Prior to 2020, few of us really knew what a micro-wedding was. While these small, intimate affairs that are like scaled-down versions of the larger, more extravagant weddings most of us are used to, are certainly nothing new, the pandemic gave them serious appeal. After all, with state restrictions and social distancing guidelines in place, it was near-impossible, if not totally impossible, to actually have a wedding any other way unless you were willing to postpone until a later date that was also not guaranteed.
“The pandemic was the fuel on the fire that allowed micro-weddings to truly take off, accelerating the small-wedding trend that was burgeoning,” says Gretchen Culver, owner and creative director of Minne Weddings and Rocket Science Events in Minneapolis. “Many couples who were set to get married didn't want to change their date, so they simply adjusted their plans by exploring any and all ways to get married.”
Micro-weddings became the most natural fit for the extenuating circumstances that were brought on by the pandemic. The small guest count, the short timeframe, and the ability to adhere to the rules and regulations of the state in which they were getting married, were all significantly more feasible with a micro-wedding.
We all realized that more is not more—it's about our close family and friends, but rather getting the chance to celebrate with our loved ones.
The introduction of micro-weddings also left what experts believe will be a lasting mark on the wedding industry. “We all realized that more is not more—it's about our close family and friends, but rather getting the chance to celebrate with our loved ones,” says Elizabeth Wexler, wedding planner and owner of emlan events in New York City. “Plus, being in quarantine and going through the isolation brought on by the pandemic made us all appreciate what we have and be eager to celebrate again with those that matter most.”
The Benefits of a Micro Wedding
As it turns out, micro-weddings aren’t just convenient during a pandemic (although they come in clutch big time)—they also have benefits that make them appealing to more and more couples. Here’s a look at some of the pros of having a micro-wedding.
Smaller Guest List
While some couples might have a hard time downsizing their guest list, they also may find relief that they don’t have to worry about inviting people “just because.” “A micro-wedding takes away the feeling that you need to invite everyone you know just because there is room at your venue, from your mom’s distant cousins to your former co-workers,” says Kelsey Caligiuri, wedding planner and owner of curated by kels in Long Island City, New York.
While micro-weddings can certainly be expensive, they’re almost always less pricey than a full-sized wedding due to the smaller guest count. ”Couples are able to spend less money on their wedding, while also being able to add in more details,” says Caligiuri. “Wedding costs can be extremely high and couples are able to both celebrate their love and put the money they saved towards a house, or starting a family.”
The reduced savings overall has also allowed couples to use their budget towards detail and design. “Since you are not purchasing 200 catered meals, you can now concentrate on beautiful table design, generous favors, and thoughtful experiences throughout the weekend,” says Tessa Brand, California-based wedding planner and owner of Tessa Lyn Events. “Perhaps a 4-course meal with wine pairing, a mini wedding cake for each couple, or a welcome bag full of local artisan items.”
At a traditional wedding, the couple has so much to do in so little time, from capturing first-look photos ahead of the cocktail hour to saying hello to hundreds of guests all before the reception begins. “At a micro-wedding, on the other hand, the timeline is much looser, so photos go much quicker and more candid moments are captured and typically all of your guests are at one or two tables with you and the greetings naturally happen and don't feel like a chore,” says Caligiuri.
A micro-wedding also affords you the opportunity to be more present at your wedding, as you’re less likely to experience that anxiety and adrenaline that goes along with a larger celebration. “It can be very challenging to be fully present in the day and soak up each moment, but with a smaller wedding, the pressure is off and the focus is on the vows and enjoying the day,” says Camille Ross, owner and event planner at elsie event co. in Austin, Texas.
Why Micro Weddings Are Here to Stay
If there was one good thing that came out of the pandemic when it comes to weddings, it’s that micro-weddings are way more socially acceptable and widespread. And it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it’s afforded countless couples a wedding opportunity that they hadn’t realized even existing prior to the pandemic.
“The most surprising thing I found when starting to do micro weddings was the number of couples looking for a small wedding option but had nowhere to go pre-pandemic—they never wanted a big wedding, but they also didn't want to elope at a courthouse,” says Culver. “The pandemic has given them options now.”
As more and more couples opt for micro weddings and the more wedding publications and influencers feature and promote them, the more they will feel like a ‘normal’ wedding.
Small weddings have also been normalized over the past year. They’re no longer viewed as inferior to larger weddings, but rather a different option that couples can—and should be able to—choose from. “As more and more couples opt for micro weddings and the more wedding publications and influencers feature and promote them, the more they will feel like a ‘normal’ wedding,” adds Culver, who’s seen demand for micro-weddings for 2022 and 2023 surge.
As a result of the increased desire for micro-weddings, vendors have started to establish offerings on a permanent level. “We have realized that this has been an underserved, untapped market and see the opportunity to do weddings in a different way alongside their ‘regular’ weddings,” says Culver. “These are not the same couples who want a big, traditional wedding—it is a whole other client with other priorities, values, and needs.”
Considering an intimate celebration? Check out our guide for saying “I do” with a stunning, cost-saving micro-wedding.