9 Ways Philly Vendors are Helping Couples Pull Off Elopements or Micro-Weddings
These packages bring together the best in the business for your small-but-stylish soiree.
The pandemic has forced us to rethink many aspects of our lives, including the way we celebrate life’s big moments — weddings, among them. As we emerge from the quarantine of the last few months and transition into a changed world, bigger fetes have largely been put on hold. While much is still unknown about how events will proceed in coming months, one thing is clear: Elopements, micro-weddings and other smaller gatherings are on the rise, and they, like their larger counterparts, are also beautiful commemorations of love.
Sure, the in-person guest count might be limited (that’s what live-streaming is for), but the intimacy of such an occasion gives you a chance to experience the marriage in a different way. And, perhaps, you may even talk to everyone at your wedding (a joy some of us may have missed out on in the past). To help make your Big Day even more memorable, some of Philly’s finest industry folks have combined their talents and are offering packages and collections to make your wedding everything it can and should be — a testament to your journey, together. Here, the details.
All-Inclusive Micro-Wedding Package
Elegant Events Planning & Floral Design and partners
Set to launch in July and dreamed up by Donielle Warren and her team, the program features an up to four-hour rental at one of its preferred venues, complete with a photo location, ceremony chairs and reception set-up. Elegant Events also is teaming up with industry professionals to cover all the aspects of your celebration. (Specific details on preferred partners and locations are still in the works.) Regardless, its in-house planners and floral talents will be on hand from start to finish to lead the communications, set up and create a seamless soiree for you and your beloved. The package is priced upon request for gatherings of 50 or less and will be offered through December 2021.
Small-but-mighty tip: “We encourage couples to reimagine the wedding celebration with their top priorities in mind,” says Warren. “Although couples may have to adjust guest count or menu options due to current guidelines, we create a customized wedding celebration ensuring the couple’s most important elements are executed to perfection.”
Boutique-Style Tent Weddings
On Q Productions, The Party Center, 12th Street Catering and Petals Lane
Top things off with a tent — perhaps in your or your parents’ backyard. Ellen Diamond of On Q Productions and this team of creatives hopes to fill a need for those who have been displaced and are facing challenges with booking a new venue. Each vendor will work directly with the couple to design a wedding based on their needs and spacing requirements, and following guidelines for social distancing requirements for your guests.
The Party Center sets the scene with the tent, tables and rentals, while 12th Street Catering’s seasonal menus dish out cuisine such as arugula-avocado salad. Petals Lane can arrange everything from an arch to bouquets to centerpieces, and On Q, of course, will style and light the fete with fabric ceiling decor. (Antique wooden ladders with vintage bulbs and lanterns? Suspended parasols? Things are looking up!) The options are personalized and prices are available based on the various components. A final highlight: The group is offering discounted packages for one couple; submissions can be made online.
Small-but-mighty tip: “Necessity is the mother of invention or, in the case of 2020, re-invention,” says Diamond. “Outdoor wedding celebrations (with a more limited guest list) are becoming the new normal for weddings in the age of the coronavirus, which means you and your partner can still have your dream wedding, with safety considerations in place for you and your guests.”
Hourly Intimate Wedding Coverage
Love Me Do Photography and Papertini (only for venue rental)
Carina Romano and Amanda Jaffe are now providing hourly photo coverage and live-streaming services for small celebrations and elopements for couples whose in-person wedding size may be limited due to social distancing guidelines but who still want to share their Big Day with loved ones. (It also takes the worry of setting up your Zoom properly out of your hands.)
Also unique: The photographers have transformed their 2,000-square-foot Fishtown studio into a ceremony space for up to 10 folks. Papertini is partnering on the backdrops; the venue is air-conditioned and well-lit (as expected), with chairs, water and WiFi. (It is not handicap accessible, however.) Photography alone is $450 per hour; videography alone is $350 per hour; live-streaming only is a flat rate of $350. The venue rental cost is $300 for two hours and includes the backdrop; the offerings will be available through the end of the year.
Small-but-mighty tip: “Our No. 1 tip for all of our clients is to be true to themselves and do what feels comfortable,” says Romano. “Planning any kind of wedding is stressful, and planning a wedding when things can change from day to day is even more challenging. The reason you are getting married is just that: to get married! Choose a place that is meaningful to you as a couple, and do it your way. You can always plan a big blowout party when it is safer to celebrate with all of your friends and family. If things don’t go the way you’ve planned, know that, at the end of the day, you will be married to the love of your life, and that is something special to celebrate.”
Iris or Marigold Packages
Heather McBride Photography, MG the Venue Specialist and Stems by Meredith
Described by McBride as a “one-stop-shop elopement package,” the two offerings are designed to take the guesswork out of the Big Day. Whether you pick the Iris or Marigold, you’ll get a list of thoughtful venues based on your needs, on or off-site food and beverage coordination, a potential site visit, venue contract review, photography and floral arrangement add-on options.
The Marigold (from $1,025) is for 20 attendees with one hour at the venue and two arrangements from Stems by Meredith, among other things. (No food, other than the requisite champagne toast, will be served on-site, though it will be delivered to your home or hotel.) The Iris (from $1,875) is for up to 50 folks and has a location for both the ceremony and reception, and coordination of cuisine and drink for the reception, along with florals from Stems by Meredith. (By the way: MG the Venue Specialist has two separate packages.) The Iris and Marigold do not include the venue, food or beverage fees; they are also customizable depending on your requests. The best part? They will be offered forever.
Small-but-mighty tip: “The No. 1 thing to keep in mind: Elopements are helping us get back to the real reasons for having a wedding — celebrating your love!”
Luxury Elopement + Micro-Wedding Celebrations
Arielle Fera Events, The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, Lauren Fair Photography, Twisted Willow Flowers, Gina Kay Premium Hair and Makeup, Pat and Sean Kelly, Papertree Studio, White Glove Rentals and David Braneky, Journeys of the Heart
Kick your intimate gathering up a notch with one of two all-inclusive packages for elopements and small weddings (of up to 25 guests). The offerings vary based on the package but have elements such as full planning and design by Arielle Fera Events; overnight accommodations in The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm’s bridal suite; on-site hair and makeup by Gina Kay for the bride (plus two more individuals for the small-wedding option); three or four hours of photography by Lauren Fair; a bouquet, boutonniere and floral focal point by Twisted Willow Flowers; two musicians and the choice to go back and forth between live acoustic music or DJ thanks to Pat and Sean Kelly; a 30- or 60-minute virtual consultation with David Braneky of Journeys of the Heart; choice of three customizable invitation suite designs from Papertree Studio; and furniture arrangements with a sweetheart table, along with flatware and other components. And that’s only a snippet of what each vendor is providing. The elopement package is $20,000; the micro-wedding is $37,000. The offering is ongoing based on availability.
Small-but-mighty tip: “Marriage is so worth it,” says Fera. “I am a big believer in marriage: You will often hear me say, ‘Marriage is literally amazing.’ I wholeheartedly believe that. It is the most incredible gift we get to experience as humans. Keep your eye on the prize!”
Polka Dot Events; Du Soleil Photographie, Love Me Do Photography or Redfield Photography; Lovebrain Films; RAM Floral; Alisa Tongg; Ettie Kim Studio; The Frosted Fox Cake Shop; Face Time Beauty
Your celebration will have its time in the spotlight thanks to Polka Dot Events. Partner and month-of manager Allie Beik and the team have come together with various Philly partners to create an all-inclusive amalgamation of services for gatherings of no more than 20 in an effort to keep you and your guests safe, but stylish. Expect, among other components, coordination of vendors and seven hours of day-of coverage from PDE.
There are five hours of coverage from one of three photo pros and cinematographer Lovebrain Films. RAM Floral provides a bouquet or boutonniere for each partner, and celebrant Alisa Tongg is offering her online master class for your friend officiant. Ettie Kim’s invitation suites are for up to 15 households, and The Frosted Fox Cake Shop is baking up a petite, two-tiered confection for cutting. And Face Time Beauty’s talents will help you look fresh with a virtual hair and makeup sesh. (A la carte options are also available.) As for the venue? The location will be determined based on the state’s opening phases, but it must allow for six feet of distance between guests and on-site vendors. The full package costs $9,000 and will be available through the end of the year.
Small-but-mighty tip: “We want your wedding day to reflect you 100 percent, but in this climate, flexibility is key,” says Beik. “If you’re a couple who must have 300 guests on a specific Saturday in October, this year may not be right for you. We recommend planning your celebration for 2021-2022. But if your perfect wedding includes amazing florals, sophistication, great food, timeless photographs and music — we can absolutely make that happen this year, just with a smaller guest count!”
Phuliffects Events, Anthony Page Photography, Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, Snapdragon Flowers, Mia Farah Beautique, Glambysharan
Akua Darko of Phuliffects Events has brought together a group of talents to dream up smaller-scale soirees for the fine-art couple. The collection includes up to 30 of your closest friends and family for a one-hour celebration, complete with a champagne toast and imagery by Anthony Page. The modern meets Art Deco Kimpton Hotel Palomar will set the backdrop, while Snapdragon will arrange the blooms. Mia Farah Beautique and Glambysharan, meanwhile, will ensure your day-of look embodies your personality and aesthetic. Pricing starts at $3,200 and the platform is offered at least through the next six months.
Small-but-mighty tip: “Why not do something special? Micro does not mean miss out on the experience of your special day,” says Darko. “The details are handled! So pamper yourself in advance, get the best dress and, on that day, have fun, and look and feel your best. You are marrying the love of your life, and nothing should ruin that perfect moment.”
Minihaus Wedding Package
Lovehaus Events and preferred vendors
Owner and event director Laura Bonadonna and owner and creative director Andrea Petrucci don’t do anything without all of their heart — no matter how “mini” your celebration may be. It’s why the duo is offering two planning meetings, unlimited communication beginning four weeks before the Big Day (all the emails and texts you desire), day-of setup and seven hours of coordination, as well as an invitation keepsake, ceremony and event planning, contract management, glasses of bubbly to toast, and breakdown services. Minihaus will make preferred vendor suggestions (hair and makeup, bouquet and boutonniere, cake for two, four hours of photography, ceremony music and apps) after venue walk throughs, keeping in mind budget and the size of your space. (Separately, Bonadonna and Petrucci are coordinating with PAFA on mini weddings from August to June 2021). Minihaus’s pricing begins at $3,500 and runs through June 2021.
Small-but-mighty tip: “Create your registry. People still want to celebrate you! They are going to want to give you something to congratulate your new beginning. Ask all the questions! Make a list to ask your vendors — especially regarding cancellation and postponement policies,” says Bonadonna. “If COVID has taught us one thing, it is that the information is evolving, and we need to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. And don’t forget the details! You want that amazing backdrop? Get it. Signature cocktails with signage? Do it up. Find what is most important to you both and incorporate those details into your day. You deserve that. Just because your guest list is small doesn’t mean your wedding decor has to be.”
The Micro-Wedding Collective
Clover Event Co., Haley Richter Photography, RAM Floral, Shimmer + Spice and 660 Collective
The four talented wedding studios that make up 660 Collective in Norristown naturally have put together a way for you to have a sophisticated soiree. Intimate gatherings for you and up to 10 guests will be held in the private, white-walled industrial room (it’s a blank canvas for creativity) with a four-hour venue rental. There is a bathroom, kitchenette and myriad places for photo moments. Other components include planning, coordination and styling by Clover (which is also offering a separate package); three hours of photography from Haley Richter, with images ranging from detail shots to family portraits; a ceremony flower backdrop, personal blooms for the duo and a centerpiece from RAM Floral; and an hour and a half of makeup and light hair styling for the bride from Shimmer + Spice.
A la carte options are available, as well. Currently, the Collective is offering brunch or evening (from $3,500 or $4,250) on July 25th or August 22nd. You can also select your own date, have a soiree at home or a separate venue for additional costs (from $5,500 or $6,500, respectively). The package will be offered at least for the near future.
Small-but-mighty tip: “You need to be flexible and able to roll with the punches,” says Caitlin Maloney Kuchemba of Clover. “With so much uncertainty and rules and regulations changing so quickly, you have to be willing to be flexible on where the wedding will be, who will attend, what you’ll wear, what you’ll eat; literally every element of the wedding needs to be flexible. If a couple is willing to do that, then it can truly turn out to be an amazing event.”
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