“Everyone just comes out of the wood,” said Anna Maisner, sales manager at Serafina at the IC in Stamford.
After the outdoor restrictions are lifted and Governor Ned Lamont expects the May 19 restrictions on large gatherings to be relaxed, Connecticut wedding experts see their diaries are full for the late spring and summer months.
“It’s definitely a different kind of May,” said Joanna Sherriff, vice president of sales and marketing for Waterview Catering, which runs hundreds of great days at venues across Connecticut, including The Waterview in Monroe.
In addition to couples who decided to tie the knot in 2020, the company is helping many of the 80 percent of its 2020 customers who decided to postpone weddings last year, Sherriff said.
“Last year was heartbreaking,” said Sherriff, “but now there will be 200 events in this building alone.”
Many in the industry wonder how the May 19 easing of restrictions affected the rules of the dance floor, which required masks and encouraged guests to boogie socially last year. Some said Connecticut couples had an easier time than those in New York, where the venues had to mark safe dance blocks for each table for a period, Sherriff said.
“It was very ‘footloose’,” she said with a laugh.
Photographers, florists, DJs, wedding planners, and event managers across the state are breaking new ground this spring as couples who have postponed their wedding for months try to make it official.
All balance everyone’s desire to be together and party by finding a comfort zone where relaxation restrictions are approached with safety and caution. But everyone agrees that couples and their loved ones are increasingly comfortable returning to pre-COVID traditions.
“My phone rang,” said Leslie Scotto, a Fairfield wedding planner. “People are ready to party, to see friends. These celebrations will be very special. “
Here are some of the trends for Connecticut weddings this year.
Pandemic accessories (i.e., color-coded social distance wristbands)
A bouquet of roses and protective medical masks with a gold ribbon and bow on a pastel background.
Lyubov Smirnova / Getty Images / iStockphoto
Maisner said she saw rubber bracelets that use a color-coded system to show how close the wearer wants to be to others – for example, yellow for “elbows only”.
Some couples provide COVID tests to guests the night before the ceremony, while others use mini hand sanitizer bottles with the couple’s names and wedding date as a party gift. Sometimes take-away masks are also available.
“Everyone takes security seriously,” said Scotto.
Seating arrangement and vaccination status
A 2020 wedding at the Serafina outdoor pavilion on IC in Stamford.
Contributed / Beauty Décor
When it comes to seating, planners and event managers need to consider the vaccination status of guests as well as outside of state guests who traveled to the wedding, Scotto said. Many also consider family units and pandemic pods when determining the seating arrangement.
Wedding venues have also revamped the seating arrangements, positioning eight or fewer guests around the typical 60-inch round table that has seated 10 people in previous years, Scotto said.
The outdoor pavilion in Serafina on the IC in Stamford.
Serafina at the IC
One major pandemic wedding trend that is continuing is to hold weddings entirely outdoors. Serafina has a grand ballroom that seats hundreds, but the big draw in 2021 is the 550-seat outdoor pavilion.
The pavilion is located on 10 hectares under a large white tent and offers generous seating, as well as hand disinfection stations and other safety precautions.
“It’s a comfort level to be outside,” said Maisner.
Smaller guest lists
Guest lists that include everyone from mom and dad to Great Uncle Stu, whom the groom hasn’t seen since his bar mitzvah, are out the window, Scotto said. A cast of hundreds has been reduced to a slim 100 and in many cases fewer, she said.
But smaller weddings are all the rage despite the pandemic, Scotto said, as couples opt for an intimate event and spend money on higher quality menus and other features.
“People care a little more about their guest experience,” she added.