2020 is proving to be a year full of surprises; i think this is something everyone can agree upon! with the worldwide pandemic and corresponding restrictions, many couples are having to change up their wedding plans. and even more are considering nixing the big bash all together and having a smaller soiree, or holding a small ceremony on their original wedding date, while postponing their original plans for a later date. the beauty of modern-day weddings is that there’s really no right way to do it. in a time of uncertainty, you can be certain about one thing: do what feels right to you, and it will work out.
as d.c. and destination wedding photographers and filmmakers, we’ve done our fair share of elopements and intimate weddings– both locally and across the globe. and to be quite honest, they’ve often been some of our favorite events! of course we love large and exciting weddings, but there really is something unmatched about a small group of people gathering to celebrate the ones that they love, pledging their lives to one another. couples don’t have to stress about remembering the steps to their perfect first dances or worry about small talk with their dads’ bosses at cocktail hour. elopements bring the surreal emotions of just a couple sharing the most momentous day of life, and micro weddings are comprised of simply the most important people… and this brings nothing but immense joy.
we have had a lot of couples approach us with a lot of questions about where to even begin planning their elopements or micro weddings, so we’ve come up with a few tips of how to plan your elopement or micro wedding in the time of COVID:
- follow a “normal wedding” schedule
even if your wedding day isn’t quite looking like what you had imagined initially, following a “normal” wedding schedule will allow you to still feel all of those wedding emotions that you dreamed of! brides, go get your nails done, prep with your close girlfriend or mom while drinking mimosas. have your photographer capture the moments of you getting your dress done up, do an intimate first look with your groom, share a first dance under bistro lights after your ceremony. and who said you can’t have a confetti exit with a ten-person wedding?!
- incorporate details and interesting design elements wherever possible
just because you’re having a smaller wedding, it doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on the pretty details. from custom (or semi-custom) stationary suites to splurge-y, designer shoes to a beautiful floral arch for your ceremony, there are so many places to show off stunning design and elevate even the simplest backdrops or backyard affairs. because you won’t have a large number of tables to decorate, micro weddings allow you to invest more into gorgeous design elements without worrying about the cost of filling a large venue or many place settings. custom vow books are another meaningful detail to invest in for a micro wedding or elopement!
- hire a videographer + live stream your ceremony if possible
you may or may not be having a symbolic ceremony and larger celebration in 2021, when the world will likely look more normal. but regardless, the purpose of videography coverage of your elopement or micro wedding is two fold: you’ll be able to share the excitement of your actual union and vow-exchanging with close friends and family who cannot be there, and you’ll have these memories preserved for you and your future families to remember.
- toasts! toasts! toasts!
when you have a very small number of guests at your wedding, it’ll feel like the most heartfelt and romantic dinner party you’ve ever attended! seriously. take advantage of this almost rehearsal dinner-like atmosphere, and encourage toasts from many (or all) of your guests! soak in their stories, words, and advice without having to worry about losing the interest of a large number of guests, like you might at a full wedding. this is also a great excuse to hire a quartet or musical soloist or ask your talented sister to woo your crowd with a musical number. the beauty of this type of event is there really are no rules, so do what feels natural and enjoyable to you!
- go scenic
elopements and micro weddings offer more flexibility both in venue and in schedule, so there’s no reason to not take advantage of beautiful backdrops for either your ceremony, your couple portraits, or both! there are many local venues that are the perfect setting for baltimore or washington, d.c. micro weddings, and elopements can happen in any beautiful spot around the globe, truly! think about a location you find to be utterly charming, typical of your relationship, or meaningful to you, and go for it. maybe it’s a ice-capped mountain overlook or a city rooftop with views of the restaurant where you had your first date! the options really are endless.if you’ve found yourself stressed out about wedding planning in the time of COVID or unsure what your next steps are, we’re here for you. we can help you pull together an amazing vendor team who will make the process straightforward and enjoyable, design your dream affair, and of course, photograph + film the incredible memories that occur. the pandemic might shift your wedding plans or date, but you might end up with something more personal and memorable than you ever could’ve hoped for!to all of the couples choosing to get married in 2020 despite (what might feel like) all odds: you are amazing. it says a lot about your relationship and true desires to plan a wedding right now, and we admire your strength + dedication to one another!if you have any questions about navigating the elopement and micro wedding world, please feel free to reach out! we’re happy to lend a hand in any way we can.