Holiday wedding trends for cultures around the world

Now that we are approaching the holiday season, I have been thinking recently of ways that we

celebrate. As a wedding planner in Chicago, this time of year reminds me of all

the fun ideas for luxury holiday-themed weddings. Regardless of which holiday my clients

celebrate, it’s quite exciting and inspiring to find ways to incorporate their traditions into their

events. The possibilities are endless, as are the traditions themselves. Today I’d like to share

my thoughts on several styles of luxurious holiday weddings.


The Hanukkah wedding is a simple yet visually-striking affair. Of course, the usual elements of

Jewish weddings are present, like the Chuppah, the glass-breaking, the signing of the Ketubah,

the dancing of the Hora, etc. The “Holiday of Light” additions add extra flair.



First, I’d include a kindled Menorah on display in a central area where everyone will congregate. The flowers, linen, and even the glassware and dishware will be blue and white (and all the shades in

between). Simple yet stark contrast works best. Perhaps blue chargers or water glasses? I like

to see the Star of David incorporated as place cards and adorning the wedding cake.


One exhilarating idea is having a centerpiece in that somewhat resembles a crystal chandelier that

either suspends over the tables (if the venue allows this) or towered in structures overhanging

the tables supported by a rod in the middle of the table. Then, spotlights around the perimeter of

the room are pointed at these crystal structures in a vivid blue color. The effect is breathtaking.

Blue uplights on the walls are beautiful as well.


As for Hannukah wedding cuisine, a brisket would be a great main course that is easily achievable by reputable caterers, with latkes on the side (don’t forget the blintzes and kugel for the dessert table!). Obviously, in this scenario, we would make special arrangements beforehand for any specific kosher meals that would need to be provided for the clients’ kosher guests.

The Kwanzaa wedding is a warm, vibrant evening. In terms of decor, candleholders called

Kinara would feature 7 candles: 3 red, 3 green, and 1 black in the center. Those three colors

represent the Pan-African flag and are an important part of Kwanzaa, and the 7 candles

represent the 7 principles, one of which is highlighted each day Kwanzaa lasts.


I would feature baskets of fruit (the more colors, the better), multicolored ears of corn, and yams. The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase “Matunda ya kwanza”, meaning “first fruits”. The ears

of corn represent children and fertility. I’d also place a unity cup on each table. Underneath

these items, I’d place a Mkeka, which is a mat that can be made from straw or a blend of cotton

and silk. The flowers, linen, and lighting would be an array of earthy colors. Colors of fruit and

vegetables and nature. Yellows, browns, reds, greens.



As for the Kwanzaa wedding cuisine, I would take my inspiration from the Karamu feast, which features dishes from many African traditions. Although stews, gumbo, and jambalaya are a common course of the Karamu meal, these dishes rarely translate well to a catered event. I’d instead favor a protein like jerk chicken or catfish, accompanied by a myriad of sides like grits, fritters, black-eyed peas, couscous,

collards, fried okra, or even sweet potato pie. (I’m starting to get hungry here!)

The Christmas wedding is an unforgettable night. Remember,this is a luxury wedding. Instead of bathing everything in red and green, my suggestion would be to choose a single shade within the Christmas spectrum and add either silver or gold accents to your table setup. Centerpieces might include simple garland wreaths, perhaps placed around a metallic charger, and pine cones. Festive signature cocktails that include flavors like nutmeg, eggnog, and peppermint are brilliant inclusions to the bar. Alternately, a classy upgrade would be a premium bourbon bar added to your package. Poinsettias are the classic perennial

Christmas flower, certainly, but I find amaryllis to be another fashionable choice.



Of course, you will want to make sure the DJ peppers in some upbeat Christmas songs in his playlist. As for Christmas wedding cuisine, I envision an upscale protein like lamb, duck or pheasant, along

with hearty potatoes and possibly haricot vert or roasted Brussels sprouts. Passed appetizers

can include fun items like tree-shaped canapés made of cucumber, nuts, and cheese or mini

yule logs. Ornaments featuring guests’ names and the date printed can function as both place

cards and favors they can take home.


New Years Eve Wedding’s are a delightful occasion (for one thing, fewer spouses forget the

anniversary date!), but from my experience, they take a lot more planning, so please keep that

in mind. You’ll want to start planning as early as possible for a number of reasons. The other

holiday-themed weddings can occur on any day during the season, but New Year’s Eve

weddings take place on the actual holiday itself. Make sure all your VIPs are willing and able to

save the date since some people do not enjoy traveling on this holiday. If everyone is on board,

book your venue well in advance. Many venues (particularly hotels) already have their own NYE

events planned. Consider your logistics as well, because traffic will be much heavier on NYE,

especially if your venue is located in a city center like downtown Chicago. Make sure you hire

an experienced luxury wedding planner such as myself. Budget for this event appropriately, too,

because venues, vendors, hotels, and airlines will undoubtedly be charging premium pricing on

NYE.


Color schemes for decor, linens, and table setups tend to include the common

combinations of black, white, and gold. Jewel-toned colors and sequined linens are elegant.

Consider making it a black-tie wedding, or inform guests that the dress code is to be “sparkly”,

which adds to the spectacle of the evening. Table number signs can each include a different

New Year resolution, i.e. “Resolution no. 1: …” would be Table 1, for example. A Photo Booth is

a wedding accompaniment that creates memories for your guests they can take home. Have an

audiovisual company add a Countdown projection on the wall. The hours, minutes, and seconds

count their way down to midnight, at which point a video of fireworks plays. Also, in the final

minutes, as midnight nears, the staff butler-passes champagne and sparkling cider to the

guests. Finally, as midnight strikes, members of the staff shoot confetti cannons above the

guests on the dance floor.


There are so many exciting ideas for luxury holiday weddings. If you are looking to book a

holiday-themed wedding, let me know. I would be delighted to share more ideas!

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