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  • Writer's picturePaul & Ashley

Plan the Perfect Micro Wedding

Newly Engaged? Congratulations!

You may have heard the term “micro wedding” over the last year as the effects of C0VID19 have spread across the globe. You might be thinking, what is a micro wedding anyway? Should we have one? What exactly does that entail? Read on for all the info and tips!

A beautiful winter micro wedding and DIY backdrop in Fernandina Beach, FL.

Flawless floral arrangements from The Anti Bride at a boutique motel micro wedding in Atlantic Beach, FL.

What is a micro wedding you ask?

A micro wedding usually follows the same format as a traditional wedding, but pares it down to the essentials. With guest lists under 40, the people who are present are truly the people who are a part of your everyday life together. It’s something that a lot of couples may have preferred to do pre-COVID, but outside pressure from friends and family pushed them to go bigger and more traditional. If you're considering going micro, you can mirror the elements of a traditional wedding on a smaller scale. Or you can pick and choose your favorite elements and be as non-traditional as you like. A micro wedding combines the best aspects of a romantic elopement and a traditional wedding. You can choose to eliminate unnecessary costs and effort and stick with the things that truly matter to you both. The rules are that there are no rules.

Should you consider having one?

Yes, absolutely. Even if you eventually choose to go bigger, or decide to postpone until you feel more confident about your plans, it is absolutely worth it to think about what the perfect micro wedding would be for you.

Here’s why. It’s all about you as a couple. Forget agonizing over a massive guest list, choosing the right linens and plotting out every last detail. A micro wedding prioritizes the two of you and the start of your new life together, and in the end that’s really all that matters. With guest lists averaging between 20-40 people, a micro wedding focuses on close friends and family, the people who will be there for you, supporting you in your new life together. It can also save you a heck of a lot of money. A micro wedding is intimate and thoughtful, doesn’t have to take a ton of time and resources to plan, and gets down to basics, so to speak.

Skater Aaron and Teacher Brooke opted for a micro wedding in a laid back setting but went all out on the details.

How much does a micro wedding cost?

Just like a traditional wedding, the budget can vary widely. But no doubt about it, it is a great way to save, potentially a lot. We’ve personally seen micros range from $2000 to $20,000. The great thing is that you can choose your budget and not feel obligated to spend more than you’re comfortable with. Just use those magic words, “micro wedding,” when you’re talking with friends and family and they’ll understand (or they should, hopefully).

***We always advise couples planning their wedding to focus on 3 elements, and the same guidelines apply to a micro wedding. Start by considering your choice of venue (or location since a traditional venue isn’t a requirement), food (if you're doing food), and 1 other thing that makes you happy (a special dress? a great photographer? etc).

Do you need a traditional venue?

Nope. But you do need to hone in on a location even if you don’t go with an actual venue. Can you still go for a traditional venue? Sure. And keep in mind, the wedding industry as a whole has suffered since the pandemic began, and it doesn’t hurt to ask a potential venue or any vendor if they would be willing to work with you on prices. They may be happy to get the booking and willing to be more flexible. If your wedding isn’t large, there are fewer operating costs for them, ideally passing the savings down to you. There is also absolutely nothing wrong and everything right with popping a tent up in a backyard, saying I do on the beach, or checking with your local parks, museums, restaurants etc. With smaller guest lists, the options are endless!

An intimate ceremony at the Lightner Museum in St Augustine, FL.

Sweet, simple details at a micro beach wedding in Fernandina Beach, FL.

Do you have to provide food?

No. Should you provide food? Maybe. The rules are flexible. With smaller guest lists and less traditional venues, couples can get more creative with their catering choices. We have seen more and more couples go for backyard BBQ, a food truck, potluck, or just having some catered appetizers from their favorite restaurant. A beautiful cake is still a great feature of a micro wedding (and a personal favorite), but instead of spending tons of money on a cake big enough to feed 100+ people, opt for something lovingly baked by a family member, or a small but beautiful cake from a local bakery, or a less traditional dessert.

Pretty sweets from a micro wedding dessert table in Atlantic Beach, FL.

How to plan a micro wedding:

Just like a traditional wedding, planning a micro wedding can be as carefree or intense as you like. You get to decide. You can still use a lot of the resources out there (see our guide) that already exist for planning a traditional wedding, and just red-line anything that you don’t want to do. Here are some basics to keep in mind:

Guest list. First, do not stress. Start a list of your closest family and friends. If you’re worried about upsetting extended family and friends, consider live-streaming the ceremony, or even consider eloping. Remember, to keep it micro, you’re going to want to keep that guest list around or under 40 people. But if you find that your must-invite list keeps growing beyond that number, you may want to go with a traditional wedding. And that’s perfectly fine too! If needed, just postpone for a while. Or you can plan a “minimony” now, with a larger sequel reception to follow days, weeks, or months later. Another great option is to have a super-private ceremony, with a larger reception.

Where to do the thing? Get creative! What sounds fun to you? We’ve seen some beautiful backyard weddings, and VRBO and Airbnb can be great resources too (but make sure you get the all-clear from the owner before planning). Traditional and off beat venues may have different options and pricing for smaller weddings so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. But don’t get too hung up! Remember that it’s all about having a fun, joyous day of celebration and if something becomes a pain point, it may be worth eliminating entirely. If you are in the Northeast Florida area, check out our list of local vendors here for inspiration. And if your guest list is really small, consider an adventure somewhere beautiful, like an elopement but with your closest friends.

A glowing beach bride relaxing after a micro wedding ceremony on the beach in Amelia Island, FL.

What vendors to include? Totally up to you! Remember, all the old wedding planning rules have gone out the window so you can incorporate as much or as little as you like in your perfect day. For a list of local vendors, check out our wedding guide.

Should we hire a photographer? Yup. We may be biased, but a quality photographer is always a good idea. If you’ve gone to all the trouble to plan a beautiful, once in a lifetime experience, then capturing those memories is probably important to you, so make sure you do some research and choose a photographer whose work you love. Ask about special micro wedding or hourly pricing, if your dream photographer seems out of your budget, it never hurts to ask if they can work with you to come up with a solution that works for everyone. Check out our work here and reach out for our Micro Wedding prices!

Frolicking flower girl at a micro beach wedding in Northeast FL.

If planning stresses you out, or you’d like a perfectly curated micro wedding and have the budget to include a wedding planner, there are many out there who specialize in more intimate events (see our list for local planners here). But again, the joy of a micro wedding is that you can get rid of anything that truly causes stress and concentrate on the fun stuff instead!

Brooke and Aaron's lavish micro wedding was executed perfectly by The Anti Bride.

We hope this has given you a good feel for whether a micro wedding is right for you. Don’t forget to hit us up if you’re in the market for a great micro wedding photographer!

Paul with one of our micro wedding brides. Crystal and Will's wedding reception took place on a beautiful horse farm surrounded by close friends and family. Will presided as head chef, serving up a low country boil for their guests. Needless to say it was a perfect day.

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