To be honest, I’ve always been a fan of small weddings. I love how intimate they are and how every guest truly feels like they are part of the day. Instead of throwing one big wedding, my husband and I planned three mini weddings on three different continents. A big wedding party wasn’t for us so we decided to go to our guests and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
If you’re thinking of planning a small wedding that adheres to the coronavirus wedding regulations then I’m here to help! Small wedding ceremonies with 30 people or less are currently allowed. You have three different options for planning an intimate wedding: eloping, a ‘minimony’, or a micro-wedding. There’s plenty of ways that you can keep a smaller wedding personal and simple. Here is a guide to make planning a small wedding easier for you!
Options to plan a small and simple wedding
Smaller weddings are a lot more closer and intimate than bigger weddings. You have a few options when planning a smaller wedding ceremony. Here are some guidelines to help you decide which route would be best for you.
What is an elopement?
Eloping is an intentional, intimate, and sincere way of choosing to get married so that you can focus more on your marriage and less on the admin that comes with planning a wedding. Doesn’t sound so bad right? It can either be just the two of you and perhaps a photographer or a small handful of guests that are closest to you. The great thing about eloping is there are no rules.
You can take a look at my guide to eloping in London over here.
What is a ‘minimony’?
A ‘minimony’ is basically a mini ceremony that can be held with either just the two of you or your loved ones. It’s similar to an elopement in a lot of senses. The occasion is usually a romantic moment to share your vows and commitment. It’s perfect as a pre-event for couples who have had to put their full wedding plans on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Couples have even turned to live-streaming their ‘minimony’ with friends and family around the world.
What is a micro-wedding?
A micro-wedding is a down-scaled version of a larger wedding. It’s a type of occasion that was rising in popularity before the COVID-19 pandemic started. This event is an in-person event with up to 50 guests of your closest guests. It allows the opportunity to still share your day with your loved ones. The only difference is you may have to choose 10% of your guest list, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have 100% of the celebration.
How to plan a small wedding
Whether you’ve chosen to elope, have a ‘minimony’, or a micro-wedding- here are some tips to help you plan it! Remember to always keep the intention and purpose of your marriage in mind. This will keep you and your partner grounded in the ‘why’ behind your wedding. It helps to know this so you don’t get lost in the details that don’t really matter or making the event more of a deal than the marriage.
Creative ideas for small wedding ceremonies
If you were worried about fitting traditions into your wedding that didn’t feel quite right, well that’s not a problem anymore! Nothing is what it used to be which gives you the perfect excuse to go wild. Think about all the little things that make your relationship so unique. If you could get married in your own complete way, what would you do?
This is an opportunity for you to get imaginative and make the most out of the situation. Throw a few ideas at each other and have some fun with the potential of how you could celebrate your love differently. You might even just inspire whoever you share your ceremony or photos with to make the most out of their situation too!
Here are some unconventional ideas to get your creative juices flowing that some of my previous couples have opted for.
Choosing a small wedding ceremony venue
Now that the pressure has been taken off regarding a huge amount of guests, this really is up to you! Try and choose a place that is really sentimental for the two of you. If you’re eloping, go on a fabulous adventure away from the world so you can just enjoy being together. Here are the best elopement locations in the UK.
If you’re having a ‘minimony’ or micro-wedding, feel free to do it from the comfort of your own home. Perhaps you have decided to do it at a loved one’s home. Otherwise, there are lots of venues that have started opening again with new regulations to allow guests during Corona. Here is a list of intimate wedding venues in the UK that you could contact. There are also some countries that are allowing travel bubbles if you are set on a destination wedding. Make sure you do your homework beforehand though so you are not turned around at the airport
Other really fun ways to have an alternative wedding experience is getting married in the woods or on a boat, you could even have a camping celebration. It might not be as luxurious as your general wedding! But, getting to marry the person you love is exciting enough. Maybe you asked a few of your closest to join while you say your vows surrounded by beautiful nature and enjoy bonfire at a night, I mean what more could you want?
Music and meals make the magic
If you’ve been to any great event, you’ll remember the food was great and the music was on point. Since you’re not splurging on large venues and seated dinners, you get to indulge in making this extra special. If it’s just the two of you, heck organise to have your absolute favourite meals! Whether that’s oysters on an ice sculpture or homemade Italian pizza. If you’ve always dreamed of drinking Moët champagne all night long- this is your chance!
Indulge in having great music as well. Why not hire musicians to serenade you at your ceremony? What an unforgettable experience it would be to have live music for your first dance, whether it was in your backyard or on a mountaintop. The extra savings on your budget could go a long way, so make the most of it and enjoy the celebration.
Dress for the occasion
It makes a huge difference. There’s no need to do the traditional white dress and tuxedo but do what suits you! Celebrating your love is a worthy occasion so make sure you show up looking like it. If you still want to get your makeup and hair done (even if you’re just live streaming from your home), do it! Remember, it’s about the experience and the way you feel during the ceremony. Do what feels good to you as a couple. And, don’t be afraid to get dressed separately and still have a ‘first look’ if it is just the two of you.
Small & micro-wedding photographer
Document your day. The great thing about smaller weddings is you often don’t need a photographer for as long as you would at a larger wedding. That way, you get to choose a photographer who has a style you really like, even if they are a bit pricier than the others. Whatever you decide to do on the day, make sure you document it!
Photographs are all you’ll have left of your ceremony and you’ll want to share a memoir of your marriage during a pandemic with your kids one day. Especially if it is just the two of you getting married, it’s important to get a photographer to capture the emotion of the experience. Not only will you not really have anyone to reminisce with but your family will feel included by being able to treasure the photos from your ceremony.
Personalise your micro-wedding ceremony
A smaller guest list (or none at all) gives you more time to do things to make your day extra special. Browse Pinterest for ideas that appeal to you and have some fun with DIY projects that really reveal the character of your relationship. You’ll appreciate the things you put your own love and energy into so much more. Learn new skills by making your own bouquet or taking some online calligraphy classes to write your own invitations. Maybe you even want to write a personal, heartfelt letter to each of your guests as an invite.
There are countless ways to make this ceremony that much more intentional to you and your partner so use your extra time to do that. One of the best ways to personalise your ceremony is to write your own personal vows to each other. You might even want to write letters to each other that you can read before the ceremony and another the day after. It’s these type of things you will remember the most.
Take off the pressure
Decided that you’re not so keen on having a reception or an after-party? Fine! Decided you want to dance the night away until the sun comes up? Perfect! Decided you want to go down the street for some ice-cream and then take a nap after the ceremony? Amazing!
You do you. Remember, this day is all about you and your partner. While it’s great that your friends and family will have advice and opinions, it’s ultimately your decision. Above all, honour your relationship by choosing to do the things that feel most authentic to who you are as a couple. If you have decided to ask loved ones to join you for your special day, it doesn’t mean they get to have a say in how it plays out. It’s also important to remember that considering the current state of the world, you don’t have to invite plus ones.
If it’s not what you want, don’t do it. Take the pressure of what everyone else wants for your wedding off because it’s not about what they want.
There’s a lot of couples who are really stressed out right now and could do with a bit of inspiration. If you and your partner managed to pull off a beautiful micro-wedding that felt amazing to you then don’t be afraid to share it with others. Consider getting in touch with a wedding vendor and letting them share your story on a blog. This is a new way of doing things and by embracing it, you have created the path for others to follow. We’re all in this together at the end of the day!
The logistics of a small wedding
No matter how you end up deciding to celebrate your love, be sure to do your homework first! At the time this article is being written, ceremonies with 30 people or less are currently allowed. There’s definitely a lot of options available to have your micro-wedding so get in touch with a few vendors to find out more details. Remember that it’s always a good idea to chat to more than one person so that you can gage the different opinions out there. Here are some official guidelines for the UK:
- Guidelines for small marriages from UK government
- Coronavirus rules for weddings from BBC
- A helpful update from Kensington and Chelsea
If you’re still not quite sure what type of wedding you’re looking for, take a look into registry office weddings over here!