What is a small, intimate, or micro wedding?
Everyone has their different opinions. A photographer’s opinion might be different from a wedding planner’s opinion.
This is what I think most photographers consider the differences between small, intimate, and micro weddings.
Between 45 and 65 guests. Most airbnbs won’t allow a party this big on their property.
Less than 45 people. Something where you might be able to have the wedding at an Airbnb, or an Edwardian house.
I say less than 15, but less than 20 people can still be a micro wedding. You’ll have an easier time choosing an Airbnb as your venue that’ll allow for this size crowd.
I hear, and see couples all the time, saying how stressful, or expensive a large wedding is, and than after the wedding, I often here how it went by so fast, that the cost just didn’t seem worth it to have a large wedding. Or in some cases, they just couldn’t be them selves, because they didn’t want to offend ‘Great-aunt Muriel’. How about all those +1 that you don’t know, and their food you gotta pay for. The whole point of a +1 for people who aren’t married, is so they have someone to talk during cocktail hour, or dinner time. Imagine a small intimate wedding; most likely, that person is very close to you, and most likely close to the other important people at your wedding. There is probably no need for a +1 for all your guests at your intimate wedding.
Here are 12 reasons to have a small intimate wedding. I hope that this guide can help you decide if a small intimate (or Micro) wedding is something you want to do instead, and give some ideas on how to break to your friends and family that you want to stick to something smaller. With covid still being an unsure thing when everyone was first hearing about it, I went from a 100 person wedding, down to a micro wedding.
o1. CAN BE EASIER TO PLAN
Small weddings can be easier to plan, but with a smaller wedding, you might want to do more things, so I’d say take this with a grain of salt. Instead of a venue staff setting out plates, your MOH might be setting out plates. Instead of a florist putting up flowers, maybe a couple of your closest friends are putting up the flowers. BUT! It also means less people you have to worry about when it comes to food allergies, no table charts, a much flexible timeline, no deciding on the bunch of different type of drinks you need to provide. Just grab a few cases of beer, a couple bottles of wine, one or two bottles of champagne, and some scotch. No need to figure out mixed drinks for your bartender to make.
o2. IT’S MORE INTIMATE
When photographers say ‘intimate wedding’, they don’t mean more ‘oh-la-la’ moments, they mean more time to hold hands, more time to read each other a poem, a moment to sing your partner a song, and longer embraces. Everyone who attends your wedding has a special place in the story of your relationship. You’re surrounded by familiar faces. There’s no strangers coming up to you, congratulating you on your marriage. There’s no question on who someone is in your wedding photographs.
Big weddings can mean tight timelines, everything is rushed. I’ve been to weddings where people have asked me where the bride is at. Well, she’s hiding so she can have a breather.
o3. BETTER GUEST EXPERIENCE
Guests are more likely to gather together to play games, or join in on the fun when it’s a smaller group. I remember cutting video scenes of the guests having fun, but accidently capturing a lonely person sitting by themselves off in the background. It’s not something I like to show in my videos, but in reality, I see it all the time. A guest sitting by themselves, or looking board because their partner doesn’t like to dance. In a small wedding, everyone most likely knows everyone, or people are less likely to be left out because everyone is sticking together in such a small group. Not to mention, your friends and family will most likely be helping out with flowers, dinner, and games. Imagine the morning before, with all your favorite people helping out with preparation, and feeling deeply included in your special day.
o4. TIME TO TALK WITH YOUR GUESTS
This goes with the point above. With large weddings, you just don’t have time to go and talk with every single person at your wedding. There is simply just no time! 100 guests, 1 minute per guest,… that’s 1 hour and 40 minutes just to have a 1 minute conversation with everyone!
o5. BETTER POSSIBILITY FOR A DESTINATION WEDDING
Destination weddings sound amazing, beautiful, and a fun, once in a life time experience! But let’s face it, not everyone is going to be able to come. With a small or intimate wedding, it’s more likely that all your guests will be able to fly out to some awesome place!
o6. UNIQUE WEDDING LOCATIONS
Not just with a better possibility for a destination wedding, but also way more unique locations for your wedding in your home state, or country. Having an intimate wedding, you can rent that A-Frame cabin you’ve been drooling over on instagram, or that Edwardian house in New England, or in a castle ruin in Scotland or Ireland. You could even go for a pub wedding! Here are just a couple of gorgeous places to get married in the US:
Christianson’s Schoolhouse and Rose Garden
Hidden Garden in LA
The Seraphim House
Cozy River Cabin
o7. DIY PROJECTS ARE MORE MANAGEABLE
When I was planning my bigger wedding in California, I was trying to come up with budget friendly decorations, and it just seemed like a crazy idea, because it was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s doable! But it was way more manageable when I had my micro wedding. 100-200 DIY party favors? Much easier to make 10-35 of them.
o8. SMALL WEDDINGS ARE MORE MEMERABLE
Most couples say that they were so busy during their wedding, that it just passed in a blur. With a smaller wedding, you have more time to enjoy the small moments, and most importantly, time to sneak off with your partner. But not only that! Remember when I was talking about bored guests? With a much smaller, intimate wedding, everyone’s much more included in your big day. They are going to be so honored to have been included in the small group of people that you’ve decided to share your wedding day with. Games will most likely not leave anyone out, DIY projects with micro weddings will have all hands on deck. More personal time with your guests.
o9. BE YOURSELF
This is a big reason to have a small intimate wedding. This is such a big one for me at least. Some family members, or your father’s co-workers might turn their noses at loud crowds, smoking cigars, a campground wedding. Some people feel pressure to act a certain way in front of some people. With a small wedding, that pressure is sure to be lifted, as (hopefully) you’ve only invited the people who are most dear to you, and accept you for who you truly are.
1o. MAXIMIZE YOUR BUDGET
Weddings are EXPENSIVE. When you have a smaller wedding, you’re not worrying about 200 people to feed. 100 people is super expensive to feed. Put your money where you want to. Save money for your honeymoon. Or! truly splurge on a gourmet meal for all your guests now that you have a smaller headcount.
11. SPARING PEOPLE’S FEELINGS
With a smaller wedding, it’s much easier to explain to the people who aren’t invited, vs. trying to explain to someone when you’re having such a large wedding.
12. BETTER PORTRAIT EXPERIENCE
Since you can now choose a unique venue, or even if you’re having a micro wedding, you might be able to have your guests join you in a pick nick in the mountains, or desert. (I highly reccomend if you’re having a dinner outside, away from a venue, or your airbnb, to keep the hiking group down to 12 people) This gives you amazing views for your portraits. Or maybe you want to do a first look on top of the mountains, than a 30 minute drive back down to your airbnb where you’re holding your wedding. The possibilities are endless when it comes down to having a small wedding.
If you love the idea of a small wedding as much as I do, I’d love to be apart of your day, documenting all your special moments! Let’s get in touch! BOOK NOW