The Era of the Micro Wedding Is Coming

Here’s why.

micro wedding

Photo by Zac Wolf Photography

As brides and grooms grapple with how to salvage their plans amid the coronavirus outbreak, the micro wedding—a celebration planned for 50 guests or less—has entered into the limelight. While these small-scale affairs have been gaining popularity for a couple of years, local experts agree that we will likely see a whole lot more of them in the very near future. Here, wedding photographer Zac Wolf and planners Natalie Pinney, of Whim Events, and Kristina Kuusik, of Mavinhouse Events, explain why the trend is on the rise—and how couples can benefit.

It might be the safest bet down the line.

For couples who have planned fall celebrations and are now coming to terms with the likelihood that some level of gathering restrictions may still be in place later this year, pivoting to a smaller celebration might make sense. Or, even if there aren’t enforced gathering limits later this year and into 2021, capping attendee numbers could help couples and guests feel more comfortable proceeding with their event. “[Couples] don’t want to put anybody at risk, so rather than having 250 people, they may say, ‘Let’s do this really small. We can still have our wedding. We can still have our closest family and friends attend. And we don’t have to worry about it,’” Pinney explains.

Smaller weddings are inherently more intimate.

It’s simple math: “If you have 100 guests, you get to say hi to everyone, but that’s kind of it,” Wolf says. “With a 50-guest wedding, you can have a genuine and real experience with each and every person there.” In addition, having a smaller wedding might allow you to infuse more personal elements into the day, whether that’s mentioning a funny anecdote in your vows that you probably wouldn’t share if your dad’s boss were on the guest list or, as Pinney suggests, writing a meaningful thank you note for each guest and leaving it at their place setting at the reception.

There’s plenty of room to get creative.

With micro weddings, brides and grooms can twist tradition in ways that might be more difficult with larger affairs. “It’s a fun way for couples to really use their imaginations,” explains Kuusik, who suggests soliciting your favorite local restaurant to cater food at your reception. Or, as Pinney experienced at a recent function, you could plate an individual mini cake for each guest, rather than serving them slices of a tiered wedding cake.

It’s a no-brainer way to cut costs.

Every couple knows that each additional guest on the list means more money they’ll need to budget. Right now, for many brides and grooms, that’s just not feasible.

Having fewer people on your guest list may allow you to stretch your dollar further. Kuusik, for instance, says that with a smaller number of invitees, the increasingly popular three-day wedding weekend might be within reach for couples on tight budgets. “When it’s only 20 people, it’s a lot easier to make it a weekend-long event,” she explains. “I think that will appeal to a lot of [couples].”

If you’ve already started planning a larger wedding and put down deposits, there are also ways to utilize what you’ve already paid for without causing you or your vendor to lose out. “Say you already hired a florist and they were making centerpieces for 20 tables, but now you only have two tables. Instead of wasting those other 18 centerpieces, you could have those sent to guests’ homes,” Kussik says.

You can still include those who aren’t on the guest list.  

If you want to convert your celebration to a micro wedding but you’ve already sent out save-the-dates to the larger list, there are ways to involve everyone you originally had in mind—even if they won’t be physically present. For instance, on behalf of a client who had been planning a 250-person August wedding at a summer camp, Pinney is working with the venue to see if they can pivot to a micro wedding, but live stream the ceremony for loved ones who aren’t attending. At the reception, she’s also hoping they can set up a web camera so guests can speak to and dance along with those tuning in at home. Another lower-tech idea that Pinney and her clients are currently exploring: Shipping gift boxes to those who won’t be there in person. “Maybe we send them a little gift box with champagne, cake, a Spotify playlist, and a link to the live stream—things that are celebratory—and say, ‘We wish you could be here with us. Please celebrate with us on this night,’” she says.

Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Boston Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.