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South Florida likes to party, see the new look of weddings during COVID

More glam, fewer invites highlight pandemic ‘I dos’

Madeline and Tyler wed at Faena during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madeline and Tyler wed at Faena during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Photographer Stacey Ambrosio)

MIAMI – South Florida remains the ultimate destination for springtime weddings. With show-stopping venues and A-list planners ready to get back to celebrating, what does a wedding really look like these days in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic?

From “minomonies” to big blowouts, the look and feel of South Florida nuptials have changed. Melissa Davis, from Melissa Davis Designs, a premier wedding planner from Miami, has said much smaller ceremonies were the way to go in 2020.

Many scaled back their guest lists and turned up the glam.

“Those who wanted to marry in 2020 chose to pivot and stylize their wedding in a very different fashion. As we planned and coordinated, the guest count of course changed,” said Davis.

That meant tough choices. Close family members and friends trumped those on the edges. Your mother’s uncle’s cousins from another state got Zoom invites instead.

That trend continues in 2021. And with new-found dollars in their budget, many couples are blinging up their big day.

Roxy Quevedo from Zeta Event Productions says many of her clients are adding flashy extras like sparkle fountains that they otherwise could not afford when guest counts were higher.

Sparkle fountain wedding extra during coronavirus era wedding (Courtesy Victoria Machin Photography)

“Some are spending a little more on lavish extras because they now can,” said Quevedo. “This month, we have a couple that has a very small budget, but because of the head count of only 25 guests, they are going to have a high-end venue which they normally would have not been able to afford had they had their regular headcount.”

For guests who make the cut, the venues look much different. There are now limits on the number of guests allowed at each table, and family members are advised to sit together.

“Most of our venues mandate we’re at 50% capacity. We assisted our clients with how to design their venue space for ceremony, dinner and dancing while remaining safe,” said Davis. Bigger celebrations are now held outdoors.

With many couples wary of the pandemic, the wedding planners who spoke to Local 10 News said venues are being flexible and providing refunds, and open to rescheduling dates. Many have also been enforcing masks for guests and staff.

Increased head counts of up to 300 guests for outdoor weddings are becoming more common for late 2021 and early 2022. That is promising news for vendors that took such a big hit. “With the hopes of continuing vaccinations, our industry is surely coming back! There is a feeling of celebration in the air,” said Davis. “As we plan for upcoming weddings, we are optimistically cautious, yet there is excitement all around.”

Wedding planner Melissa Davis consults with bride and groom during covid era wedding (Courtesy Photographer Stacey Ambrosio)

“Some more popular venues are requiring that guests wear a mask during the dancing portion which is a challenge in itself. They are really seeking assistance from the wedding planners and DJs to participate in this type of monitoring, which is very challenging when guests just want to have fun,” added Quevedo.

The pandemic has also forced couples to look mid-week for their big day. Since so many weddings had to be rescheduled in 2020, Fridays and Saturdays became quickly overbooked. So couples are saving big money by booking on Tuesday and Wednesday.

And what about the dress?

David’s Bridal has said brides across the country are sporting a more casual look. This includes simpler dresses with less lace, more jumpsuits and shorter hems. But that does not seem to be the case in South Florida.

“I wouldn’t say weddings are more casual, but I will say they are more family-oriented,” said Quevedo. “The formalities are still taking place, but then it feels like a big family reunion. Even when reverting to a backyard wedding, they are still trying to keep it elegant.”

About the Author:

Veronica Crespo writes for Local10.com and also oversees the Español section of the website. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism and Spanish.