Big Weddings are Back

Big Weddings are Back

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To say the wedding industry has undergone changes the past couple of years would be an epic understatement. However, 2022 appears to be the year the industry will self-correct. It’s not going completely back to pre-pandemic vibes — some 2020 shakeups are here to stay — but a return to normalcy is the biggest wedding trend of the year, according to local vendors.

“There’s a visceral excitement in the wedding industry right now,” says Matthew Rautio, co-founder and CFO of Tahoe Gifting Co. in Incline Village.

While many postponed weddings took place in 2021, a noticeable uptick in the number of weddings in 2022 — and of larger weddings in general — is apparent to vendors. It may be the excitement of having any type of wedding desired without restriction, or the push to get married after a couple of uncertain years.

“We are seeing the trend for large weddings again with hundreds of guests,” says Anne Archer, owner of Reno’s Batch Cupcakery.

Emma Feeney and John Flood enjoy their reception at Tahoe Tavern. Catering by Pinedrop Provisions. Florals by Holly Fleur

Dominic Martin, brand marketing manager for Quick Space in Sparks, chimes in, “Most guests feel comfortable enough to attend larger events and be part of larger crowds. Barring any unforeseen COVID spikes, I think this will hold strong for the foreseeable future.”

“There are still many small, intimate celebrations of less than 50 people, but more often we see people moving away from that and having 150 people, or more, at a time,” says Kris Daters, owner of Mix Bakeshop in Reno.

As a result, vendors are booking up quickly. As more people get married and larger guest lists become the norm, you may need to be on the lookout earlier than expected.

And many are using this time to break with tradition. Instead of following protocol to a T, many brides and grooms are choosing to add their own personal touches to weddings, both big and small.

“I think people are doing more unique events,” says Peggy Tavener, owner of Victorian Fancies & Tea Society in Reno, a company that hosts tea parties for weddings, bridal showers, and other occasions.

There are plenty of other noticeable themes that brides and grooms can cash in on to make the most of their nuptials in 2022. Keep reading to learn more.

Big Cakes

Liz Hooper and John Crossley’s wedding at Gar Woods. Planning by Merrily Wed. Cake by Lake Tahoe Cakes. Florals by Martha Bernyk

“We have an absolute ton of weddings for 2022,” says Shele Silveira, owner of Nothing Bundt Cakes’ Reno location. “We have definitely had an uptick for wedding cakes … large and small.”

Other apparent trends include art-deco-style cakes. Gold is trending, and cakes with edible pearls and diamonds are popular orders, according to Mollie Connell, owner of Rebel Pioneer Bakery in Reno.

“Every year is a bigger break from tradition,” notes Connell, adding brides and grooms seem to be getting better at not just thinking outside of the box, but also at pushing their parents out of their comfort zones and embracing what is different and special to them.

This often means cakes are coming out in bright colors instead of stark whites and muted creams. Connell also is seeing fewer requests for floral designs and more two-tone cakes, geometric patterns, and abstract designs using wire and wafer paper.

The motto is, “You just do you.”

The creativity isn’t only in the designs either. Sometimes it’s in the cakes themselves, as couples choose confections made entirely out of doughnuts or bite-sized Bundt cakes instead of large, tiered versions.

Whether your cake is simple, classic, or over-the-top, taste is of the utmost importance.

“A cake should not only be a feast for your eyes, but your palate as well,” Archer says.

Silveira says she and her staff still are selling a lot of what they were pre-pandemic. The trend is to buy Bundtinis for guests and forgo that dreaded cake-cutting fee. You can always add a pretty tiered cake to display on the table. Some choose to forgo wedding cakes or offer other desserts in addition.

“We often see couples selecting cupcakes and pies and even integrating Mix Bakeshop desserts with other desserts,” Daters says. “Couples like to be able to offer selections of desserts rather than traditional large multitiered wedding cakes.”

For some, what is in the cake matters just as much as what’s on it.

“Batch Cupcakery bakes all organic with pure ingredients and can cater to all dietary needs,” Archer says. “Paleo, vegan, and gluten-free options are our specialty, and they taste so amazing, all your guests will enjoy them.”

Venues of All Sizes

Despite many vendors returning to larger weddings, some still are noticing the desire to host smaller events, says Tim Magee of Calafuria in Reno.

At his Midtown event venue, weddings with 45 to 50 guests are the norm. When it comes to larger affairs, a home wedding has become a more viable option than before, perhaps inspired by the past two years.

“We have been doing off-site catering for 200 to 300 people,” Magee says. “The boutique weddings at our villa are very beautiful and curated, however, I understand that sometimes people feel more comfortable having a big party at home.”

River School Farm in West Reno thrived during the pandemic due to its status as an outdoor venue and its already-limited occupancy. In fact, bookings for Iris and Tom Stille’s business have skyrocketed.

“Everybody now wants to get married before anything else happens,” Iris says.

River School’s owners support couples incorporating their own unique values and style into their events by allowing parties to bring in their own vendors, including caterers. No fixed list of vendors is provided from which couples must choose.

Because events are booking fast, flexibility is important.

“We are still observing more flexibility with day of the week and shifting into the less traditional wedding months [such as] early spring/winter weddings,” says Liz Obritsch, owner and wedding designer at Galena Forest Flowers in Reno.

The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery offers space both for large affairs and more intimate settings for 25 guests or fewer.

“We are very lucky to have so many versatile spaces to fit so many different styles of weddings,” says Corrin Courier, general manager and events coordinator at The Depot.

Speaking of different styles, Tavener hosts her Victorian tea parties for both weddings and bridal showers.

“I do them for 12 to 200 people,” she says of her distinctive parties. And she has noticed the same desire to offer unconventional experiences to guests. She has even hosted a murder mystery tea party — an offering available on her website — for a wedding shower recently that catered to both men and women.

When choosing larger events, it’s important to consider logistics. With hundreds of guests in one spot, additional facilities become necessary. Deluxe restrooms housed in modular buildings offer a stylish solution for outdoor events, plus air conditioning and other perks.

“With event restrictions lifted, the new wedding motto is, ‘The more, the merrier,’” Martin says. “Keeping this detail in mind during the planning process will help you avoid any last-minute surprises on the Big Day.”

“If I had to give any tips for guests, it would be to trust us,” Courier says. “We are here to make your day seamless and special.”

Wedding Transportation

When it comes to transportation, limos still can be found, but large-capacity buses are booking up quickly, says Danell Wilson-Perlman of Reno Tahoe Limousine. Passenger buses for 23 and 30 guests are frequently sold out as couples book them to ensure safe transportation for guests.

“I’ve seen the shift back to 200- to 300-person weddings,” Wilson-Perlman says. And as a result, brides and grooms need to start considering transportation earlier in their planning process.

Jewelry for The Big Day

Even jewelry seems to be following the trend of personal expression. While some always will favor classic designs such as stackable bands, others are opting for rose gold bands and emerald-cut center stones.

At Valhalla Grand Hall, a groom is ready to present a ring to his bride. Planning by Marissa Renee Events

When it comes to working with a jeweler, it’s most important to “be specific,” says Maddie Mastrangioli of Michael & Son’s Jewelry Co. in Reno.

“We are here to make your dream rings, so come with pictures and we will make sure we get you something you’ll love forever,” she says.

Flowers & Décor

Moving away from the traditional doesn’t mean brides are bucking florals. Instead, they are investing in statement pieces such as ceremony arches that can be repurposed during the reception, and wedding party flowers over family corsages.

Heavy neutral palettes with pops of saturated color in tones such as apricot and bronze are making a statement this year, according to Obritsch.

“Neutral tones are definitely going to be popular this year,” Courier says, based on her own observations. “I also feel like people are going for much simpler décor than ever before.”

Gifts for Guests

“Now that we’re returning to in-person celebrations, we’ve noticed that the bride and groom are particularly grateful to their guests for overcoming challenges to attend,” Rautio says.

Remember the monogrammed robe you received as a bridesmaid in 2019, or the small bubbles and mint cases that sat at each place setting in 2010? Gifts for guests and members of the wedding party are nothing new, but the industry has changed over the years.

“In 2022, we’re seeing the happy couples as well as wedding planners looking for ways to make those gifts more unique and personal,” Rautio says. “The focus is, and will remain, on the vow takers, but the extra appreciation given to their families, friends, and communities who support their love is where we’re noticing a boom.”

With a vendor like Tahoe Gifting Co., you have an entire team at your disposal solely for gift-giving purposes.

“Most customers spend some time with us coordinating logo imprints, personalized names, and decorative taste,” Rautio says, adding that the end result can be anything from a compostable sticker to a reusable water bottle.

In the end, brides and grooms appear to have more freedom now than ever when planning the weddings of their dreams. With your budget in mind, the biggest tip vendors have for 2022’s couples is to book early and invest in help for keeping all of the details in place. Beyond that, go wild and make your dreams come true.

Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident living on the south side of town. In addition to searching out the best food spots in Reno, her interests include wine, hiking, yoga, and travel. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism. Follow her local exploits and travel adventures on Instagram.


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