Wedding Planner

Morning weddings are on the rise

On Saturday, March 12, Bria Pugh found herself awake at 4 a.m. She’s not an early riser and didn’t have any pre-wedding jitters either. It was call time for her hair and makeup before she walked down the aisle to marry Matthew Norman six hours later.

“I was optimistic as long as I could wake up on time because it was going to be a crisis,” said Ms Pugh, 29, customer service manager for Puig, a global fashion and fragrance company based in Barcelona. , in Spain.

She wasn’t kidding. Three hours after hair and makeup, the couple were scheduled to head to their venue, The Legacy Castle in Pompton Plains, NJ. The first photos took place at 8 am. Photos from the wedding party arrived an hour later and their 115 guests arrived at 9:30 a.m. for a ceremony that began at 10 a.m.

The timing came as a surprise to some, including Courtland Bragg, Mr Norman’s best man, who asked the groom if he wanted to reconsider.

“When Matt told me we were leaving the hotel at 6 p.m., there was a shock factor,” said Mr. Bragg, television producer for NFL Films, which is part of the production company of the National Football League. “I was like, ‘What? Are you sure you want to do this? It’s really early.

He wasn’t the only guest to be suspicious of the start time. “We’ve had a lot of friends call us and ask if morning was a typo or a mistake,” said Norman, 30, senior vice president and chief commercial officer at Citi Group Global Markets. At New York.

The couple, who live in Weehawken, NJ, weren’t planning on getting married in the morning from the start. They ‘had to wait a year to get married because of Covid’, Mr Norman said, and after choosing their venue they were told it was ‘booked for the year and only had this weekend -end available, and it would be for the morning.”

“We were against it at first. All the weddings we had attended were at night,” he added. “Then we thought we were different and wanted to do something different.”

The ceremony followed a cocktail reception and buffet brunch where guests enjoyed mimosas, chicken and waffles and entertainment provided by a saxophonist and DJ. By 3 p.m., the official party was over.

“We’re both exhausted, but it was worth it,” the bride said afterwards. “I would easily sacrifice four or five hours of sleep to marry the love of my life.”

A shortage of prime-time slots at venues due to the expected wedding boom this year isn’t the only reason some couples are choosing to start their wedding day early.

Although the timing of Mr Norman and Ms Pugh’s event came as a shock to some, he noted that others enjoyed it. “Early morning suited our older guests better, who get up early anyway and didn’t want to drive home late or sleep in,” he said. After the main event, Norman added, some young participants continued the celebration at a wine bar in the hotel where their couple was staying.

The option to keep the party going is another reason some get married in the morning, said Sandy Pena, wedding planner and owner of Ultimate USA Weddings in Manhattan. “They want to party all day rather than just at night.”

“There was a time when couples only wanted evening ceremonies,” Ms Pena added. But like Ms Pugh and Mr Norman, “many have waited a year or two to get married. Now they don’t care what time it happens, they just want to get married.

She is working on about 70 nuptials that will take place this year and “more than 90% are done before 4 p.m.,” she said, “with a concentration of those taking place before noon.” Popular locations include Central Park, as well as the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and 620 Loft & Garden at Rockefeller Center.

Ms. Pena noted that morning weddings not only provide natural lighting, which is optimal for photography, but can also have a more intimate vibe in part because venues can be less strict about required capacity. For example, The Legacy Castle has a minimum of 150 guests on Saturday evenings and a minimum of 100 guests on Saturday mornings.

“Morning weddings are more enjoyable, less crowded and provide a more relaxed atmosphere,” Ms. Pena said.

Carla Friday, owner of Details Made Simple in Westfield, NJ, which offers wedding day management services, agreed that “these events can be less formal,” but noted that they can also be “as dressy as an evening wedding.

Ms Friday provided her services at Ms Pugh and Mr Norman’s nuptials, where “everyone was dressed to their nines”, she said. “You would have thought we were at an evening wedding.”

Price is also a reason some get married in the morning, which can often be cheaper. At the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, weddings that take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. typically cost less than $5,000 for tables, chairs, staff, and an event host, compared to $15,000 and more for the same services in the evenings, said Angela Rollins, the garden manager. special events.

The site offers 18 ceremony locations, 12 of which host early-morning weddings for 10 to 120 people. Ms Rollins said she has seen an increase in such events, which started this year as early as 8:30 a.m. The venue held 170 morning ceremonies in 2019, and she expects it to host 210 to 215 by now. the end of 2022, with 80 already booked so far.

At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, couples who don’t mind getting married between 9 and 10 a.m. before a maximum of 50 guests can get married at multiple venues, including Rose, Water, and Osborne Gardens, for $600.

Kate Pauley, 32, the owner of Create Dinners, a Brooklyn business that organizes networking events and workshops for women, plans to wed Brian Vallario, 34, in a 10 a.m. ceremony at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn on June 3 . Next, the couple and their 30 expected guests will walk a few blocks to Maison May for brunch.

She said the timing “leaves us all day and night to party with our friends.” But that’s not the only reason they chose to start early. The fact that evening weddings remain the preference of many people also influenced the couple’s decision.

Ms Pauley’s wedding to Mr Vallario, the owner of Off Site, a company that creates prefab cabins at campsites, will be her second, and she said she “wanted it to feel different than what I had the first time”.

“Having 30 people see us getting married under our favorite tree in the morning is as different as it gets,” she added.