The Micro Wedding
The micro wedding: the phrase quickly took hold last year, and that it’s a trend set to last is apparent. But what are they, and is a micro wedding the right thing for you?
When Will Micro Weddings Happen?
The government has yet to announce how or when it’s possible for weddings to happen again, but we’re anticipating that a return to the tier-system will allow for weddings of up to 15 to go ahead when lockdown is ended.
The UK Wedding Taskforce - the united front representing the wedding industry, currently liaising with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – have also put forward a proposal on how weddings for up to 50 guests can take place safely from Easter onwards. But it’s worth noting that this is a proposal only at this stage.
Converting to a Micro Wedding
So, what does this mean for your wedding? If you’ve already postponed once, or maybe even twice (!) and you’re getting to the point where finally becoming married is outweighing the want for a big, traditional celebration, then let us give you some insights and hot tips on how to convert to a micro wedding.
Let’s start with the civil ceremony. Firstly, we’re basing our facts on last year’s guidelines, and trusting these will represent the harshest restrictions, as the promise of the vaccine slowly allows for a return to normality. Secondly, we’re assuming social distancing between households will remain for a little while longer.
Naturally, condensing your guest list will be the trickiest part to negotiate. Once you have, we will ask you to send us your guest list, with the guests divided into their households. Guests will be seated in their households for the ceremony, with two metres between the households (not between each chair). You’re welcome to have a walk down the aisle with one significant adult only. Guests would need to wear masks, but this does not apply to you (the couple getting married) and not the person walking down the aisle with you until they’re seated.
The Micro Ceremony Set-Up
While readings are not back on the cards just yet, all other aspects of the ceremony remain the same. Music builds the atmosphere, as always, and if your budget can stretch to some statement flower arrangements, then these will of course add to the gravitas of the ceremony. In regards to the set-up, we can have the traditional walk down the aisle towards the arch, or outside. Another option is to turn the seating around in favour of a half-moon shape, facing the back window. Last year, we found that this allowed for a casual, intimate atmosphere, beautifully in keeping with the micro wedding theme. Either way, walking out will always prompt the most thunderous applause!
After that walk, we are very happy for confetti to be thrown. Having the biodegradable confetti in cute packets, or closed cones, on the ceremony chairs minimises touch points – and looks really sweet too!
From here, the photographer may want to pull you away for photos, while we make sure your guests get a celebratory drink and nibbles. If we’re inside, a seated drinks reception with canapés makes for an effortless way to keep guests in their households. We would allocate a table per household in the bar area, and set up delightful, individual drink & nibble stations for them to tuck in to.
The same principles apply if we're outside. As you’ve likely deduced, masks are not required among your guests from this point on, as food and drink is being consumed! However, the canapés might become a necessity, as we saw from the tail end of last year that drinks had to be served with food.
Food - The Wedding Breakfast
But no one ever says no to food, right? The beauty here is that the smaller number of guests normally frees up your budget a bit too, and you can opt for the most fantastic wedding breakfast. Sharing food is not completely off the table yet (no pun intended!) either, as bowls and utensils can be shared within a household.
Micro Wedding Breakfast Set-Ups
Thinking of households and seating, there are several creative ways of setting up the barn for your wedding breakfast. Firstly, you can of course have guests on individual tables. This works really well if we’re allowed between 20 and 30 people, like we saw in September last year.
However, if we’re limited to 15, having one long table down the middle of the Main Barn creates a lovely sense of unity. Guests in the same household can sit opposite each other, leaving a large enough gap between households. We would still suggest that you, the couple, sit next to each other, in the middle, and we work outwards from there. Everyone will feel close to you that way!
Naturally, both set-ups can be moved outside, if the weather allows. Not only considered safer, but wouldn’t that really create a sense of a Mediterranean get-away, dining under the blue skies in the courtyard? (Quick plug here for the outdoor fairy light canopy that can be hired from Something Borrowed Event Hire. And the long, rustic tables that can be hired from Oxford Event Hire, if you want more of a festival vibe.)
Following on from the meal, we would traditionally see the speeches take place. Please don’t think that a micro wedding eliminates speeches! So much emotion and turmoil and waves of love will have brought you to this point, that the significance of the day and your love for each other needs to be addressed. We have probably all heard about the flying particles… but remember that we’re an intimate venue with fantastic acoustics; so raised voices are not necessary in order to be heard.
Now I know this is the point many of you worry about: the golden hour evening time. You’ve had the “main parts” of the day, and traditionally there would be an influx of evening guests arriving, ramping up for the party. But, with your micro wedding, this is the big seller – there is time for the most magical golden hour photos. Your guests have been really well fed and watered at this point, and you would’ve had time to really talk and connect with them, so they won’t miss you when you meander off for an evening stroll. Your photographer will have the time of his/her life, capturing the beauty of you and your love, without pressure and deadlines. Moreover, the opportunity for you to spend time together. Just the two of you. On your wedding day. Savour it!
On the subject of savouring, the wedding cake becomes another highlight of the micro wedding. Have you heard your married friends talk about their cake? The one they spent lots of money on and never got the chance to eat? Well, that won’t happen for you. As buffets and help-yourself stations are currently shelved, we would serve your wedding cake plated, either as your dessert or later on in the evening. Think dainty plates with petite forks and perhaps a delicate cup of coffee on the side. That’s real savouring. The cake can of course be displayed on the day as normal – safely out of reach – and the Cutting of the Cake can be captured beautifully too.
Moving further in to the evening, the lack of traditional entertainment will undeniably require a bit more creative thought. Until we’re allowed mingling, and thereby dancing, again, figuring out a fun way to spend more time with your loved ones can seem daunting. But fear not. Never before have wedding games slotted in so beautifully, particularly if you’ve got a bridesmaid or best man to help organise them beforehand.
Micro Wedding Games
For example, The Shoe Game? Hilarious. Lyrics to a song changed to tell the story of the couple? Genius. Wedding Couple Crossword? Give me a pen. Cads About Matrimony? Depends on the future mother-in-law, but I’m game if you are. Household teams in board game play-offs? Hell yeah. A round of ‘I Have Never…’ Wedding Edition? Pass me the tequila. Fire juggler? Sign me up. And don’t forget, everyone loves a quiz!
In addition, it might be worth mentioning curfews here. If there is a government-imposed curfew in place, you may not have as much time for evening entertainment as you originally thought, so please eliminate any thoughts of a drawn-out evening!
First, or last, Dance
On the other hand, how do you close the day on a micro wedding? We would suggest using your First Dance as the last event on your wedding day. With the lights dimmed, the fairylights twinkling overhead, the two of you swaying, perfectly in tune with each other, is surely a beautiful and fitting way to end the evening and starting your married life. Together.
Wrapping It Up
In conclusion, your micro wedding will have nearly all of the key elements of a traditional wedding. However, it will have a completely different feel to a celebration with lots of people. The key differences are: firstly, the time you’ll have to speak and connect with the guests attending; secondly, the unique opportunities you’ll have for photos; and finally, the intimacy of only having your very closest friends and family there.
I hope this helps a little with your thoughts around your wedding day. You know we’re always available for a chat, so please do reach out! I’ve also popped some FAQs below if you want to find out more.
Can I save money by having a micro wedding?
In short, yes. If you have an earlier finish, we will adjust the venue hire. Caterers will work with you to amend their original quotes to reflect the smaller number of guests. (Please bear in mind that they will still need to meet their fixed overheads.) Drinks will only be charged as consumed.
If we have a micro wedding now, can we have a party later?
Yes, we are very open for you to “marry now, party later” and can offer dates next year (Sunday – Thursday if you want summer) for a knees-up!
Will a micro wedding be safe for my grandparents?
We are a Covid-secure venue, and if our procedures are adhered to by your guests, then yes, your micro wedding will be perfectly safe for everyone.
Could we replace guests throughout the day, with the total number staying the same at all times?
We say proceed with caution. The guidelines are in place to protect people, so having a succession of guests defeats the purpose to some extent. However, if there are genuine reasons, like grandparents only feeling safe to attend the ceremony, then they can indeed be replaced for the rest of the day.
What if we are suddenly allowed more people?
We can easily adapt and you are of course welcome to invite more guests if guidelines allow. This will mostly be a question for the caterers though!
What if a micro wedding is still not for me?
If your wedding is due to take place before the end June, we are happy to explore postponement options with you.
Our wedding date is this summer. Do we need to decide on a micro wedding now?
Of course not! We’re flexible, and giving it thought is always worthwhile, but we don’t expect any immediate decisions.
The remainder of our venue hire is due, and we haven’t decided if we want a micro wedding, or even if it’s necessary. Do we still need to pay?
No, we are happy to wait until a time when we can sit down and make concrete plans!