Intro & General Advice
Right now, a lot of my couples are unsure how to navigate their wedding plans. The aspect of these conversations that really breaks my heart is when couples are hesitant to celebrate with a small ceremony because they feel it might take away from their big wedding celebration in the future. Firstly, I understand the loss you’re feeling & I know some of you have been picturing this day for years.
That said, who says you only get one meaningful day to celebrate your love? As someone who has done heaps of pre-COVID elopements (many of my military couples get officially married a year beforehand due to deployment and then have a big celebration with family later) I have never found that the couples feel that their big wedding was any less meaningful. There is an indescribable feeling when you commit your love in front of your loved ones no matter if the paperwork is already done.
Give yourself a break. There’s no pressure to do ANYTHING you don’t want to or plan anything that will make you feel sad or stressed. This is all supposed to be FUN so if at any point you don’t feel joy, bail. I, personally, love any reason to celebrate! I encourage you to embrace the now because the future is always uncertain. To mix things up, you can do a design that is super different than what you’re doing (go a little modern if you’re doing romantic, wear a different dress, pick different colors etc)! Here is one of my favorite videos showing the joy of a minimony! Friends, celebrate your love however feels authentic to you! Even if that means dancing in your apartment as an engaged couple one more year.
What I have been seeing in the 2020 wedding world are 3 options:
- Have a small ceremony AND a big celebration later
- Downsize to a micro-wedding
- Postpone to 2021 or later
Let’s break down each, shall we?
The pros with option one are TWO CELEBRATIONS! You now have two anniversaries and can host a day that is memorable and unique NOW. This whole situation can feel very heavy so cut yourself a break! You can elope or have a mini ceremony and a special night in to infuse some joy into your pandemic life. You can even buy new outfits and some fancy venues are even offering microwedding packages! The con here is that if you don’t like planning, this may not be for you. There are logistics involved and it’s definitely an added expense.
The pros of option two are that you’re embracing the now! You never know what 2021 holds. Some folks even wanted a smaller wedding in the first place but caved to family pressures of inviting second cousins. In many cases, you save money on this option and don’t have that ‘life on pause’ feeling. The cons are obvious with this one… you may never get that big wedding moment. If that’s important to you, option 3 may be the look.
The pros of option three are trying to stick with plan A- your dream wedding. Now, I’m totally on board for this option BUT, you never know what the future holds. I didn’t think we’d be in month 6 of this thing yet here we are. You definitely need to look over your contracts and see what the change fees are and emotionally prepare if 2021 is not COVID-free.
Microweddings & Elopements
If you want to go ahead with option 2 or 3, it’s time to plan a microwedding! I have seen a boat load of ways couples do these! If 2020 has taught us anything it’s to go with what makes you actually happy. I have seen couples self officiate just the two of them or even elope over zoom and then do a quick hour of portraits at their favorite spot! I have seen couples use a public park & dress up a dinner at their home or some have used this to rent a fancy space and do a totally different theme from their own wedding.
If you are wanting a beautiful day with a handful of guests, I would still suggest hiring a planner especially if events overwhelm you. They’re an amazing resource and a ton of them are offering micro wedding packages.
That said, from what I’ve seen, Microweddings run from two to four hours depending on what you want covered. Below is a sample 3 hour timeline *travel times not included:
4PM Detail Photos (optional)
4:30PM Getting Ready Photos (optional)
5PM First Look & Portraits (Add in travel time if necessary)
6:15PM Ceremony Concludes
6:20PM Family or Guest Photos
6:50PM Champagne Toast or Cake Cutting
7PM Coverage Ends
Just like every big wedding looks different, every small wedding does too! If you want to rent a fancy hotel for getting ready photos and spend the night in your personal getaway, go for it! If you want Zoom speeches and live-streaming, set that tripod up! To each their own. If you’re planning a ceremony in DC here are some of my favorite microwedding venues: