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January 11 2021

Micro Weddings Give Macro Returns


By Ian Tresselt
Guest Blogger

Pop culturati lamented the lost weddings of 2020. Some couples postponed many times - looking at you J. Lo and A.Rod. Other couples proceeded with their fatal fetes. These created disastrous results for friends, family, and sometimes entire states! But some couples took the opportunity to change their approach. Enter the micro wedding. Some couples used technology to reach across the miles. Others kept their “minimony” to a few of their nearest and dearest - a celebration of intimacy.

2020 allowed for a re-imaging of what a wedding might look like. Couples were able to focus on what mattered (and matters) to them. They placed different priorities on the event. And, gave themselves the absolute freedom to celebrate...themselves! Imagine having that freedom as you plan your special day.

This is often lost on bigger ceremonies with gobs of gack and people. And before the claws come out defending OTT celebrations, this is not meant to be scree against them. Rather, a defense of micro weddings. They are here to stay. Micro weddings give you, and everyone involved, a more meaningful return on investment. The planning that goes into a micro wedding allows your priorities to shine. Because the format is so constrained, your “needs” and "wants" are clear. Optimizing resources to celebrate those needs will give you great returns.

McKenzie Elizabeth Photography

More extravagant weddings were not part of American culture until the 1820s and 30s. Before that, weddings were small family affairs. And, even in the early 1800s, big was not what big is today - a purchased dress and a bouquet. 1911 is a turning point. An Austrian Emperor married a Princess at a castle. It was one of the biggest weddings in the 1900s. Then in 1914, Joe and Rose Kennedy married in Boston. It was front-page news, complete with a photo. One Boston paper declared it the “wedding of the season.” And so it goes.

Wedding influencers decree that micro-weddings have fewer than 20 guests in attendance. Beyond that, it can be anything you want. A small guest list allows for deeper conversations with your vendors. Less transactional; more give and take. These are the people and businesses who will help make your micro wedding special. Your micro wedding can have as much impact on your vendors and community as it does for you and your guests.

Here are some ways you can maximize your ROI, by using resources that will have the most impact.

Keep It Local

Flowers, food, decor, and music play a major role in wedding celebrations. Think about how special these elements can be when only shared with your nearest and dearest. Working with local vendors gives you access to the freshest products imaginable. They are available and accessible to you. Think about how to use these local vendors to create intimate magic for your guests.

Florists who source products through local farmers can provide you with opportunities to learn about different flowers. You may not even know they exist, but can still meet or exceed your vision. There’s a lot more out there than a white rose. A spectacular ranunculus, parrot tulip, or even a wild bunch of lisianthus can blow you away. You are not required to decorate rooms or provide wedding party bouquets for your micro wedding. So, you can maximize your flower story. Think about installations, such as floral arches, chuppahs, or backdrops. Hello, Instagram moment. You can provide very special arrangements for all your guests to take home. People love flowers! You can give more time and attention to your bridal bouquet(s) or boutonnieres.

Often, local businesses have relationships with each other, through partnerships or promotions. Talk to your caterer about who they recommend for flowers and vice versa. While food remains complicated in the current pandemic, it is not insurmountable. Many local restaurateurs have pivoted to take-away models. They have the resources to provide pre-packaged, separated meals to your guests. With limited numbers, you can provide your guests with food that is far more interesting than your usual chicken or salmon yawn fest. Post-pandemic, when eating can be less distanced, think about the possibilities this can provide. Everyone can have a very special meal together!

While it is not time to party like it’s 1999, music can still play a vital role in the day. Many musicians and performers are out of work. Call local performing arts organizations to connect with local artists. Think about how special it can be to have renowned local musician sing you down the aisle, or a local band play you off to your honeymoon. Even beyond the constraints of 2020, working with local artists can provide you with a meaningful opportunity to collaborate on the day or evening. Artists are eager for work. Give it to them.

Keep It Seasonal

While your micro wedding might be on the fly, it’s likely an event that has been re-considered to optimize the health of your friends and family. So, you’re keeping the date but scaling it down a lot or a little. As you negotiate or re-negotiate with your vendors, ask them to celebrate the season. You’ve been to that one hot outdoor summer wedding. The insisted upon spring flowers are wilting and the food makes you sweat even more. Sayonara seersucker. Use the season to inform your micro wedding. Often larger weddings poo-poo the notion of where they land in the calendar, opting for someone else’s vision.

Think about the time of year. Think about what is in season. By doing this, you are again able to maximize the look and feel of your event. Seasonal food and flowers are at their absolute best, so you are getting more bang for your buck. Think about what you will wear that acknowledges the season while keeping it chic. Ask your few friends in attendance to dress for the season. Your vendors will relish working with you on a seasonal palette.

Keep It Special

Your micro wedding is an opportunity to celebrate everyone in attendance, including yourself. Except for some destination weddings that provide more extravagant “gifts” to guests, you often receive a small token to take away...if you even take it away. Think about how you want your guests to feel at your micro wedding. Since you can't give it to them, consider how it would feel if they were receiving a warm hug from you.

Emma Weiss Photo

In larger weddings, it’s easy to lose the spirit and intention of the day. Because weddings that preceded yours “want” you to do all these activities, it can be daunting. You’ve made sure your guests have had a good time. You’re a host(ess) with the “most-est.” Exhausting! But, what about you? Your micro wedding assures that the few people in attendance truly love you. You can breathe and focus on yourself while acknowledging the connection you have with your tiny posse.

The day begins long before the ceremony. Use your local vendors to make it special. Breakfast delivered to your door. Flowers only for you to enjoy in your home. Lotions and potions to make you feel special for the day.

And, as for your guests, you have the opportunity to make it all the more special for them. Imagine a spring wedding where your guests receive a fabulous boater hat made by a local maker. Or, a winter wedding where everyone receives a beautiful scarf made by a local artisan. While nothing needs to be as extravagant as these examples, the opportunities are endless. Use local makers to help you give your guests a memorable gift for joining in your special day. Because you are not shopping en masse, you can be deliberate about your choices. You can even be specific to the individual.

Keep It Clean

You do you. No shame for shouting expletives or dirty dancing at your ceremony. Micro-weddings have a smaller carbon footprint. Keeping it local in all forms saves on transportation, waste, and risk. While this may not be your intention going into your micro-wedding, it is a guaranteed outcome. Once your micro-wedding is over, there will be little left. Local vendors have connections to other organizations that can enjoy those remaining bits. Local florists can repurpose flowers for hospitals, nursing homes, and the like. Food rules abound in the current climate. But, at some point, local restaurateurs and chefs can donate any remaining food to local food banks. You can do all these things too.

Micro-weddings can be a cost-saving alternative. But regardless of what you spend, your ROI will far exceed that of a gathering with more people. With every decision considered, your outcome will be better for you, local vendors, makers, artists, and the environment. You're not thinking small. You're having deeper conversations with yourself, and the people who will help you make it special. These conversations will pay dividends in returns.


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