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Micro Weddings – What Are They And Are They Right For You?

This intimate wedding trend is growing incredibly quickly – and it’s about so much more than saving money.

So what exactly is a micro wedding? Is it the same as an elopement? Why would you have one?

The trend for having a micro wedding is growing; even before Covid-19, micro weddings were becoming increasingly popular, so if you’re looking for a small wedding with a focus on guest experience, it could be the right choice for you.

I’ve written this post to reveal the pros and cons of choosing a micro wedding and five rules you will need to take into consideration when thinking about having one.

What is a Micro Wedding?

A micro wedding is a wedding with less than 20 guests in attendance. Being smaller in size, it’s usually cheaper, more relaxed and shorter in length than a traditional wedding day.

It differs from both an elopement and an ‘intimate’ wedding. An elopement is usually done in secret and will only be attended by the couple marrying and their two witnesses, whereas a micro wedding is a full wedding day, just on a much smaller scale.

A micro wedding might be similar to an elopement, where there might only be the couple and two witnesses, but it will differ as it will not be done in secret and is a fully thought-through and planned wedding day, just with a smaller guest list.

Micro weddings are also different from intimate weddings. An intimate or small wedding will typically have between 30-60 guests, whereas micro weddings will have less than 20.

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How Does a Micro Wedding Differ from a ‘Traditional Wedding’?

The advantage of a micro wedding is that it doesn’t have to include all the components of a ‘traditional’ wedding day, like the cake cutting or the first dance. However for many couples, traditions like the speeches and the first dance are still essential elements and they may choose to have them anyway.

A micro wedding will always have a ceremony and a reception, but that can take any form that the couple likes, for example, an outdoor ceremony followed by a BBQ, or renting out the private room of a restaurant for a meal, speeches and dancing.

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Why Have a Micro Wedding?

Some of the popular reasons for having a micro wedding include:

It’s more relaxed

The average wedding typically has around 80 guests during the day and 100 evening guests. Planning an event of that size is a huge undertaking that involves juggling multiple suppliers, chasing RSVPs, planning seating arrangements and ensuring there is enough food, drink and entertainment for everybody.

If the couple’s parents contribute to the costs involved, they may feel that it’s their right to have a say in the planning, which can in turn lead to conflict. Understandably, some couples can find that kind of pressure off-putting.

A small wedding of up to 20 guests is often much less stressful, as it takes the planning process right back to the things that are most important to the couple getting married – your nearest and dearest in attendance and the overall experience you want to create for yourselves and your loved ones.

A micro wedding will be perfect for some couples who don’t like the idea of being the centre of attention, others may want their day to be very personal and meaningful. It’s all about how you want your wedding to be and not about pleasing everyone else.

Having a smaller wedding doesn’t mean having to compromise on style though. You can still have a beautiful wedding that’s on a much smaller scale but is big on style and atmosphere.

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You can save money

When you reduce the number of guests at your wedding, the cost naturally goes down. If budget is a big consideration, a micro wedding might be a great choice. It’s also a good option if you want to focus on the quality of your guest experience. With fewer guests in attendance, great hospitality in a beautiful setting can be affordable.

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It’s easy to personalise

Micro weddings will most likely be held in exclusive-use wedding venues (there are certainly plenty of these to choose from in Cornwall) where you can have free rein to transform the decor, decide on the running order of the day and create the atmosphere you’ve always dreamed of.

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You can spend more time with your guests

At a large wedding, couples can find it hard to catch up properly with every guest. With a smaller number, you can interact with each and every guest for much longer, building deeper connections and making your guests feel more valued. With this point in mind, the wedding venues that specialise in micro weddings are often exclusive use and offer multi-day hire, meaning a wedding day can become a wedding weekend if you so wish.

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You aren’t restricted by timings

With a larger wedding, trying to get 100 people free on the same day almost definitely requires that you choose a weekend for your wedding. However, with a smaller guest list you have more flexibility with how and where you get married. A weekday wedding might be a good option and will more than likely be cheaper than getting married on a weekend. Many wedding suppliers also offer discounted rates for a mid week wedding.

If you choose to have a celebrant (with the legal part of the ceremony being done separately, perhaps on a different day) this opens up even more opportunities for where you can host your micro wedding. A sunset ceremony on a beach, a woodland celebration or perhaps hiring a country cottage for a few days – all of these options are possible.

Less eyes on you

For some, the thought of a hundred people watching you walk down the aisle can be pretty nerve racking, whereas reciting your vows with just your nearest and dearest present might feel more comfortable.

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Are There Any Disadvantages To Having A Micro Wedding?

The biggest disadvantage is that you may encounter push-back from friends or family. Guests who don’t make the list can feel hurt by your decision to have just 20 people at your special day. You have to be confident that this is the right decision for you, otherwise you may feel guilty about the people who are upset by your choice. It’s not something that should stop you from having a micro wedding but it is something that you should take into consideration.

Choosing a venue that specialises in micro weddings will also help you with this point. If you opt for a small wedding, it may be that you cannot invite everybody due to the smaller venue limiting the number of guests.

You can mitigate any disappointment at not being invited by explaining the situation clearly and sharing your photos from the day with those who weren’t in attendance (which brings me nicely on to why it’s so important to book a great wedding photographer for your micro wedding).

If your friends and family who didn’t share the day with you see how private the day was, they’ll understand even better why they couldn’t be invited. Plus, they get to share in the joy you felt on the day by looking at your wedding photos.

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5 Rules for Having a Micro Wedding

Guest numbers

If there are more than 20 people that you would like to share your special day with, then a micro wedding might not be the right choice for you. Put aside the obligations that you might feel to invite people’s partners and extended family members to try and reduce the numbers.

Choose An Appropriate Venue

Larger venues saying that they are happy to conduct smaller weddings may not be the right thing for you. You do not want to feel ‘lost’ in a setting that feels too big and amplifies the small number of guests. You need somewhere ‘just right’ that has plenty of space for everyone to relax but with the right proportions for an intimate atmosphere to be created.

Choosing a wedding venue that specialises in micro weddings means the team there will really understand the vision of your day and their role. Visit the venue (if possible), meet the coordinators and try to imagine how you want your day to flow, thinking about the atmosphere you are looking to create.

Choose The Right Wedding Photographer

A great way to find your perfect wedding photographer is to ask friends and ‘friends of friends’ for recommendations. You may also want to check out social media platforms and online reviews, such as Google.

Check if the photographers you are researching have ever won any wedding awards or been a finalist, this may also be a good place to read previous client reviews.

Viewing a portfolio of their work is essential but it is also important to see a wider range of work. Looking at different examples of work will show you just how consistent the photographer is; for example, different lighting situations, a range of weather conditions etc…

Double check if the photographers you are looking at have been to your venue before; this is by no means a deal breaker, but it will mean that the photographer is familiar with the lighting and the best locations for photographs. If they haven’t shot at your venue before, ask to see some examples of work at a venue that is similar to yours.

It goes without saying that finding a local photographer that you can connect with on a personal level is equally important. Choosing a wedding photographer whose work you think is great but you don’t gel with, isn’t going to work. If you get on well with your photographer then you know you’ll be happy, relaxed and having fun on your wedding day, meaning only one thing… Beautiful, natural wedding photography!

Prioritise the must-haves

If you go head with a micro wedding, write a list of non-negotiables that you want for your big day. Whether it be an outdoor ceremony, your dream wedding dress, providing guest accommodation, or booking an amazing florist, you’ll be likely working with a smaller budget, so prioritise what’s important to you as a couple.

Wear What Feels Right

The size of your wedding is no indicator of how lavish you can go with the things that matter. If that’s an expensive dress, then go for it but if the dress isn’t important to you, a dress from the high street can look just as beautiful. Wearing what you feel comfortable and confident in is key to being relaxed and happy on the day.

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If you are having a micro or small wedding in either Devon or Cornwall and are looking for a documentary wedding photographer to capture your special day, please feel free to get in touch. I would love to hear your wedding day plans.

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