Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weddings: Less is more for a happier happily ever after

A sparkly magic is in the air at the Inn on a wedding day. The staff is aflutter … chefs are chopping and prepping, coordinators are snapping and fitting fresh linens, florists are buzzing about pretty arrangements, musicians are tuning instruments, and brides and bridesmaids are blushing and gushing. Follow our very own Wedding Coordinator, Erica, around on a wedding day and you’ll learn the true meaning of “multitask.” She never stops moving, yet somehow, she manages to fly under the radar while checking and rechecking on the details of the food, timing, guests, table settings, lighting, music, bride, groom, family, weather and ambiance. Her behind-the-scenes presence puts the brides at ease and moves the ceremony and reception along at a perfectly-timed pace.

Wedding and event demand has been increasing in the past couple years as Galena, Illinois, has become a popular “destination wedding” spot. “2012 is our biggest wedding and event year ever,” says Erica, between tying bows, buffing champagne glasses, brewing iced tea, and dipping chocolate strawberries. “We have more than 70 weddings and events planned. I personally love the weddings days!” she says as she arranges a buffet of fresh fruits and vegetables for a wedding party. No matter the details, arrangements and preparations, at the end of the day, it all hinges on two little but meaningful words: I do.

One particularly sunny wedding day in July, I ask Erica if she currently sees any specific trends in weddings this year. Anything new, different, or recurring? Turns out, she does. “Less is more.” Brides and grooms are hosting smaller weddings with more intimate guest lists and fewer members in the bridal party. Many of this summer’s weddings consisted of only the bride and groom, or the two of them with just a few close guests. “Small weddings are so private and elegant,” says Erica. “The bride and groom can really focus on each other and what they want for the day instead of being distracted by the details that can take over a larger ceremony.”

From the wedding coordinator’s perspective, the “less is more” theme is prevalent even in the beginning planning stages of an event. More often than not, weddings today at our Inn are booked not years in advance, but months or even weeks. “I’ve had brides and grooms call to book a wedding for the following week.” And can she pull it off? Without a wrinkle.

This current trend carries right through to the reception as well. Brides and grooms are often opting for modern small plates, bite-sized hors d’oeuvres, or even a simple champagne toast served with fresh berries, as opposed to a full sit-down plated meal. And as opposed to formal seated tables, we are seeing more requests for high-top tables and no chairs for standing, mingling and munching.

Are cakes following this trend? Erica herself is a seasoned patisserie chef. “Cupcake weddings are extremely trendy right now,” she confirms. In lieu of a large traditional wedding cake, many brides recently have chosen pretty ruffled cupcakes or multiple small round cakes. There are so many cute ways to arrange cupcakes … in a tiered stand, on a sweets table, or packaged individually as guest gifts. Jennifer Noel of All Things Sweet Shoppe in Dubuque makes divine cupcakes from scratch for weddings weekly. She assures us, “Everyone loves the diminutive treats – they’re pretty much a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.” Jennifer tells us that Build-Your-Own-Cupcake Buffets are hot right now. All Things Sweet Shoppe provides “naked cakes” along with different buttercream flavors and toppings for guests. Couples have also been choosing a full dessert bar which can include the bride and groom’s choice of chocolates, pies, cheesecakes, cookies, gourmet cupcakes, caramel corn, ice cream and a chocolate fountain. What a fresh and savory way to opt out of the expense of a sit-down plated meal!

“I have seen a minimalist effect in flowers too,” says our Innkeeper Patricia Smith, the gardening mastermind behind Goldmoor Gardens. Many of our brides choose a classic fresh-cut bouquet from our Goldmoor Gardens, which can consist of wildflowers, hydrangeas, roses, daisies and lilies, depending what is blooming at the moment. One of our recent brides chose all white for dresses and linens, and carried a single orange gerbera daisy. The effect was stunning and the photographs so lovely. Less is always more with wedding d├ęcor at Goldmoor Inn & Dining. The property and grounds provide such a picturesque backdrop for your special day that the extra expense is not needed. Rebecca Dimmlich of Valley Perennials Florist & Greenhouse in Galena agrees. “We have done a lot of wedding work this year with hydrangea flowers … two stems in a vase make a huge impact with lower cost.”

Pamela Porter of Galena’s "Hair I Do's" has noticed that less is more with hair and makeup too. She has done many recent looks that are sweet and natural, not as heavily made-up and coiffed or sprayed as we’ve seen in past years. As wedding planning website www.theknot.com says, “If you think it’s too much, it probably is. Less is more.” The Knot concurs!

Spanning across the lifetime of the Inn, Goldmoor Inn & Dining has hosted more than 500 weddings. We offer several options for wedding and reception locations on the 27-acre property: the outdoor Pavilion sits on the cusp of the inner meadow surrounded by beautiful flowered gardens and can accommodate up to 250 ceremony guests or 100 seated reception guests; the indoor Great Room accommodates up to 100 ceremony guests or 56 seated dinner guests; and the temperature-controlled Gazebo seats 2-10 people for a more intimate ceremony and reception. Erica says that each reception is custom-tailored to the honored guests' personal tastes and wishes. “We’ve done Halloween-themed weddings, Renaissance weddings, forest weddings, and barefoot weddings, even a camouflage wedding!” Before she flits off again to check the fresh flowers in the cooler, I inquire of Erica the most unique request she has ever received from a bridal couple. “A Harley Davidson motorcycle cake,” she quips, without missing a beat. “A very whimsical bride and groom!”
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For more information about weddings at Goldmoor Inn & Dining, please visit http://www.goldmoor.com/illinois-wedding-location.htm. Check out our mid-week Bride-On-A-Budget special!