Of all the wedding trends that have come and gone, there is one that I am happy to see will be sticking around for a while: the micro wedding. We all know that 2020 was an extremely challenging year, to say the least, for the wedding industry. Engaged couples had to make difficult decisions to postpone, cancel, or completely change their plans–sometimes more than once. Venues had to make tough calls on whether to remain open at all. Caterers and florists had to navigate what to do with tons of unused inventory. And photographers were hit with a huge loss of income, not unlike other vendors such as wedding planners and entertainers.
But out of the ashes of a trying wedding season emerged one of the best things ever, and I’m here to show you why. Micro weddings are not only here to stay, but they might possibly be the very best option for your wedding day!
1. Make your money go farther.
I may not even have to list the other four reasons why micro weddings are awesome after this, but I digress. One of the biggest stress factors in wedding planning is money. Wedding expenses add up SO quickly–especially for traditional day-long celebrations. If you opt for a micro wedding or elopement, not only can you cut down nearly half the cost of what you might pay for a big wedding, you can make your budget cover so much more. This is where it’s good to list your priorities. Want to serve an awesome 4-course dinner to your guests? Splurge on a vintage getaway car? Hire the photographer whose work you LOVE but charges more than you initially hoped? These are all things you can totally prioritize with a wedding budget that doesn’t also have to cover hundreds of guests.
Daydream with me for a minute. Imagine that your budget for your wedding is $15,000. Yes, that sounds like a lot and it is! But remember, costs can add up fast. Now, they say that the average cost of a wedding is about $100 per guest. (Yikes!) With your budget in mind, imagine having 30 guests versus 300. For 30 guests, you’re going to get a lot MORE bang for your buck than you will for 300 guests. In fact, I believe that you may end up having to cut corners, slice tons of things our of your original plans and possibly go into bankruptcy at your current budget of $15,000. (Check my math if you don’t believe me!) At the rate of $100 per guest you are looking at a roughly $3,000 expense, which leaves you with $12,000 of wiggle room to prioritize those other things that we were talking about earlier. Your dress, your cake, your videographer, your venue. These are all SUPER important and I think every bride dreams about at some point. Why not make those dreams a reality? OR better yet, take that budget and reimagine it, now that you don’t have a million guests to worry about. Consider renting your venue for 6 hours instead of 12 hours. (Most offer special micro wedding and elopement packages now!) Consider investing in ALL of the things you REALLY want to have on your special day, and getting to share them with your closest family and friends. It’s starting to look pretty good, right?
2. Spend less time stressing out.
If the idea of spending every waking moment of your engagement planning your wedding makes you dizzy, think about this. Micro weddings are typically shorter, require less personnel to set up and tear down, and tend to warrant less preparation overall. Ultimately, you won’t need to spend as much time planning a micro-wedding, which, in turn, should cut back on the stress levels that go along with the planning process. And if one of those things you really want to splurge on (you know, with all that extra money you’re saving!) is a wedding planner–well that’s just a big bonus cherry on top that you can now afford!
Wedding planning, of course, should be fun. It should be a process that you and your fiance are able to enjoy. But it should not consume your entire life. You need time and room to continue to date and nurture your relationship as an engaged couple. And when it comes to the day of the wedding, there will also be way less stuff to stress out about then, too. It just comes with the territory. (i.e. Let your future MIL solve where to put the one guest who forgot to RSVP versus worrying about extra seating for the THIRTY guests who didn’t respond, either!)
3. Actually see your guests.
When my husband and I got married, one of the things we looked forward to most was spending time with our guests. We had friends and family traveling from out of town (some came from Chicago and Oklahoma!) and it was important to us that we had time to visit with them. It was also very important that we had time with our bridal party and each other, too.
When you plan a micro wedding, you are almost automatically assuring plenty of time to spend with your guests. Think of whoever is closest to you. Maybe it’s your immediate family, your best friend, your godchildren, your sorority sister, your cousins, etc. Those special people that you know you want to be laughing with while you eat cake, and share funny stories about you during the toasts; they are the ones you’ll for sure get to celebrate with on your special day. You won’t have to worry about spending your entire reception walking around from table to table to greet every single guest. You won’t miss the delicious food you picked out while you’re making small talk with the people you haven’t seen since daycare. Wouldn’t you rather spend meaningful time with a smaller number of people, rather than run out of time trying to see tons of people?
4. Make it personal.
This is one of my personal favorites. (No pun intended!) Seriously, though, as a photographer, I love seeing all of the personal touches my couples incorporate into wedding days. When you work with a smaller guest list, you allow yourself more room to personalize little things like favors, cake toppers, bridesmaid gifts, and so much more. One of the easiest ways to personalize your wedding from the beginning is with your invitation. BUT as we all know, invitation suites get pricey very quickly. If you have always dreamed of calligraphed lettering or a custom monogram on your invite, you can totally make this a priority for a micro wedding budget! And as a pro tip, if your guest list is too small for invitations, but you still want those gorgeous photos and an heirloom to keep, you can always have one single set made especially for you and your fiance!
Other ways to personalize your wedding include having a signature cocktail, hiring a musician to perform your first dance song, or having a local artist do a live painting during the reception. The options really are endless, and once you start dreaming of all the ways you can truly personalize your wedding, you may never go back!
5. No regrets.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “I wish we would have just eloped.” Or more often still, “We should have paid the extra money for ______.” Or, “I liked this, but I really wanted that. We should’ve just gone for it.” Here’s the thing: you can always have that huge celebration down the road if you missed inviting those 300 people to your wedding. (Vow renewals and anniversary parties are all the rage now, too!) What you CAN’T do is go back in time and change the fact that you never got to sit down and enjoy your catered dinner. You won’t be able to go back and enjoy that heartfelt conversation with your grandmother over champagne and cake. You can’t go back and get that sweet, sweet time with your brand new husband where you get to pause and just enjoy being married and together. These are all things you could potentially miss out on during a traditional wedding day, because there simply isn’t always time enough in a day. You might regret not splurging on the pink peonies, but you’ll never regret being able to slow down and soak up every moment of your special day. Having a micro wedding doesn’t mean there is anything less to celebrate. In fact you might actually get to do a bit MORE celebrating in the long run!
*As a note, I would like to add that I have absolutely nothing against traditional wedding days. I still love them and I still photograph them! I just really wanted to hype up micro weddings because in this day and age, flexibility is so important. No bride should feel that her wedding is less important because it’s smaller or less people are there. Micro weddings and elopements are just as magical and beautiful as full 8-hour celebrations and I am here for all of them!*
Venue: White Raven Manor
Floral Design: Pampas & Floral
Dress: Claire Pettibone
Paper Goods: Inquisited
Hair & Make Up: Shelby Butler
Rentals: M&M Event Rentals
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Jewelry: Little’s Jewelers
Tuxedo: Men’s Wearhouse
Photographer: Honeysuckle & Wine Photography
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