The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Micro-Wedding

the-ultimate-guide-to-planning-a-micro-wedding

It’s safe to say COVID-19 has changed the way we think about weddings. With stricter rules around guest numbers and venue capacities, we’re especially noticing a shift away from big, traditional parties to smaller, more intimate affairs. Enter: the micro-wedding!

Micro-weddings are a beautiful way to celebrate your marriage alongside your closest friends and family. And as a bonus, they can also be a less stressful option if you’re planning your wedding during the pandemic.

Not sure if a micro-wedding is right for you? Keep reading as we explain exactly what micro-weddings are all about, the etiquette involved in planning an intimate wedding, and our top tips for planning the perfect small-scale celebration.

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Photo via Kimberley Kay

What’s The Difference Between an Elopement, Minimony, and Micro-Wedding?

First things first – what is a micro-wedding, and how are they different to other intimate celebrations like elopements or minimonies? While each of these words can be used to describe small weddings, there are actually some key differences between the three.

An elopement is an intimate wedding ceremony that usually involves just the couple, their celebrant and two witnesses. Traditionally, eloping was the term used to describe couples “running away” to get married in an exotic location without telling anyone – but in modern times, the definition is more relaxed. 

These days, many couples who choose to elope will inform their families about their decision prior to the wedding. Elopements can happen in unique, beautiful locations, or simply down at the local courthouse! There may be a few “VIP” guests – for example, parents and siblings – but elopements typically have less than 10 people in attendance. 

A minimony is a relatively new term used to describe the “mini” ceremonies taking place during COVID times. Many couples who have been forced to postpone their original wedding thanks to the pandemic will opt for a small ceremony at home on their wedding date (usually, live streamed to their loved ones) and plan to throw a proper wedding celebration at a later stage. 

So, where do micro-weddings fit in? As the name suggests, a micro-wedding is exactly like a traditional wedding, but simply on a smaller scale! Typically, micro-weddings include 50 or fewer guests, and have all the elements of a “regular” wedding day such as the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, flowers and cake. Hosting a micro-wedding means you don’t have to postpone your day or compromise on the beautiful details – you’ll just need to re-think the guest list! 

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Photo via Alicia Lucia

Is a Micro-Wedding Right For You?

Micro-weddings have been surging in popularity, but is it better to host an intimate wedding or a big, traditional party? Simply put, there’s no “better” or “worse” option – it all comes down to you and your priorities for the day. Micro-weddings aren’t for everyone, but for some couples, they can be the perfect fit. 

Wondering if you should go micro? Here are a few reasons why you might decide to opt for an intimate celebration:

  • You’re planning your wedding during the pandemic. This would have to be the key reason why micro-weddings have become so popular of late. With a smaller guest list, it’s less likely that your wedding will be disrupted by restrictions or last-minute changes, meaning less stress on your behalf! When it comes to hosting a wedding during the pandemic, a smaller guest list is also a safer option and could help your loved ones feel more comfortable about attending.
  • You want to save money. With fewer guests to cater for, it goes without saying that micro-weddings are also more affordable. An intimate guest list means you can save some extra dollars on food, drink and decor – or, you might decide to invest more money into other areas! With more flexibility in your budget, you can splurge on a few special things like welcome cocktails, entertainment, epic florals or an amazing honeymoon.
  • You find big weddings overwhelming. Pandemic aside, maybe you simply prefer the idea of a small, intimate wedding – and that’s totally okay! If being the centre of attention amongst a big group of people makes you feel anxious or overwhelmed, a close-knit guest list will help you feel more relaxed on the day.
  • You want a stress-free planning experience. Planning a smaller wedding is undoubtedly going to be less stressful (and less work!) than planning a bigger party. If you’re a busy couple lacking the time or energy to organise a huge event, a micro-wedding might be the answer to your wedding planning woes.
  • You want to spend quality time with your loved ones. Large guest lists can make it tricky to catch up with everyone throughout the day. With just a small group of your closest friends and family, a micro-wedding allows you to have meaningful conversations with each of your loved ones. This might be especially important to you if you have guests travelling to attend your event who you don’t get to see very often.
  • You want to plan an environmentally-conscious day. An intimate guest list means your wedding will require fewer resources and won’t generate as much wastage. From travel to stationery and catering, micro-weddings are definitely a great option for couples wanting to reduce the carbon footprint of their celebration. Read more practical tips on planning an eco-friendly wedding here!
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Photo via Lara Onac

Planning Tips For a Successful Micro-Wedding

Okay, so you’ve decided a micro-wedding is right for you – but how can you host a great one? Keep the following tips in mind to help you plan a beautifully intimate day.

  • Get creative with your wedding venue. Consider choosing a smaller, more boutique venue to reflect your guest numbers – otherwise, your loved ones may feel like they’re swimming in empty space! With a smaller group of people, you’ll find your venue options open up to some unique locations that simply wouldn’t be possible with a large guest list. Think: private dining rooms, art galleries, luxury restaurants, boat cruises, the balcony of a beautiful home – the possibilities are endless!
  • Pinpoint your wedding vision. Hosting a smaller celebration makes it even more important to really define your vision for the day. What are your top priorities? How do you want your celebration to flow? What kind of memories do you want to share with your closest friends and family? Have a chat with your partner and discuss what the perfect micro-wedding looks like to both of you. Need a helping hand? You can grab our free wedding vision worksheet right here!
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Photo via Oscar Guillen
  • Focus on the guest experience. Micro-weddings are incredibly personal, so consider how you can elevate the experience for your loved ones. Could you surprise your guests with specialty entertainment? Present them with a handwritten note? Greet them with a signature cocktail on arrival? Host a recovery lunch the next day? Use this opportunity to invest your budget into creating a truly memorable experience for your guests.
  • Take advantage of package deals. Many wedding venues and wedding planners offer all-inclusive packages for elopements and micro-weddings. Do some research and see if you can take advantage of any special deals designed for a smaller group of people.
  • Create cutting rules for your guest list. An intimate wedding sounds good in theory, but it can be so tricky to cut down the numbers! If you’re struggling to narrow down your guest list, it might be time to implement some “cutting rules” to simplify the process. Remember, a micro-wedding is all about being surrounded by your closest friends and family. You may need to reconsider offering plus ones to single guests, or consider cutting out entire groups such as co-workers or extended family members. Get started with our ultimate guide to creating your guest list (including a free worksheet) here!
  • Consider micro-wedding etiquette. If you’ve decided to downsize from your traditional wedding plans due to COVID-19, it’s super important to communicate this with your guests sooner rather than later. We’d recommend getting in touch with a heartfelt message to explain your situation once the decision has been made. It might seem awkward and uncomfortable to “uninvite” certain guests, but in these tricky times, people will be more than understanding. Simply explain your reasoning in an honest, genuine way, apologise for any inconvenience, and make a plan to celebrate together at a later stage. You can find some wording examples for downsizing your guest list right here.
  • Live stream your ceremony. If you want to host a micro-wedding while still involving your extended friends and family, why not live stream your wedding ceremony? Hosting a “virtual” wedding”online means you can celebrate with all of your loved ones, near and far! 
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Photo via Marni V Photography

Release The Guilt

Finally, if you’ve decided to host a micro-wedding, don’t feel guilty about having a smaller guest list. This is your special day, and you’re entitled to surround yourself with those who matter most.

Instead, be confident in your decision to host an intimate day, and embrace the opportunity to spend this milestone experience with your favourite bunch of people. We promise, you won’t regret it!