Revamping Wedding Traditions

Revamping Wedding Traditions

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Local experts share tips and trends for the betrothed.

Influenced by shared memories, values … and maybe a hint of inflation, engaged couples are seeking to create weddings that might break tradition in order to be personalized. While some vendors are capturing nostalgia, others offer customization to make couples feel represented perfectly.

Sweet Treats

Two trends seem to dominate the world of wedding treats: accommodations for guests’ dietary needs and break-the-mold eats that have personal meaning for couples. At Reno’s Nothing Bundt Cakes, owner Shele Silveira sees both.

“They want to have Nothing Bundt Cakes at their wedding because most of our couples have shared a special moment with our cakes,” she says, adding that bite-sized bundtinis offer guests a variety of flavors to accommodate different taste preferences.

Kristen Daters, co-owner of Mix Bakeshop in Reno, also is seeing couples choose non-traditional cake options.

“[Couples] want several dessert options … a dessert bar with multiple treats like cupcakes and cookies or pies, and cupcakes are more common than in the past,” Daters says. “Couples are still asking for something that is typically their favorite to share those selections with the guests.”

Mini wedding cupcakes by Mix Bakeshop in Reno

By offering allergy-safe options, Mollie Connell, owner of Rebel Pioneer Bakery in Reno, admits that couples can seek the designs, flavors, and desserts they want while still taking their guests into consideration. In fact, Connell says that a trend of structured edible artwork has made this wedding season “by far one of the most fun wedding seasons we’ve had!”

Wedding cake by Rebel Pioneer Bakery

Couples who are passionate about lowering their impact on the environment have been delighted to serve treats from Batch Cupcakery, Reno’s only green-certified bakery. Owner Anne Archer often has couples asking her about upcycled and multi-purpose decorations in 2023’s trending colors of copper, navy, green, and beige. The cupcakery’s organic ingredients and vegan, paleo, keto, and gluten-free options also allow couples to uphold their values while accommodating guests. In fact, “vegan and gluten-free are the most ordered cakes,” Archer says.

With inflation affecting everything from apples to gasoline this year, bakeries are feeling the pressure too. Daters confirms that Mix Bakeshop has had to increase prices slightly — “the first time in almost six years.”

However, most shops are aware of budget constraints and still deliver awe-inspiring creations.

“Understanding client budgets is, and will always be, a must for us,” Connell says. “We know how overwhelming wedding planning can get, so we take our Rebel couples’ budgets very seriously.”

Bar to You

As bakeries are seeing more and more couples wanting to bring their guests a little piece of what they love through food, Anna Maye Vetter, owner of Ramblin’ Libations in Reno, achieves the same through cocktails. This bar on wheels/bartender-hire business specializes in batched cocktails personalized to couples, but it also can bring along beer and wine.

Vetter always recommends simple cocktails: “bright and light cocktails … approachable.”

Taking the couple’s preferred flavors or cocktail suggestions, she will adjust and make creative changes to make large batches that serve easily to guests. By modifying and simplifying, batched cocktails seem to be the easiest way to serve a signature drink and get guests’ approval.

She also sees signature cocktails based on what pairs well with food and what matches the couple’s theme the best.

“A lot of [couples] go by color, and we can make the cocktail fit their wedding theme,” she says.

Variety of Venues

Overall trends for wedding venues might not have changed too much over the past few years. Iris Stille, co-owner of River School Farm in Reno, is not seeing a lot of changes in trends from last year, and Andy Bomberger, director of event sales at The Club at ArrowCreek in South Reno, says trends that became popular before the pandemic continue to stick around. Over at The Depot Brewery & Distillery in Reno’s Brewery District, general manager/events coordinator Corrin Courier confirms that COVID-influenced wedding sizes still are driving couples to seek “venues that feel cozy and genuine.”

Atmosphere is definitely a driver of venue selection, but what seems to hold more importance are the opportunity for creativity and a variety of options being offered.

“There’s desire for both indoor and outdoor space within the same wedding venue,” Bomberger says, adding that couples love that the club can offer multiple options, including indoor restaurants, bars, a ballroom, an outdoor patio, and a tented pavilion. The spectacular mix of desert and mountain scenery also is a huge draw for couples selecting The Club at ArrowCreek.

A summer 2022 wedding at The Club at ArrowCreek. Photo by Epik Weddings

Meanwhile, The Depot offers couples a unique, historic building as a wedding setting. Built in 1910 as the headquarters for the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway, it also is Nevada’s first combined brewery and distillery producing gin, whiskey, and a great selection of craft beer. Housing a brewery, distillery, bar, and restaurant, The Depot offers a full-service venue at an affordable price.

“Being able to produce and offer every part of your special day leaves little need to mark things up,” Courier says, explaining that while The Depot draws on in-house services, she believes couples still may get creative with the space.

Stille says that River School Farm also offers couples flexibility. She says couples are welcome to bring their own vendors and alcohol, which allows duos looking to customize their wedding a beautiful riverside setting in which to create and control their vision.

Amphitheater at Reno’s River School Farm

Couples dedicated to even more creative freedom might benefit the most from Quick Space’s luxury mobile bathroom rentals. The Sparks-based rental company offers amenities for often-overlooked areas, explains Andrew Ardans, communication and engagement specialist. These amenities range from ADA-compliant restrooms and hand-washing stations to a bridal suite.

“With wedding venue options that are sometimes out of reach, Quick Space can remedy important needs for non-traditional spaces,” Ardans says.

Even these portable facilities offer customization for couples. Restrooms can be equipped with music, climate control features, and fireplaces with adjustable flames inside, while fencing (with or without privacy screens) can help match the area to the rest of the wedding.

Stille recommends that whichever route you take with your venue, on their wedding day, couples should “make sure to have a person who is responsible for setting up and is there to answer any questions people might have.”

Custom Rings

At Michael & Son’s Jewelers, a new trend for engagement rings is popping up.

“We’ve noticed that more people are focusing on their center stone,” says Madison Mastrangioli, social media and marketing coordinator for this Reno store. “It allows them to stack multiple wedding bands together with their engagement ring to create a fun wedding set.”

However, while wedding cakes and gifting options are becoming bountiful with design, brides are asking for a minimalist look when it comes to jewelry.

“This is definitely a change from years past,” Mastrangioli admits, adding that this may be an effect of inflation. “Since the prices of engagement rings have increased, we’ve noticed that more people are focusing on the quality of their stones rather than the size of them.”

For couples looking to focus on quality over quantity, it’s best to find a jeweler who can create custom designs, like Michael & Son’s, to get it just right.

Multi-purpose Florals

Liz Obritsch, owner of Galena Forest Flowers in Reno, has seen inflation change the way couples order both floral arrangements and décor. “In an interest to stay within budget, our clients have been prioritizing more of the statement florals for their wedding ceremonies,” she explains.

Based on Obritsch’s experience, florals typically account for 25-35 percent of the total wedding budget. That’s why she recommends any couple on a budget “invest in personal florals for their wedding party and their ceremony arch florals.” She says these can be easily repurposed and “also make for the most dramatic ceremony photos to enjoy for years to come.”

Regardless of inflation, however, Obritsch sees that clients are still loving the bohemian aesthetic from previous years. Floral arrangements and décor featuring dried florals, bleached accents, and soft textures continue to dominate.

Saying Thank You with Gifts

“Custom gifts make guests feel included, appreciated, and excited for the celebration to come,” says Matthew Rautio, co-owner of Tahoe Gifting Co. in Incline Village. As with bakeries, Tahoe Gifting Co. sees a lot of couples who want to share a piece of what they love with guests while being mindful of their needs. By sourcing gifts from companies around the Lake Tahoe region, Rautio and wife/partner Darya Shahvaran can achieve both. They say one popular gift couples choose is customized blankets for the bridal party.

“We’ve been hearing a lot about chilly bridesmaids, and nobody wants that!” Rautio confirms. “We’re offering the luxurious Lake Tahoe blanket …[which] features accurate topographical data showcasing the iconic lake and epic mountains surrounding it.”

He also recommends coordinating with a full-service gifting company, like Tahoe Gifting Co., to deliver the welcome and thank-you gifts to guests’ rooms for an extra touch of personalization.

Best Overall Advice

The overall sentiment from vendors is that they are here to help you create a vision that is authentic to you … especially if you want to break tradition. Obritsch reminds us that vendors are coming in with years of experience, so couples must trust them. After all, she adds, “this is supposed to be fun!”

“There’s a common belief that, as the wedding date gets closer, the planning and execution start to become stressful or burdensome,” Rautio adds. “When you get the right people involved, there’s no reason for that to happen.”

So take it one step at a time. “Don’t try to plan everything in an afternoon,” Bomberger cautions.

And most of all, as Daters says, “Follow your heart — your friends and family are there to support you.”

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Discover new products, thriving traditions, or exciting food events, festivals, restaurants, and markets – all of the things that are helping to make us a true culinary destination.