There’s a been a shift in recent years of couples shunning larger parties in favour of a more intimate ceremony — an empowering choice for couples who want to focus on only their closest family and friends.
The rise of the same-sex micro weddings is giving couples more control over their wedding budget, and who and what they want to spend it on. So, does bigger always mean better? Or do the best things come in small packages?
We caught up with Liz Taylor of the Taylor Lynn Corporation, wedding planner to the stars and hundreds of style-conscious couple for over 30 years. She shares everything you need to know about planning a stylish and memorable micro wedding.
What is a Micro Wedding?
“Defined, a wedding with fewer than 20 guests, micro weddings are becoming hugely popular,” says Liz. “A micro wedding focuses on your ideas. It’s a way of sharing your special day with only the people who love you (and vice versa) without feeling the need to invite distant relatives you never see, or friends you don’t want to.”
She feels that the best thing about a micro wedding is that everyone knows each other. She adds “They tend to have an incredibly warm and relaxed atmosphere. And you can spend the money on spoiling the people that mean something to you as a couple.”
Does a Micro Wedding Cost Less?
It goes without saying that with fewer people to look after you may end up spending less, but this trend isn’t actually about saving money.
Liz explains that: “More often than not, clients come to me with a decent wedding budget in mind, but with a micro wedding they have a very focused idea on how they want to spend it. And on who they want to spend it.”
“It’s very empowering! And it means you can go to town on the little details that will make your wedding truly unique and memorable, without trying to please too many people.”
Is a micro wedding for us?
A micro wedding isn’t for everyone.
For some, the grand occasion has been their lifelong dream. For some though, the fuss of the big wedding day is too impersonal and imposing.
A micro wedding is perfect for those who want to focus the day on their inner circle, couples who have a smaller budget, or those who don’t mind spending but have a very clear vision of what their day should look like.
If you don’t like the limelight then or you just want to relax on your big day without the pressure of meeting and greeting 100+ guests then why not choose a micro wedding for a stress-free, perfect day.
Tips for Organising a Small Wedding
One of Liz’s favourite ways to organise a small wedding is to hire out a boutique hotel exclusively for the wedding party. And there are plenty to choose from.
With a wide variety of luxurious extras such as rooftop gardens, hot tubs, city views or beachside vistas. It’s a house party on a much grander scale!
“Guests arrive at a champagne reception and canapes on the first night. and they’re all in situ ready for the ceremony the next morning. You could theme this part of the wedding to make it even more fun, a masquerade or fairy-tale ball, or even a murder mystery could add a surprising twist.
There’s always a wonderful feeling of anticipation when the guests have been together in the hours or days leading up to the wedding.
And, of course, there’s still the element of surprise when the brides or grooms make their appearance.
A nice touch is to host a final breakfast or brunch on the morning after the wedding, which gives everyone a chance to talk about the previous day, cementing the memories of a beautiful shared experience.”
Liz feels that it’s all about getting the tiny details right for a smaller wedding, so she usually recommends leaving a lovely personalised gift in the rooms for each guest.
Whether it’s embroidered robes or a hamper with wine, chocolates or a thoughtful gift that’s personal to them. What a brilliant alternative to wedding favours to really up the levels of ‘guest experience’.
What Type of Venue Suits a Small Wedding?
“Having fewer guests opens up a world of choice when it comes to the venue. You really can have all the grandeur of a larger wedding in the spectacular setting of your choice.
Art galleries make an elegant backdrop, or what about a luxury yacht complete with a cruise. Once you’ve said your ‘I dos’ the guests leave, and you can sail off on your honeymoon.”
Even larger venues can work for smaller weddings. The challenge here is to make it feel cosy and welcoming rather than like a large proportion of the guests just didn’t show up.
Liz will often use draping and lighting in this situation to add texture and warmth. Zoning the room can help to create cosiness and keep your party together, with designated eating, chill out and dancing spaces.
Along with dessert stations, cocktails bars dispersed around the room, adding a more personal touch to the service.
Liz adds: “I’ve also arranged the most wonderful intimate weddings at the couple’s home or the home of a parent. Here there’s often scope to achieve décor ideas that wouldn’t be possible in commercial venues.”
Décor Ideas for a same-sex Micro Wedding
Speaking of décor, it certainly doesn’t have to be minimal. If anything, a smaller wedding means you can be even more flamboyant and inspirational in this area because, with fewer guests, there’s likely to be more budget.
Huge floral canopies are one of Liz’s favourite looks and can be simply divine over a banquet-style table. And you can’t beat hanging wisteria amid a sea of candlelight for the most romantic of ceremony spaces.
WOW Ideas for Smaller Weddings
Small weddings benefit from ‘big moments’, with less stress and more time to plan you can concentrate on those wow ideas that will make the day truly memorable.
Why not make an entrance by standing behind huge drapes at the ceremony which are drawn back to reveal you as a happy couple?
Go to town on the entertainment, hiring a favoured musician, exclusive band or singer to serenade you and your guests as you glide down the aisle.
Think about the people in the room too, and how you can surprise and delight them. You could even fly in that distant relative and make them the guest of honour, capturing the look of on your loved ones’ faces as they make their entrance.
“I can certainly see why the micro wedding is getting more popular, especially if you focus on guest experience, making every moment of your big day personal and meaningful. But more than this, a smaller wedding is much less stressful and allows you to enjoy the planning process as well as the final result.”Liz