If you’ve ever done it, you know planning a wedding in “normal” circumstances is challenging. Lots of moving parts, deadlines, deposits, diplomacy (tell mom she absolutely cannot add “just one more person” to the guest list!)
Imagine folding COVID-19 into the mix. “Brides have been looking forward to their wedding day for as long as they can remember. This is supposed to be the happiest day in their lives and now it has become full of sadness, confusion, and tears,” said Lori Braun, CEO and president of Grand Events by Lori, which offers a range of services from day-of coordination to full packages.
The Space Coast wedding industry is doing everything it can to adjust to these new times to ensure brides still can have their magical, and socially responsible, wedding day. Of note, local wedding planners have been especially busy. The coronavirus is a prime example of how critical a planner’s role is to a bride and the process in an ever-changing situation.
“It is important my clients know that we are in this together,” Braun continued, noting that she’s worked with at least 14 bridal parties that have opted to postpone, with no penalty to the couple.
“As a planner, compassion and caring is one of my biggest traits. I want my clients to know that I am always by their side,” she said.
New Trends in Trying Times
Certified Wedding Planner Laura Adams-Cooper, owner and lead planner of Special Moments Event Planning, LLC., agreed that there have been many postponements and changes due to Covid-19. As a result, new trends are emerging, micro-weddings and double celebrations, among them.
“The size of weddings has been smaller overall. However, many couples still want to have all their loved ones there, so instead of modifying their plans, they [are opting to] postpone until next year.”
For couples who have dug their heels in the sand, micro-weddings have become a popular option. A micro-wedding is a scaled-down and typically more casual affair, usually with a guest list under 30 people.
The Space Coast wedding industry as a whole has experienced the impact of coronavirus and popular venues from rustic barns and estates to beachside hotels have taken extra precautions to ensure the safety of their guests. Some venues are even developing ways to be creative about it.
“We offer pandemic-friendly ideas such as custom masks for wedding parties and custom-labeled hand sanitizing bottles, and more. We have also a livestream option for loved ones that can’t make it, so they can still join the ceremony and we’ve even had couples do photos with a screen of people tuning in via Zoom,” she said.
Industry Insight, Bespoke Options
Bridal boutiques have also modified their services to respect social distancing rules and CDC guidelines. For example, Julia Barney, owner of Fifth Avenue Bridal by Julia Barney, is only accepting clients by appointment and limits the number of guests in her boutique during fittings.
In April, at the first peak of the quarantine, Barney immediately took steps to figure out how to keep her thriving business afloat by attending numerous virtual workshops and retreats organized by industry leaders such as The Knot and The White Dress Society. The move paid off by allowing the savvy business owner to develop a variety of new services tailored to her elite clientele including the only at-home try-on service offered in our area called FAB@home, the only with the trend in weddings toward more intimate gatherings, some 2020 brides have opted to purchase an entirely new dress for their smaller soirées, while others have decided to customize existing dresses. Barney and her in-house seam-stress Ciara Paski of Ciara’s Alterations have had to find creative ways to accommodate micro-wedding brides searching for more casual options to better suit a smaller, more intimate wedding.
“Ciara has been even busier with final fittings and custom changes such as removing sleeves or under layers in an effort to create a sleeker, simpler silhouette that honors a more intimate wedding. It’s been exciting for us to offer brides these new customization options for their gowns,” Barney said.
From beachside settings to elegantly appointed manor houses to rustic barns with swaying chandeliers, plenty of gorgeous options abound up and down the Space Coast. Here, we offer a look at just a few of the many options.
Harbour House is a private and direct oceanfront wedding and event venue located on the pristine shores of Indian Harbour Beach. With almost 8,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, this unique slice of paradise specializes in the true all-inclusive experience, offering multiple packages that make it possible for couples to simply show up and enjoy their special day. Ideal for those seeking privacy, this is a perfect venue to host a quiet and intimate beach wedding.
The oceanfront property offers coastal elegance, dramatic ocean views, certified event planners, custom decor, 5-star catering and bar, an in-house fresh floral artist, and proudly labels itself LGBT-friendly. With its 85-guest maximum per event space, Harbour House has always catered to smaller weddings and has seen an uptick in bookings for its elopement and micro-wedding packages as a result of COVID-19. Owned and operated by the Perez Family, this two-story property features Key West Florida design and is the dream come true of Shannon and Jessee Perez after many years of providing award-winning, high-end destination dream weddings throughout the state.
For thousands of years, the dragonfly has been recognized as a symbol of purity, happiness and change. Named for these good luck charms, Dragonfly Farms in Palm Bay is often frequented by gorgeous red, blue, magenta and striped dragonflies.
The perfect location for an elegant wedding or a country chic affair, the 12-acre property includes a climate-controlled barn, an amazing outdoor terrace, and a large covered pavilion. Two dressing suites are tastefully appointed and provide a relaxing, intimate space for wedding prep. Guests will enjoy onsite parking, lovely seating areas, multiple picturesque sites to say “I do”, and a reception area sure to wow. Smaller gatherings and larger groups can be accommodated here, as there is room for up to 150 guests.
The “Pinterest Bride” will adore the rustic charm of award-winning Ever After Farms. Named The Knot’s “Best of Weddings” for 2020 and Wedding Wire’s “Couples’ Choice Awards” in 2020, Ever After Farms Blueberry Barn has become one of Central Florida’s most popular barn wedding venues.
The outdoor ceremony site is situated under a majestic mossy oak. A covered patio makes for an unforgettable cocktail hour, while the large, air-conditioned barn is the perfect reception site for wedding day festivities. Guests will be wowed by the barn’s large windows, high ceilings, chandeliers and modern amenities, all while being surrounded by acres of a beautiful blueberry vineyard.
More intimate ceremonies for guests up to 100 will enjoy the Ever After Peach Barn just a mile away from the Blueberry Barn. All-inclusive packages make planning simple and couples have access to a huge variety of decor, signage, linens, and more. Add-ons such as a Cinderella carriage make for an even more magical entrance and ceremony.
Cocoa Village Marina is home to the Indian River Queen, a stunning triple deck paddlewheel boat, ideal for couples seeking an open-air option for their small wedding or special event. Guests travel from all over the world to experience this throwback to old time southern charm, with the picturesque Indian River as backdrop. Intimate weddings for under 150 guests allow for ample space to enjoy festivities while social distancing.
Experience the elegance and romance of the paddlewheel from a bygone era aboard the Queen and let yourself be spoiled by the venue’s wedding planners, who create first class, all-inclusive wedding plans customized to each couple.
Trending: Faux Florals Sustainable, affordable, and oh-so-pretty
A recent trend involving wedding decoration has been readily observed by local florist Stefania Colucciello, owner of WEDideas.com in Indialantic.
She reports business is even busier than usual with, on average, 50 orders a week. However, couples are rethinking the big-ticket spend(as much as $5,000) on fresh flowers and opting, instead, for more earth-friendly options.
“Flowers are normally not a top priority for today’s brides. They would rather spend the money on a different aspect of the wedding. We’re very happy to show them there are other beautiful options that won’t break the bank,” she said. These include custom designed bouquets and decorations made of lifelike floral and greens.
Many couples are planning two wedding events – the smaller one (micro-wedding) and a “regular” wedding to follow when safe to do so. Going artificial makes a lot of sense when couples consider (or are reminded) that everything can be reused. “Being able to get multiple uses out of their flowers is a big deal for environmentally-conscious couples. They can also feel good knowing there’s very little to no waste involved with artificial florals, because unused flowers can be saved for future orders.”
WEDideas.com also offers bridal party crafting events where the bride and her besties make their own bouquets at a class led by Colucciello. “It’s a really fun, interactive way for brides to spend quality time with her bridal party, and also have creative say in the design of her floral arrangements. She’s able to see the arrangement in advance and make (any needed) modifications.”
“We only use the best quality, real-touch flowers for our wedding bouquets. In my 20 years in this industry, the product has come such a long way. It’s incredible how realistic these flowers look and feel. It even surprises us, sometimes!” she said.
Darcy Maeda Manning
Darcy Maeda Manning is a 20-year public relations executive turned professional makeup artist who moonlights as a freelance writer. The Southern California native switched coasts in 2016 and now calls the Space Coast home. Not only does Darcy find tremendous joy in helping Brevard business executives, politicians, and philanthropists look and feel their best through her makeup application, but she also enjoys writing about these movers and shakers.