All of our couples have navigated the recent months with their own compass, thoughts and personal beliefs for how a wedding should/might look like in a pandemic. For those of you who have said, “Wear a mask, we are getting married,” we are here to help. The decision to host a smaller, more personal celebration until you can have your big celebration should be and feel special in its own way! We understand working through the idea of downsizing or planning part 1 of your wedding celebration may sound difficult, but with our tips below, the right know-how, and a little help from a planning professional, we are confident you will feel it can be done and still be extraordinary, romantic, and special.
1. Choose a location and details special to you: With a smaller guest list, your venue options grow. Think over those special moments throughout your relationship or consider places that hold invaluable memories. Choose a destination or venue that holds some meaning for you as a couple. Details are what make your celebration unique to the two of you, so don't skimp on them. Smaller weddings make for a more intimate setting where you have the ability to get creative and add special touches and your guests will notice and appreciate them. Details that can be overwhelmed during a larger celebration now become the special touches guests will remember and talk about. Beautiful linens, customized signage, unique place cards, those are the details that will take you day to the next level.
2. Try new colors you love: Take this opportunity to be creative and try something bold when you say I do. You may be tempted to go with the exact same color palette, but ask yourself why? Save that plan for the future celebration and do something different for your micro/smaller wedding celebration. There are some many color palettes and combinations that fair beautifully in smaller settings. Like venue choice, a smaller event allows for unlimited color and flower combinations. Utilizing a new color scheme ensures both celebrations feel uniquely special.
3. Plan your ceremony: Even though your audience may look different than originally planned, or it could be just you and your partner, take the time to plan your ceremony. Not matter what your new ceremony looks like, it is still the moment you officially make a commitment to spend your lives together, and that absolutely warrants some love and attention. There is no do over for the first time you say your “I do’s," together so take the time to make sure it's meaningful and treasure the details of your actions and words. We also suggest you choose an officiant that you know for your ceremony. Look to someone who has had a positive impact on your life and in your relationship to add more meaning to your ceremony and intimate event. With that being said, remember to do what feels right for you. Justice of the peace or enlisting a judge at the courthouse is easy, official, and ok if that’s what you decide!
4. Embrace pandemic wedding decor essentials: Yes, this means having masks, hand sanitizer, and even disposable gloves available for your guests to grab and use should they need it and/or want it. You could even go as far as making personalized masks for your wedding day rather than handing out disposable ones, masks as wedding favors! Hand sanitizer is easier to come by at this point in time so try using small pocket sized hand sanitizer to pass out during the ceremony or prior to the reception. The venue might even have hand sanitizing stations around the ceremony and reception spaces, but can’t hurt to bring your own so guests can grab some on the way into the ceremony or right before they sit down for dinner.
5. Ensure safe seating: Social distancing is still important, even with a smaller wedding, so it's important to consider a setup that will allow guests to have their own space during the ceremony and reception. This is another way to put your personal touch on the day’s design. Experts are seeing a trend in round seating. Everyone gets a great view, at a safe distance, and the seating itself creates a unique element to your ceremony. It is also great for live streaming if you plan to include that for those not able to attend.
6. Hire a photographer: No matter when, where, or how many, this day is important. Whether it's a handful of close friends and family or just the two of you, this is an important day in your lives and the moments should be captured and documented. If budget is a concern due to still planning a larger celebration later, consider hiring a photographer for just a few hours. The love and excitement shared on this day will be photos you will cherish forever. They also make a great décor item for your larger celebration!
7. Entertainment ideas: Lawn games are a thing and everyone loves them! Depending on your guests, dancing may be limited, but that doesn't mean fun has to be. Many vendors are offering elopement/micro wedding packages so look to DJs that have flexible packages. Also lawn games and other outdoor focal points, such as fire pits, encourage mingling and allow for smaller groups to connect, have fun, and enjoy your special evening. To make guests feel comfortable and allow for everyone to take advantage of the fun, it’s a good idea to provide hand sanitizer or set up sanitizer stations throughout the party. This way guests can clean up before and after each game.
8. Single serve please: Consider creating a menu peppered with single-serve options. Mini bottles of sparkling water or wine, or mini cans of soda that a waiter can hand out to guests means less lines at the bar and less drinks from communal containers. For food, pre-plated appetizers with a mix of everything is a new alternative at cocktail hour. Guests can stroll around with a plate of snacks and mingle as close, or far away, from other guests at they feel comfortable with. And don’t forget to serve something sweet. Look into single-serve desserts for guests like cupcakes or mini bundt cakes.
Although your new wedding day might not look like your originally planned day, it's extremely important to remember that your mini or smaller wedding isn't just something to do until your larger celebration, it is your actual wedding day! That means wear a wedding dress you love, plan a first look if you’ve always dreamed of one, and keep the details that matter, like carrying a bouquet. Keep the elements that are special or meaningful to you and even though your guest list may be smaller, your day will be as monumental as ever and your love will be unforgettably celebrated.