When you want to keep your wedding small, simple or short and you don't want to spend a small fortune, what are your options?
In Australia, the Births, Deaths and Marriages offices in the states and territories conduct registry office wedding ceremonies where you can attend with your fiancé, two witnesses 18 years of age or older and up to 55 guests.
But there are some compromises you need to consider, such as:
- not being able to personalise your ceremony to align with you and your fiancé's values and preferences
- not being able to meet with your celebrant before the ceremony
- having all photos indoors
- not being able to share food or drink onsite directly afterwards
- not having a picturesque/outdoor photo location
- being restricted by the registry office's opening hours/meeting times
There's always the option of eloping; running away in secret to get hitched privately. Unfortunately, some couples discover after the fact, that the potential for hurt and misunderstandings that come from eloping were not what they had intended.
But what if there were some middle ground?
Statistics in the last couple of years have indicated that Australian couples are inviting less guests to their weddings than they used to and how there has been only a marginal acceptance of alternate wedding days i.e. not a Saturday. But with the introduction of marriage equality and the pressure to book in a wedding venue on one of the 52 Saturdays in any given year, new and alternative solutions are being sought.
Enter the weekday micro wedding.
What is a micro wedding?
In simple terms, a micro wedding is an abbreviated celebration of marriage that has only a handful of invited guests (commonly 20 or less), is shorter in duration and is more simple in format, relaxed in atmosphere and less stress to organise than a traditional wedding.
What are the advantages of micro weddings?
Generally, a micro wedding goes for 2-3 of hours, just enough time to have a meaningful ceremony, enjoy some drinks and nibbles and have some photographs taken to remember the occasion. Larger after-parties or receptions at another venue like a restaurant sometimes follow.
As there are fewer unnecessary complications to distract you (I'm looking at you bonbonerie!) micro weddings allow a couple to focus on just the important parts with the people who are most important to them.
It can be much easier to keep sight of your budget when there are only 15 vs 150 guests.
Quality over quantity
Or, if you choose, with less guests you can really splash out on gourmet food, French champagne or your favourite live performer that you might not have otherwise been able to afford.
Keeping your wedding in one location reduces the logistical back and forth of multiple sites and many venues offer a vetted list of professional wedding suppliers they trust for additional services, saving you time shopping around.
Increased time with your guests
Limiting your guest list encourages you and your fiancé to really think about who is key in your lives, who you value and want to spend time with. You feel more connected to your guests, get to interact with them more and your guests feel special and valued too.
So where do you start?
Having a clear vision of the most important aspects you want to include in your wedding day is key and we recommend first sitting down with your fiancé to discuss your expectations together before making any decisions.
There are a few main questions to ask yourself:
- How many friends and family would be on your ideal (i.e. with no external pressure) wedding guest list?
- Would you both feel comfortable in front of that many people?
- Are you more comfortable with just the two of you, or do you value the idea of having your closest friends and family present?
- Are any of your top 3 impossible with a large/small guest list?
What are your options?
Many wedding venues that accommodate full wedding services are now adapting their offers for smaller groups. So you could ask around and see how flexible your fav venue will be.
Or alternatively, if you have a favourite restaurant, café, bar or even bookstore (!) have a chat with the manager and find out if they are open to hiring their space and/or services for a couple of hours.
If you are wanting to embrace the outdoors, some councils allow non-exclusive use of their public spaces (parks, reserves and beaches/foreshore areas) for small gatherings.
Be creative and have fun with it!
Photography: Boutique Blinks
Flowers: Austin Bloom
Hair & Makeup: Gemma Vendetta
Bridal Styling: Bianca Velt-Herron of Jasmine Bridal
Mock ceremonies: Modern Celebrants Adelaide
Catering: Brown and Co. Catering
We’d love to hear about your micro wedding experiences in the comments.