Why Some Couples Are Sprinting to the Alter

Four days before their wedding, Richie Romero and Tiffany Wong emailed family members a “save the date” invite. It was void of time, location and dress code — the couple were still deciding those details.

“We wanted somewhere in New York with significance,” said Mr. Romero, an admitted adrenaline junkie. “We did a lot of Zoom weddings during Covid. People were over big productions. We wanted this to be about us. Plus, there’s something satisfying in the intensity and ability to pull something together quickly and make it work.”

Mr. Romero, 47, an entrepreneur and restaurateur, was fortunate Ms. Wong shared his go-with-the flow attitude.

“We knew we liked the date of 12-22-22,” said Ms. Wong, 33, a hair colorist at Salon Project, located at Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. “We called a friend who’s a judge the night before and told her to stand by.”

Guests were also contacted; wedding directions and specifics were shared via text.

The following day the couple, who live in the West Village, were married outside Jue Lan Club, an upscale Chinese eatery located in what was once the Limelight nightclub, on Avenue of the Americas and West 20th Street.

After the ceremony, everyone went inside the restaurant, in which Mr. Romero is a partner. The restaurant provided the cake, flowers and lunch. An Elvis impersonator was hired to sing a few songs while a caricaturist etched exaggerated portraits of the 15 invited guests. A photographer captured the moments.

Mr. Romero, who loved his spontaneous wedding, said it had some downsides. “Some family members were annoyed it was so last minute because they couldn’t come.”

But Ms. Wong noted that she was able to save money by not having to hire an event planner. “When I approached planners, their pricing was crazy,” she said. “This was quickly planned, but it was elegant and reflected who we are as people.”

Flash weddings are usually planned within three months or less — sometimes within a week. They are typically less pricey since they are frequently held at no-cost locations like parks or beaches, with less formal decorations. They also involve fewer guests and can happen any day of the week.

“The pandemic made couples and planners more creative and resourceful,” said José Rolón, the owner of José Rolón Events in Brooklyn.

Enter the more intimate micro-wedding, with 50 guests or less, typically planned six to 10 months in advance, or weddings that are organized with the click of a button, or guerrilla weddings, which may involve an illegal setting, like sneaking past security in a museum you didn’t get permission to be married at.

“Couples are feeling empowered to do less traditional weddings while capitalizing on a moment when the world feels more predictable in the short term,” Mr. Rolón said of flash weddings.

But don’t mistake a fast turnaround for thoughtlessness. Many couples put a lot of care into organizing them.

Lara Eurdolian King, 39, and James King, 44, who live in Long Island City, N.Y., planned their wedding last fall in two months.

“In 2022 every hotel and venue we looked at was booked,” said Ms. Eurdolian, 39, the founder of Pretty Connected, a lifestyle blog and fashion accessory line. “I had a moment where I thought, it’s either now or another year.”

She married Mr. King, an executive experience design director at Razerfish, a global digital ad agency, in front of 80 guests on Oct. 9, 2022 at Home Studios, an events space in Manhattan’s Union Square. “My grandmother is 93. Having her there was important. I knew I could plan something smart and glamorous without compromising in a few months.”

Ms. Eurdolian got plenty of help from apps and websites she found specializing in rentals. She booked the venue three weeks out through Peerspace, and two weeks before the wedding rented chairs, plates, linens, utensils, even a stage, through All Boro Party Rentals. She found bartenders, coat check, caterers on TaskRabbit a week before.

Sandy Pena, a wedding planner and an owner of Ultimate USA Weddings, based in Manhattan, said she has seen an increase in flash weddings by couples who are “less detail oriented and more spontaneous.” Of the 90 weddings booked through her last year, more than half came from last-minute inquires. “Many couples have said, ‘We’re coming to New York next month. We want to get married. Can you help?’”

Venues, too, are receiving calls from couples inquiring about short-notice availability.

“Because Covid made it difficult for people to marry, and because so many venues became filled so far in advance, couples now call hoping for an unexpected opening or cancellation they can step into, which is a great way to utilize an unsold date for us,” said Kelly Carrigan, an owner of Carrigan Farms, a 275-acre fruit and vegetable farm in Mooresville, N.C. “We’ve become very good at filling those requests.”

Requests from couples have included finding an officiant, a florist, a photographer, a catered farm-to-table meal and entertainment for anywhere from 10 to 300 people. Prices vary from $100 to $170 per person, with additional services extra.

“We have a lot of industry connections and can pick up a phone and have people here in three days,” Ms. Carrigan said. “As farmers, we’re not high-strung people, and these kinds of weddings are no longer considered unusual.”

Jennifer Rowe, the director of event sales and services at the Fairmont San Francisco, said that because “short-term weddings,” as she calls them, are usually smaller, there’s more flexibility in where they are held. They “can happen in more unique spaces in the hotel, like our penthouse, which offers amazing views and can accommodate 60 people,” Ms. Rowe said.

In the past, she added, most couples have booked the hotel’s ballroom a year to 18 months in advance. But these days, she said, “we get 10 to 15 calls a week from couples looking to book for this year.”

Of course, this kind of quick turnaround doesn’t work for everyone. Regardless of where a wedding is being held, couples and their guests will need to be both flexible and accommodating.

“I had a check list of what I needed,” Ms. Eurdolian said, adding that most of the details “came together at the end.”

“I was OK with that — everyone else needed to be as well,” she said. “You also have to be prepared that not everyone will be able to show.”

And you have to be prepared for possible mishaps, especially if you’re handling all the preparations by yourself.

Because of last minute organizing, Ms. Wong and Mr. Romero, for example, forgot to prepare a music list. And the computer-generated slide show they hoped would happen, didn’t.

At the end of the day, though, the goal is the same even if the timeline isn’t.

“I walked out of the restaurant married to the man I love,” Ms. Wong said. “What’s more important than that? Plus, this wasn’t off brand for us.”

Ms. Eurdolian felt similarly. “It had integrity and was a beautiful experience,” she said of her wedding. “If I didn’t tell anyone it was a flash wedding no one would have known.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com