Needless to say, I am in a LOT of wedding groups on social media. I have noticed that many people seem to think there is nothing in between a big traditional wedding and going to the courthouse and eloping in a judge's chambers. Usually this is because either they don't want to spend $30K on their wedding day, or they aren't keen on the idea of having hundreds of people surrounding them on their big day. As a wedding planner, I have noticed a huge trend lately, and it is something that most people in the wedding industry have been hesitant to talk about until recently.
If you believe The Knot or Brides.com, the average wedding in 2018 costs between $34,000-$45,000. On average, the wedding would have approximately 100 guests, there would be 5-7 attendants on either side of the wedding party, and a flower girl and ring bearer as well. Your day is typically comprised of a late afternoon ceremony, followed by a cocktail hour with an open bar and hors d'oeuvres to entertain guests while the newlyweds take wedding portraits. A reception would follow including a full meal with open bar, and would include dances, toasts, and cake cutting.
What no one tells you is that that are limitless ways to get married, and when it comes to microweddings you can design a unique wedding that is tailored exactly to your specific desires and personality!
What is a microwedding?
Microweddings have been quietly gaining popularity over the last few years, for a variety of reasons. By definition, microweddings are weddings that have less than 50 guests. When you have less than 50 guests at a wedding, you have many more options for venue locations than you would if you were trying to accommodate 300. When you have more options, you can get creative and have a truly unique, unforgettable wedding! From lighthouses, private islands, yachts, church ruins, beaches, state parks, and the beautiful squares of Savannah, you can exchange vows in some of the most picturesque and historic locations in the Lowcountry.
Microweddings are also a great way to compromise if the two of you have different ideas about what you want for your day. If one person wants a traditional wedding and one person does not, this is a way for you to keep the traditional wedding aspects that are most meaningful to you, but also have a more personalized, intimate experience. It has also become popular to combine family vacations and destination weddings, sometimes even using a vacation rental home as the venue for their wedding. This can also be a great way to have a beautiful wedding without exceeding your budget! No matter what your reason for choosing a non-traditional wedding, I can help you create the perfect day for the two of you.
I have noticed some new trends lately that I absolutely LOVE, because most of them focus on making your day go more smoothly. I am always in favor of anything that can be done on your wedding day to reduce stress and save time! Here are some of my favorites:
Don't bustle your dress.
Many brides are choosing to have detachable trains or change into a second dress for the reception instead of hassling with a bustle. I have seen bustles cost several hundred dollars and then break in the middle of the first dance. I have seen bustles so complicated that they never got bustled. And frankly, most dresses when bustled are still pretty difficult to move around in. Why not save the money that you would pay a seamstress and buy something gorgeous and comfy for the reception? And don't forget a comfy pair of dancing shoes!
Welcome your guests with cocktails.
Instead of waiting until after the ceremony, have beverages waiting for them as they arrive! Those who show up early will have a chance to mingle and relax, and no one will have to sit at the ceremony site uncomfortably for 45 minutes - and everyone will be in a much better mood during your ceremony if they are a bit more relaxed.
Have a smaller wedding party.
It may sound like fun to have 10 of your closest friends with you all day on your wedding day, but the reality is usually much different. Having a large group of people having their hair and makeup done at the same time can be very hectic. Posing for portraits takes longer. Trying to make sure everyone has their attire purchased and altered on time can be nerve wracking. Overall, the more attendants you have, the more stressful and expensive it will be.
Invite fewer guests.
I probably hear this in one form or fashion from about 75% of my couples. Most people feel obligated to invite more people than they would actually like to have at their wedding. Pressure from friends and family can be difficult! However, the couples who are the happiest at the end of their wedding day are the ones who didn't invite 100 more guests than they wanted to. Also, who wants to spend $150 per person to invite cousins that you haven't seen in a decade? Make sure the right people are surrounding you on your big day, and you will enjoy it so much more.
Skip the sendoff.
I could go on about this one for days! The vast majority of guests don't like sparkler sendoffs. (I will admit than 200 moderately inebriated guests holding sticks of fire isn't that appealing to me, either!) Colored smoke can stain clothing. Lantern releases are prohibited in most places. Bubble send offs can go awry with a shift of the wind. If you still want to have those great photos, talk with your photographer about staging them with your wedding party earlier in the day. And keep in mind that if your photographer doesn't have to hang around until the very end of the reception to get the sendoff shots, they could potentially go home after the cake is cut, which would save on average around $1000. A new trend that I am seeing is where the newlyweds have the last dance of the night alone. They either have their last dance while all their guests watch, or sometimes this is done after the guests have left. My couples who have done this say that it is a nice way to take a moment to reflect on their big day, and they absolutely loved it.
The most important thing to take away is that you should definitely make your wedding exactly the way you want it. Of course if your dream is to have 15 bridesmaids, go for it! Just make sure that you create your perfect wedding day that the two of you will cherish for the rest of your lives.
And let me know if you need any help. ;)
Joy Williams is a wedding planner in the Hilton Head Island/Savannah area. As the owner of A Zen Event and Weddings With Joy, she has helped more than 200 couples get married in the Lowcountry. She specializes in tailoring traditional wedding customs to fit the needs of modern couples.