When Douglas Parr proposed to Nadine Christensen a year ago, the two knew almost immediately that they would get married in their home in Brisbane, Australia, and that they would get married on New Year’s Eve 2019.
The end of the year and the start of the new one marks the end of what has been the most challenging decade for them and the start of something new. In 2011, Parr was struck by a car in a hit-and-run and his rehabilitation became a “full-time effort for both of us,” Christensen said.
Over the next seven years, Parr would relearn to walk, drive, and do many of the things that came naturally to him before the accident, all with Christensen by his side. In the last 12 to 18 months, their lives have begun to normalize, the couple said in a phone interview.
“The start of the new decade is a transformative moment for us,” Parr said. “We finally have a moment of moving forward and everyone we love will be around us as we enter this time.”
For many couples, ringing in the new year with family and friends after just getting married marks the start of a new chapter. For others it’s convenient because family members are already in town and can save people the cost of traveling for a wedding on another date.
“In the last few years, New Year’s Eve weddings have become popular, even if they are on a weekday,” said Jeanne Eid, a wedding planner in Windsor, Ontario. “Everyone would like to go out and dress up, and a wedding is fun for guests to come in and celebrate and drink and celebrate the couple and the new year at the same time.”
This year, Eid’s assistant is getting married on New Year’s Eve and Eid is running point during the event.
Dan Scott, the venue manager at the Panama Dining Room, a popular wedding space in Melbourne, Australia, said that in the last two years there has been “huge demand” for weddings on New Year’s Eve.
“It books up the quickest,” he said, adding that couples like the date because “family is already together in one place and we have a great view of the Melbourne skyline, so people get a free fireworks display, too.”
Amanda Luu, a florist and co-founder of Studio Mondine in San Francisco, said New Year’s Eve weddings can be difficult to find specific flowers.
“It’s a tough date if you have a really particular look for your wedding,” she said. “It’s the worst season for flowers because you’re coming off all the holiday stuff and everything is glittered and red and white.”
In Tallahassee, Florida, when the clock strikes midnight and the new year and decade begin, Mary Margaret Earnhart and her fiancé, Heath Purvis, will be dancing with friends and family.
The couple met on New Year’s Eve seven years ago and wanted to keep their anniversary the same. The 31st also has sentimental value to Earnhart because it was her maternal grandmother’s birthday.
“The fact that it’s 2020 and not just any new year is fun,” Earnhart said. “Imagine ringing in the year with friends and family and as a newly wedded couple.”
The couple is getting married at the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee, a place they are excited about, but that they landed on after struggling to find a place that was open on the holiday or affordable.
Preston Bailey, an event designer who worked on the weddings of Serena Williams, LeBron James and Eva Longoria, said that planning a New Year’s Eve wedding can be difficult and expensive, with popular locations either going fast because demand is high or because getting staff to work on a popular holiday is costly.
“As an events designer and producer, it’s more challenging than usual because to get people to work on that night and because a lot of hotels and venues are having their own events,” Bailey said.
Macy Urrutia, a physical therapy student in Arizona, and her fiancé, Alec Basterrechea, a medical student in Texas, are getting married on Dec. 31, 2020, and have already booked their wedding venue — the Grove Hotel in Boise, Idaho because they knew that other couples were eyeing it 16 months ahead of the date.
Kelly Timmons, who planned Christensen and Parr’s wedding in Brisbane, echoed the sentiment, noting that she would be working only until 8 p.m. and then she planned to leave the wedding to attend a party.
It was, after all, New Year’s Eve.