of Covid restrictions means calendars are booking fast for wedding celebrations
By LAURI GROSS