When the world requires you to shift your plans, it’s time to get creative. We’ve put together some creative small wedding ideas.
When this post was written (August 10, 2020) receptions were prohibited in the State of Washington. I’m excited that as of January 2021, they are allowed, and guest counts in Phase 2 counties or better may be 25% or up to 200 wedding guests!
So now what? What if you really, REALLY want to get married now?
There are lots of ways you can make your small wedding (aka. a micro wedding) special, and even an unforgettably great experience. Thankfully, you’re still allowed to do pretty much everything that our elopement couples have always done, so we’ve got a lot of experience in these situations.
What does a small wedding include right now? Your micro wedding can include getting ready, first look, your ceremony, family and couple portraits, and even a short reception (up to 3 hours of reception are allowed as of early 2021).
What ways can we get creative with our ceremony?
Consider what you want to do as a unity ceremony. While this might be something that you would decide against for a large wedding, it may be somewhere that you want to incorporate a special tradition now. Whether you really, really want to cut your cake in front of your guests or you want to dance together as a symbol of unity, you can talk to your officiant about adding those into your ceremony before you’re pronounced as married.
What about ceremony seating?
Space out your seating in fun ways but also make sure seats are clearly marked for specific families.
How do family/wedding party portraits work right now?
Well, this part is going to feel a lot different than a traditional elopement. While we can still do family (and friend) portraits, please keep in mind that all families have to be socially distanced to their own household in the photos. That means that we will be using posing that has groups set 6 feet apart. We can use perspective to give the appearance of closer groups, but ONLY if the area where we do portraits is spacious enough to do so. Group photos will also be extremely limited to ensure that there is as little co-mingling as possible. We are recommending these portraits be done before ceremony when at all possible.
Couple portraits have a little more flexibility – and we will cover that soon.
What about an exit?
Since social distancing is required, it may be best to do your “exit” at the end of your ceremony. This can look like paper airplanes, bubble machines (nothing blown by mouth), nerf guns, or even streamer wands. We would recommend saving things like sparklers for your couple portraits instead.
And what about favors?
We have heard some super creative ideas for favors – individually wrapped desserts (cupcakes, mini pies, pie-on-a-stick and cake pops are all favorites and easy to order packaged), plated dinners from your caterer or “mix at home” mocktails and cocktails from you bartending service are the most popular. While things can’t be set out in a collective area, a great way to dispense these would be on each guest’s seat (just remember that whatever you come up with needs to be individually packaged and not able to be touched by others).
How long do these new small weddings last?
We have found these micro weddings last anywhere from 2-8 hours, depending on if getting ready photos are desired. If a couple photo adventure or a reception (details below) is chosen, they can last up to 12 hours (including drive time).
Should I still have decor and flowers and all that?
Absolutely! You can even transport some of your favorite things up to your couples portrait adventure to make it look even more magical if you want.
Finally, let’s talk about the couple portraits part of your micro wedding.
Right now, we are encouraging couples to take a same-day wedding adventure with us following their ceremony if they don’t want to have a reception. This allows you to get a little more “normal” with your elopement experience. During your photo adventure we can go somewhere epic and not only create couple portraits in a beautiful space, but you can also share your first dance, cut your cake, make toasts to each other, have a picnic, and even enjoy the sunset together and have sunset portraits taken. We also recommend setting up a small sweetheart table with your flowers and some rental decor to really make it feel special. We can help you choose a spot that will be secluded and perfect.
We recommend planning on up to 4 hours of photography time for this part of your small wedding, and up to 3 additional hours for drive time to your chosen location.
Of course, we can always do your couple photos as part of your normal wedding day timeline on site wherever you choose to have your ceremony, too.
We know it may not be exactly as you planned or dreamed, but there are still some great ways to get creative with your micro wedding in Washington state.
Are there any creative ideas you think we missed? Comment below!