In honor of me and my husbands first wedding anniversary, I am going to share our experience with planning a micro wedding, and how we did that with a budget of $6,000.
What Is A Micro Wedding?
A micro wedding is a nuptial event with a smaller guest list. You are still able to have all the same traditions as the typical wedding, just with a more intimate feel. This is not for everyone but it is exactly what we were looking for.
Benefits To A Micro Wedding
There really are no rules to a micro wedding. You can go as big or small as you want. With a smaller guest list, you can either save a considerable amount of money or you could splurge on certain aspects that you may not have been able to if you had a larger guest list.
There were multiple reasons my husband and I decided a micro wedding was the best fit for us. A major deciding point was, our wedding day was going to take place in the middle of the Covid pandemic where crowd sizes were limited to a certain amount of guests.
Below are the steps we took to plan our micro wedding in less than 3 months and stayed within a minimal budget.
Steps to Planning Your Micro Wedding
Budget– when beginning the planning process, you and your fiancée should sit down and come up with a budget. My husband and I had decided we wanted to spend around $5,000 but had some wiggle room and were ok with spending a little more (we ended up spending $6,000 in total). Once you have come up with that number, you should decide how that money will be allocated. Begin by starting a list with the most important aspects working your way down to the least. For us, the most important element was making sure our guests had a delicious meal. We knew this was something we wanted to splurge on along with an open bar.
Our Budget Breakdown
|$1,300||Dress + Alterations|
|$470||Hair/Makeup (including pretrials)|
Date– when choosing your day there are a few things to consider. Now that you have determined your budget, how long will it take you to save for this? Will it take 3 months, 6 months, a year, or more? Then pick a season. Do you envision having a summer beach wedding or maybe you have always envisioned a fall-themed wedding at a winery? If you choose a location that is in high demand for weddings, you may have to book your date in advance by a year or even more. We ended up planning our wedding in a short period of time due to multiple reasons, but we ended up having our wedding in January during the winter. Weather can affect so much of your big day so take that into consideration. We had our photos taken in some seriously chilly weather but it made for a unique backdrop.
Guest List– having a micro wedding can make this aspect of your special day either super difficult or easy peasy. For us, this part was not as challenging. Again, our wedding was taking place in the middle of a pandemic where crowds were limited to certain sizes. Because of this, we had family and friends who lived long distances that would not be able to travel. We ended up having a total of 19 people, included the bride and groom.
If you are having difficulty cutting your list size down try asking yourself these questions;
- How close is your relationship to this person?
- How often do you see them?
- Am I inviting them because I enjoy their company or because I feel obligated to?
Something that has become more popular with all types of weddings, is streaming the reception. This is a way of including people without increasing your headcount and making them still feel included.
Location/Venue– with a micro wedding you can really go anywhere. You could have a small reception on the beach, in the backyard of your family home, or a destination location. You will need to pick both a ceremony and reception site.
We decided to have both at a local restaurant called the West End. It is a beautiful restaurant with an art deco style, furnished with antique elements, and dark romantic mood lighting. The perfect mix for an intimate sit-down dinner.
Food/Drink– depending on your venue they may cater the event or you may have to privately hire. Most places can work with a budget so when you meet with the caterer either have an overall amount you feel comfortable paying or a per plate cost.
Traditionally weddings always have a cake, but nowadays people are getting more creative with the dessert options. I have seen people do donuts, pies, or even a full dessert table so people can choose what they want. The cake for me was not all that important, so we asked the restaurant to let us try some of their dessert options. We went with a yummy chocolate torte with a raspberry compote.
Then there comes the alcohol, which can be very costly. Depending on your budget you have some options. The first option is just not to serve any alcohol but most guests at a wedding do expect there to be some type of beverage option. To keep it more budget-friendly, you could decide on just doing a champagne toast, craft cocktails, or just beer and wine.
Because a micro wedding is on the smaller side, you could take it up a notch and offer that more expensive entrée you had in mind or go all out and have an open bar.
The Wedding Dress/Groom’s Attire– Because we were not having the typical wedding I had originally envisioned myself wearing a burgundy-colored dress, but my mother wanted to see me in something more traditional. I knew that I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on an outfit that I would only be wearing for a few hours, so I went to an off-the-rack bridal store. This type of store sells sample runway dresses, boutique extras, last-season dresses, and ones that have minor issues at a greatly discounted price. They typically do not have dresses in multiple sizes, but you have the ability to walk away that day with your dress. Because of this, you will typically need to have alterations done. I’m so glad I did this because I found the most beautiful dress that was in immaculate shape and everything I ever dreamed of in a wedding dress. I had the dress altered by an amazing local seamstress. My husband wore a beautiful gray suit he already had and we just bought him a new button-down and tie.
Photographer– I knew that I wanted to splurge when it came to the photographer. A photo is forever and it was important for me to capture these special moments in the best way. There are a few things you should consider when choosing your photographer. We chose a wonderful photographer who uses organic lighting that gives his style a romantic feel.
- Style– What type of feel do you want your photos to have? Are you looking for more traditional or maybe you want an artsy feel? Take time to look at their portfolio.
- Packages– Do you want a videographer in addition to your typical photos?
Hair/Makeup– I HIGHLY recommend doing a pretrial for both. I can’t imagine anything worse than not feeling and looking your best on such a special day. Yes, it is an additional cost but in my opinion well worth it.
Decorations– because the restaurant location we chose was so beautiful, I didn’t feel I needed to spend a lot of money on decorating. I don’t mind a DIY project so my mother and I created all the decorations ourselves. We used all fake flowers with the exception of my bouquet which was done by a professional florist. We created an altar with a backdrop stand draped in sheer white curtains twisted in twinkling lights and flowers. Each table had a very simple wreath of florals and greens. Centered in this we had hurricane vases with gold candles. If DIY is not your jam try utilizing social media networks such as Facebook. I joined a resale group where people sold their wedding decorations for super affordable prices.
Favors– again, I love a good DIY project, so I made large oatmeal sandwich cookies. I placed these in treat bags and printed out personalized labels. I also bought champagne splits and tied thank you notes around each with a pretty ribbon. Super simple, but with that additional special touch of a homemade treat.
Entertainment– lastly, how important is entertainment to the style of your wedding? The restaurant we chose had a sound system so we just streamed our favorite songs for the ceremony and reception. Because a micro wedding is so intimate you could consider hiring a jazz band or an acapella singer.
Just because a wedding is small, it doesn’t mean that you have to forfeit all the traditional aspects that make for a magical day that you will always remember.