By Rebecca Padgett Frett
We would be remiss not to acknowledge the many ways, for better and for worse, that COVID-19 has impacted the wedding industry. Couples and wedding professionals alike have had to reconceptualize weddings, become more creative than ever and band together all in the name of love. A positive that COVID-19 brought to the forefront was reminding us of the intimacy at the core of a wedding.
Terms used with increasing frequency over the past year include downsized, microwedding, minimony, intimate gathering and elopement. While the circumstances that brought forth the occurrences of these style ceremonies are less than ideal, I believe smaller weddings are here to stay for the long haul.
Traditionally, elopements were performed in secret, with family and friends only being informed after the ceremony. It is viewed as non-traditional yet the most intimate because it focuses on the couple rather than the guest experience.
A minimony is typically 10 to 20 attendees who witness the vows and commitment ceremony performed by an officiant. After, events could include a first dance, a meal, a cake cutting and photographs.
Microweddings have become the most popular recently because they hold the same aspects of a large wedding but with a downsized guest list of less than 50. For many, this has become the ideal option because it allows you to utilize your valued vendors and create your special day … just on a smaller scale.
“Smaller weddings do not equate to fewer special moments,” said Kristi Summerlin, who works in marketing and sales for SunQuest Beach Weddings. “If anything, smaller weddings can allow you to refocus your budget on elevated experiences.”
Summerlin said these experiences could include a beach bonfire, hiring a band or acoustic act or celebrating with a candlelit dinner on the beach.
Diane Bardhi, owner of Sweet Tea Events in Tallahassee, emphasized that the number of wedding day vendors usually stays the same no matter the wedding size, but the money saved by inviting fewer guests can be allocated to another distinctive feature, such as a videographer, photobooth or a dessert bar.
At smaller weddings, guests notice the details you put time and care into. You will be able to create a customized experience that both grants your wishes and makes your guests feel all the more special for making the invite list.
Meals have become a major way to make a microwedding shine, especially since plated meals are used more often than buffets or food stations. Individually packaged and portioned appetizers and plated meals not only cater to fewer points of contact but also to more culinary creativity.
“Smaller weddings provide the opportunity for a good deal of detail work,” said Samantha Roche, director of events and operations for Andrew’s Catering. “It allows for the couple to be extremely specific with each facet of their meal; from custom recipes to elaborate plating techniques, the options are endless.”
While a large wedding venue is always an option, microweddings expand your venue options, allowing you to think outside of the box to include spaces such as a rental home, your favorite restaurant, public parks and other more intimate spaces. While travel may be limited, couples still find ways to make their destination weddings happen.
“Hilton Sandestin Beach has seen a huge increase in rescheduled destination weddings,” said Angela Kramer, wedding and special events manager at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. “Guests are now looking to plan something stateside to avoid traveling overseas. Thanks to our enviable location on Florida’s northwest coast, we can offer a safe domestic destination without sacrificing stunning ocean views.”
There is no denying that choosing a downsized wedding requires deliberation, but on that day, what you will value most is the time you get to spend with each guest. Those you hold most near and dear will be present to witness your marriage and celebrate you.
Intimate weddings have caused many to reconfigure and reconsider their special day. While that image may be ever changing, what continues to strengthen is the meaning of marriage. ▪