7 things to consider when planning a micro wedding

August 2020

Intimate ceremony Intimate ceremony
Intimate ceremony

Bride and Grooms-to-be have had to get creative with their wedding plans in 2020. Since limits on large gatherings and physical contact were put in place in March, that’s meant a big change of plan for lots of couples. While some have chosen to put their wedding plans on hold, others have adapted theirs to fit with the temporary restrictions and as a result, micro weddings are set to become the biggest wedding trend of the year.

What is a micro wedding?

Micro weddings aren’t just a recent phenomenon - they’ve been around for years as a more flexible and relaxed alternative for couples who aren’t totally sold on having a big white wedding. They’re for no more than 20-30 people (compared to the UK’s average of 82) and celebrations are often shorter in length than a traditional wedding day. The beauty of a micro wedding is that there is no normal! It’s completely down to the couple to decide how long, short, formal, informal or anything else they’d like their celebrations to be. With an already-growing desire by couples to host celebrations with a difference, micro weddings (and their flexibility) might be here to stay.

Rebecca Kobus of Rebecca K. Events has said she’s been encouraging all her clients to consider a micro wedding – even after the restrictions are lifted: “I truly love the idea of a micro wedding. I have really encouraged my clients that if they have chosen to reschedule their wedding day to 2021 and want to continue with a legal ceremony this year, to consider making it a micro celebration! In years to come they will look back and really love that in the middle of all of the strange times we are living in, they chose to make it special. At 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, a room like the music room can have a few extra flowers and candles and be transformed into a beautiful elegant setting that will be remembered always.”

There are several practical perks to having a micro wedding too, and fewer heads to cater for is one of the biggest. You could put that extra budget into having a much higher quality dinner than you could hope for otherwise - better cuts of meat, more exciting dishes, even a better quality of champagne! Searcys is a London-based catering company with over 148 years of experience in catering for weddings. Their Regional Director, Rodney Payne, shared: “It’s natural to want to remember every element of your wedding day and the first meal shared together with friends and family should be one of the highlights. Micro weddings are a unique opportunity to be creative and personal with your menu and presentation. You have a flexibility of having the 3-, 4- or 5-course meal of your dreams since feeding 15 people offers far more flexibility than feeding 100. You could opt to pick a cuisine that’s special to the two of you, create a menu for guests to order off on the day and even find little ways to treat your guests like mini champagne bottles each for the first toast. There are countless ways you could put a twist on the traditional wedding breakfast and make it your own.”

What to consider when planning a micro wedding

While limits on guest numbers will probably be in place for the foreseeable, micro weddings look they’ll be a staple this year. But compared to traditional wedding celebrations, there’s less of a blueprint for couples who want guidance during the planning process. So, we want to offer our in-house team’s weddings expertise and share some of the key things any couple should consider if they’re planning a micro wedding. 

Micro wedding breakfast Micro wedding breakfast
Micro wedding breakfast

1. Who is going to make the guest list

A smaller celebration means a smaller guest list, but a smaller guest list means you might have to make some tricky decisions. Currently, the maximum number of allowed guests at a wedding is 30 and when you split that between a bride and a groom, it may suddenly not feel like very many! Since that number also has to include your officiant and witnesses too, our recommendation is to keep those invitations limited to your closest inner circle. Whether you count that as your parents, grand-parents, siblings, or best friends – think who you couldn’t imagine being without on your big day and prioritise them.

As a compromise for those who unfortunately can’t be there in person, consider inviting them to ‘Zoom’ in! Some wedding venues - including 10-11 Carlton House Terrace - have the tech capabilities to host as many ‘guests’ as you’d like by enabling them to watch your ceremony via Zoom call. It’s such an easy way to involve everyone you would have wanted there anyway and so we’re currently offering the service as standard with all bookings.

2. Where you want to host it

One of the biggest benefits of having a micro wedding is that it opens up so many opportunities for unique and exciting venues due to both the lower cost and the ability of venues to more easily accommodate. You could have your celebrations at your favourite restaurant, your ceremony in the park or, since you’ll be saving budget, enjoy the whole day somewhere more lavish than you could have hoped for with a big guest list. Our Georgian townhouse has some gorgeous, luxury wedding spaces that work wonders at making even a small celebration feel like a big occasion. But most importantly, the location you choose should be one that you’ll love spending every minute in and that’ll make your day special to you.

Rebecca adds: “If there is a restaurant that may have not been accessible to you with a larger group, look into a micro meal post ceremony to accommodate your smaller setting. Some rooftop terrace spaces are small and may now be able to accommodate your group! Things that may have been out of reach and out of budget pre-COVID, may now be an option for your small group.”

Sweetheart table for the Bride & Groom Sweetheart table for the Bride & Groom
Sweetheart table for the Bride & Groom

3. How you want to run your day

You can (mostly) throw out the rule book when it comes to scheduling your micro-wedding day. Besides having the ceremony and making sure the legal part is sorted, how you want to run things is totally up to you. You could have a pre-ceremony breakfast buffet with guests, an afternoon drinks reception before a ceremony at sunset or spend your day (post-ceremony) having dinner and enjoying the company of those closest to you. Whether you want to include time-honoured traditions or not - like cake-cutting, the first dance or seeing each other before meeting at the altar - that’s for you both to decide. The point is, you can run things exactly how you want for an excitingly memorable day together.

4. What elements are a must-have

When you’re planning a smaller bash, you might feel some traditional wedding elements like a DJ or flower toss aren’t necessary; but you’ll probably have other elements in mind that are non-negotiable. It could be offering an open bar, arriving at the venue by horse and carriage or having a decedent donut tower instead of a wedding cake. You have so much freedom to design your day exactly how you want it so take advantage of that. Just make sure you and your fiancé agree on each other’s must-haves first! Once you’ve laid them out and approved of each-others, it’ll take a weight off your shoulders knowing you’re both guaranteed to get the things you want most.

Wedding florist and founder of Bloomologie, Ali Billenness has seen: "What we are finding is that once couple's don't have to worry about paying for 10 or more table centrepieces for the reception, they can use their budget to have a really wow ceremony and create something luxurious, personal and truly memorable for the few guests that do attend their wedding. So far, we've created a flower wall for a wedding with just eight guests; created a lantern-lit and petal-strewn aisle, and a gorgeous, oversized fireplace back-drop." 

"But while couples are focussing on one fabulous moment, where they can also have their photos taken, we have noticed that brides are choosing smaller, more delicate bouquets - perhaps because they are also going for slimmer-fitting and smaller dresses that feel more appropriate for an elopement or a slick, city ceremony."

Rebecca also shared: “With only a few guests you can use your budget to add little extra touches such as individual bottles of prosecco and individual wrapped snacks post ceremony. Because you will not be setting up a number of dinner tables, if flowers/decor are important to you, why not put your money into a really large mantle arrangement to be displayed in your photos for years to come. Make the most out of your day!”

Creating creative focal points Creating creative focal points
Creating creative focal points

5. What your dress code will be

The freedom of a micro wedding includes the freedom to decide what the dress code will be! You can ask guests to keep it timeless with traditional wedding attire, specify a certain style or item of clothing that is special to you both, let everyone keep it completely casual or even choose fancy dress. If you’re struggling to decide what to go for, our recommendation would be to pick what best suits your venue choice. If you’re celebrating on the beach; flowy, casual clothing would be a sensible choice (perhaps even with swimwear underneath for a post-ceremony dip!). Or if you’ve opted for somewhere more extravagant, you could make it a ballgowns and bowties affair where guests can get dressed up for seriously glamorous celebrations with you. 

6. Whether to hire a photographer (or not)

Having a photographer at your micro wedding might be one of those things you see as non-negotiable. They let you focus on enjoying yourself and creating memories while they can concentrate on capturing them for you. However, they do count as one of your 30 allowed guests so if you’re already struggling with who to pick, including a photographer at your special day rather than one of your closet friends or family might not feel right.

If you’re not worried about numbers, we’d definitely recommend having someone there to capture the action all day long. Alternatively, if you just can’t justify one, give every guest a disposable camera (or two!) and get them all to take pictures throughout the day’s celebrations. You might feel photos taken by your guests are actually more meaningful when you look back at them in 20, 40- or 60-years’ time.

Wedding photographer Alba Turnbull would say: “Whether you've been planning your wedding for 2 years or 2 months, you and your partner are declaring your love and celebrating your relationship together, and that deserves to be captured. Inviting a photographer in to capture your micro-wedding allows you to relive your first moments as newlyweds. Not only that, but in a time where families and friends are forced to be apart, it allows you to (virtually) share your day with your loved ones, making them feel as if they were there.”

“I find that when tradition is stripped away, intimate weddings create a space for more intentional time for taking photos, highlighting the couple, their marriage, and the time with their closest people. It provides a time to walk through the city, hand-in-hand, capturing quiet moments and wandering the streets you love. No matter how you landed on planning a micro-wedding, this is a celebration, a moment of joy, and it deserves to be captured and cherished. Choosing to have a photographer provides you with emotion-filled images that will bring you back to that moment, for many years to come.”

Small but perfectly formed Small but perfectly formed
Small but perfectly formed

7. Making it personal

The best thing about a micro wedding? You’re with your nearest and dearest, so you should be able to make every last detail meaningful and personal to you. You can worry less about trying to please everyone and focus on including the things that make you happiest – so consider what those things are. It might be giving a small token, hand-made by you, to every guest; picking your favourite type of cuisine for the catering or having your favourite type of alternative music playing throughout the day.

Your wedding day is exactly that – yours! So why wouldn’t you want to be surrounded by the people and things you love most?

Micro wedding venue in central London

{10-11} Carlton House Terrace is a beautiful, Grade-I listed townhouse in central London. They offer an elegant and varied choice of spaces for wedding ceremonies and celebrations, perfect for small groups of up to 30 people. An in-house team of passionate event experts means you can be assured you’re in the safest of hands. Their wedding venue is COVID-secure, with a “Good to Go” accreditation from VisitBritain and an AIMSecure rating from the Meetings Industry Association. Read 10-11 Carlton House Terrace’s COVID policy here.

You can contact the team on 020 7969 5224 or at info@10-11cht.co.uk.

Intimate moments Intimate moments
Intimate moments