Micro-weddings go lavish for small groups

In 2020, “my big fat wedding” has become “my tiny little micro-wedding.”

“We started seeing this trend even before COVID hit,” says Kevin Harmon, director of sales and marketing for Le Meridien Hotel in Indianapolis. “Micro-weddings were definitely gaining momentum, and given this current circumstance, they really escalated – so much that here, we’re putting together a marketing campaign with other independent (wedding-related) vendors to come together as a micro-wedding experience.”

Contributed by Jeanette Hurt

Micro-weddings tend to range in size from only a few to up to 50 people, but in different parts of the world, the size can be dramatically different. In Israel, for example, new regulations allow for gatherings of up to 250 people, says Haim Spiegel, food and beverage director for Dan Hotels.

“In Israel, a wedding of 250 is very medium-sized,” he says. “A big wedding here is 600 or 700 people.”

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Getty Images

Spiegel says he has seen some couples choose a more intimate wedding of a much smaller size, but most brides and grooms in Israel prefer much larger affairs.

“So, what people do, with the limit of 250 people at one time, is to invite family for the religious ceremony at 7 p.m., and then at 9 p.m., they have another seating,” Spiegel says. “A lot of the older people tend to vanish at that time anyway, and then the younger couples are able to dance and have fun.”

David Ryan, managing director of the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, has also seen multiple wedding celebrations for a single couple. “We had one couple do back-to-back receptions,” Ryan says. “We had all of the aunties and uncles on one night, and then all the friends and college buddies the next. It’s kind of clever.”

Ryan says holding two smaller events allows couples to have everyone they want to actually attend their wedding this year in lieu of canceling or postponing their wedding. “Having two separate receptions in the same place could be a new trend,” Ryan says.

At the Quirk Hotel in Charlottesville, Virginia, some couples are holding two weddings – one a micro-wedding this year, and then a big wedding the next year, says Whitney Dang, director of sales and marketing. “We can absolutely see why this is being such a hot topic,” Dang says. “People want to be able to celebrate safely.  We’re looking to have success with those couples who still would like to celebrate on their preferred day and then host a larger wedding next year.”

Though micro-weddings are smaller but couples don’t skimp, even if they forego larger numbers of guests. “I think you can go pretty extravagant in a lot of ways and still save money,” Harmon says. “The quality significantly increases in pretty much every aspect while also costing less than weddings of 200 or more people.”

Couples can also be more creative in their choice of venues, seeking out interesting and unusual locations, Harmon says. Boutique and luxury hotels often have gorgeous lobbies and other unusual spaces available, and those are the kinds of places couple are intrigued by, he says. “If you’re going to have a wedding of 10 people, then really you can host it anywhere in the hotel where the couple finds a unique backdrop,” Harmon says. “We just recently took a couple through on a tour of different spaces throughout the entire building.”

Dang expects the trend of micro-weddings to continue past 2020. “While the blow-out wedding surely isn’t going anywhere, this intimate affair will be one for the books way past COVID,” Dang says.

Harmon says this trend matches up to the demographic trend of couples choosing to marry later in life. “Their priorities have shifted towards purchasing a home or saving for a family,” Harmon says. “I honestly think micro-weddings are going to continue to grow post-COVID.”