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  • Writer's picturePeter Roehrich

Is a Micro Wedding Right for You?

In the past year we’ve seen a lot of changes to wedding plans. With COVID posing a serious health threat, large gatherings have been banned in many places, we’ve learned to stay six feet from one another, and face masks are the newest accessory. Couples planning weddings have reacted to this situation in a few ways; some postponed their weddings, others eloped, and still others have embraced a hybrid, the ‘micro wedding’.

Photo of DC War Memorial a domed structure supported by columns.
The DC War Memorial is a small venue perfect for a micro wedding.

What is a Micro Wedding?

For sake of this discussion, let’s call a micro wedding a ceremony that has 25 guests or fewer. This is a big break from the past—the average wedding in 2019 had 131 guests according to The Knot. While this might feel like dreams being dashed, that’s only one way to look at a micro wedding. The micro wedding provides an opportunity for intimacy with your guests that can get lost in larger weddings and is altogether absent at an elopement (by definition). They also mean that some costs will be avoided, giving you the opportunity to splurge in areas where you otherwise might not have. In the same survey of weddings mentioned above, 72% of couples wanted their guests to feel well taken care of, and with a smaller guest list, the opportunity to pamper your guests increases.

Intimacy and Splurging

The intimacy of a small wedding is there from the start. We can begin by looking at the guest list. Large weddings often come with a guest list that includes coworkers, loose acquaintances, and distant relatives. I by no means am suggesting that those people are unimportant, but rather that the relationship closeness is not always there. On the other hand, a micro wedding guest list might only include siblings, parents, grandparents, and a few of your closest friends. As these are likely people you have regular contact with, they will know your partner well and have seen your relationship blossom. In fact, these guests will be most invested in your relationship.

Since your micro wedding will have a small guest list, how about you set the tone for intimacy by sending a handwritten save-the-date? This is both an intimate gesture—no one sends handwritten correspondence anymore—and in a sense a splurge. A handwritten card will probably cost you less than a printed one, so it is not a financial splurge, but rather a devotion of time to your guests only possible because of the narrow guest list. On the subject of correspondence, you can change up your invitations to pamper your guests. Where couples on average spend something like $600 on invitations (estimating 150 invitations sent, that’s $4 per invite), the couple hosting a micro wedding could go with lux invitations costing up to $10 each and still spend less than half of the average.

That Amazing Venue

A micro wedding makes room for unique venues that are inviable for large events. My favorite venue (in the DC area since I am in the vicinity) is the DC War Memorial, just perfect for a micro wedding. It’s an outdoor, circular marble structure with dome resting on Doric columns with just enough space to comfortably hold a micro wedding. Other options include small gardens and amazing homes rented through Airbnb or similar service. Such a small venue will mean that you’re close enough to all of your guests to make eye contact. A smaller venue, with less space to decorate, might mean different decorations as well. Your décor budget might allow for fresh flowers rather than faux or Chiavari chairs in lieu of folding since fewer pieces are required.

And an Amazing Reception

Your micro wedding’s reception can take on new forms, as well as the ceremony. Imagine that rather than dining in a large banquet hall, you sit at a single table with your guests in a restaurant, ordering off the menu. This will let you have extended conversations with your guests, rather than only a few minutes as you go through the room. This may be a budget saver as well. Holding your micro wedding early in the day in a garden like mentioned above? Compliment it with a champagne brunch, seated outdoors with gorgeous azaleas in bloom.

A micro wedding may be different from what you imagined for your big day, and that can be a good thing. All the tradition around weddings can mean we do things that aren't that meaningful and skip over some things that would really add to the special day. Think of a micro wedding as a blank canvas on which to place the elements, both the ceremony and the reception, that mean the most to you and your beloved.

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