Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Who among us can read these words and not think wedding?
Since time immemorial, weddings have followed a path strewn with tradition. From the snow-white gown and lacy train to the first messy bite of cake, nary a bride has dared deviate from the manual handed down by mothers and grandmothers who take it for granted that her wedding will look identical to the ones back in the day.
REHEARSAL DINNER GOES SURFSIDE
To the amazement of hoteliers, restaurateurs, party planners and especially mothers, 21st century weddings are going rogue. Among the more noticeable challenges to the tried and true is duration, as couples stretch their 15 seconds of fame from the typical weekend affair into multiday events.
At Pelican Hill,® which has encouraged the trend with some creative thinking of its own, that can mean anything from Wednesday evening clambakes to Monday morning Bloody Mary bars.
“The ceremony-followed-by-reception format is no longer the only option,” said Alicia Townsend, an event coordinator with Details Details in Orange County.
“Wedding guests don’t just send the bride and groom off on a honeymoon the next morning. Instead, couples are opting to spend quality time with friends and family, and they’re putting a lot of effort into creating activities to thank them for making the trip.”
Claire Matusek and her husband, Ryan, who married at The Resort at Pelican Hill® in April, chose to forgo the ritual of a rehearsal dinner, instead kicking off the celebration with an offbeat coastal soirée on the sand at nearby Crystal Cove.
Hundreds of friends and loved ones, many from the East Coast, were whisked by private coaches to and from the Welcome Beach Party.
“We got the idea for the welcome party when we were talking with [Pelican Hill director of weddings and special events] Fernanda Jaime. It had our name written all over it,” said the new Mrs. Matusek. “We wanted to spend time with everyone before the actual I do’s, and also allow our guests to get to know each other.”
The beach party was the polar opposite of their black-tie wedding—which was exactly what they wanted. Blankets and daybeds dotted the sand, steel drummers set the mood with rhythmic Caribbean tunes and guests feasted on their choice of barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, pick-your-fixins’ burgers and old-fashioned s’mores.
“It was all very welcoming, low stress and family friendly,” said Matusek. “Nobody wanted to leave.”