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Unique Weddings that Break Tradition | Great Performances


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Unique Weddings that Break Tradition
by Beth Kaiserman

Weddings are happening in all types of venues lately – farms, barns, breweries and more. Here wedding planners discuss the new wedding traditions and unique details they’ve seen.

©Christian Oth Studio

Defining the New Tradition

Thanks to Pinterest and wedding TV shows, many brides have their own ideas. They want nontraditional venues that are fun, playful and non-stuffy where they can build the aesthetic from scratch. No more round tables in a square room.

©Christine Han Photography

Brides tend toward a more natural, organic feel, while often their mothers have a different definition of how a wedding should look: classic, pretty and trimmed in gold. While there’s nothing wrong with either, planners help find a balance between what each person views as beautiful.

GP event planner Carly Katz-Hackman helps brides break the cycle of doing things a certain way.

“There’s no wrong or right way – do what you want that’s specific to you and your partner,” she said.

For example, the song you walk down the aisle to should be special to you – not one you think it “should” be. Not every answer is in a bridal magazine, and if you customize the wedding as much as possible, then no one can replicate it, she added.

Event planner Jennifer Zabinski had a bride who wanted a very real "fairytale moment." She entered on a carriage with two horses, and her guests viewed the whole thing via drone.

"My favorite thing about working weddings is that they’re each going to be unique," event planner Melissa McNeeley said. "You don’t need stuff just because it’s cute."

©Judith Rae

One couple who loves reading paid tribute to Mark Twain at their Wave Hill wedding last August, planned by McNeeley. Twain once lived at the historic Wave Hill, and they designed napkins with his face, and guests signed a couple of Twain’s famous works as guest books.

Every wedding by Emily Reifel, Senior Social Sales Manager at the Plaza Hotel, has an after party, often with a DJ, she said.

"DJs in music are so hot that’s what everybody wants to listen to. You have to find the right balance of still being a high end luxury wedding but making sure that people know to let loose and have a good time."

One trend that 98 percent of Maria Seremetis' clients choose? Unplugged ceremonies. 

"They want people to be present - and want photos of the ceremony without people holding phones in the air."

Food Trends

Now that everyone's a foodie, couples want more food and variety to keep their guests happy.

McNeeley has noticed many couples want their favorite comfort foods. For example, a recent couple requested replicating their favorite steakhouse meal.

"I do find people don’t want fancy food; they want hearty food presented in good-looking way," she said. 

©Judith Rae

GP event planner Megan Hughes recently planned a wedding with different food stations from around the world: tacos, Asian, Mediterranean, Hudson Valley Harvest and raw bar and cheese.

“People want their guests to feel full – like, really full,” she said.

Dessert was mini boozy milkshakes and Brooklyn egg creams. They did a milkshake toast instead of cutting a cake.

Huge wedding cakes aren’t always necessary if you have other desserts, Katz-Hackman said.

Food trucks are popular for late-night eats and desserts, she said. (Her own wedding was all food trucks!)

Another recent wedding featured passed borscht from the bride’s grandmother’s recipe.

One tradition that needs an update? Speeches – the amount and length. People forget how long these things end up taking. Try to sprinkle them throughout the night (and at the rehearsal dinner too) so it doesn’t delay the entire event.

Seremetis said that overall couples want to create a unique and memorable event for their guests, often by moving into multiple locations throughout the night.

"It's like chapters in a book - telling the story in different ways that continue to create interest," she said. "People are looking to have a strong connection and create an experience."

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