Ben Higgins’ journey to find love has taken plenty of twists and turns, but he’s a big believer that the process is just as important as the product; when it comes to that all-important trip down the aisle, his philosophy is no different.
So it makes sense that the former star of The Bachelor is partnering up with DiningOut Events to create a totally new way of getting hitched: with 11 other couples, and in a free-flowing festival setting that allows the newlyweds to focus on what’s really important on their big day, which is their commitment to each other, and celebrating with family and friends.
“I really think there is something special about people coming together to celebrate something special and meaningful, and weddings are just that,” Higgins, 29, tells The Knot. “The reality of it all, though, is marriage has become an extremely expensive and stressful undertaking. Oftentimes the core idea gets lost. The production of the event takes precedence over the foundation of it all. This new approach that we have come up with keeps the excitement very fresh for the couples and their families and by collaborating with other like-minded couples, they help each other do what weddings fail to do: be truly inventive.”
The event, aptly called “The Wedding Party,” will bring together 12 couples of all different backgrounds and ages to say “I do” in a joint ceremony and celebration in Higgins’ hometown of Denver, Colorado. The setting alone, he says, will definitely spark joy for the couples.
“Our wedding planner, Heather Dwight, of Calluna Events, is recognized as one of the best in the business,” Higgins says. “She creates gorgeous weddings and really focuses on meeting each couple’s needs. … the location and aesthetic are all a part of our larger vision to put together the most beautiful wedding possible. We wanted an outdoor, tented event on perfectly groomed grass fields. We are creating beautiful areas throughout the venue, personalized installations for each couple, a massive dance floor … the list goes on.”
In addition to the location and aesthetics of the event, The Wedding Party will obviously feature some great food and drink as well. “We’re bringing in some of the coolest restaurants, best chefs, and best bartenders to take the celebration from a beautiful wedding to a full-blown festival,” he says. “[DiningOut Events] also put on really creative festivals and I trust them to create a memorable experience.” Other festival elements will include wine and beer tents, games, lounge areas, art installations, and of course, wedding cakes and desserts. A band and DJ will also be on hand to make sure the party keeps going all night long.
The main point, Higgins says, is that couples feel like they’re able to personalize their big day as much as possible. “This day is about you and what you want,” he says. “If it gives someone anxiety to walk down the aisle in front of people … then don’t! We can work around that. If you want to wear a brown dress, then do it! Whatever makes you happy and joyful. There are no formal rules for our couples outside of considering the other couples and being conscientious of the whole and its parts.”
Couples who are selected (there’s an application process available via The Wedding Party website) will each need to sell 100 all-inclusive festival tickets, priced at $150 per person. Couples will have the option of either purchasing all 100 tickets for a total of $15,000, or subsidizing their guest tickets. The cost will cover everything from venue, music, food and drink, decor, flowers, photography, and videography, as well as transportation to and from the event, but will not include travel and lodging, wedding dresses and suits, physical copies of the photography prints, and any pre-event activities.
“For The Wedding Party, we are ‘making tradition’ by leaving some of the old, antiquated ideas about weddings behind,” Higgins says. “We are asking our production team and the couples we are working with to step out of the box when it comes to their ideas. We have no roadmap for this festival since it has never been done before, so we are making new and innovative ‘traditions’ as we go.”
“I was speaking to one of our couples the other day, and they mentioned that, as a gay couple, they really don’t feel like they have any traditions to follow when it comes to their wedding,” he says. “They are excited to be a part of an event that isn’t holding them to any rules or guidelines on how their wedding day should go!”
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