Intimate, special weddings the trend

By Elesha Edmonds

Gemma Jackson puts a new twist on the phrase stag party as she designs everything herself, including deer antlers. Photo / Christine Cornege
Gemma Jackson puts a new twist on the phrase stag party as she designs everything herself, including deer antlers. Photo / Christine Cornege

Traditional large weddings are on the way out as Kiwi couples opt for intimate and personalised celebrations.

New Zealand wedding planners say big weddings are a thing of the past as couples are cutting their guest lists to create more personal occasions.

Beautiful Events director Lisa Hill says couples are selective when choosing guests for their big day.

"Compared to five or six years ago I have noticed a pulling back of numbers.

"Guest lists were around the 120 to 150 mark and now they are anywhere between 40 to 80 people.

"They don't want to be stretched across a lot of people and have to spend their day running from person to person."

The wedding planner herself opted for a smaller event, choosing to have 34 guests.

"I do a lot of big weddings but I wanted a more special and intimate celebration," she said.

"Less people makes it more special."

"Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime occasions.

"You don't need to invite all your work colleagues ... who knows if you will know them in 10 years."

Faye Moir, from the Celebration Studio, said couples were downsizing their weddings so they could spend more on the trimmings.

"I guess rather than thinking smaller in terms of costs, I think couples are wanting to maximise their dollar.

"Some would pay $150 a head and then choose to keep it smaller."

Ms Moir said intimate weddings were common with guest lists from 60 to 80 people.

But Ms Hill has found many couples are instead choosing to wait until later in life to get married.

"Things have changed because most couples already live together," she said. "Years ago it was about beginning a new journey together."

Ms Hill said couples had been inspired by websites such as Pinterest - a popular online pinboard - to create more personal weddings.

"They've put pressure on brides to one-up each other and replicate the weddings they see online.

"Brides are becoming more and more aware about creating their unique wedding."

All the Frills wedding stylist Melanie Holt said the photo-sharing website Pinterest had changed the whole dynamic of weddings.

"Pinterest really has picked the game up," she said. "It's created a demand for personalised, DIY weddings rather than generic ones.

"There is so much focus on how it looks and budgets are going up to allow for it."

She uses Pinterest as a tool to understand the style her clients want for their big day.

"It's a brilliant tool for me, not just them."


DIY helps cater for growing guest list

Bride-to-be Gemma Jackson tried to keep her wedding small and intimate.

But her guest list of 110 family and friends is much larger that what she initially planned.

"It wasn't the intimate wedding I had hoped for," said the Hamilton 28-year-old.

"I only wanted 80 people, but family is important and we have a big family."

Ms Jackson still wants to keep her wedding personal and so she is designing everything herself.

"We are forging our own way by finding our own image," she said.

"We are going to do a bit of DIY to achieve a personal touch."

The graphic designer specialises in typography and said there will be an abundance of chalkboards and signs.

Her fiance, Greg Gudell, is a deer stalker so deer antlers will also be a common decorative feature to "incorporate a bit of 'stag' into the day".

Ms Jackson has even launched her own website, JustMyType, to document preparations for the big day - March 1 next year.

"I wanted to digitally document our journey and share it with everyone.

"It's been really good to have a daily feed of what I've been thinking about and what I have found online."

- NZ Herald

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