How do you make only part of a mesh travel along a curve?

I have a highly subdivided plane and then made a vertex group that was basically a red dot that faded out from the center.

I thought this would work in making the center of the plane travel along a Bezier curve, similar to what the hook tool does in scultping mode, but there’s a major problem with it.

For some reason the modifier only lets the mesh start at the first vertex of the curve. This completely defeats the purpose of even having a curve modifier since I can only move the first vertex of the curve which means there is no leftover curve for the deformed mesh to bend and rotate with, it makes the plane vertices simply translate in a straight line to wherever I move the first curve vertex.

How can I make only a weighted portion of a plane “follow a curve” as cylinder would?

Two solutions:

  1. make an armature and weight paint a bone for the area you are using.

  2. select your vertex and press Ctrl H to create a hook and an empty. then play with your hook modifier

@TotalBSdf

The armature is what I was hoping to avoid because that makes the curve modifier completely redundant, I might as well just make a spline IK.

I’m not entirely sure what you are suggesting about the hooks though because that does not change the fact that blender will automatically update the mesh to start at the first vertex of the curve. Not even a follow-path constraint will work because the mesh will still transform linearly to that one hook.

Set the first point of your curve at the origin of your mesh.