That really is the question for couples who planned weddings for 2020, and now early 2021. It is a choice nobody wants to make, but the reality is that it looks like restrictions on weddings are here to stay for the time being. How long for? It depends who you ask.... some people believe restrictions will be lifted some time this winter and other reports I've read recently say social distancing will be the norm until at least 2024. Many couples will have to choose between postponing until they can have the wedding they originally planned, when/if this will be allowed to go ahead or opt for Plan B: go ahead with their planned date but with smaller or non-existent guest list.
This is a tough choice for any couple so I decided I'd put this blog post together with some information.... and who better to ask about micro-weddings than people who have had one! I put a post on social media last week asking them to get in touch to let me know the benefits/downsides of having a wee wedding and I woke up the next morning to a full inbox of couple's experiences. As well as having photographed many tiny weddings over the years with as few as zero guests, I also have first-hand experience as my husband and I had our own wee wedding in 2019. After witnessing hundreds of weddings over the years, I loved the relaxed, personal atmosphere of a wee and I knew this was what I wanted for us....
What if it isn't the wedding you planned though? Can you still enjoy a smaller day? Here is what my couples said:
"Because it was so small it was such a stress-free day." - "I wasn’t overwhelmed, everything was so relaxed"
In every reply I received, there was words to this effect and it makes sense. By cutting your guest list, there is less organisation beforehand and on the day.... and let's face it, we've probably all had enough stress this year so this probably isn't a bad thing in anyone's eyes!
"We didn't have to faff around with invites, table plans and transport plans"
To be honest, I think this is a personal choice, some couples absolutely love the admin part of wedding planning or crafting place settings and décor. Equally, you really don't have to do this for a small wedding, you can save some time and money by keeping it as simple if you like.
"I didn't have to pick between friends to be bridesmaids, then try to find them dresses they all liked"
Again, some people love this part and and you can definitely still do this at a small wedding... if you want to .... BUT you can also save yourself a bit of stress by dropping the formalities of having a traditional bridal party and groomsmen if it isn't your thing!
"I was able to spend lots of time with each guest and that made it easier to remember every detail so clearly"
Anyone who has had a big wedding will tell you, there were guests they didn't get round to talking to and that the day was a blur. The bonus of a small wedding is you do have time to talk to everyone so there is no guilt about not spending enough time with individual guests on the day.
"I loved that we had everyone around the table with us for the meal, there were none of the separations of a bigger wedding"
It is a definite bonus of a small wedding that everyone is one group on the day instead of the usual sub-groups you get at larger weddings. Everyone present gets to know each other better and this was one of things I liked best about our wedding, our families became closer and everyone who was there on the day has kept in touch with each other, whereas they might not have even spoken to each other at a bigger event.
"We didn't have to greet loads of guests and could just enjoy spending time together on the day"
Another bonus of the wee wedding is no receiving line or having to shake hands with 100 people in a row before you get to eat!
"the best thing was that my racist auntie couldn’t come"
"If we invited more people, it would've meant buying meals for people I hate."
"We didn't have to listen to kids screeching through our ceremony"
And this is why most people messaged me instead of commenting on the post!!! I had a good chuckle reading these so I thought I'd share these favourites. This kind of comment was something that came up A LOT. Let's be honest, most of us have people we feel we have to invite out of obligation and the government restrictions are a good excuse to ditch your least favourite guests! However, is a flip-side to this:
"It was hard telling everyone they weren't invited. However, those who mattered were actually really happy for us and understood."
Although a micro-wedding gives you the freedom to ditch racist Aunties, greetin' faced kids and people you hate.... it can also mean having to leave out people you actually care about and for 2020 couples who already sent their invites out before lockdown, it will mean un-inviting guests. In all the replies I received, this was the ONLY downside mentioned to a wee wedding. It was something I found difficult about planning my own wedding, there were some close friends and relatives we would have liked to have been there, but looking back today, we have zero regrets. If you choose a micro-wedding, there are a few ways you can include the people who aren't there on the day:
- Have a party at a later date - this is what my we did, we had a big, informal party a month after our wedding and invited everyone who wasn't there on the day. Mind you, that was in 2019 before parties were banned so you might need another option this year....
- Smaller celebrations like dinners or garden drinks afterwards to see everyone personally or....
- Livestream your wedding on the day: this has already been in place for funerals for a while but it is gaining popularity for weddings, I've seen some film companies offer this as a high quality set up which can also work outdoors.
At the end of the day, people who genuinely care about you will understand why they weren't invited, especially at the moment there really is no choice except have a micro- wedding if you want to get married soon.