SURPRISE! I partnered with Sarah from Kindred Weddings and Events to bring you a special guest blog post! Sarah is a wealth of knowledge, and small gatherings/”micro weddings” (you will hear that A LOT!) are her jam. Check out Sarah’s insights below and comment if you have a question or something to add to the conversation, thank you!
It’s pretty easy to see that COVID-19 has absolutely changed life as we know it, especially human interactions. Going to stores is different. Going to work is different. Seeing friends and family is different. We are adjusting our expectations and our attitudes.
With social interactions changing drastically, we’ve seen the wedding industry (and couples) evolve with it. According to WeddingPro, 59% of couples with weddings between the months of April and October have chosen to postpone their originally planned wedding, while 15% have canceled. Weddings are such carefully planned, important events that celebrate community, and for some to go without isn’t the route for them.
Canceling a fully paid for 200+ person celebration is NOT an easy decision. And it’s one that many couples feel has been made for them. With businesses shutting down, and inaccessibility to public spaces to utilize, we have begun to see couples getting creative about what a wedding means.
One bride shared, “Honestly, this has forced my fiance more than me to re-evaluate the meaning of a wedding. He’s had to change his way of approaching this and remembering what matters most is we are getting married for us, not for a party or anything!”
Another bride said, “We planned a small wedding to begin with, and are now looking to just elope and postpone our small wedding party to next year. We’d rather be safe than sorry.”
And some brides are holding out hope for some good news, “ We’ve already had to postpone once, so we don’t want to postpone again. We might just up downsizing our guest list to have a micro-wedding. But we are still undecided. We also have to consider changing plans because of financial reasons. Everything is so unpredictable though, so we are just rolling with it for right now.”
No matter who you are during this time. A couple getting married, a wedding vendor, or an excited (or skeptical) guest, it’s time to shift your focus! Instead of focusing on what you can’t have or do anymore, focus on the opportunities in front of you and what you CAN do.
But, Sarah, how on EARTH do I even think about planning another wedding!? Use. Your. Resources. I’m talking about physical resources, like family homes and furniture. I’m talking about time-saving resources like a planning checklist or a wedding planner for consulting calls. And I’m also talking about your community of loved ones who can help do research so you don’t get decision fatigue!
I know the starting point is always the hardest, so here are a few ideas to get your creativity flowing!
How to customize your day/make it special even when a micro wedding wasn’t what you originally planned…
Incorporate some of your favorite food items with food stations (hello baked potato bar, yum). This can keep guests spread out, not bunched in a buffet line, and give them a customizable choice to the traditionally served meal. Think about utilizing different seating areas instead of just formal table settings. You want to create areas your guests will return to for relaxation and community.
V’s note: Along the same lines, maybe an ice cream cart with your own customized flavors! Gourmeletas has some great options!
What is a place that holds meaning in your relationship? A family home, a local garden, your own backyard, all can create a unique backdrop to your “I dos”! The type of venue you choose should also encourage how you want to spend time with people in the guest experience. Spread out round tables create a flow for greeting in small groups, a long dining table creates a familial dining experience where everyone is part of the conversation.
V’s note: Completely agree! Other ideas include; the beach you frequent, the hike you do often together, the lake you visit yearly or the cabin you rent every winter! The possibilities are endless!
Think about what items you have already that can be brought in to tell a bit of your story. Do you have a collection of throw blankets or rugs that can be used to set the tone of the event? Or maybe your dining room table can be your sweetheart table.
Get your guests involved from the get-go. Send out a fun quiz to test your guest’s knowledge of you as a couple with your change the date. For guests who will be attending virtually, think about how you can enhance their engagement on your special day. Film a special welcome toast to your virtual guests so they know you are thinking about them, or send them a special celebration kit with glasses to toast with or mini dessert items.
V’s note: This is your chance to think outside the box! We had a magician during our cocktail hour and think great entertainment is still a nice option for today’s events, and for virtual – maybe a group game like bride and groom BINGO?!
You can still have a bridal party, but involve them in different ways. Maybe nix having them stand up during the actual ceremony if it’s not your style. You also have permission to totally skip cocktail hour and head straight to a dinner soiree or backyard BBQ! Don’t want to have dancing? Maybe instead you screen a movie outdoors with your guests.
Not everything has to take place in one day either! Multi-day wedding celebrations are being embraced all over the world. Include elements to your guest experience that dial into your guest’s needs, your personalities, and the resources available to you. And if you decided to have a ceremony now with only 2 people, you can still involve a larger guest list further on down the road as an anniversary celebration!
See, you can totally have a beautiful, unique, and memorable micro-wedding to celebrate the day you say “I do”! It’s going to take some pivoting, ingenuity, and a dash of creativity, but I absolutely believe that if you can dream it you can do it.
Sarah Blessinger is the owner and designer at Kindred Weddings and Events, a wedding design and coordination company in Los Angeles serving couples who desire an intimate or small wedding. Her specialty is crafting whimsically sophisticated weddings for clients, where they get to be a guest at their own wedding. She loves sipping tea, snuggling with her cat River, and binge-watching sci-fi/fantasy shows with her hubby.