Jocelyn and Austin's intimate micro wedding at Alnoba in New Hampshire was not their original plans. Like with all stories right now, COVID changed their larger wedding down in South Carolina drastically. People were traveling from all over to spend their special day with them.
However, things started to shift quickly so they decided to pivot. While several people now starting to put their family and friends health before all the money they’ve invested, micro weddings have become an incredible back up for those who still want their big wedding. Because before you completely disregard the idea of a micro wedding, it can feel exactly like your bigger plans.
What is a micro wedding?
Before COVID, you may have heard different names for a "micro wedding". Names such as an intimate wedding, a smaller wedding, a backyard wedding, etc. Basically, a micro wedding is a smaller, intimate setting with between 35-60 guests. However, you get to still have the exact same plan and day that you imagined. It is literally just with fewer people - that's it! While everyone imagines the most perfect day with the 150+ people who love them, trust me when I say, the less the better. You get to fully enjoy and appreciate every single person there. Rather than give each of those people >1 minute of your time. And best of all, you get to spend the most of the time with your significant other, which is what it's about anyways.
What to expect with a micro wedding
The term of micro wedding or even the thought of having something smaller may scare some people. Especially if your dream has always been to have a larger wedding day. But remember, the only thing that changes with micro weddings are the amount of people. Nothing else has to unless you want it to. So I wanted to clear up some concerns you may have and let you know what you can expect from your day.
- You can still have all the same traditions - all the wedding traditions you love can remain the exact same. Just because there won't be as many people that you had originally, doesn't mean you two can't have a first dance or a cake cutting.
- Keep your bridal party - if you had a bridal party, keep them involved! Those are clearly the most important people in your life, so keep them by your side.
- More flexibility - with less people, that means you have more flexibility to truly shift things as you want. Maybe you were going to do a first look to help with timing, but you really didn't want to. Well now, maybe you can decide that you don't want to do one anymore. Also, you now may have more time to go offsite for beautiful photos if you are near somewhere with beautiful views that you wanted!
- Much more relaxed - Luckily you don't need to run around trying to see all 150+ guests and spend time with each person. With less people, you can fully appreciate each of them, dance, chat and hang out without being completely overwhelmed.
- It's going to be just as special - a lot of people get nervous about minimizing their day because it may not be as special. I can promise you this - it will 100% be just as special, if not more. You get to spend time with all those you love, in a beautiful setting, still dressed up in your attire feeling beautiful/handsome, and most of all, celebrating your future with your favorite human.
How to ditch the big wedding and plan a micro wedding
At this point, you know that a micro wedding is probably the best and safest option for everyone. If eloping is something you absolutely do not want to do, and your heart is set on having more people there, then a microwedding is the perfect option. Here's how to begin the process:
- Talk to your vendors - unfortunately, all your vendors are going to handle things differently. However, if you choose to downsize your wedding day, not many things should change. Your location, date, and the amount of time shouldn't need to shift at all. The only things that may change is the caterer and potentially floral for dinner arrangements.
- Check your states guidelines - Guidelines are changing daily in every state when it comes to big events. Although some places are only allowing a certain amount of people, remember that safety of your loved ones is what is most important.
- If location changes... - It is unfortunate if you need to move your location because of travel restrictions or your venue goes bankrupt (yes, this has happened). You'll need to come up with a plan B. There are a lot of venues that have opened up dates, so don't hesitate to call or find something smaller. Another option would be to turn your backyard into a wedding venue if this is an option for you as well.
- Uninvite guests - this may be the most difficult part of switching to a micro wedding is uninviting some of your guests. However, we are in a pandemic. People are going to understand, if not could be more relieved than anything. **More on this below! Keep reading.
- Decide if this is your day, or your 1 of 2 - some couples have decided to go with a micro wedding this year, then plan for their bigger party in the next 2 years. If this is you, then you may need to decide if you want them to look the same (same dresses, color pallet, etc.), or if you want them different. If different, then there may be more planning involved!
- Figure out how to keep your guests safe - we are in a pandemic, and safety should always come first. Think of things such as seating, party favors (masks?!), sustainable ways of having single serve drinks, and more.
- Find other ways to entertain - dancing can be an unsafe way to be entertained, especially if you have 50+ people on one dance floor. Find other ways to keep up the fun. Think backyard games such as cornhole or a giant jenga.
How to "uninvite" guests
I have to admit, uninviting guests is absolutely easier said than done. It can be awkward, and also difficult to even decide. But that's the first step is to decide who you will keep and remove from your guest list.
How to decide
You'll need to ask yourself some difficult questions. Here are some ideas or things to think about:
- You could always split up the amount by each of you. Whether that's a percentage based on family size, or straight down the middle 50/50.
- Start your 'keep' listwith the people who you absolutely cannot see yourself getting married without (parents, siblings, grandparents, maid of honor, best man, etc.). This is going to be different for everyone, remember that!
- Talk things through with one another. Hear eachothers thoughts and opinions, and listen. This process can be draining and stressful, but work together as a team! Sometimes keeping it to family and close friends (bridal party?) may be the best scenario.
How to let your guests know the changes
Once you make your updated guest list, it's time to let them know. You want to give them enough time so that they can adjust their lives too. Just incase they need to cancel any flights or accommodations to get their money back ASAP.
Here are some ways to announce:
- Update your wedding website - this is the best way to mass inform everyone about your change of plans. You can let them know for your guests safety that you have decided to downsize. The benefit of doing this too is before you even have to make any changes, inform your guests that any updates will be on your website. This could help avoid any awkwardness!
- Make phone calls - you invited these people to your wedding for a reason, so they are important to you in some way. Making phone calls allow you to break the news and show that you wish they could be there, but with the times, you had to make some hard decisions.
- Send out cards - send out cards with hand written notes. If you have to reduce your guest count by a lot, this could be a more time sensitive way of doing things. Then make the phone calls later on.
What to say to these guests
Luckily, people are going to be pretty understanding during these times. They know it's nothing personal, just something that needs to be done in order to still have your wedding!
- Keep it simple and to the point.
- Explain the reasoning.
- If you plan to do a celebration later on, say that.
- Give them another way to view your day. This could be a zoom on the actual day, send them a video from your videographer, or your photography gallery.
Here are some examples on things you could include:
- Because of our venue capacity...
- The State guidelines are...
- Because we are concerned about our guests health and safety...
- With the unknown of how the world will be in just a few short months, we have decided to...
- We wish we could have you there as you are an important person in our lives...
- We can't wait to celebrate you once we can safely!
Keep scrolling to see Jocelyn and Austin's intimate micro wedding day. Even with just 40 guests, it looked and felt exactly like a true larger wedding. They still got ready with their bridal parties, had a rehearsal dinner, had a beautiful and intimate ceremony, cocktail hour, family and bridal party photos, a delicious dinner and ended the night with a small fire and dancing. Your micro wedding can absolutely still be just as special.
A New Hampshire + Vermont based adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer team for the adventurous souls. We specialize in New England and destinations worldwide, empowering you to create the most beautiful, adventurous day and give you the memories you'll be able to look back on for all the years to come.
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