Hosting an Anniversary Reception

As you know, weddings were canceled left and right last year. Between rescheduling and canceling altogether, it was hard to keep up as an NYC wedding photographer! Weddings continued to get pushed further and further into the unknown. So, brides and grooms opted to host a small “minimony” or elopement. This way, couples could still honor their wedding date and get married, but on a much smaller scale. Now here we are a year later. Restrictions are slowly starting to lift, and a new trend is on the rise; anniversary receptions!

What is an anniversary reception?

An anniversary reception is a party held on a COVID-married couple’s wedding anniversary. This would be instead of the traditional reception on their actual wedding day. In the past, your first anniversary was most likely pretty low-key. But, with the past year we’ve had, it seems like many couples are going all out to celebrate! It’s also a great opportunity to celebrate in the way you’d originally wanted to creatively. 

A bright bouquet of flowers on a table at an anniversary reception in New York City
A bride and groom clap during speeches at their anniversary reception
Garden roses and ranunculus flowers line a table at a rooftop anniversary reception in New York City

Is an anniversary reception right for you?

If you had to downsize your wedding, elope or have a virtual wedding, an anniversary reception is for you! If you’re worried that hosting an anniversary reception is selfish or unnecessary, think again. After a hard year where so many celebrations were put on hold, your friends and family will likely be looking forward to celebrating! Consider this the wedding reception you never had, as long as everyone has a negative COVID test, of course. Because of how 2020 panned out, your anniversary reception could be like a full wedding. Or, it may be more of a party where you share moments from your small and intimate wedding.

Planning an Anniversary Reception

As you come up with a plan for your anniversary reception, begin by laying out your goals for the big event. Will this be like the wedding you would have originally planned, or is it something different? No matter what you choose, I think it’s important to hire a wedding planner. 

An NYC wedding planner can really guide you to make your vision and ideas concrete. Just like a full-on wedding, your event planner will formulate a plan to bring those ideas to life, ensuring your event flows smoothly and everyone has a good time!

A bride and groom kiss on their rooftop patio
Husband and wife cut a wedding cake at their anniversary reception in New York City
Wedding guests cheers their wine glasses over candlelight

After your wedding team is in place, it’s time to dial in on the details. Whether you’re having a romantic rooftop soiree or renting out a venue in Upper Manhattan, you’ll want an NYC wedding photographer, local florist, and most likely a caterer. Let’s face it; you’re not going to want to cook! As these pieces begin to fall into place, consider what you’re going to wear. For my wedding, I wore a beautiful Helmut Lang pantsuit from Net-A-Porter. Ultimately, the type of wedding dress you choose is up to you and the reception you’re creating! Just remember to include any details of the dress code on your invitations as well. 

In the end, remember that life stages are always worth celebrating in a way that makes the most sense to you. An anniversary reception is just another opportunity to gather your favorite loved ones in one space to honor the greatest gift that even COVID couldn’t stop from happening: your marriage!

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