Wedding season has long been consumed by the business of extras, but this season some couples are doing away with the glitz and glitter and buying into the personal touches.
On the surface, weddings are a bonanza for dressmakers, for photographers promising to freeze-frame love, florists arranging memorable bouquets and bakers offering four-tier cakes that will inevitably be smeared in the faces of newlyweds.
Chefs, DJs, makeup artists, designers and venue operators alike pour their resources and time into advertising wedding services because they know it rakes in the cash.
But instead of getting tangled in the extras, some couples are deciding to strip it down to the essentials.
Halifax newlyweds Eric and Alishia Newson did exactly that when they were married last Tuesday.
They coined the festivities their “secret wedding.”
The couple, two witnesses, a photographer and an officiant walked into the Halifax Public Gardens mid-afternoon.
They set up shop near a shady tree and promised to spend the rest of their lives together. Photos were taken amongst greenery as passer-bys stopped to congratulate them.
Technically, the ceremony had to be secret because weddings aren’t allowed in the Public Gardens. “We figured a group of six could be a little more stealthy,” said Alishia on Wednesday.
Next stop was their favourite north end coffee shop Java Blend Coffee Roasters for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Dinner was served at The Bicycle Thief on the waterfront , while the celebrations were extended at The Foggy Goggle and Cheers.
“We’re not complicated people, so we didn’t want to have a complicated wedding,” Alishia said.
According to local wedding planner Katelyn Hipson, the “less is more” trend is in full swing this season.
Hipson founded Elegant Productions Event and Wedding Planning in 2011. They specialize in the kind of unique decor that involves flower petal covered altars and hand-lettered invitations.
She says this year’s trends range from minimalistic (think rustic decor) to overall less fluff.
“Detail picked with care and love instead of just everything and anything,” she said.
When a couple hires a wedding planner, it’s clear they are budgeting to spend more on design and decor. But nowadays, that extra design cost includes personal DIY touches that stay true to the couple.
Staying true to this season’s theme of minimal touches, Hipson is finding more couples are opting to host their weddings in unique locations like a backyard or a cottage they grew up in as a child.
These locations cater toward the smaller wedding, which Hipson says is an average of 75 people.
“I’m finding couples wanting to have smaller celebrations and invite fewer guests to their weddings so that they can really do more for the guests that they do have and stretch their budgets farther.”
But when it comes to cost savings, Hipson say the day a couple chooses to get married has no effect—especially from May to September.
While Saturday is still the most popular day to be wed, Sunday, Thursday and Friday are increasingly popular.
She attributes this change to shorter ceremonies and later starts. Instead of a 1 or 2 p.m. start, weddings are starting closer to 5 p.m. “That gives your guests almost a whole day to prepare.”
The Newsons getting married on a Tuesday may seem out of the ordinary, but for two paramedics who work shifts, it felt like a weekend.
Both are in school and paying off previous student loans. “We have a lot of priorities,” said Eric.
The day of celebration may not have affected their cost, but the downsizing definitely did.
The rings, dress, suits, photographer, officiant and appetizers cost them a grand total of $3,200.
The pair are planning a “open house” in each of their hometowns to celebrate with family. Eric hails from Ontario, while Alishia’s family is in Cape Breton. The low-key affair helped them save, while also saving their family on the travel fees.
They also opted for the intimate affair because, according to Eric, they feared sacrificing the things they love doing together on a daily basis.
“It was a nice way of being ourselves,” said Eric. “We definitely had a day that we would normally do but just a lot more dressed up.”
Original publish date: Jun. 20, 2016