How do you do a micro-wedding?

Skip the DJ and go for a local band or dueling pianos. Offer ideas for food and drink. Create a personalised drink or two. A micro-wedding is an intimate affair, usually with no more than 50 guests.

They still feature the time-honoured traditions of a wedding, but on a much smaller scale. To walk down the aisle of a courthouse, a garden, a restaurant or the backyard of your home, you don't need a 7-metre couture queue or the months of fittings that go with it. Want to wear a Solange-style suit jacket or a non-traditional colour? Do what you want. And if you want a big dress, that's your choice too.

The point is that you control things, not the dress code or the expectations of others. That also means you don't need to force your best friends to wear matching bridesmaid dresses. Just saying. After all, wedding experts break down the total cost per person.

This also informs you where you can spend your money. Ten guests is a big difference when you consider table and dinner settings. And even if your Aunt Shirley desperately wants you to invite Cousin Ralph, try to keep in mind that the goal of a micro-wedding is to maintain intimacy. Brisman suggests setting a rule of thumb to narrow down the list.

For example, "over 21" or "no plus ones unless it's very serious" are easy ways to reduce the number without hurting feelings. The great thing about a micro-wedding is that you have a lot more choice in terms of where you can hold it, as you don't have to find a space large enough for 150 people. Whether it's a dreamy courtyard that you can decorate with coloured lights, a public space that's important to you (like a park where you can apply for a permit) or a favourite restaurant, the venue will set the tone for the evening. And part of that tone is people's sense of security.

Does your venue have sanitation policies in light of COVID or are they skirting the issue? It's imperative to know all your suppliers' responses to COVID, especially if they cater, and decide whether they meet your expectations - would you rather enjoy a five-course meal with 12 guests or keep it informal and then rock out with a DJ? Prioritise what you can splurge on and what you'd rather skimp on. For every couple this is different, so sit down and have that conversation with your partner to get on the same page or at least compromise. They had originally planned a wedding for 185 guests. The bride told us that although she was sad for the reason that their wedding was scaled down, she was very happy that they had a smaller wedding with the people closest to them.

Many people make the mistake of equating a micro wedding with an elopement wedding. A micro-wedding involves up to a maximum of about 20 guests, which usually includes the closest family members and a few select friends. Some people may think that, due to the micro nature of the wedding, having a registry is not important. If you are more introverted by nature and the thought of a room full of hundreds of eyes turning only to you fills you with dread and anxiety, then a smaller micro wedding could certainly be the right choice.

Instead of your day being a constant stream of welcomes, goodbyes and guilt over not having properly spoken to a hundred people individually, a micro wedding allows for a more relaxed atmosphere. As mentioned above, micro-weddings usually have between 10 and 50 guests (the average is 20) and follow a more standard wedding day schedule. In some cases, inviting less than 20 people costs much less than 100, especially when considering the price per person, so budget can be a compelling reason to choose a micro-wedding. Although a micro-wedding is smaller in terms of number of guests, that doesn't mean the celebration has to be any less spectacular.

Planning a micro wedding is the perfect way to include your closest friends and family AND still have an intimate experience together. The venue for a micro-wedding may be unconventional compared to those usually used for a larger wedding, but that doesn't make it any less magical. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, most couples who choose a micro-wedding still spend the same as they would for a traditional ceremony. A micro-wedding follows more of the traditional structure of a big wedding, but with fewer restrictions.

However, for some couples, a micro-wedding is an opportunity to really maximize their dollar-per-guest ratio. Don't feel pressured to meet any cultural demands, take charge of your planning journey, enjoy yourself and your micro wedding will be everything you dream of. A micro wedding allows you to have all the trappings of a traditional wedding, without the large number of guests involved. Holding a micro wedding also allows for more organisation, venue possibilities and more time to dedicate to each guest.

Mary Westlund
Mary Westlund

Hardcore zombie specialist. Typical zombie junkie. Wannabe food fanatic. Subtly charming social media buff. Total pop culture fanatic. Incurable food guru.