Microweddings – Winter/Spring 2021
Ben and Amanda Irizary cut into their cake during their wedding reception at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Micro-weddings, Major Love

How locals are embracing the small wedding trend.

Written by Natasha Bourlin
Photo by Gagewood Photography

These are strange times, to be sure. Social distancing has become a priority, and events have been scaled down drastically. However, engaged couples still want to exchange vows in the presence of their loved ones. Thankfully, even a global pandemic can’t stop weddings. It just makes them more intimate, as evidenced by the current micro-wedding trend.

Where to Wed

Several regional venues have evolved with the times, creating cozy, welcoming environments in which guests can safely distance themselves.

Calafuria in Reno is a great spot.

Owner Tim Magee recently renovated the outdoor portion of his popular Midtown restaurant. With exquisitely landscaped gardens and a patio that’s perfect for receptions, Calafuria’s outdoor area teems with nooks and crannies that are ideal for mingling or setting up food and drink stations. Dishes all are prepared in house and served fresh to guests. Chafing dishes don’t exist here — but a friendly, capable team of servers does.

Magee rents out part or all of the venue for ceremonies and receptions. He says he’s thrilled to be holding weddings at the restaurant, into which he and his wife poured their hearts.

Having worked as a chef his whole life, Magee claims weddings are not nearly as dramatic or stressful as running a restaurant, and he relishes the opportunity to create a space for couples’ magical days.

In Downtown Reno, character oozes from the façade of Pignic Pub & Patio, another venue option. Couples flock to this charming 104-year-old building, with its indoor and outdoor spaces perfect for weddings and receptions.

An enchanting garden area greets guests and leads them to a picturesque sun deck that invites mingling in the rear of the historic two-story structure. Inside the parlor, the couple, their friends, and family members can sip on a carefully curated selection of 28 draft beers, including an extensive array of local brews and a taproom dedicated to local Revision Brewing Co.

“I don’t believe you can find a venue with a better array of spirits and handcrafted cocktail menu or our team’s experience,” says Trevor Leppek, Pignic’s owner. “We also can order in your favorite wines and bubbly for the Big Day and create special cocktails for the couple.”

Pignic’s Cajun, Creole, and Southern soul food catered for the couple also impeccably complements the restaurant’s beverage offerings, or staff members can help connect the bride- and groom-to-be with any resources they need.

Seeking a riverside location? Along the meandering Truckee River is the picturesque River School Farm, another venue option for 60 or fewer people. Its outdoor setting helps address social distancing concerns while giving guests plenty of room to peruse the sights, including gardens, a collection of outdoor sculptures, and art deco pieces.

Several smaller gathering areas, including a sheltered amphitheater and a fire pit, create a feeling of safe intimacy for ceremonies and receptions.

Setting up the Space

Once the locale is secured, the details begin. That’s where Making Memories comes in.

Planning a wedding, whether it’s large or small, involves an infinite number of elements the couple may not want to juggle. Maurice Applewhite, owner of Making Memories in Reno, started his business to help alleviate stress for the betrothed, addressing the full range of needs, from A to Z.

Applewhite — who spent years in the culinary industry — and his team set up and break down event spaces, serve, bartend, and even cook for parties of 40 or fewer. Vegan and other special dietary requests are no problem.

For larger parties, he brings in his catering partner to take care of all the other necessities. If other resources are needed by the couple, such as floral connections, he can help with that, too.

Like magic, everything appears for the celebration, and no trace is left behind once finished.

“I love creating a sense of intimacy at micro-weddings,” he says. “With my business, I lead with my heart and am committed to making the perfect memory for a couple’s Big Day.”

Certain other important details are easily dealt with by Quick Space. The company provides day-of restroom facilities so that no matter the Reno-Tahoe venue, the space is kept clean and safe.

Quick Space delivers sanitizing and handwashing stations, plus spacious restrooms, some with lovely preparation areas and heaters, so that no one traipses through areas that venue owners wish they wouldn’t. With the recent increase of home weddings, these can be especially vital. Quick Space has even transported facilities to the playa.

“To stay as safe as possible these days, more is better,” says Special Events Account Manager Dominic Martin. “More sanitizing and handwashing stations and restroom facilities to keep everyone safe and ensure the right precautions are being taken.”

Big Day Desserts

The lovely people at Nothing Bundt Cakes in Reno know about micro-weddings. Its small Bundtini cakes are especially popular for couples planning smaller receptions, and the staff can cellophane-wrap adorable and tasty Bundtlet towers that make great take-home gifts for guests.

In lieu of the lofty reception pastries of yore, Nothing Bundt Cakes offers scaled-down options with combinations of melt-in-your-mouth flavors to suit all tastes on your Big Day. Delectable taste, no waste.

“Our cakes travel well to the unique venues people have used, such as beaches, backyards, mountain tops, and boats,” says owner Shele Faretto Silveira. “When you have fewer guests, you can go anywhere you want. The size of our cakes help, too — you can share some bite-sized Bundtinis or enjoy our individually packaged Bundtlets, so there’s no need to cut and plate cake slices.”

Micro-weddings also are conducive to creativity for many cake shops. Bakers at Reno’s Batch Cupcakery are skilled at making mouthwatering creations for any dietary preference, including gluten-free, paleo, keto, and vegan options.

Batch features some intriguingly delectable cake flavors, such as Earl Grey tea with fresh lavender buttercream and pumpkin paleo with raw coconut. Its cupcakes can be customized and packaged in eco-friendly style as takeaways, while the lightly frosted naked cakes make for a beautiful display. Plus, smaller guest lists mean smaller cakes, including those with micro-tiers, which make any sized cake look substantial.

“Also, micro-weddings allow you to splurge on other items,” says Batch’s owner, Anne Archer. “When your cake or cupcakes are smaller, we can be very creative on flavors [such as] incorporating different liqueurs, bitters, and cordials.”

Picture-perfect ceremonies and magical receptions during a pandemic just require a bit of extra creativity, and, luckily, there are plenty of creative professionals in the area to help orchestrate an exquisite wedding of any magnitude.

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