The crazy, film-plot events of the last six months have come as a complete shock to us all. When lockdown was announced back in March, hundreds of thousands of British couples had to postpone their weddings with no idea if their new date would actually be possible. After several long months, eventually, small weddings of 5 were allowed, and then 10, then 30 and then ceremonies only. Finally for just over a month, between August and September wedding receptions of 30 were allowed in 'Covid secure' venues. Whilst many couples opted to continue to wait until next year and beyond, there have been some couples who've decided to go for it now regardless. I feel I am privileged to have documented history at these weddings.
The devastating announcement on Tuesday 22nd September reduced these wedding numbers back down to 15, for up to 6 months, meaning that lots of couples (including those who postponed back in March) are having to consider their options in this new period. I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a little about how I've found micro weddings.
LOVE IS NOT CANCELLED
Firstly, I'm just going to put it out there that I am as devastated as anyone with everything that has happened, and the impact that it has had on weddings. I don't write this blog post lightly or in any way want to make light of the situation. I'm just aware that some may choose to embrace the current rules and I'd like to be able to put some positivity out there for those people.
I have shot 6 weddings since lockdown ended. The smallest group size was five with the largest being thirty, and the rest were somewhere in between. The main thing that I really loved about them was the real appreciation for the day itself. I suppose it's how it might feel after running a race: months of preparation and setbacks, but then finally it happens. Not everything is how you envisaged it, but the objective of saying vows and making a commitment is complete, has happened, and you've crossed the finish line. It's bittersweet - just like how your body would feel after all that running - but it's also amazing because you did it!
Saying 'I do' with fewer people there means that you definitely get a chance to speak to everyone - something that is not always possible at a larger wedding. Now we are looking at a maximum of 15 guests, you will definitely be able to enjoy each person's company for a while. Choosing these 15 may be tough, but it can also reduce a lot of the 'but if we invite her, we have to invite her and her' type conversations!
The technological advances in recent years mean that it is much easier to stream your service and speeches etc. to your family and friends. So while they may not be in there with you physically in the building, they are still very much a part of the day.
But the biggest thing is that love is not cancelled. You can still make those promises you were planning to make to the person you love. It may not look how you first thought it would, but it can happen.
"Seems silly, doesn't it? A wedding. Given everything that's going on."
"Maybe that's the best reason to have it. Because of everything that's going on."
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Interview with John & Hannah
'Don’t stress your day will still be as magical as you had planned, if not more so!'
I know that your wedding sadly couldn’t go ahead as planned, can you share a little about what you decided to do instead?
We knew mid-march that our big day in July wouldn’t be going ahead as normal so we decided to cancel and let our guests know that we would hopefully be getting married when it was possible for us to do so. When it came to our actual wedding day, it was only the week before that we had everything confirmed so it was all a bit rushed! I had to buy an emergency dress from Ebay! We knew we wanted to celebrate with our nearest and dearest so quickly put a guest list together and let them know we were getting married on the 11th of August and we couldn’t have the day without them being there! We knew we wanted to stream it online so John set about searching for the best way to do that, and I set my mind to thinking of wedding favours and decorations!
What was the biggest challenge in planning your micro wedding?
When it came to the planning of our micro wedding, both I and John would agree that the biggest challenge was working out how to minimalize and deciding what we could do without, whilst making sure it still felt like a proper wedding. It was announced literally 4 days before the wedding that we couldn’t even have the small reception we had thrown together a few days before, so we had to think on our feet as to what we could do to still make our day special without breaking any Government Guidelines. As I mention before, we had decided to stream it online which was a challenge in itself working out the best platform to do this on to make it accessible to all.
Did lots of people log in to watch your wedding online?
To say that we got married on a Tuesday lunchtime when many people will have been at work or on video calls, we did have approximately 90 people watch our wedding stream live, and a few managed to catch up on it later.
How did you find having less guests and no ‘reception’?
Due to the new rules that were put in place, we found the wedding itself to be rather strange; the fact that our guests had to have their temperature taken before they entered the building along with having to all wear facemasks and not being able to talk or sing whilst in the building was all VERY weird. The limited amount of guests didn’t really affect us as in the run up to our big day we knew we would have to limit the amount of people and we didn’t let guests know until we had finalised things. Also the fact we could stream it online meant that our guests who should have been attending our big day could watch safely from their own homes. We also had an Instagram hashtag #ohhappycades where our online guests could post how they were celebrating our big day! Some of John’s cousins even got together and had a little garden party which was a brilliant idea! The fact we couldn’t have a reception was sad, we didn’t even get a wedding cake! However, we threw an idea together at the last minute, which was adhering to government guidelines, and celebrated with a Dixons ice-cream with all of our guests after our service! We got honked at many times being stood on a main road in Huddersfield in our wedding attire! All in all, we actually preferred having no reception, it made our big day just that little bit more special.
What was the most surprising thing for you about your micro wedding?
I’d have to say, how right it felt with so little guests! It was so lovely to celebrate with our closest friends and family and it will be a memory we all have forever of just how surreal yet wonderful it was!
What are favourite memories from the day?
We actually stopped at Costa on our way to have our photos taken, and I can honestly say, I have never been looked at more strangely in my life! I never thought I’d be stood in Costa in my wedding dress! People were asking to take my photo and congratulating us, when all I wanted was my strawberry lemonade, but it was very lovely! Another favourite memory would have to be the wedding party of 25 stood on Leeds Road eating ice cream and enjoying the sun, the photos from this part of our big day are some of our favourites! Ooh and finally, me being far too hot and taking Anna’s joke of getting into the River a little too seriously and having a little paddle!
How do you feel about planning your full day wedding for next summer whilst also being a newlywed?
We are just having a huge party, to celebrate almost a year of being married, but of course I’ll wear my actual wedding dress, it would be rude not to! We have already planned most of it so we’re not too stressed about that!
What advice would you give to anyone considering a micro wedding with the new restrictions?
Expect things to change almost every day in the run up to your wedding, and make sure you’re not relying on loads of other people and try and do most things for your big day yourself. One thing we would say is that even if it means having to cut down on guests numbers, hire a photographer for your wedding day, they will capture it in a way you’d never imagine and I’m so grateful we have these photos forever now! Don’t stress your day will still be as magical as you had planned, if not more so! You’ll definitely have stories to tell your grandkids one day! Just enjoy it!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope this blog is helpful to all you micro-wedding planners out there!