Given the uncertainty of the Corona-virus pandemic, couples have been opting to move forward with wedding, or micro-ceremonies, for a range of reasons.
The health of you and your loved ones should be priority throughout the planning (and maybe your postponement) process. Many couples who have needed to postpone their wedding (through 2020) are encouraged to consider a micro-ceremony to honor their original wedding date or to move forward with original marriage plans.
Here in Ireland, as we move into June, and the 2nd phase of the Governments 5-phase re-opening of the country – guidelines for weddings, both small & large, have not yet been defined (the official stages for weddings to recommence are 20th July & 10th August). But we do know a few things – Social gatherings once allowed, will be limited to a maximum number of attendees, as long as you adhere to social distancing measures.
So, what is a Micro-Ceremony?
You might have read or heard this term a lot recently. It’s not a new style of wedding ceremony though. In fact, we have been celebrating beautiful micro-ceremonies for 11 years here at A Beautiful Ceremony!
But it has been around for a lot longer that that too. It’s not to be confused with an Elopement Ceremony either. An Elopement is, more often than not, the couple planning a ceremony with just themselves or perhaps one or two others attending. Normally, but not always, in secret too.
What makes a Micro-Ceremony different is its size.. but not it’s meaning. A micro-ceremony is considered a ceremony between you and your partner and it includes a small group of immediate family & super-close friends – usually anywhere between 5-30 attendees. You can still have styles of ceremonies which reflect your beliefs and cultural heritage.
A Micro-Ceremony usually involves a Celebrant (Solemniser), a small group of loved ones, along with select vendors your larger wedding would include. Your ceremony would still incorporate many of the main elements: walking down the aisle, handwritten vows, music, a first kiss, as well as snapshots of details taken from your larger wedding. This includes a special wedding cake, ordering arrangements from your florist, or requesting your photographer/videographer capture this special occasion. The latter, a popular newer option is to have the ceremony streamed “live” online to your wider family & friends who cannot attend.
In this age of pandemic, many couples are looking to having a Micro-Ceremony on or around their original planned wedding date. Then, postponing their larger “follow-up” wedding at a later stage – either later this year, or (more likely) next year and 2022 – when it is hoped that larger groups and weddings will be allowed to go ahead.
But for now, there is no better time to create your own rules for your own ceremony. A Micro-Ceremony is for those who really want to concentrate on what is important to them as a couple. It’s not the time to cut corners though – putting in the effort to create a really meaningful and very special intimate day is key. This doesn’t mean that you have to blow a budget – with a smaller guest number, you can either keep your purse-strings tight (especially if you are still planning that big bash next year!) – or you could go to town with every luxury and five-star indulgence you could dream of!
Micro-ceremonies have the structure of a larger traditional wedding, just on a smaller scale. They are normally a lot more affordable, and with a lot more flexibility to boot.
HOW TO PLAN FOR A MICRO CEREMONY
Prepare for a bit of “push-back”. Yup, unfortunately at the moment, this is being seen more and more. If you’re on any of the social media chat groups, you might have read about some very upset brides & grooms who (in the midst of being forced into postponing their big dream-date wedding, which is stressful and upsetting enough!) are finding out that some family & friends aren’t to positive when they find out that the couple have decided to have a Micro-Ceremony prior to their postponed wedding.
Ok, so not everyone might be thrilled about you having a more intimate ceremony. Feelings might be hurt when they find out that the guest list has been cut back to bare-minimum, and maybe they aren’t included. It might go against what they picture a wedding ceremony to be.
So approaching the announcement of your new plans might be key here. Have confidence on what you both are choosing to do. Yes, it’s unfortunate that you can’t have the huge celebrations with everyone… but you’ve made a really hard choice to have to postpone your big day in the first instance. And going back to my second sentence in this blog – health of your family & friends is priority.
So tell them that they were considered when you made this decision. And the fact that you’re still planning your big wedding, and wanting them there to celebrate with you, is a huge deal.
But, in the meantime, you have also decided that you’re both going to have a smaller micro celebration with a few of your immediates because, gosh damn it, you just cannot wait to be married to each other!
DECIDE ON DEFINITES
Everyone is different here. This isn’t about “who” to invite (you have to make that decision yourselves!) – this is about planning. What is a necessity for the day. Is it to have very special photos/video – so your photographer/videographer is key. Or (like me) you need help with hair & make-up – so your hairdresser is an absolute yes.
The venue – a relaxed restaurant vibe, outside in a park, a beautiful castle or hotel… And, of course; The Ceremony – not forgetting that if you’re wanting to complete legalities, you’ll need to ensure that you have your paper-work in order.
When checking out your suppliers, don’t be surprised that most, if not all, your chosen professionals will charge just the same as any size wedding/event. Now, in saying that, you might find that some do offer “part-day” pricing – for example, a photographer might only be hired for the ceremony and a few family photos… but not staying on for dinner & dancing.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
In the same way you can choose your suppliers, venue and supplementary inclusions – a Micro-Ceremony is going to give you much more choice on where, when and how your day plays out. Some couples decide they only want the ceremony to be the main formality of the day. Choosing to have a relaxed “afters”, and forgoing the reception or dinner plans completely, and instead deciding on either heading home or to a local pub or restaurant for an anyone welcome get together.
Others will decide to keep the structure after the ceremony, and continue on for a formal, invite-only sit down celebration with their guests.
The main point is, is that you’ll be able to spend more quality time with your guests. With only the smaller number, it is a lot easier to have a very inclusive feel to your wedding.
PLANNER OR CO-ORDINATOR
Yes Micro-Ceremonies are smaller in number – but definitely no less essential for planning. There are many amazing, dedicated Planners who you can hire to help with all the ins & outs of the day; from full planning, to on-the-day co-ordination – dedicated professionals are worth their fee for the time and help for all the little parts of planning that you might not be to sure on.
If you do decide to plan yourselves – which can be lots of work, but also lots of fun – be prepared for just as much planning as if you had 500 guests. Well, ok, maybe not 500.. but really, there’s not that much less planning for a Micro Ceremony then there is for a large wedding event.
In the same sense – if you’re going with a venue for your day – utilise their in-house co-ordinator. Again, their expertise is always beyond helpful.
When a wedding is smaller, every detail is more noticed – so if you need it, ask and get help.
Yes, this is really where you can go to town with a Micro-Ceremony. By its size, it is bursting with flexibility. As mentioned above, budget, style, tradition… all can be given a right twist to create something that is uniquely yours. The bride doesn’t need to wear a white dress… the groom doesn’t need to wear a suit. Allow yourself to plan this day absolutely about yourselves. And, especially, if you are still planning that big wedding celebration next year – you can really go right back to “its about us” for your Micro-Ceremony.
And especially with the ceremony itself – you can definitely make this moment really meaningful. Many times in our Micro-Ceremonies, we create a ceremony that is much much more intimate, more personal, and really directed at the couple themselves. Some couples choose to have the small guest list utilised with getting everyone included… others decide that they want to keep the ceremony absolutely and only just about themselves.
Some find that with fewer attendees, speaking publicly is easier.. and either with the couple in saying more personal vows, or family & friends reciting a poem or reading – it can definitely be a more relaxed vibe.
WEDDING CEREMONIES EVOLVING
So with the look of the wedding day changing with this world-wide pandemic… we are now, more and more, seeing the two-day wedding celebrations becoming a norm. At least for the foreseeable future.
Day One – a special, intimate, Micro-Ceremony with your immediate family & friends
Day Two – next year, the big full festive party, with all the trimmings!
With your Micro-Ceremony, you can prioritize the essentials. Keeping very true to yourselves, your relationship and your love, whilst covering the necessities. Now is the time to building the foundation of your relationship, for your marriage.
You’ll share this very special, intimate moment with your nearest – whilst that impressive get-together that you’ve been planning for the past few months (perhaps years!), will be the chance for all your clan to witness you both celebrate together and kick your heels up.
You’ll still be able to share the memory of your Micro-Ceremony with your wider family & friends with your sequel wedding ceremony later on. And, don’t forget, having your Day Two Ceremony is just as important! All your guests who have been waiting very patiently for your big day will absolutely want to be seeing you both walking up the aisle!
CONTACT US – for more information on how we can help you with your Micro Ceremony and your Wedding Ceremony