When it comes to preparing for your wedding day, there are many common emergencies that the couple and their hired vendors make contingency plans for. The bride or groom falls ill on the morning of the wedding, a VIP guest or vendor gets lost on the way to the venue, or weather forces outdoor wedding events indoors.
But 2020 delivered something that even the most seasoned of wedding pros couldn’t have expected: the coronavirus pandemic. And when businesses across the U.S. were forced to temporarily shut their doors and suspend events in March and April of 2020, couples were left wondering if or when their dream wedding would be possible again. Industry experts started thinking about creative alternatives to fit the current crisis. Enter the micro wedding.
With so many couples postponing their larger weddings and choosing new dates in 2021, beautiful venues and talented professionals have more availability than ever before to host more intimate celebrations, which is exactly what’s necessary in order to tie the knot during the pandemic.
Micro weddings are usually attended by anywhere from five to a few dozen guests; these smaller guest lists allow for proper social distancing protocols but still let a couple celebrate with their nearest and dearest. Ultimately, it’s a way to have the best of both worlds—you can get married now with a small group of guests, then celebrate with everyone you love at a larger wedding next year—which takes a little bit of the sting out of having to postpone the celebration you’ve spent months (or maybe even years) planning.
With a low guest count, there are a few negatives and a lot of pluses. You won’t invite your mom’s second cousin, and your best friend at work might not get a plus one. Only the nearest and dearest attend, and micro weddings are planned just like traditional weddings, only on a much smaller scale.
Why is the micro wedding having a moment?
The most obvious reason the micro wedding is a rising trend is, of course, to hit a COVID-friendly guest count Brides and planners alike are staying ever-conscious of the safety and comfort of guests and vendors … not to mention the ever-changing government guidelines to which venues must adhere. Some medium-to-large weddings aren’t legally allowed to happen right now, or if they are, there is so much red tape that brides want to simplify.
Curious about current Vermont wedding and event gathering limitations? Here’s the state of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Be Smart, Stay Safe section on Occupancy Limits for Event Venues. As of the time of this writing, gathering limits are restricted to 75 total people for indoor operations or events, and 150 people for outdoor operations or events.
Smaller doesn’t mean less spectacular.
Venues and vendors have shifted to make these micro weddings just as spectacular as large-scale ones. Many couples were budgeting for larger weddings, so with a reduced guest count they have some leeway to splurge on certain things like the dress or the photos or the food. Even those on a micro-budget can have fun with some of the frills and details. Couples have a special opportunity to create something completely unique and grand, while keeping things sensible and safe.
One shift wedding professionals have seen is the need to keep guests busy with things to do as well as provide a feeling of safety. From creating vignettes of family wedding photos to standalone hors d’oeuvres and signature drink stations where guests can walk up and get a refreshment and move on, keeping guests moving about and exploring extends the life of the wedding event. For a fun, engaging activity that is TONS of fun to look through the next day, try a photo-booth oriented guest book with a polaroid station and personalized props.
As the wedding industry has watched the community pull together through COVID, it’s crystal clear we are all being reminded of that which matters most: People. Weddings and the why behind them have been a tremendous opportunity to reflect on priorities. Big weddings are great, for sure, but many couples are finding, deep down, a bit of relief when it comes to scale. Bigger is not always better And since many marriages can see rocky starts and endings due to financial disagreements, it has been refreshing for newlyweds to come out the other side debt-free.
We often hear big-wedding brides air sentiments of regret and overwhelming dizziness when they think back to their night spent pinballing between 200 friends and family. Rarely do we hear sentiments from the other direction.
While we do miss all of the logistical details of a larger affair, micro weddings offer the opportunity to really get more creative in intimate details that a smaller guest list will notice and appreciate. Micro weddings provide couples and their guests with their own unique experience instead of a cookie-cutter event. With all the uncertainty surrounding the status of gatherings in coming months, planners and brides alike laud the abundance of personality and simplicity of the micro wedding. It’s not the grand soirée that most brides (and probably their mothers) fantasized about, but we are learning more than ever to treasure quality over quantity.