Today we hand over to Hampshire-based wedding photographer Jason Williams for his advice when it comes to planning a micro wedding…
Without trying to state the obvious, Covid has thrown more than a spanner or two into the wedding works. What we used to take for granted has been taken away from us, and that thing we humans crave most – human closeness – is now almost a long forgotten dream. If you were to list things which describe a ‘wedding’, human closeness would be on that list. The days of 100+ people all gathering to celebrate are well and truly on hold. But, and it’s a big ‘but’, that does not mean that one of our most cherished desires – the need to commit to our love and say “we do” – is cancelled. We just need to do it a different way and to reframe what a “wedding” is. That’s where micro-weddings come in.
Sure, 100 people is nice, but two is all you need.
Strip everything away from a wedding to the most basic thing of what a wedding represents and what are you left with? You’re left with two people saying that they’ll agree to love each other forever. When you say it like that, everything else is secondary. Sure, we may want to celebrate that with every single person we’re pals with on Facebook, but if the most important thing to you is being married to your love, then why let a little thing like a global pandemic get in the way? Sure, 100 people is nice, but two is all you need.
I’ve now shot a whole bunch of micro-weddings, and I’ve a few more to come too, and I’ll say this – I’m sold. The clarity that a smaller wedding has given to the couples I have photographed has been quite stark. Some have commented that, actually, we’d only really want a handful of guests anyway. Some have decided that to be married is the most important thing, and the party can wait. It’s given couples the chance to get creative, and to embrace the chaos. Being told that you can only have 15 or 30 guests at your wedding actually makes things easier in some cases.
Here’s a few tips which I hope can help if you’re considering a micro-wedding, or thinking that you may have to change your current plans.
I can’t stress this enough, but talk to your suppliers. I can only speak for a handful of other suppliers I know, but like me we are fully aware of the situation and will do all we can to be flexible and accommodate your plans. Try not to reschedule your wedding without first chatting to your suppliers about available dates.
We’ve got such an engrained idea of a wedding should be that sometimes it’s hard to see past that. most weddings have a ceremony, then a cocktail hour, then a sit down meal, then some speeches, then a first dance, then party. That works for large weddings with umpteen guests, but for smaller weddings that can feel a little rigid. A micro-wedding should be more relaxed and loose. Obviously you need a ceremony, but guests standing around for two hours waiting for a meal? The micro-weddings I’ve shot the couples have embraced this and really got creative with their ideas. As have most suppliers. For instance, I’ve started to offer an hourly rate for wedding photography as micro-weddings are rarely a full day. It seems silly to stick to a rigid pricing structure when now more than ever and bit of flexibly is needed.
Really you’d rather not invite Angry Uncle Bob, or Offensive Aunt Maude…
Don’t Sweat The Guest List
Sometimes the hardest thing to sort out for a wedding is the guest list. You have to be a negotiator, a peace maker, a counsellor, it’s hard. But, one good thing about having restricted numbers is that people now accept that you are limited for numbers, so won’t be offended if they’re not invited. It sounds crass, but really you’d rather not invite Angry Uncle Bob, or Offensive Aunt Maude but feel you had to to keep mum happy. Well now you have a good excuse not to and nobody can make you feel bad about it. Win!
I have an ethos – be of service. I do all I can in every situation to make a couples wedding day even more special than it already is. That also applies to when things aren’t going well – like now. I will truly bend over backwards to help any of my couples in any way I can. But of course it’s such a tough time right now, and I’ve needed couples to be understanding of me also. I’ve asked some couples if they would be ok paying a second deposit for their new postponed date. I’ve asked some couples to pay their balance early just so I can survive the next month. I’ve heard horrid stories of some couples feeling their suppliers are trying to make money off the back of this and take advantage of couples changes of plans which is a massive no no. But if you are changing your plans drastically, do have patience and understanding for your team of suppliers. They’re humans too and just trying to survive.
A micro-wedding is truly a chance to find what really matters to you.
This is YOUR wedding, so decide what is truly important. One thing micro-weddings have taught me is that you are now perhaps not locked to a specific location or style. If you are foodies, then have why not have your ‘wedding breakfast’ at your absolute fave restaurant? Do you love where you live? Then build in plans to have photos taken in or around your local area. A lover of fashion? Then ditch the traditional dress and go for something a little offbeat. A micro-wedding is truly a chance to find what really matters to you. Find those things that matter and build your wedding plans around that.
Jason Williams is an alternative and artistic wedding photographer based Hampshire, covering the whole of the UK and beyond. Check him out at www.jasonwilliamsphotography.com