Micro-weddings are their own kind of magic. As you may have seen over the past year, micro-weddings have become increasingly popular not just out of necessity resulting from the 2020 pandemic but because the taboo has been broken and couples have proved that small doesn’t mean less. Instead, micro-weddings offer couples the freedom to pick and choose their favourite elements from a traditional wedding and combine them with all the things they love all whilst surrounded by the people they love and cherish the most in the world.
What is a micro-wedding?
Micro-weddings have always been around however it wasn’t until 2020 where the term ‘micro wedding really started to be more widely used as a result of the pandemic restrictions on weddings. In the past, it would be used to describe a wedding of under 20 guests, smaller in size, more relaxed, and often a shorter day than a traditional wedding. However, since the pandemic in 2020, micro-weddings are more often used to describe a wedding of 30 or less guests and can very much follow the structure and timings of a traditional wedding.
Things I love about Micro-Weddings
Full of love
They are focused on the couple and their love for each other rather than getting caught in the comparison game. It eradicates that feeling of competition and instead draws the focus of the day on the couple themselves and the reason why they are getting married in the first place, now how the canapes tasted or if the centrepieces were perfectly straight.
One of the huge overriding things couples have said after their micro-weddings is that they loved being able to have a proper conversation with every single one of their guests and actually be able to enjoy each other’s company rather than feeling like they have to get round the room as quickly as possible to say a quick ‘hi’ to everyone.
Larger weddings are incredible in their own way but they can feel a little overwhelming and sometimes you can walk away feeling like you said ‘hi’ to everyone but didn’t actually really speak to anyone. That’s how I felt on my wedding day but we got caught up in the wedding buzz and the guest list did too!
This is by no means intended to knock those people who are having larger weddings. As a photographer, I personally love big and small weddings equally and it’s so nice to get a mix of the two. I really hope this blog doesn’t cause you to question your wedding type in any way, the ‘perfect number of people’ will be so different from couple to couple. I just hope there are couples like my husband and me who read this and it opens up an honest dialogue as to what they actually want from their wedding day. For us personally, we would now consider a more intimate day, but that totally doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone. I’m also very aware that it’s really easy for me to say after I had my big white wedding!
Small doesn’t mean less
Just because you have fewer guests doesn’t mean your wedding should feel smaller. Rather than scale back your wedding - dream bigger! With fewer guests, it means you can really hone in on making the experience for every single one of your guests and the two of you that extra bit special. You can customize every detail and fill it full of all of your favourite things, whether it be investing in the styling of your wedding now there are fewer tables to decorate or spending that little bit more on spread the celebrations across two days instead of one.
Write a list of things that you could spend the money you are saving from having fewer guests on to make the experience for your closest friends and family even better - that might be entertainment, the food, the décor, maybe that donut wall you saw on Pinterest or the pizza van you wanted is now a viable option or planning to drive to the beach to watch the sunset & have a bonfire with all your guests.
With micro-weddings you are less bound by traditions, timings, locations and budget.
As not many people have been to a micro-wedding before they don’t have the same preconceived ideas compared to a normal wedding. They will be much more open to you trying something new and it will be like a breath of fresh air!
There is so much more flexibility on timings on a micro-wedding day. They are so much more free-flowing whether you want a really relaxed day or whether instead, you use it as an opportunity to plan things into your day that otherwise you may not have had time for.
Having a smaller guest list opens up a huge variety of venues for you to get married at whether that be a wedding venue or a really bespoke place that you stumbled upon that you can hire out exclusively. Micro-weddings are a great option for couples that love to travel and offer an opportunity to literally get married anywhere in the world! Destination weddings give couples the opportunity to take their closest family and friends to explore another part of the world while also spreading the celebrations out across several days rather than restricting it down to just one.
And of course, this one goes without saying that a smaller guest list will be kinder on your pocket as the vast majority of the wedding budget always goes on venue, catering, and drinks! Having fewer numbers means you can prioritize your spending on things that are really important to you and improve the overall experience of your wedding day.
First and foremost, embrace the things that make having a micro-wedding amazing to have a smaller wedding rather than trying to make your day feel like a traditional wedding. There are no limits, this is your day and it’s completely up to you how you do it. Remember it’s your closest family and friends that are surrounding you - you can be 100% truly and utterly yourselves!
Utilize the space
If you are worried about the venue feeling really big compared to your number of guests there are a few things you can do to utilise the space.
Create a journey with your venue by planning different parts of the day in different areas so your guests feel like they are constantly discovering new elements of your venue. Doing this also means that your guests will stick together making the room feel more full rather than spreading out across the venue.
Make use of the bigger rooms by adding in elements to fill out space such as a bar area, dessert table or guest book area. You could also turn down the ambient light and create a more cosy feel to your venue by lighting lots of candles instead of creating a more intimate atmosphere.
Consider one or two long trestle tables for your seating at the dinner rather than round tables. This brings everyone together and creates a more energetic environment and unifies your guests giving them the option to chat and mix with other guests that they may not have naturally spoken with otherwise but equally giving each guest plenty of options of who to speak with to save any awkward conversations if families don’t know each other well.
If it’s a warm day, you could go alfresco and have your dinner outside while the sun goes down. Adding some outdoor lighting such as festoon lights can really give a romantic ambient light making your wedding feel like it was set in Italy.
Don’t skip the details
Whether you have 20 or 200 guests your wedding should feel like the best day of your life so far! Make sure you think about all of the little details and add your own unique fingerprint to your wedding. Pinterest and Instagram contain a wealth of ideas that can be used as a starting point for you to grow and expand on.
You can still have all of the magic moments
Just because you have less guests doesn't mean your day will feel any less special or any less like a 'wedding'. Still do all of those special moments that would only happen on a wedding day. My advice is if you want it then go for it! You may be surprised at how well things can work with less numbers - for example confetti with less guests works so much better than long confetti lines (top tip for a confetti lover over here!)
Have someone to co-ordinate the day
Micro-weddings are great for offering a more relaxed approach to a wedding day however it can be handy to have someone in charge to coordinate. This doesn’t need to be a wedding planner or someone official it could just be one of the groomsmen. This really helps things to keep flowing so that the two of you can just relax and enjoy your day without needing to stress over the small things.
The First dance
This is going to be probably the most controversial part of this whole blog as some of my 2020 couples have cheered at the idea of breaking the tradition and not having a first dance which is totally cool. I would always rather my couples ditch traditions than do something on their wedding day they really dread (which often tends to be the first dance).
However if you have always loved the idea of doing a first dance then you should go for it! I am writing this blog at a time where 'discos' and dancing in the evening is currently banned except for the first dance due to government restrictions so if you are planning a wedding where government restrictions are still in place - this is for you!
As no one else is allowed to dance, you could include your guests in other ways during your first dance by giving them sparklers or confetti cannons to help include them but also to add that extra big of magic for your photos too!
If you don't feel comfortable dancing the whole track then have someone fade out the sing so that the dance ends naturally and doesn't feel awkward. If the weather is warm, consider having your first dance outside under the starts to add that extra big of romance!
Do things differently
Rather than trying to follow the normal wedding structure and timelines for the day, instead plan activities that you wouldn't normally have time to do at a larger wedding. This could be planning a first look in the morning to have a really special and intimate moment between the two of you to help calm the nerves before the ceremony. Or even consider flipping the day so that you can say your vows as the sunsets in the background. It could be as simple as planning in a slightly longer couple shoot for the two of you to escape and have some downtime for a while on your wedding day while your photographer captures those extra little moments ready for you to share with your friends who couldn't be there on the day. In 2020 we saw so many awesome ideas of how couples really personalised the day to make it their own.
A few ideas from our 2020 weddings that we loved:
Taking a drive in the evening and heading down to the beach to watch the sunset
Getting married legally the day before so on your wedding day you aren’t limited by location so your ceremony can literally be anywhere (even the top of a mountain!)
Going all out on styling to make a really atmospheric evening vibe
Having a bonfire & marshmallows in the evening while playing a Mr & Mrs quiz
Taking more time for just the two of you to soak in the day
Above anything, this is YOUR wedding day and all about the two of you and your love for each other. These tips may be helpful or they may be the exact opposite to what would be right for you and your wedding and that’s totally ok! Your wedding is about telling YOUR love story - take time to sit down together and talk through what’s most important to you and what is going to best reflect your love and relationship with each other.
This day will be the most magical day because you married the one you love and opened a new chapter of your forever together. There is nothing more incredible than that!
Hannah & David
The Light Painters
If you would like to see a full micro-wedding with just 24 guests, you can view the full gallery by clicking here.
The above blog is aimed at Micro-weddings however if you are thinking of eloping (getting married just the two of you) then please do get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you our elopement guide which covers;
Choosing your location
The best time to plan your elopement
Saying ‘I do’
What to wear
Choosing your suppliers
Ideas to personalize your elopement
Read blog about eloping in Scotland here.