How to plan a dual date wedding - the new pandemic marriage trend

April 01, 2021

Rachel wears a bespoke bridal halo headpiece by Debbie Carlisle - photograph by S6 Photography

After a turbulent 12 months for brides and grooms, we’re now looking forward to brighter months ahead and, at last, the return of the big day scene - and with it comes the prospect of planning a dual date wedding.

Though it might not initially be the BC (before-Covid) style celebrations we know and love the pandemic has given way to the emerging new trend of the double wedding - and there's more than one way to do it!

Born through restrictions but a concept expected to grow as we gain greater freedom and choice, dual date weddings are also known as ‘sequel weddings’, which is exactly as it sounds - a marriage celebration taking place on more than one day.

The general concept has been around for quite some time, often adopted by couples due to religious and cultural traditions or by couples who want to marry abroad, but also favoured by those who feel that just one day of partying isn’t enough. And who can argue with that?!

For 2020 and 2021 brides and grooms this option provides a solution to their endless Covid-related wedding woes - they can do the legalities first, then party later. So those who married with restricted guest numbers in place can plan a fabulous follow-up reception complete with the bigger numbers, entertainment, and extras they originally desired. Meanwhile, for those who postponed altogether and are now struggling to secure their ceremony and reception venue on the same date, it’s a chance to split the nuptials and knees-up across two dates.

a dual date minimony ceremony before the big wedding celebration

The dual date wedding trend comes in various guises:

The ‘minimony’ and sequel wedding

The minimony is a new term in our wedding vocabulary coined to describe an occasion which is a downscaled version of couples’ original plans. So, we’re talking about the ceremony and any other elements they choose to include (or were allowed to during Covid-restrictions), such as photography, the cutting of a cake, first dance etc. A sequel wedding then takes place later which is a grander version of what’s gone before with a full-blown guest list. The legal bit, of course, will have been taken care of in part one, so this sub-ceremony would be, say, a celebrant service or blessing.

Micro-wedding and separate large celebration

Another dual date wedding option is to plan a ‘micro-wedding’ for day one, again followed by larger-scale celebrations on day two. The contrast here is that the ceremony element only takes place once. So, for example, the couple may choose a close, intimate ceremony of just 30 people followed by a lavish meal at their favourite restaurant. The sequel bit might then be a bigger party, but just the reception bit, and so it’s likely to be more relaxed in terms of the setting and dress code.

Elopement and separate party

Finally, there is the option of an elopement ceremony for part one, including just the couple, or possibly a handful of guests, taking place on home-turf or even overseas. Again, part two is all about the party - and could include a surprise announcement for guests if the couple opted to take their vows in complete secret. 

How to choose wedding accessories for a dual date wedding:

Whatever dual date wedding option works, the sequel concept is something we’ll be seeing a lot of this year, next - and who knows, if it really catches on, for many years to come. As such, I thought it would be helpful, as a bridal hair accessories designer, to talk about options for choosing bridal hair accessories for dual date weddings. After all, with two celebrations comes the opportunity for deux bridal looks.

The following accessory styling tips are also handy for those of you whose celebrations are taking place on just one day but who want to switch up your style from daytime to evening, as well as brides that have gone all out with a double dress purchase!

Same Accessories Worn Differently for both ceremonies

Very few brides have a bottomless bridal budget, and so the good news is you don’t have to buy two lots of wedding hair accessories to achieve differing looks. Instead, the key is to choose designs that have the versatility to be worn in different ways. 

The hero piece here would be a hair vine. All my hair vine designs can be worn as a headband, tiara, or forehead band. They also work perfectly placed in the back or side of a half updo or low bun or even trailed down a plait. This means they can instantly take on an alternative look and radiate a whole new vibe, with or without the need to change your hairdo. For example, a vine such as India could be worn with hair down loosely waved and placed in a traditional position on the top of the head with its ribbons tied at the nape of the neck for a classic ceremony look. Then, come the party, this pretty headdress could be worn with the same hairstyle but placed across the forehead for more of a relaxed bohemian vibe.

Gold crystal and pearl wedding headband for a rustic bride

silver boho wedding forehead band

This type of accessory can also work with varying hairstyles and so offers another way to switch up your look from wedding part one to part two. So, if having a minimony, you may have chosen a timeless ballgown style dress to be worn for both days of celebrations but opted to wear your hair in a relaxed style for the smaller-scale do, then more ‘done’ in an updo or half up hairstyle and away from your face for the more high-energy sequel. As such, a more clustered wedding hair vine headpiece like Ariel or Stella could be worn on the side of the head, sweeping the hair behind one ear for day one, and then placed in the back of the head to work with a bridal updo for day two. 

flower wedding headpiece for a low bun or chignon

Large flower crystal bridal headpiece hairvine for a rustic chic bride

Similarly, bridal combs and clips can be positioned in different ways to work with up, down or half-and-half hairstyles.To make a statement go with a larger, heavily embellished comb, such as Olivia, or Vivien, which look incredible positioned on the front side of the head with the hair in a high bun, but equally impressive placed at the back of the head to set off a half-up, half-down look. For a more pared-back look, smaller clips and combs such as Margot, Lucia and Beth would work well with these styles.

Vintage silver leaf statement bridal hair comb

Statement diamante crystal wedding haircomb uk

Small crystal wedding hair clip bridal hair comb
Small wedding comb uk silver bridal hair clip for wedding updo

Small ivory flower wedding hair clip bridal hair comb uk

And not forgetting the BFF of bridal hair accessories...hairpins! These little beauties are super versatile for your big day (or, in this case, days) and are subtle enough to be worn for other special occasions in the future too. Pepper India or Star crystal hairpins through soft waves for a romantic undone look, or place them strategically in a sleek updo for a more polished bridal vision.  

Gold Swarovski wedding hairpins crystal hair clip

Silver star wedding hair pins celestial hair clips

Same Dress, Different Accessories 

If the bridal budget stretches a little further, you may be considering styling your dress in two different ways for the ceremony and sequel with different accessories for each day.

For those who’ve picked a simple and pared-back wedding gown, the possibilities here are pretty much endless. For example, if you’ve chosen a plain, silk slip-dress, you could go to either end of the styling spectrum with your accessory choices; timeless for part one  - imagine my Swarovski crystal and freshwater pearl Lucille comb; fashion-forward for part two - think the Larissa celestial star hair vine.

small elegant wedding hair comb crystal bridal clip

Gold celestial star wedding headband bridal hair vine uk

On the other hand, if you’ve gone for an intricately detailed dress, you can still change up your look with an accessory switch, but, generally speaking, it’s best to keep to daintier designs that won’t fight your gown for attention. In this instance, I’d suggest perhaps a delicate hair vine, such as Amy for wedding part one, and then changing to sparkling hairpins, such as Anya, to add more of a party feel for part two.

Simple rose gold crystal bridal hair vine headband
Dainty wedding hairpins bridal hair accessories uk

If your wedding has a specific feel, such as boho, vintage, ethereal, contemporary, classic or princess, you’ll want your accessories to complement, not clash with the theme. So, bohemian babes could look to the Coralie hair vine and matching Coralie hairpins for their accessory duo, while those in search of ethereal elegance could wear a soft mother of pearl hair vine, such as Evie, for the ceremony and a bejewelled headpiece, such as Sydney, for the grand fiesta.

Gold boho flower wedding forehead band grecian flower hair vine
Gold flower bridal hairpins set uk

rose gold delicate flower bridal hair vine wedding headpiece

Silver trailing flower bridal hair vine wedding comb

Two Entirely Different Looks

 Finally, it may be that splitting the celebrations means that you feel the need for two entirely different bridal looks and so will be investing in different attire for each. This could be down to the style of the venues for each celebration being in complete contrast to one another, or perhaps the legalities and follow-up are taking place during different seasons. Of course, it may simply be that you adore fashion and aren’t prepared to pass up on an excuse for multiple bridal looks!

 For season-switchers, your part one might be a lace embroidered A-line for traditional springtime celebrations, in which case my Lily Swarovski crystal and pearl hair vine would be the perfect finishing touch. Your part two might be a vintage-inspired, bead-embellished dress for a winter soiree, so a more super-sparkling piece like my Hattie ribbon tie or headband headpiece will fit the bill.

Silver Swarovski Crystal trailing bridal hair vine

Large vintage art deco wedding headband headpieceMeanwhile, style-devotees, let your imaginations run wild! Think Bardot top and fully fringed skirt combo paired with my Isadora hair vine for act one. Then go for a Solange-Knowles-esque streamlined jumpsuit teamed with my Lunaria earrings and Orion crown for the sassiest of sequels.

Silver Swarovski unique wedding headpiece headband

Star crystal wedding crown and earrings celestial jewellery set

All in all, one of the best bits of the dual date wedding trend has to be that it’s giving brides the confidence and freedom to be more adventurous with their outfit choices, as big day boundaries are pushed like never before!