Here we are, 10 months into the pandemic in the middle of winter dreaming about warmer and better days. While the end is in sight, it will still be some time before we can safely gather again like before Covid-19. Many couples are opting to wait until 2022 or beyond to get married, others -maybe you- are thinking about tying the knot in 2021! And yes, you can.
Don’t know where to start? My intention is to help those looking to marry small this year with some inspiration and guidance.
As a wedding photographer, I am a documentation of experiences and quite the connoisseur of them as well. I wish for all of my clients to have a wonderful day, no matter the budget or plans. And the more unique the better! This is the time to create unexpected experiences for yourselves and your guests. (I mean, we have earned it, right???) If you aren’t sure where to start in your pandemic wedding planning experience, look no further!
First things first: Thinking about how much you want to invest in your intimate wedding, micro wedding or elopement is a great place to start. You may be planning an event now and another larger party later. Or perhaps you are ready to just do it now and do it right. But remember, just because a wedding is “small” doesn’t mean the budget or experience needs to be.
$ Virtual Wedding or simple in person ceremony in a public place, limited photos, a few guests, no or minimal flowers or special attire
$$ In person ceremony, portraits of couple, guests (under 20), personal flowers, special attire, champagne toast and favors for guests like cupcakes, cookies etc. (no meal served)
$$$ In person ceremony, portraits of couple, guests (10-50), personal flowers, designer special attire, location design elements, rentals or florals, cocktail reception with guests or luxury private dining for couple or small group of guests
$$$$+ In person ceremony, extended portraits of couple, guests (10-50), designer personal flowers and special attire, location design elements or florals, sit down dinner with guests and a hi-end restaurant, venue or private home
Additional budget considerations: hair and make-up (recommended no matter the size or budget, it is a must!), transportation (think limos, vintage cars or even the subway) hotel (something nice, or a suite at the Plaza or similar), videography or live stream, personalized thank you gifts for guests, design elements, hiring a wedding planner to bring it all together.
Next, imagine your dream day. It doesn’t need to look like a traditional wedding! Love Coney Island? Dream there. Love hiking? Dream around that. What are you wearing, eating, seeing, even smelling? Who is there? Just you and your love, or are there guests? Are dogs welcome?
If you are having trouble coming-up with ideas, ask yourself the following:
Wonder what to do if you opt not to have a reception or dinner?
Finally, once you have a picture in your mind of your wedding day, then you can begin to look for vendors to create your vision. By now you should have location ideas (city or town, maybe ceremony site or venue, photo location ideas but totally fine if not!), time of year (if not a specific date) and an approximate guest size.
At a bare minimum, you will want to hire:
For an enhanced experience: