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'Petite Weddings' Signal Nuptial Future Amid COVID-19

Petite Weddings
Sally Vander Wyst and Monica Orr collaborated to create 'Petite Weddings' in Milwaukee.

There’s an old Hollywood proverb that goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Perhaps the most stressful plan any couple can make is a wedding. But there aren’t many laughs at the wedding chapel these days, as coronavirus guidelines have led many couples to postpone or cancel in-person gatherings.

With no end of the pandemic in sight, those couples itching to exchange rings still have the chance to do so in style with a new initiative called Petite Weddings this July. Nine lucky couples will have the opportunity to purchase a time slot during the weekend of July 17 to have a luxury wedding accounted for COVID-19 restrictions. The weddings will have limited attendance at Bar Centro in Milwaukee, but will be livestreamed. There will be vows, champagne, and cake — sort of how working-class weddings were in the last century.

“My parents were married at a church and then went to their parents’ basement and had cake and champagne and they called it a day,” says Monica Orr, of Morr Events.

Orr has teamed up with Sally Vander Wyst, the owner of Milwaukee Flower Co., to organize Petite Weddings. It’s been an idea they’ve been considering since well before the pandemic.

Vander Wyst says, “The pandemic just gave us a push. But a lot of young couples want a beautiful event but they don’t want to deal with all of the details.”

According to LendingTree, the average Wisconsin wedding costs around $23,680. At $3,900 per-ceremony, Petite Weddings couples share the $14,500 price tag Orr’s and Vander Wyst’s decorations and services would normally cost with other couples.

They also expect this to become a trend going forward, with weddings expected to shrink for years after the coronavirus pandemic.

“When there’s a vaccine and when older people who are important in couples' lives can attend, we’ll have big weddings again,” said Vander Wyst.

For couples that have had to either postpone their weddings or disinvite their guests on account of the pandemic, the Petite Weddings team recommends keeping original vendors and working with a wedding planner.

“We want to work with you,” said Orr.

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