Today some of our lovely Unique Rebel Union wedding suppliers share with us with their experience of micro weddings, what they learnt from the unprecedented year of 2020, and how wedding planning may change moving forward in 2021.
In reflection, there is no doubt that last year was an uneasy ride for both couples and wedding suppliers alike, as they navigated through months of the pandemic, lockdowns and regionalised restrictions. Couples were not able to have the day they had hoped for, and many suppliers lost almost a years income and some sadly lost their businesses.
In contrast, there was still joy in 2020 for those couples who decided to get wed; micro weddings and elopements blossomed out of the chaos, and some couples still said their I do’s… Albeit in different ways than they originally planned, but still full of love and happiness!
I think EVERYONE is looking forward to when weddings return to some kind of norm where you have the option to invite as many guests as you want, however until then, I can see small / micro weddings continue in popularity in 2021.
Not only do micro weddings reduce the pressure to invite everyone you know, they also help break older traditions that make you feel like you have to invite extended family members, or friends of family.
At the end of the day you need to do what’s best for you. You shouldn’t feel pressured into doing what you think is best for everyone else, however, you should spend time working out what is best for you as a couple. This about you two. Your day. Your memories.
If you want that dream wedding and you are happy to wait until you can have all your guests there, then plan for that. My advice would be not to hesitate to find and book your suppliers to secure them, as many wedding suppliers are already juggling with 2020 postponements and 2021 weddings alongside each other this year.
However, if you’re at the stage where you are now thinking fuck it, let’s get wed and host an intimate meal afterwards, or plan to party later; then do just that! At the end of the day small weddings doesn’t mean less magical!
Emma from Epic Love Story…
I want to give you some of my own advice and experiences from shooting 2020 weddings during a pandemic…
I was lucky to shoot 9 weddings for Epic Love Story last year; lucky seems a weird thing to say seeing as I normally shoot 30, but sadly some of my peers weren’t able to shoot any. In each of those weddings the one thing that stood out to me was the emotion… They were some of the most emotional weddings i’ve ever shot.
Cutting back guest lists meant some tough choices were made, but the love and joy I saw from every single couple was definitely more intense compared to a lot of weddings I’ve shot in previous years.
The heightened emotion was down to two things….
Relief and sharing that day with the people that really matter. After many postponements for some couples, it really felt a relief that they could finally say ‘I do’! I also noticed that the joy was more intense because it was stripped back to what it’s really all about, sharing your day with your ride dies, the ones who are there for you when shit gets tough, and if you have more than 15 people that are willing to literally pick you up off the floor when times are bad then you’re an extremely lucky person!
So if your numbers do have to be cut, choose wisely and remember the most important thing is the getting married itself ! I mean that’s what it’s really about right?
You don’t need over 100 people to be there – take it from someone who’s shot over 200 weddings and that’s married (and who preferred our destination vow renewal alone to our actual wedding! lol) it was way more meaningful, just us (no family dramas!) on top of a mountain and we love those photos more than our wedding too! We were able to really enjoy the day instead of being caught up in everything else, it was way more romantic.
Why have so many guests that you don’t actually get time to even speak to? Spend that quality time with less people instead of getting caught up in all the extra unnecessaries of a bigger day. A smaller day also doesn’t mean less coverage, half of the weddings i did shoot in 2020 had the full 8 hours, we still did the getting ready, ceremony, drinks, portraits, dinner… you can see examples of those on my website too.
Put that money you would have spent on all those extra people towards a more luxurious day for your really important guests. Have more luxurious flowers, a five course meal, an open bar, a 2nd dress, more live music… Really treat those 15, 20, 30 guests (or whatever the restrictions might be) and put the rest of the money you’ve saved towards an epic honeymoon! or a deposit on a house! then next year have a big party! Hire a bar out, people wont expect free drinks and a meal either! So you get the best of both worlds, you get to be married this year with a super luxe intimate wedding with your faves and can look forward to a big booze-up with everyone else next year and it’s an excuse to wear another fancy AF outfit! Win Win.
Here is what one of my couples said about their day…
M + T: “It was the best day of our lives. It was a hard decision for us to go ahead with a small wedding, we both had this big idea in our heads of what a wedding should be and how many people should be there, but once we decided to go ahead with 15 people we got so excited about our wedding again and about actually being married, even more excited than with our original plans!
Having a small amount of people there meant everyone was really involved, it was really emotional and intimate and everyone had the best time. We think it actually made it even more special and much more romantic.
We both agree it really was the best decision we have ever made, and we’re so so so excited to finally begin married life! We would recommend it to any couple considering it. Life is too short!”
Nat Raybould Celebrant
Couples planning to marry in 2020 have had such tough decisions to make, sometimes more than once, in an ever-changing landscape. It looks like the start of 2021 may be equally as tough and ever-changing, but amidst the uncertainty, I have been constantly impressed and touched by the resilience and pragmatism of my couples.
I conducted two wedding ceremonies for couples on Zoom during the first lockdown, that brought together people from all over the globe to witness heartfelt declarations of love and commitment: I have been told that guests wept, and felt that they were in the room with the couple as it happened. I certainly felt as if I was laughing and crying with my couples in the same place, even though I was actually in the corner of my bedroom in order to get the best lighting for the ceremony! I was also very fortunate to conduct one in-person wedding in September, for 30 attendees on the last weekend before the rules changed. Everyone in the room was so grateful to be able to celebrate with the couple, to hear their vows and to toast their good health.
With all three weddings I have conducted this year, love was still the fulcrum, and love was – if anything – more present and more vivid than ever. It may be somewhat of a cliché to say “love cannot be locked down” – but, oh yes! – it is a damned true cliché as well! All I can advise as we progress in 2021 is that your gut will tell you what is best to do. Have the wedding you need, the guests you need, the flowers, outfits, food you need to mark YOUR day. The love will ALWAYS be there.
Hannah at The Giraffe Shed…
At The Giraffe Shed we are all about the big wild parties, live music + those festival vibes, but 2020 took our beloved giant conga line and shoved it right up our asses.
I won’t sugar coat it – last year was devastating for couples and the wedding industry and it may never be the same again, but going into 2021 we HAVE to look forward and see how we can embrace this new wave of living.
2020 taught so many of us that small weddings are actually fucking beautiful and that we actually don’t need 18 months to plan a stunningly gorgeous and epic day.
Check out Epic Love Story, Lisa Jane Photo and Esme Whiteside’s feeds – they are brimming with beautiful intimate weddings from 2020.
Instead of focusing on what you’re compromising on, look at what you’re gaining – an intimate ceremony, more budget to spend on styling, florals, drinks, honeymoon! We will still be opening the bar and partying hard no matter how many people there are.
My advice to couples would be – TALK to your venue, be open about how you feel, don’t have sleepless nights stressing about what you can’t do, talk about what you CAN do! I had a conversation that ended with me and my bride ugly crying down the phone (thank god it wasn’t FaceTime!,) because we talked through plans, worked together and came up with a plan that works for us both.
As an industry we want to see our couples get married and get excited about the planning again.
I’m not saying that postponing isn’t an option, but couples requesting to postpone to 2022 may have to pay additional fees to partially cover losses – where your new date prevents a new couple booking – this is likely to be the norm within the industry, so please be understanding of this if making the decision to postpone. Also some suppliers will not be able to postpone due to availability and being unable to face 2nd years loss of income.
There are options – please don’t feel that you have nowhere to turn.
At the Shed we have adapted and now offer far more than we used to – Micro Weddings + Elopements have now become a staple in The Giraffe Shed’s offerings and we are so excited about it.
Work together with your suppliers and let’s get you MARRIED this year!
HUGE THANKS to Epic Love Story for the photos for this feature Xx