In lieu of a couple lighting a candle during their wedding ceremony to represent unity, A.C. Warden of Brentwood, an interfaith minister/celebrant of Capital Ceremonies, recalled one couple’s “dirtier” twist.
“They did a unity dirty martini,” Warden said. “Their moms poured vermouth and gin into a shaker. The best man shook it, maid of honor put in the olives, and they both got a sip. Another couple’s go-to thing was sandwiches, so they made a unity sandwich of peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff.”
Warden said more couples are breaking from tradition and putting their own spin on their ceremonies.
“A lot of couples are looking to personalize the whole wedding experience now where they draw on their own lives,” Warden said.
Briana Hardin, CEO of Bowie-based Blissful Blessings Events, has been coordinating weddings since 2011 and said she has noticed bridal party sizes breaking from tradition.
“No more than six is traditional, but people have more friends and they just want to use everyone instead of just close family members,” said Hardin, who said she has seen as many as 11 bridesmaids at a wedding. “And some of it is that a lot of people would like to be incorporated in their special day and brides can’t say, ‘No.’”
Shelby Tuck-Horton of Bowie-based Exquisite Expressions and Events, a coordinator for more than 20 years, said social media is also playing a larger role in weddings.
“Some couples use wedding apps where their guests can upload their photos and share on Instagram,” Tuck-Horton said. “Some people use hashtags with their combined wedding names. Then there are others who stream the ceremony online so people who cannot come, like grandparents who are incapacitated or those who are far away, can watch it live.”
Receptions are becoming more unique as well.
Amil Mendez, managing partner of Lanham-based Showtime Events Inc., which has been doing events since 2010, said a growing trend for couples is cocktail-style receptions.
“Part of it may be the culture, but as brides and grooms get younger, they want to do something different,” Mendez said. “In most traditional receptions, after the eating, toasts and the cake, there’s not a lot of time for dancing, which is what younger couples want to do. They want to party all night.”
In some cocktail-style receptions, round tables are replaced with lounge furniture and bar stools, where guests enjoy an open bar and hors d’oeuvres are served.
“That setting is more conducive to having a good time, partying and dancing,” Mendez said.
While cakes are the traditional wedding dessert, cupcakes had become the popular alternative — but now donuts are the latest reception treat, Warden said.
For her April wedding, Mabinty Koroma-Moore of Hyattsville said she and her husband wanted their wedding ceremony to be unconventional and contain things they both enjoyed — one of which was doughnuts that they used in place of a traditional wedding cake.
“We had a number of reasons for wanting to do that. We wanted to include our favorite doughnuts, and they had all these great flavors to choose from, and another was that cake costs a lot more,” Koroma-Moore said. “We wanted tradition, but we wanted to share we’re not a traditional couple.”
While their wedding also featured invitations that resembled album covers to reflect their love of music, Koroma-Moore said the doughnuts were the biggest hit.
“I think the doughnut cake stole the show,” she said.
Mendez said dessert receptions, where chicken and beef are skipped in lieu of cupcakes and brownies, are becoming more common.
“They’ll have a late wedding and do maybe a wine and champagne bar with different types of small desserts such as little shot glasses with layers of chocolate, caramel, whipped cream and Oreos,” Mendez said. “It’s really up to the imagination.”