If you’re planning a wedding on the East End this summer, it’s go big or go home.
“The pendulum has definitely swung,” says Erin Hattrick Meaney, owner of Southampton’s Topiaire Flower Shop. “In the last two years, you were lucky if there was one bridesmaid — now there are 12 girls.”
She adds that budgets for bouquets and florals have swollen by a third versus 2019; the three weddings she’s working next month are the biggest bashes she’s ever garlanded, with 400-plus guests.
Even when the parties are small, she says, families don’t skimp on spending. “I did a wedding last week for 12 people, and it was the same budget as for a 100-person wedding — they wanted a spectacular chuppah.”
Topiaire Flower Shop owner Erin Hattrick Meaney — who handled the East Hampton wedding of Brittany Serrano Engel (above) — says bridal floral budgets are ballooning this summer. JT Santini
Event planner Sofia Crokos (who also co-owns the Greek restaurant Elaia Estiatorio in Bridgehampton) agrees. She’s carved out a niche planning high-end Hamptons bashes. Per-head spending on the five wedding weekends she’s masterminding this summer is 40% higher than the last pre-pandemic season.
“The vibe, the excitement is coming back to life. It’s almost like they’ve let themselves out of a cage and said, ‘Let’s go,’ ” Crokos laughs.
Event planner Sofia Crokos is known for her high-end weddings (above) — she says couples are now spending 40% more per guest than they did before the pandemic. Christian Oth Studio
One cognac-mad client has asked her to create a sampling station for his favorites and a lounge area where guests can sip on Louis XIII and co., while another has tasked her with creating a globe-trotting assortment of snacks scattered around the venue, a nod to a love of travel that’s been so hard to indulge in recent years. And no wedding Out East is now complete without one amenity, she says: a Kardashian-endorsed, skin-smoothing MirMir photo booth.
The event planner says she tries to nod to the local area in every Hamptons-based wedding she throws — serving vodka from Sagaponack Farm Distillery, perhaps — and triple-checks every potential booking against the social calendar Out East. She’ll counsel clients to wait if, say, their date clashes with the Hampton Classic horse show. “It turns into something a little cuckoo out here — the traffic, the hotel bookings — so it’s good if they’re not married to a weekend.”
Meaney also created beautiful blooms for the wedding of Chris and Lyz Brandt (pictured with their pooch, Otto) in Southampton. Jessica Schmitt Photography
Dobi Trendafilova is director of operations for Le Bilboquet restaurant group and oversees its Sag Harbor outpost, among others.
The elegant wharf-side eatery had such an avalanche of requests for weddings this summer that Trendafilova made an exception to the rule of keeping June through August marriage-free; four couples, all with families who are longtime restaurant regulars, are planning to get married there over that period this summer.
Le Bilboquet restaurant in Sag Harbor is hosting several weddings this summer.Courtesy of Le Bilboquet Sag Harbor
“So many events were canceled in the last two years, and people are really looking forward to having a good time, so we decided to be more accommodating,” she says.
Many jet-setting Hamptons couples, she adds, held off holding ceremonies for reasons other than New York’s constraints on event sizes: border closures and travel-related red tape made it too hard to host long-haul loved ones until this summer.
The Roundtree resort in Amagansett (left) and event planner Crokos (see her magic, right) are also preparing for a season of spare-no-expense extravaganzas. Christian Oth Studio; Roundtree
Sylvia Wong agrees. The lawyer-turned-hotelier owns and runs Amagansett’s 15-room Roundtree resort, which opened in the summer of 2020. This month, she’ll host the wedding of a couple whose nuptials were twice postponed because many of the bride’s beloveds lived oversees and faced similar travel hurdles.
“They sighed with relief that it’s actually happening,” Wong says. This summer, the Roundtree is booked for six weddings, most for between 200 and 250 guests and slated for May through June and September through October. (They’re spaced out enough to allow its lawns to recover.) Wong agrees that big-day spending has surged. “Typically, you just have a dance floor in the middle of the tent, but we have one couple who’s building one across the entire tent, and another that’s bringing their own furniture in,” she says.
Another boho-chic couple has scheduled an entire weekend of spare-no-expense wedding festivities, including yoga sessions on the property, a farm-to-table supper and a late-night DJ.
And there’s a specific reason many NYC couples are opting for a wedding Out East this summer — at least according to officiant Sarah Ritchie. She just helmed a wedding for a Manhattan couple in Montauk, where the bride’s family has long spent summers. The couple struggled to secure a wedding license in the city, as the clerk’s office remains only sporadically open, a lockdown-era holdover.
“That administrative glitch can be a real challenge,” Ritchie says of nabbing the vital legal document. “It varies so much by locality, but it’s much easier out here than in the city.”
And easygoing is the new high maintenance when it comes to the fanciest weddings, a vibe shift that Topiaire’s Meaney has experienced firsthand: Floral displays are less formal, and more eclectic, with brides much less insistent on identical arrangements for every surface. “They’ve gotten a whole lot more chill after everything that’s happened, which is much more enjoyable to work with,” she laughs. “Everyone has let go a little bit. They’re just so happy they’re having a big wedding at all.”