If the craziness of the pandemic has you second guessing if a traditionally big wedding is the right way to go for you, you aren’t alone. Intimate weddings and micro-weddings aren’t a new thing, but they’re becoming more popular than ever and questions about how to plan a micro-wedding abound.
In this post, I’ll walk you through important things to consider when planning a micro-wedding. I’m an intimate wedding specialist, so I know a thing or two about what goes into creating the right vibe for a meaningful micro-wedding in New England.
Not sure if a micro-wedding is the right choice for you? These weddings are perfect for introverts, people who value simplicity, or couples who value connecting with each guest for more than 1 minute. A micro-wedding is a day where you can feel free and relaxed to enjoy your day as it unfolds.
1. Choose your Guest List
If you are intentionally planning a micro-wedding, and not adjusting a larger celebration to be smaller, I think this is the most important step to take in planning your micro-wedding. Really think about who the people are that you want at your wedding and don’t just try to fill an arbitrary guest count number because your venue has a minimum. The beauty of a micro-wedding is that you are only including the people who are the most significant members of your circle, like immediate family and the closest of friends, and that tiny guest list puts you into a different class of wedding venue than traditionally larger weddings. Maybe you won’t even be at a venue and instead you’ll get married in the middle of the wilderness!
If you need help to decide your guest list, check out these tips.
2. Choose your Vibe
I know this sounds like a weird next step but because you’re going with a micro-wedding, this step is really wide open for you. If you decide to only include your parents and siblings at your micro-wedding you have a lot of choices open to you for what activities you can include in your wedding day itinerary. Gondola ride up a mountain, maybe? Perhaps chartering a day cruise is more your style.
If you have 25 guests you’re probably looking at developing a wedding day that follows the same timeline structure as a traditional big wedding, but you can choose to incorporate as much or as little of those typical wedding day activities as you want and can even add in your own special touches. A bed & breakfast or backyard wedding is perfect for this kind of wedding vibe. Maybe you have a zip line in your backyard to add some fun!
The point is that a micro-wedding is one of the ultimate ways to have your wedding day happen your way since you aren’t worried about the entertainment needs of 100+ people.
3. Choose your Venue
Now that you know your guest list and the vibe you’re setting, it’s time to figure out where this micro-wedding is going down. If your vibe is to be totally one with nature, maybe you want to research getting married in a state or national park. If you’re setting a totally chill, casual vibe then a backyard wedding might be for you. Or if you’re looking for all the refined ceremony of a traditionally big wedding but on a smaller scale, perhaps a country inn, boutique hotel or unique restaurant (like the ones on my preferred vendor list) will be the perfect setting for you.
4. Choose your photographer
I know this part seems like a shameless plug (it kinda is), but this actually IS a really important step to take once you’ve secured your date with a venue. Choosing a photographer is really tough! You have to make sure you both like their style and that you get along with them on a personal level, not to mention that they fit within your budget. So finding a photographer that checks off all your boxes, is a qualified professional AND is available for your date is like playing 4D chess. It’s never too soon to start looking for your perfect photographer.
And when you’re having a micro-wedding, this is especially important because you want to make sure that the photographer you hire really “gets it.” There are lots of photographers out there who will take on a smaller, intimate wedding as a last minute booking to fill a hole in their calendar where they didn’t book a 150+ guest wedding at one of their usual ballroom venues. Those are not the kind of photographers you want to have if you start off with the intention of an intimate wedding. When you’re planning your micro-wedding, you want to hire a photographer who really understands and values the reverence and sanctity that you’re putting into your wedding day by keeping it small and intimate, and who can appreciate the way that you’re going to do things a little differently because of that. Click here to read all about why I am the best photographer for your intimate wedding.
5. Choose your officiant
Because your intimate wedding day is all about the intention you’re putting into it, your ceremony should be 100% customized to who you two are and reflect your intentions for your life together. Whether that’s going with an established celebrant or Justice of the Peace, opting for a religious ceremony in a house of worship or asking a friend to become ordained and officiate your marriage, the creation of your wedding ceremony and vows should be a collaborative experience between you and your officiant. The ceremony you end up with should be completely tailored to you, not a template that your names got dropped into.
6. Decide on your other Must-Have Vendors
Now that you’ve got your main vendors locked down, it’s time to figure out who your other must-have vendors are and start locking them into place. Most of my elopement and wedding packages include my preferred vendors guide to help you create the perfect team!
- FOOD If your venue does food, then that’s probably all set for you, but if they don’t then you need to figure that out. Maybe you’re hiring a private chef or catering company to cook a fabulous meal for you and your few guests at your VRBO after your state forest wedding. Maybe a food truck or two at your backyard wedding sounds fun! Are you going to have a wedding cake?
- FLORALS Nothing sets the vibe for your wedding quite like the way you accent it with your florals and décor. Or maybe you decide you want to keep things super austere because that’s the kind of people you are. Either way, you want to figure out who the vendors are that can provide you with exactly what you need. I’m a big fan of renting all the little décor items (like if you choose to do table card holders, a cake stand, card box, etc) and using florists who focus on sustainability.
- ENTERTAINMENT This is where you can really open up the field with your micro-wedding. At a traditionally large wedding, this usually means hiring a DJ so that everyone can cut loose on the dance floor. At a micro-wedding, maybe you’re hiring a live musician to play the acoustic guitar or a harp while your guests enjoy a gourmet meal and lively conversation. Or maybe you’re chartering a boat for a private river tour… or taking your guests for a hot air balloon ride.
- ATTIRE I’m just going to come out and say it – Don’t go to the big box wedding dress or suit stores for your wedding attire. So many of the couples I’ve worked with have had problems with suit mix-ups or dress alteration mishaps. Instead, go to a local boutique store for your wedding dress (like Julie Allen Bridal or Jacqueline Bridal Kouture, both in CT) and use a more specialty suit service (like The BLK TUX or Indochino) in order to look your best for your big day.
- GLAM SQUAD Maybe you’re an au natural kind of person and you’ll do your own hair and make-up. But maybe you also want to feel a little more glam on your wedding day and want the pampering that a professional can provide.
- WHERE TO STAY If you’re hosting your wedding at a bed and breakfast or a boutique hotel, then figuring out where to stay isn’t going to be that much of an issue. But if you’re opting for a micro-wedding experience that’s off the beaten path, figuring out where to stay can be a bit more of a challenge. Country inns can still be a great solution here, but AirBnB or VRBO can also be a great solution to accommodate you and your select wedding guests.
- INVITATIONS Now that you’ve got most of your wedding day details hammered out, it’s time to get the word out there! Custom stationery from a boutique designer is always a nice touch, but if you’re looking to stay with a more budget-friendly option you can’t go wrong with the invitation designing options from Basic Invite.