By Anya Cooklin-Lofting
Coined in the slow, grinding months of the pandemic, the phrase ‘micro-wedding’ means very different things to many different people. For some, it’s the remembered agony of having to brutally cut guestlists in the face of relentless restrictions. For others, it’s a green light to have the wedding they always wanted, free from the pressure to host an ‘all the trimmings’ affair, inviting everyone they’ve ever known, worked with or blinked at. While the micro-wedding was, until very recently in the grand scheme of things, something of a necessity, it has become a style decision for couples who want a lower-key event. But, while such couples do tend to benefit financially from keeping things more intimate with fewer guests and smaller venues, micro-weddings can certainly pack a punch when it comes to thoughtful details and luxurious flourishes.
This month, I spoke to some industry insiders and micro-wedders to get some expert insights, tips and tricks to share as the smaller, intimate, more exclusive weddings gather popularity long since the restrictions were lifted…
Adrian Meyers, CEO and Founder of ami Creates, www.ami-creates.com
“The biggest thing that I have noticed when photographing micro-weddings is the intimacy with their guests that couples can achieve on their big day. It’s really nice and intense from a photographer’s perspective. You can almost be more gentle in your approach to photographing the day. You capture something so beautiful if you spend a day surrounded by only their very best friends and closest family members.
If there is one thing that people don’t always appreciate about the role of a wedding photographer, it’s the huge emotional buy-in. My team and I forge strong emotional connections with the couples and wedding guests that we photograph, and the physical energy that commitment brings with it is huge and can be exhausting. At smaller weddings, this is magnified and it’s even more intense. As the photographer at a micro-wedding, you’re not just a fly on the wall; you’re part of the wedding group.
Compositionally, the key difference between the kind of shots I am able to produce at smaller weddings against larger events is down to intimacy and action. Larger weddings are more likely to incorporate some kind of dancefloor, a device that yields action-packed, candid shots. You can rarely achieve this at lower-key, smaller weddings. Generally, it’s easier to capture more intimate moments when the party is smaller and quieter, so couples do miss out on those higher-energy pictures achieved on a dancefloor. But, the bottom line is that you have to find a style that works for you, choosing a photographer that will capture the day in the way you want to remember it.”
Bride Holly Chapman, Global Head of PR and Partnerships at Papier, www.papier.com
“As I walked out of Islington Town Hall, my face broke into a huge smile as there, throwing confetti at me and my new husband, were 11 beaming smiles from some of the friends and family that we love the most. The most special part of a smaller wedding meant that we got to spend time talking, laughing, hugging, holding hands and dancing with every single person who was there. I’ve never felt so much love!
With a smaller wedding, we didn’t need to consider so many people or opinions, giving us the freedom to design a wedding day that felt very suited to our style. After our official ceremony, we walked to our favourite London pub and had a pint. Looking around the Islington pub with our friends and family all sat around relaxed and laughing was so special and I knew we had made the right choice.
It’s important to remember that small doesn’t mean less special. Despite the size, don’t skimp on the details. We loved sending luxurious paper invitations, having delicious food and wearing something special. Go big on whichever details make your heart sing! For me, I love clothes and it was all about the outfit and accessories, even though only 35 people would see it. I chose to-die-for Prada platforms, a sparkly bag by Paco Rabanne and a suit by The Own Studio. Altogether it probably cost more than a third of the wedding budget but it was worth every penny.”
Andreas Christodoulou, Private Jeweller, Kensington Parker, www.kensingtonparker.com
“For my clients, I feel the pandemic has made smaller weddings less political. They are far more socially acceptable now, and couples aren’t bucking any trends by opting for shorter guestlists. Before the pandemic, if you wanted a smaller wedding, you almost needed to arrange a wedding abroad, hoping that this would do the work of indirectly producing a smaller wedding. We all feel like we have obligations to certain people in our lives that perhaps we haven’t spoken to or spent much time with recently. There is no reason, now, for these people to be invited to your special day. You need to please yourself, not everyone else.
The best part is that smaller weddings can still be very lavish. With little details and bespoke elements, from the engagement ring and the wedding bands you choose to the place cards you design, your cost per head can increase while you save money that you would have spent on a larger event.”
Rose Roobeek, Journalist and TV producer at CNN, edition.cnn.com
“Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt about a big wedding surrounded by vineyards in Tuscany, wearing a long white dress and having all our family and friends scattered around the world in one place at last, but Covid forced us to change our minds.
I never expected to get married while heavily pregnant without my parents by my side but it still turned out to be one of the best days of my life. It was incredibly intimate and stress-free and I could just focus on my love for my husband rather than worrying about whether others were having a good time. We ordered takeaway from our favourite restaurant to eat in the garden and managed to book part of a beer garden to have some friends over for drinks afterwards. We had no big expectations for the day but decided to still go all out with balloons and bunting. My mother-in-law baked a fantastic cake and the champagne was flowing.”