Micro Weddings | Big Love on a Smaller Scale | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Your Dream Wedding

How big do you want your wedding to be?   When I was a little girl, I remember watching Princess Diana get married to Prince Charles.  Everything was opulent, formal, gorgeous…. Her dress was the dress of my dreams (at the time) with a train that went on for forever.  There were so many people packed in the cathedral as well.  Seeing that as a little girl played into my dreams for my own wedding.  I remember dreaming about having a long train on a huge dress with a huge veil.  The hilarious thing is, I’m only a petite 5’ 2” and when I tried on a princess ball gown type of wedding dress with the huge puffy skirt, it practically swallowed me.  Y’all it made me look so much shorter!  I ended up getting a mermaid styled dress with a shorter train which fit my frame much better and made me look taller.  Sometimes the reality of what we can or actually do for our wedding is better than our dreams.   Simply stated, bigger is not always better.  Don’t get me wrong though.  Large weddings are amazing, however sometimes that “large wedding” may not be the best fit at the time due to budget, venue availability, guests who cannot travel, or currently….COVID-19. 

Big Love on a Smaller Scale 

I had the pleasure of chatting with Tammy Mills of Simply Grand Events about Micro Weddings, an incredible wedding and event planner who specializes in this area.   A Micro Wedding, which is a more intimate gathering ranging from 10 to 50 guests, could be a way to celebrate the beginning of your lives together on a smaller scale without sacrificing all of the  elements that you really want.   Most things about a micro wedding are the same, for the most part, as a larger wedding.  The biggest difference is in the guest count.   The budget is another difference, depending on the elements you choose to include.  Your budget can impact your guest list when you take into consideration that on average you will spend about $100 per guest.  And in turn, the guest list drives a lot of other things about your wedding: quantity of food, venue space, quantity of tables and chairs needed, florals, guest gifts, and so on. 

Dream Wedding on a Smaller Scale

Is it possible to have the wedding of your dreams on a smaller scale?  What does that even look like?  Will I still get to have a dress, flowers, reception, a beautiful cake, a D.J. and dancing? Cake cutting? First look? Mom and my besties helping me with my dress?  Pictures? Dancing? Your wedding can still be elegant and have the same types of elements as a standard 8 hour long wedding.  Often, people equate a smaller guest list with a less elegant wedding with only a very simple ceremony, but that does not have to be the case.  If anything, having a smaller guest list may offer you the opportunity to upgrade some or all of your elements, depending on your budget and preferences.  A smaller guest list may make more room in your budget for the perfect venue location for your ceremony and reception, beautifully designed floral arrangements, or your dream dress, for example.  You have a wide range of options!  Ultimately, you have to decide what your priorities are for your wedding.  It is important, though to keep in mind that the growth of your marriage will be even more beautiful as you grow together as a married couple in the years to come.

Vendors

Wedding vendors (such as florists, planners/designers, photographers, videographers, D.J.s, stationers, event rental specialists, bakers, and caterers) will work hard to make your Micro Wedding a unique event that showcases your love.  Some of these artists may have special packages specifically tailored to couples who wish to have an intimate wedding or elopement.   In addition to chatting with Tammy Mills on a Zoom call about all things micro weddings, we were able to get together for a unique experience, social distancing included!  As a planner, she works closely with couples to design and plan their weddings.  I was so excited that we were able to get together and watch her work her magic!  Her creativity is boundless and she transformed a few simple tables and an old bench into a dreamy boho setting.  Her boho inspired romantic sweetheart table and dinner table design takes you to a warm golden summer afternoon in a beautifully natural setting, such as a back yard or a grassy clearing at a vineyard.  She loves planning and designing Micro Weddings and shared with me that they are similar to plan compared to larger weddings, just on a smaller scale.  Some are more complex and elaborate and some are more minimalistic.  These intimate weddings are generally quicker to plan and can be, on average, a 4 hour event. 

Venue

Choosing the perfect venue for your gorgeous Micro Wedding is also similar to considering a venue for a larger wedding.  (Learn more about choosing a wedding venue here).  What is the most important thing to you?   Just like larger weddings you have a variety of venue options for Micro Weddings.   Some venues offer options for using certain parts of their space, such as the Watermen’s Museum, Mariner’s Museum, The Commanding General”s Residence at Fort Monroe or Colonial Heritage Club, for example.  Some offer partial day packages, and others offer only full day only packages.  One thing that is important to remember is that even though your guest list is smaller, you still will need a certain amount of space to accommodate your guests comfortably.   For seated guests, you will need a minimum of 14 square feet per person.  If it is cocktail style, you will need a minimum of 9 square feet per person.  With fewer guests there will be fewer people therefore utilizing less space or having more space to move about.  When considering your guests’ needs for your event as you navigate COVID 19 regulations, you need to stay informed about the latest requirements for indoor / outdoor public gatherings and your planner will also be a wonderful resource for you. 

Guest List

How do you even begin to decide which guests will be at your intimate wedding?  If you’re anything like me, you’re probably a little stressed about the idea that you will only be able to invite a limited number of people.  It’s the enneagram 2 in me.  I just don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause anyone to feel left out.    But you have to make a decision about who you’ll invite.  Your family.  His family.  Your friends.  His friends.  And what about Great Aunt Lucy and your Grandma’s bestie?    “The guest list will take care of itself”, Tammy explained as we chatted.  If your family is very close, you will likely want them to be there.  You may need to make it an “adults only” event as well, depending on your preferences.  When it comes down to friends, though, Tammy recommends asking yourself “Is this someone I regularly stay in contact with?”  “Do I chat with this friend regularly?”  With COVID 19 regulations, you will likely need to include the wedding party, photographer, and wedding officiant as well.  With the ebb and flow of the effects of COVID 19 on limited public gatherings, there are other options to consider.   One option you can consider adding so that more people can be included is to hire a videographer to do live video streaming of your wedding.  Another option is to hire a videographer to professionally capture your ceremony, then share this with others.  Hiring a professional videographer will ensure that your video quality is clear and the sound is balanced.  A professional videographer will know the important moments to focus on and will provide a polished product to share.

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