Updated: Aug 21
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
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!