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Home, outdoor and blended weddings are the trends in 2021

By Marbee Shing-Go Published Oct 09, 2020 1:44 am

In previous years, we’ve seen the grandest receptions. In 2021, you will be seeing more intimate weddings held at home, in restaurants or small outdoor venues.

It’s been more than 200 days of a push and pull lockdown. We have been thrown into a maelstrom and came up for air, wavered on an edge of the parapet and came up for air, adjusted to new guidelines, and came up for air.

We have been pushed to adapt to newly discovered and old forgotten ways, defined our states with words we have leaned into in this new normal—pause, pivot, reconfigure, discover, reconnect, thrive, and survive.

Pre-pandemic, this would have been the start of another busy wedding season once ghost month lifts—although it felt like we just went through  five ghost months.

For some bizarre time illusion, months in quarantine flew faster in suspension.

Weddings are huge all over the world and in a country with no divorce, all economic classes in the Philippines save up for these once-in-a-lifetime events. For some families, parents save up and prepare to provide for their vision of their children’s “perfect wedding.” 

A Pangasinan wedding uses local roses and asters. Photos courtesy of Gary Dacanay, Niceprint Photography, Teddy Manuel, Gideon Hermosa, and Jerome Salaya Ang

For those who had plans to tie the knot this year, it has been an upheaval of emotions and schedules. Some couples may already have taken the plunge and went for a much simpler GCQ ceremony while others are still on a wait-and-see mode if they can still make their dream wedding possible.

The year 2020 as the start of a new decade was supposed to be a fabulous year of milestones including many engagements and weddings.

Like life as we know it, not everything you plan for happens the way you intend it to be.

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Earlier this year, the popular astrologist Susan Miller made a controversial announcement that weddings in 2020 would be doomed based on the astrological movements of the planets and that most of 2020 is less auspicious for marriage.

Whether one takes this with a grain of salt or not, this is the time for a reexamination so you can make things better and couples are given the gift of time to plan well and further. The celebration is not cancelled, it is just postponed.

Here are some tips and insights if you’re planning to get married in 2021. This is what we will be seeing more of in our social media feed:

Event styling in 2021

In previous years, we’ve seen the grandest of grand for receptions. Think chandeliers, indoor gardens and fountains, customized carpets, fantasy florals and the works. 

In 2021, you will be seeing more intimate weddings held at home, in restaurants or small outdoor venues. Teddy Manuel and Gideon Hermosa, two of the country’s top event stylists share how most of the weddings they’re styling this GCQ are in homes.

“I did two weddings recently in the homes of my couples. One was in the living room annex and the other one was a room in the attic of the bride’s home that was being used as a stock room. It’s not our usual ballroom function space, but I’m getting a lot of inquiries for intimate home weddings because clients are starting to see the transformation we can do in any part of their home.” Manuel shared.

Before: Living room 
After: Reception venue

Hermosa, who has been doing venue transformations aptly called “Gideonized” for his events for a couple of years now (think basketball courts turned into grand ballroom set-ups, for example) has transitioned to applying his eye for transformation to smaller spaces.

“I make use of the home's architectural details and see how I can Gideonize it. When I was called to do an ocular in one home for an intimate wedding and saw their staircase, I got excited and requested it be made the focal point of the ceremony setup. We’re learning to adapt to the current situation and it’s a new way really for us to flex our creativity,” Hermosa said. 

Gary Dacanay, another in-demand event stylist, recently posted on Facebook a church wedding he styled in Urdaneta in Pangasinan using only two kinds of local blooms—roses and asters (also known as baby’s breath).

A staircase becomes the focal point of a home wedding

The post as of this writing has over 2,400 likes and shared 2,000 times. Expect to see more locally grown flowers in receptions next year as imported flowers are hard to bring into the country due to commercial flight cuts.

Aside from local blooms, dried and paper flowers crafted by young creatives will be the trend.

Up and coming stylist Ginger Gaddi  recently did the wedding of young entrepreneurs and social media personalities Grizelle Gratela and Fourth Solomon using a mix of fresh, paper and dried flowers.

“For the bride’s bouquet, the only fresh flowers I used were roses and dahlias; the rest—peonies, protea and anemone were made of paper and crafted by Mabby Camacho, a paper flower designer. Since big weddings are transitioning into small, intimate weddings, I’m getting a lot of inquiries for a laid-back and chill theme in smaller and outdoor settings, like this one I did in Las Casas in Quezon City.” 

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Outdoor weddings

A trend that is growing since Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ is outdoor celebrations. “Eighty percent of my wedding inquiries for the rest of the year and for 2021 are for outdoor weddings,” Gaddi said.

Ycoy Sitchon of La Belle Fete Events, on the other hand, accounts 60% of her 2021 wedding inquiries to outdoor weddings.

“Couples are interested in outdoor celebrations because it is safer.”

A celebration out in the open air allows for better social distancing and not to mention it’s a more relaxed experience for the couple and their guests.

After hosting the wedding of a client and friend who got married in his rest house in Timberland Heights in San Mateo, Rizal a month ago, multi-talented fashion designer Jerome Salaya Ang has opened his home as an intimate wedding venue to couples looking for an outdoor reception venue-alternative.

Salaya Ang’s home, which he has since named Casa Gris, is a beautiful space overlooking the Metro Manila skyline and the Sierra Madre mountain range. “It’s only 30 to 45 minutes from Metro Manila so it’s not far, but also not exactly near. It’s an ideal ‘wedding destination’ in a way.” 

The new-normal veil is now a face shield

Destination weddings 

Sitchon also sees a growing trend of opting for a destination wedding that can reached by car.

“As travels other than road trips are halted this year, most clients will choose a place where they can enjoy a breath of fresh air and break from the shackles of being quarantined and isolated. They will select a different environment where they can spend moments with their loved ones,” she said. 

For Cebu couples, the choices are vast. Outdoor weddings can be a garden, the mountains or the beach—as the proximity of the city to the nearest beach destination or mountain hideaway is near. Cebu go-to planner Snoogie Mata  recommends Chateau de Busay, which has a city view deck and a garden view area, the garden of the historic structure Circa 1900, Chateau by the Sea in Punta Engaño and popular wedding venues in Mactan like Shangri-la Crimson, and the new Dusit Thani.

Celebrity event stylist Badang Rueda, who has done grand destination weddings all over the Philippines, recommends his home province Pampanga’s Grand Palazzo Royale and Hilltop at Mimosa in Clark.

Grizelle Gratela and Fourth Solomon use a mix of fresh, paper and dried flowers for their wedding

“The two venues are not only ideal for social distancing but will also look beautiful in photos—that’s the best souvenir you bring home and keep,” he said.

For Metro Manila couples, there are numerous wedding destinations to choose from, from north to south. Among the notable ones as recommended by photographer Paul Vincent are heritage structures such as Las Casas in Quezon City, Villa Milagros in Rizal and the quaint Bee House in Antipolo.

“Venues that have personality and character will always be amazing in pictures,” he said. 

A farther but unique option is Highland Bali Resort in Nueva Ecija. A Balinese-inspired resort facility that opened only in 2018, Highland Bali has several options for both an open air ceremony and reception and is has not been frequented for weddings making it a fresh option for couples looking for a unique destination venue. 

As social distancing, travel restrictions and group size limits are likely to continue next year, expect to see technology play a major part in a couple’s big day. 

The magic of video conferencing

Ever heard of a “blended wedding event”? You’ll be seeing a lot of it in 2021.

Informally coined by Teddy Manuel, a blended wedding event is a product of the 10-person maximum cap for guests in a wedding in the GCQ period.

“Because of the cap set by the IATF for safety measures, a lot of guests, especially senior family members won’t get to see or be part of a couple’s wedding.”

So a blended event is one that incorporates an actual live event like a wedding ceremony and “blends” it with a live stream on social media for their friends and relatives to witness.

Kim Torres directing a blended wedding: a physical wedding with virtual guests

Event director and wedding planner Kim Torres pioneered the blended wedding event technique and after several trials the past few months for her events, she now has a system in place.

“Organizing a virtual event is so much harder than an actual one. If there’s a problem during an event in the past, we are there and can do actual damage control, now we can’t—so everything has to be precisely planned but there are several factors we can’t control like internet connection,” she said.

Kim Torres and her team behind her eponymous Kim Torres Events also works with other wedding planners and couples in directing and overseeing a blended wedding event.

“There are two ways we do it now. One is via Zoom and the other is via live-streaming on another platform like Facebook. With live-stream, the couple and their 10-plus guests at their wedding are watched by guests streaming the event from their homes like watching a reality TV show. With Zoom, we have four sets of ‘views’ to direct guests to different angles of the event. I also put a projector so the couple can see the guests who have logged so it can still somehow feel like they have a lot of guests.”

Outdoor weddings are preferred to make social distancing easier

By 2021, technology will be further advanced and there will be more apps to answer the need for community interactions. “Hopefully, it will eventually be easier. We don’t know when this pandemic will end, but we in events are adapting to the times and working on finding how we could make it work for us and our clients, safely and effectively,” she said. 

The wedding industry has suffered a big blow from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic this year, and there is still this level of uncertainty as the ber months have come.

But if there’s one industry to bounce back fast, it’s the wedding industry. “There will always be couples who want to get married,” Torres said.

Despite the uncertainty,  suppliers and couples have become more creative in collaborating plans for a couple’s big day. Whether it’s a home wedding, an outdoor celebration, a wedding album with Zoom screenshots or decorated face shields with frilly white ribbons for the female entourage—matrimonial unions forged by COVID-19 will be, ultimately, unforgettable.