Planning a wedding isn’t easy, even without a global pandemic to make things trickier. One of the trends that have come out of COVID is smaller weddings. The number of smaller weddings or “micro-weddings” has risen drastically over the past year.
We get a lot of questions about micro weddings, how they are different, and what it looks like to plan a whole micro wedding, so we decided to dedicate a whole post to micro weddings and what they look like in South Carolina.
Before we get into the planning of a micro wedding, let’s start by explaining what this actually means. Like most things, there is no hard and fast rule of what qualifies as a micro wedding versus a “traditional” wedding. But, most people say any wedding with 25-ish people is considered micro.
Honestly, we consider anything under 50 people to be a micro-wedding. But, that’s just how we think about it. At Katie Jaynes Photography, we use the words “intimate wedding” to also mean micro. Regardless of what you call it, there are a lot of reasons you might consider going this route for your nuptials.
For most brides and grooms, the obvious benefit of having a micro wedding is the cost savings. The fewer guests at your wedding, the less food, the fewer invitations, less alcohol, smaller cake, etc. All of that adds up to some serious savings at the end of the day, but that’s not the only benefit to having a micro-wedding.
When we got married, we have 200-ish guests at our wedding. IT WAS PERFECT. If we could do it all over again, we would 100 times. I think the one thing that we would change is how many people we invited. It has nothing to do with not liking the people at our wedding, but it has to do with how we spent our time.
There were so many friends and family at our wedding reception that we didn’t have time to talk to because we were bouncing around the room hugging everyone while still trying to hit the dance floor.
With micro-weddings, you get quality time with all of your guests. You get time to hug everyone AND some time to breathe and enjoy your own wedding.
Just because there are fewer people doesn’t mean it’s any less work or tiring to plan a micro-wedding. While a lot of people assume it’s going to be easier or quicker, you’re still going to need to contact vendors, decide on a location, create a guest list, and plenty of other decisions.
So, where do you start? That’s a GREAT question. Everyone plans a wedding differently – but you have to start with two key decisions. WHEN are you going to get married and WHERE are you going to get married? Unless you have a date picked, it’s going to be hard to choose a vendor, but some people know the venue or place and they work around those available dates.
When you are having 50 guests or less, you aren’t as limited on venues. Just about every wedding venue out there has space for 50 guests. On the other hand, if you are planning a wedding with 200 or more guests, there are a lot of venues out there that can’t accommodate a ceremony or reception that size.
When you start reaching out to venues, there are a few factors that you’ll need to consider. You probably won’t need to worry about all of your guests fitting inside of the venue, but you should ask about location options. Some venues have different options depending on how many people will be at the ceremony, which means you can have more options depending on the venue. This is great for any severe weather problems.
Choosing a caterer can be one of the most complicated decisions to make for a wedding, but with an intimate wedding, you’ll have more options and flexibility. We’ve talked to caterers who will only serve parties up to 100 guests, while others cap their services at 200. If your wedding is larger than those, then you’re going to be limited on options.
Smaller guest lists give you a lot more choices. Food tends to be the largest part of a wedding budget, but smaller weddings allow for some serious savings, especially with food. We’ve seen several couples use family friends to prepare the food and save more money that way.
The other route is actually keeping your caterer’s budget the same, and paying more per plate with fewer guests. If you cut the number of guests in half or more, you can double how much you pay per guest.
The main difference between choosing a photographer for a traditional-sized wedding versus a micro wedding is packages. Of course, we would never suggest skimping on your photographer budget (these are photos you’ll have the rest of your life, find the photographer you love), but this doesn’t mean you should pay extra.
When you’re hunting for your photographer, we have a couple questions to keep in mind (or just ask them upfront).
Do you have any experience photographing micro weddings? Most people don’t realize the dynamic of a micro wedding is very different, especially when it comes to the ceremony. Regardless of how many happy guests you have in attendance, you always want to look at those pictures and smile.
What are your micro wedding (or intimate wedding) packages? Hopefully, every wedding photographer gives as much time and attention to every wedding, regardless of size, but most photographers have created micro-wedding packages since the beginning of COVID.