What is a micro-marriage? Everything you need to know from the experts


The traditional grand white wedding has always been the first choice for many couples, but as the COVID pandemic has resulted in cancellations, delays, rules and restrictions, a new trend has emerged in the wedding world: the micro wedding.

Many newlyweds have been forced to postpone their big day, drastically reduce their guest lists or totally change their plans over the past year due to COVID. Weddings abroad have also become extremely difficult to organize due to travel restrictions.

It made people get creative and rethink what’s important to them. Usually much cheaper, easier to manage, more flexible, intimate and relaxed, and even more environmentally friendly, micro-weddings are gaining in popularity.

Experts in the wedding world have given us their definition of micro-weddings and some ideas to make your day just as special if that’s the path you choose.

What is a micro-marriage?

File photo of a wedding during the COVID pandemic. Smaller and more intimate weddings have become more popular.
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A micro-wedding is exactly as it sounds: a wedding with fewer guests than usual.

In the UK, restrictions on weddings meant couples were only allowed 30 or fewer guests for most of 2020, if they could continue their ceremony. In the United States, different states have different rules on weddings, which makes planning even more difficult.

In August 2020, when North Dakota couples were allowed to host a 500-person indoor wedding, in Los Angeles, California, only members of the same household could come together to celebrate.

According to Anna Price Olson, associate editorial director of Brides, a micro marriage can be defined by its smallest numbers. She says the pandemic has helped put these intimate gatherings on the map.

She said: “By definition, micro-weddings have 50 or fewer guests. While couples have certainly married in intimate ceremonies before, the idea of ​​this micro-wedding trend has really been defined by determined couples. to get married during the pandemic!

“Last year was definitely the year of the micro-wedding, and the trend is here to stay, as beyond the confines of venue, health, and guests, these smaller-scale events give couples the flexibility in planning to invite whoever they want and launch the wedding wherever they want, whether the location is their family home, front porch or favorite restaurant. “

Katherine McAlpine, director of the Brunel Museum, which is a regular wedding venue, said: “The mix of restrictions and the continuing uncertainty about when and how the restrictions could be lifted have meant weddings bigger than us. we’re used to seeing, at around 100 guests, feel like a much riskier proposition.

“Instead, we go to more intimate weddings for a smaller number – our lowest was only 8 guests! This tends to be a solution for overseas couples who can’t fit in. at home to organize a big party but do not want to delay their wedding.

“But it can also be a really intimate and special experience.”

The advantages of micro-marriages

File photo of a couple at their wedding
File photo of a couple at their wedding wearing face masks. COVID has presented additional challenges for couples.
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Each couple will have their own unique way of making a wedding special, whether with decorative touches, a sentimental music playlist or personalized wishes.

One benefit that can come from a micro wedding is that if you’ve budgeted for a larger reception and ceremony, the money can instead be spent on smaller features to make the guest experience more intimate.

Michal Kowalski of London florist Blooming Haus said: “Because couples save quite a bit of budget on a smaller wedding, we have found that couples always maintain large floral budgets, which is considered a crucial part of the day. . “

“Also, and refreshingly, they noticed that the issue of sustainability plays a bigger role in choosing a floral design.

“Couples are finding that sourcing flowers out of season, like peonies in winter, involves importing them thousands of miles away, so working with the seasons is becoming much more common than before.”

Much easier to get married earlier

Olson added that with fewer guests, couples can tie the knot earlier if they want and not have to wait for the bigger and more expensive venue.

She said: “While there is definitely planning, a micro-wedding is a way around the complexities of planning an elaborate wedding.

“Fewer guests means you’ll spend less overall and have more options for your venue, food and drinks.

“As we step outside of the pandemic’s social distancing rules, there is a backlog of couples planning postponed weddings and picking up locations and dates, so if a couple is determined to have a traditional wedding at a location in demand, they might have to wait a year or two to do it. “

Couples also get a little more creative with what they choose to do on their wedding day, standing out from the crowd.

Olson continued, “These are much more intimate and personal gatherings where a couple can spend one-on-one time with their guests, something almost impossible in an affair of 300 guests.

“And, because this is only a small group, the celebrations are less formal and reflect more of the personality of the couple: an intimate dinner at an important restaurant, for example; a gathering around a favorite pizza. , a picnic in the park or a home-cooked meal in a family home. “

Olson also discussed how a couple can be more guest-oriented, thinking of ideas that might not be possible with larger numbers, such as snack stations around the venue, an elaborate meal made too expensive by a large numbers, and even giving guests the opportunity to perform over dinner.

How to drop unwanted guests

Of course, for those who have a big night planned to celebrate their nuptials, lowering the numbers means that some people who might have expected an invitation may not be successful.

A lot of people have had to totally change their plans and do their best. With weddings it’s especially difficult, but McAlpine said it’s about managing expectations.

She said News week: “Anyone who’s ever been involved in planning a wedding knows that it’s all about managing expectations.

“My advice would be to write down your master list of people you know you can’t live without, and then see if a micro-wedding is right for you.

“But we also had couples who had to be very clear with some guests that if the rules changed again, they wouldn’t be invited!”

Olson also suggested that one way to bring in guests is to use video conferencing, which many sites allow as part of their plans.

She added: “The past year has definitely forced couples to really look at their guest lists and invite only their loved ones, those who have been there for them this year and will be an integral part of their lives at the. to come up.

The task of modifying a guest list

“Editing a guest list is not an easy task for anyone, especially those with large extended families, but people generally understand the circumstances quite well. My advice is to be honest with your guests and share the news, whatever it is, then ask guests to join by video.

“The message can be as simple as, ‘We’re having a little ceremony, but we’d love to have you join by video. Incorporating a streaming service into your celebration is one way to include those who can’t attend. in person.”

In Kowalski’s experience, customers have generally been sympathetic given the situation with COVID. People can also plan a separate party later to allow more guests to come.

He said: “We have found that a few weddings have gone with the numbers met, but the bride and groom are planning a bigger celebratory party when circumstances permit, which will give them the chance to celebrate with more numbers. friends.

“And, from what we hear, the guests realize these are weird times and are happy to welcome the bride and groom and look forward to a future party.”

Archive photo of a small wedding
Archive photo of a small wedding. Couples can have more flexibility with a micro-wedding, which has fewer guests.
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