This past year, we've all seen couples downsize their large nuptials to host smaller affairs in light of the coronavirus crisis. But what about the couples who always wanted a micro wedding, regardless of a looming global pandemic? Now that these intimate gatherings have become mainstream, we're introducing you to another level of the trend: the micro wedding marathon.
What's that, you ask? It's everything a real wedding has to offer, from the ceremony to the cake cutting, but with a few exceptions: The entire event lasts just 90 minutes and you share the venue and planning team with two other couples.
What is a Micro Wedding Marathon?
A micro wedding marathon includes all the traditional elements of a wedding from the ceremony to the cake cutting but is broken into abbreviated time slots so couples are able to share a venue, planning team, and wedding day.
Sure, it sounds a tad unconventional but "Wendy Kay of Birds of a Feather Events in Dallas is already proving that it can also be a perfect alternative to traditional wedding planning, especially now." The idea of hosting multiple minimonies in one day actually came to the planner long before COVID-19 transformed the wedding industry!
"You're essentially sharing your wedding day but you have your own time. You're not crossing paths with the other couples that are getting married that day!"
Keep reading for all the details on how a micro wedding marathon works plus photos and advice from real couples who wed in socially distant, back to back weddings in October.
How Does It Work?
Something like this is just a good alternative because you're spending way less than you would have spent if you had to take on all those contracts yourself. You're essentially sharing your wedding day but you have your own time. You're not crossing paths with the other couples that are getting married that day.
With a wedding such as this, couples don't have an opportunity to agonize over tasks such as who to hire as a photographer and how to decorate the altar, but, based on the package promise, they can expect a high quality event.
What Does the Wedding Day Look Like?
In the case of such a micro wedding marathon, the location, date, and guest count are set by the planner or whoever is hosting it. From there, couples can choose the time of their event. Each couple is permitted up to 30 guests with an option to add on an additional 15 guests.
Here's a breakdown of the 90-minute timeline:
- 15-minute ceremony
- 45-minute "mini-reception" with a first dance, Champagne toast, and cake.
- Grand exit
- 30-minute portrait session with your photographer
How Much Does it Cost and What's Included?
While the cost and package will depend on what the planner is offering, couples can consider the details of the wedding covered. And with costs for bigger budget items (like an epic floral arch!) split between couples, the bill means more bang for your buck.
To give you an idea:
- Floral Design
- Planning & Design
- Food & Drink
- Licensed Officiant
- Surprise Details
Everything You Need to Know About Planning the Menu for Your Micro Wedding
For many couples, planning a wedding comes with an extensive guest list. But we all know that 2020 turned that concept on its head. Now, more and more couples are reimagining their weddings, with many opting for a micro wedding to tie the knot with those that are truly nearest and dearest to them.
A micro wedding is designed to be an intimate affair, and typically that means there are no more than 50 guests on the list. But just because you’re going the micro route, it definitely doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the details. It might just be the opposite.
There’s no need to ditch your pretty floral designs or decked out tablescape, and you certainly don’t need to throw away your plans for enjoying a beautiful meal and celebrating with those you love the most. In fact, fewer guests may even mean more options!
A micro wedding definitely doesn’t have to mean you’re settling for a micro menu, but there are a few key tips to keep in mind as you’re planning. Read on for everything you need to know about planning the menu for your micro wedding.
Witch Up Cocktail Hour
One of the most popular times for mingling is during cocktail hour. For micro weddings, that tradition may be switched up a bit, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s a practice of the past. People aren’t necessarily changing the style of the party they’re having. They’re being more thoughtful of the style of service and adapting to a new way of service.
According to Selden, continuing to pass hors d'oeuvres is still an option, especially for those who want a reception that’s a bit more casual, rather than a seated dinner. For that style of service, we’ve been doing mini appetizers that are individually plated and passed on large trays. They’re items that are easy to eat, with no knives required.
Items that are intentionally crafted to be left at room temperature have become very popular, as well as items that are one bite and can be served on a single dish or skewer. Consider things that are self contained, items such as an antipasto skewer, chicken skewers, and sesame chicken in wonton cups are all great options.
If you plan to have your guests seated for your reception, consider ways to still incorporate creative appetizers. Switch things up with the concept of stations and individually plate the appetizers instead. If you want to do a raw bar or a charcuterie board, offer them in individual servings to prevent people from serving themselves from a large platter.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Over the Top
With fewer people on the guest list, chefs can play a bit more. Have fun with your menu! Talk to your caterer about ways to make your wedding day memorable. It may be that your chef has a signature dish that you'd never think of to offer at a wedding, and it could be something you love.
With fewer plates to prepare, it definitely means gourmet, top notch dishes are more attainable. “If food is a priority and something that you and your partner are passionate about, consider wowing your guests. A micro wedding also enables you to go for something totally untraditional. Consider serving a type of cuisine that's harder to do for a large scale guest count.
As you’re thinking of specialty menu items, tap into regional cuisines that you and your partner absolutely love, or even celebrate with a nod to the restaurant where you had your first date. At a recent rehearsal dinner, the bride even decided to serve fried chicken from her favorite fast food restaurant!
Don’t Totally Write-Off the Buffet
With a smaller group, a buffet-style menu is still a possibility. But it has to be done with the right setup. With plexiglass shields up, along with having the catering staff on the other side of the line for service, it’s definitely doable when all of your guests are close friends or family. For one wedding, we gave everyone their own set of serving pieces. That way you still see the visuals and get the look of having a full buffet.
To prevent crowding at a buffet, consider spreading out the stations around the venue, and create a strategy to call only a few guests up at a time. If you’re unable to do a buffet in a safe manner, given your venue or budget constraints, opting for a plated meal is, of course, a great choice from a food safety standpoint.
Get Creative With Dessert
Long gone are the days of a traditional, tiered white wedding cake being the only option for couples. And the list of options gets even longer with a micro wedding.
If you do still want the traditional cutting of the cake, Parks suggests doing a little party trick. A lot of couples have been doing a larger faux cake to cut the cake.
Keep the Bar, but Play It Safe
Just because your guest count is lower, it certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t a party to be had. But because micro weddings are typically being hosted due to the concerns surrounding COVID-19, there are a few things to keep in mind to be sure you’re playing it safe with bar service.
According to Parks, it’s important to consider spacing when it comes to setting up bars. If your venue allows for it, choose two bar locations so you can spread out service for your guests and prevent over-crowding.
Once the bar is set-up safely, it’s all about finding the best menu options for you and your guests. Signature cocktails are always fun, and with a micro wedding, chances are, you already know what everyone’s favorite drink of choice is. You can better plan for the bar if you know your crowd is mainly a vodka crowd or if they personally prefer wine.
Consider Food Delivery for Virtual Guests
If you’re opting for a micro wedding because you had to reimagine your big day due to COVID-19, chances are, there are a few people that were taken off the guest list. Make their experience just as special as they join in the celebration virtually. It’s such a great way to make everyone feel included. Check with your caterer on the possibility of putting together boxes to deliver to your guests at home that might include a bottled signature cocktail, a mini bottle of Champagne, snacks, or a selection of mini desserts.
By: Maggie Kreienberg
By: Molly Allen