The rise of the micro wedding

As Covid rules continue to impact the wedding industry, couples and suppliers are creating unique ways to celebrate their special day in style...

Image: PB Artworks

We humans are resourceful creatures. Present us with a problem and we will create a solution. In these troubled times, this seems to be truer than ever, and many couples are responding to the strict social distancing measures imposed across the industry with a new kind of celebration. Yes, the 'micro wedding' has become a 'thing'.

So what is a micro-wedding?

Ok, so they are not entirely new. Budget-conscious couples have always plumped for a micro gathering, but lest you not confuse it with an elopement (just the couple and two witnesses) or an intimate/small ceremony (up to around 40 people). No, a micro wedding consists of just a handful of guests – certainly no more than 20, but is still a 'proper wedding,' that is to say, you have the dress, the veil, the rings, the cake, the venue, the flowers, photographer and of course those all important finishing touches!

Image: PB Artworks

While small weddings may be a sign of the times, don't let that put you off, says award-winning photographer, Phil Barratt of PB Artworks, who has captured a number of micro weddings this year despite the national clamp down on social gatherings: "If there is one word I could use to describe these wonderful occasions, in spite of the restrictions, it would be joyful. Many of my couples have decided to plough on ahead and have their wedding day, and then plan a party for when the good times return." Phil suggests couples look at other options such as having their wedding live streamed. "Talk to your photographer about this, as many, myself included, can set this up," he adds.

Small on numbers, big on style!

Going micro certainly doesn't mean being mean. You can pack a whole lot of lovely into a smaller ceremony, spend that bit extra on those shoes, splash out on a top photographer and really push the boat out (maybe even get married in a boat!?) In fact, all those quirky little venues that were previously off the list can make a surprise reappearance.

Images from left to right: Dun Aluinn House; Treseren House; SS Great Britain; Blists Hill by Andi Li Photography

Treseren in Cornwall is one such venue that caters for up to 20 guests, with sumptuous accommodation for 12 in the gorgeous Georgian house itself. Or Dun Aluinn House in Scotland offers the perfect retreat to hide away in rural highland bliss with your nearest and dearest. Similarly, vintage venues like the iconic Ironbridge Gorge Museum offers smaller spaces in all its venues where you can kick off your shoes and Charleston with your loved ones in style!

Images: Pretty Amazing Cakes

The same goes for those other wedding day essentials such as the bride's hair and makeup or the wedding cake: "It might not be the towering multi-tiered showstopper you planned, but it can still be a stunning, elegant centrepiece for your guests to admire and enjoy," says Anne Gliddon from Pretty Amazing Cakes – award-winning cake designer based in Bristol.  "A single or two-tiered cake is the perfect option, or why not consider a delightful array of gorgeous cupcakes that each guest can take away with them to enjoy? Whatever you decide to do, it's your day, your way, surround yourself with love, embrace the moment and be happy."

Image: Indie Love Photography

"We've found that our clients are happy to spend the extra getting exactly what they want, and while the restrictions on the hair and beauty industry have been pretty tight, our clients are confident in the measures we have put in place," adds vintage hair stylist Charlotte Mainwaring of The Blusherettes. "Yes, we've had plenty of cancellations, but for those who have decided to go ahead, they are really going for it, creating their dream looks, and loving every moment!"

Times of change

For many couples, going 'micro' offers the chance to finally tie the knot. Often, couples – particularly those with children or those who have been together for a long time, have put off the decision to get hitched due to the costs involved. But micro weddings have provided carte blanche for wavering couples to finally seize their moment. "We have um-ed and ah-ed for years about getting married but there always seems to be something else that needs paying for so it has been pushed to the bottom of the list," says Jen who has been with her long-term partner, Ed, for nearly 20 years. "We've decided to finally embrace the micro wedding and we've got a date in the diary. It's going to be small, but perfectly formed and we're having a ball planning everything small scale," she enthuses.

Image: Cris Matthews Photography

"Small Weddings have always been a part of my photography, it’s a choice people have been making for a long time," points out photographer Cris Matthews. "Every time I’ve been asked to photograph a 'micro wedding' it’s been thoroughly enjoyable. It’s felt even more special to those lucky enough to be invited. The photographs also hold more importance as they are shared widely after the wedding with friends and family." He notes that suppliers are going above and beyond for their couples too, making every moment count. "Everyone is going the extra mile to make sure everything is perfect, being super flexible and listening to every detail. Cost wise I am happy to help out, I just want to get out there with a camera in my hand, and I know a lot of suppliers are the same," he adds.

Image: Chloe Mary Photography

One party or two?

Wedding planners are also getting in on the action and in fact many couples can now include the cost of a wedding planner as their budget stretches further. Jump the Broom, a Brighton-based events planner has even got micro wedding packages in place ready to rock, starting from £850 - well worth the investment if you want the whole nine yards, or even for the big party you plan to throw when the restrictions are lifted. "In 2020 I’ve had a lot of people postpone their big weddings, which is fine, but I think some of them have missed a trick," adds Cris. "You can still get married and share that moment with the people that really matter, and then when this is all over throw an all mighty big party for an even bigger group of people. My advice would be to embrace this new world of a two stage wedding and get your suppliers on board, they will love you for it!"

However you plan to celebrate your wedding, the changing times have indeed given us all food for thought and now the time is ripe for micro weddings to take centre stage.

Image: Cris Matthews Photography

Are you planning a micro wedding? If so we'd love to hear from you!

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