PLANNING A SMALL INTIMATE WEDDING
With Real Couple Jay and Sam’s First Hand Advice on Postponed Covid Weddings
In a year like no other, so many couples have had to start planning a small wedding when the pandemic changed their celebration ambitions. With postponed Covid weddings being the norm over the last year, many couples have had to re-think their day and start planning a small intimate wedding instead of their original ideas. It goes without saying that many engaged couples intend on planning a small wedding from the very start.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN PLANNING A SMALL WEDDING
However, this year with micro weddings becoming more prominent, accommodating pandemic weddings have had to take priority. Recently I wrote about What Schitt’s Creek Can Teach Us About Postponed Covid Weddings in the hopes of inspiring couples to make the most out of their ever changing situation. If you find yourself in the circumstance where you have not initially intended on planning a micro wedding, then the prospect can be daunting.
SOME QUICK TIPS FOR PLANNING A SMALL INTIMATE WEDDING
Think About a Weekday Wedding.
Venues can be very accommodating and most have reduced rates for mid-week celebrations. This can be helpful with reducing cost, but also helping with the smaller guest list.
Maximise The Experience You Have
Just because you are planning a smaller celebration, this does not mean that certain elements are exempt from the festivities. If you are having to plan a micro wedding this does not mean that you don’t deserve the outfit that you had planned for your ‘big wedding’. Have the flower arch, book the photographer and amend the wedding cake. Just because your celebration is smaller this dose not mean it is less important.
Look at Non-Traditional Wedding Venues
Smaller venues or ‘non-traditional’ places for getting hitched are usually a little more equipped for intimate wedding numbers. This can open up a huge possibility for your reception and ceremony that you may had never considered.
Jay, Sam andTheir Advice on Postponed Covid Weddings
I met Jay and Sam at a wedding workshop and we got on really well. When speaking to them they discussed how their wedding had changed form so many times due to Covid-19. The images in this blog are not of their own wonderful micro wedding, but from the workshop day. However the advice they are divulging is all down to personal experience. Some couples, like Jay and Sam have had to re-plan their wedding day aspirations. From a guest list of 150, down to 15, to a wedding without dancing or singing. They have been kind enough to answer some questions surrounding how they managed to planning a small intimate wedding from a grand affair. This blog is here to help you with some decisions that you might have to be choosing between.
Tell Us a Little About The ideas You Had For Your Wedding – Theme, Colours, Aesthetic?
Jay and Sam: “Our wedding was always planned to be on Halloween. This is because every Halloween before our wedding, (that’s nine including the wedding now) we have always played host to a fancy dress party and people expect it from us now every year. We love being social and as we both work in the arts; we have some incredibly fun and creative friends who all love the chance to dress up. Jay’s nan and grandad also got married on Halloween and Jay’s great grandparents got married on bonfire night, so we really did want to follow tradition.
Our colour palette was always an autumnal one: burnt oranges, dark greens and lavender. We always wanted to have a pumpkin centre piece. One that was not obviously representing Halloween but white and with a very beautiful flower arrangement. White and purple hessian and purple lavender was what we went for and followed this theme into our bouquets too. Our bridesmaids were always meant to be split – Sam’s wearing burnt orange and Jay’s dark green, but when the numbers were reduced from 150 to 15 because of Covid -19, we ended up reducing the bridal party too. We felt because of this that it would be better if they all had the same colours. We ended up choosing a beautiful shade of green and incorporated the burnt orange into the bouquet ribbons and Covid face masks, which worked out perfectly.”
How Much Did Planning Your Wedding Change Due to The Current Pandemic Situation?
“It changed so much. I can’t actually describe the stress levels that were at play during this time. We were originally going to have a weekend wedding in Beverely, Yorkshire. An intimate one of 80 guests on the Friday in an old Friary, to witness us get married (apparently one of the most haunted listed buildings in the UK) followed by a curry made by Sam’s dad and a good old quiz night – quite low key but would have been so much fun with the crowd we had invited. The Saturday was going to be the evening of the celebration where further guests were due to arrive making the total 150 people and held in a barn not far from the Friary. It was to be a Halloween ball, where we both had arranged for two designers to make our dresses, (we were going to do drag) but we were also going to keep it secret from each other – we still to this day do not know what the other’s dress looks like.
We had so much planned for the ball: a full vegan cake arrival – I can’t tell you how many wonderful cakes were planned by the caterer’s ‘Blondes’, which we were super excited by as we’re very active vegans who love cake. We had an incredible Leeds based band booked called ‘New Position’, an 8-pack of funk/RNB Slammers who we saw on a night out in Leeds. There was so much planned, I can’t tell you how excited we were. As well as a photographer, we had even booked a live artist called ‘The Style Drawer’ who was going to draw our guests throughout the night. Everything was so well organised. Deposits were paid, everything was brought, designed, tick, tick, tick.
Then Covid happened and everything had to be cancelled. We started again.
We ended up getting married with 15 people (that included us) upstairs in a pub called The Trafalgar Tavern
in Greenwich, London, overlooking the river Thames. It all happened within 8 hours, starting with the ceremony followed by photos, a meal, some speeches and a wedding dance (only us two) and some cheeky Covid friendly table games. We still had the pumpkin flower arrangement which was beautifully created by Fleurs by Elisabeth as well as the bouquets and button holes to match. We had an incredible photographer (Rebecca Carpenter Photography
) who captured our day with every emotional, fun, intimate quality that our day expressed. We are so grateful for her being a part of our day, and we had the same new/vintage suit-styles that we originally planned for. The cake was different but still vegan as well as the catering but everything else changed. It was absolutely heart breaking to watch a wedding you have saved and planned for years turn to dust. Ultimately, though it all turned out perfectly and we had such an exceptional day full of laughter, tears and lots of booze. Thinking back to it now, we don’t think it could have turned out any better (well, maybe we could have had a few more people there).”
When Planning a Small Wedding What Was The Most Important Element For You As a Couple?
“For us, it was always about doing what we wanted and not what was expected of us. Our original idea was super non-conventional and we were proud of that. We love drag we also like to wear nice suits so why shouldn’t we do both? We love intimate evenings playing games and eating nice food, quiz nights and catch ups, but we also LOVE dressing up and have HUGE parties, so again, why not do both? We wanted bouquets and even when more than one person crumbled their face or laughed at this because men don’t have flowers, apparently. We still did it! Vegan food isn’t for everyone but at our wedding if they didn’t like it, then they didn’t have to eat it!
Literally everything was planned because we wanted it and it was about us.
We were very strong minded about this, mostly because throughout our normal life we spend so much time just trying to fit in with society, or doing what is expected so family members or strangers you have never met before aren’t offended. We also kept our guest list full of our friends and the family members who are actually in our lives daily. We are working class and worked hard for our wedding, we wanted to spend it with those who make the effort all the time, not only when a wedding or funeral occurs, and we certainly didn’t want anyone there who was not ready to see a man in heels or willing to get down to Beyonce on the dance floor (Nan’s not included). So our biggest thing was that it was our day and nobody else’s. We wanted it to be a weekend that everyone would remember, but mostly that we would remember being OUR day in so many personal ways that it didn’t represent anyone else but us.”
When Searching For a Photographer, Was it Important to You That They Were a LGBTQ+ Friendly Wedding Photographer?
“100% – we met some lovely photographers and all with different ideas. Rebecca is a not just a photographer, she is also a friend. I think when looking for the right person to caption your wedding, you need to pick the person based not only on their talent but by how you connect with them. If you can trust them like a friend because you feel they understand you as a person, well you are already half way there. We shouldn’t have to think about our sexuality when booking someone to do something but unfortunately that is the reality of being an LGBTQ+ person. Hopefully we’re moving towards it becoming more and more ‘normalised’ and our sexuality won’t even be a factor.”
What Was The Most Surprising Thing About Planning a Small Intimate Wedding That You Did Not Expect?
“Nothing really surprising about planning, other than they can be almost as stressful as doing a huge one. It’s more about how the day actually went and the fact that you can have 15 or 150 people or spend £1,000 or £15,000. As long as you stay true to yourselves, don’t aim to please others and have your closest loved ones around you, it doesn’t matter. The day is what you make it and whenever people ask us this sort of question, this is what we tell them. Our biggest surprise was that we could have a small wedding with only 15 people and for it to still be the perfect wedding. Before Covid-19 we would have never suggested or recommended a planning a small intimate wedding. We could never understand how you could not want everyone there, but now we realise how special the intimacy of it all was. It really was a special day we will never forget.”
What advice would you give other LGBTQ+ couples who are embarking on planning their own wedding?
“The same as non-LGBTQ+ couples. Don’t listen to anyone else or feel pressured into doing what others want or inviting people you don’t even like. Don’t even stress about plus 1s! If you can’t afford to feed Shirley’s husband (because every single person will cost, you) then Shirley will understand. Stay grounded and plan within your means. Yes, you might have an incredible few hours but you don’t want to start married life in debt. Save and spend that cash on an amazing honeymoon – that’s what we’re going to do. For LGBTQ+ couples, don’t feel pressure to conform. If you want to express yourself in a certain way, then please, please just do it. If you have a funny feeling from a potential venue or supplier, then don’t go with them. The last thing you want on the day is worry of being judged for simply marrying the person you love. Embrace the fact you don’t always feel accepted by society and plug that into your day. Do something strangers would balk at but be secretly envious of, because they’re too afraid to be different.”
Thank you Jay and Sam for your wonderful insight
Here are some images from the workshop where we met – also did I mention that there was a HORSE?
If you have found this interview beneficial for accommodating your new plans then check out Your Micro Wedding Guide with even more information on planning a small intimate wedding day. If like Jay and Sam you are an LGBTQ+ couple embarking on planning a wedding together check out my blog all about being an LGBTQ friendly wedding photographer . If perhaps you are a photographer and have stumbled upon this blog and are looking to learn and be a more inclusive LGBTQ+ photographer then find more information on LGBTQ+ wedding photography here.
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Tableware Cutlery & Glasses: @atouchofvintageuk
Models: @her.heart.his.soul @pulse.is.racing