As more and more large events are COVID-canceled, many couples are reconsidering big wedding celebrations in favor of more intimate affairs with their closest family members. Need help planning your Raleigh micro wedding?
We asked Alexia Crossman of Wiley Events Co. to share her top tips for planning a smaller celebration for your wedding in Raleigh, NC. Her tips are helpful regardless of how large or small you want your wedding celebration to be, but if you’re hoping to plan an impactful micro wedding in Raleigh, read on!
There’s no denying that 2020 has been a year unlike any other for weddings. When I set out to begin my spring wedding season, I could never have imagined that my couples would soon have to consider how to plan micro weddings this summer and fall in Raleigh and across North Carolina.
At first, I was disappointed. Weddings are a time of celebration. A time to gather with those you love most. A time to commit yourself and your love wholeheartedly to another person. A time to plan a personalized and sentimental event unlike any other event in your lifetime. I was frustrated that my couples had to delay those joyous moments they had long dreamt about.
But then, I took a step back and realized that small, micro weddings (fewer than fifty guests) can still be all of those things. They are still celebrations. They still bring together loved ones. And most importantly, you still get to marry your person.
As couples continue to face the difficult decision of whether to postpone their 2020 weddings or to have intimate celebrations, I urge them to think about what truly matters most to them on their wedding days. While it can be tough to take emotions and financial investments out of the equation, at the end of the day, your wedding is a celebration of marriage, and you don’t need 200 of your friends and family to make it meaningful. Plus, if you still want to have that big celebration, consider postponing until 2021 and have a smaller celebration this year.
There are still plenty of ways to make your intimate Raleigh wedding incredibly personal and filled with love. Here are four ways ideas:
Make the ceremony all about you and your partner
When you decided to have a micro wedding this year instead of a big celebration, what was your deciding factor? Was it getting married to your partner? If so, make your ceremony the main event! Select music that you love, choose readings that speak to you, and have your favorite people participate in the ceremony if they can. Consider writing your own vows.
Make guests feel comfortable
Because you’ll have fewer guests at your micro wedding, you can devote the time to making each and every guest feel special. Consider writing each guest a handwritten note expressing your gratitude, or share a favorite memory with a printed photograph for each guest. For guests traveling from out of town, make them feel at home with a highly-personalized welcome box (with specialty Raleigh treats) waiting for them at their hotel room.
Some guests may still feel weary about gathering, even in smaller groups. Make sure they feel completely safe and comfortable by following all North Carolina and Raleigh regulations and guidelines. Consider having a more socially-distanced ceremony layout, or reception tables that are a bit further apart. Assign seats so you can have families and friends that live together or see each other frequently sit together. Make sure guests feel comfortable with food and beverage service by working closely with your caterer and bartender to develop a plan.
Think about the guest experience
From the moment your guests arrive to the moment they leave, think through every experience that they will have at your wedding.
When your guests arrive, what do they see? Is there clear signage so they know they’ve come to the right place? Will they know how to seat themselves for the ceremony (especially amidst social distancing challenges)? Perhaps they are greeted by a glass of champagne? Or maybe you have designated loved ones nearby to greet and welcome guests so they instantly feel at ease.
As your guests move into a reception setting, how will they find their seats? Now is the perfect time to get creative with an escort card display. When guests find their seats, what awaits them? Perhaps you have their favorite cocktail waiting? Or you have a plated selection of appetizers (as passed hors d’oeuvres may be a challenge with current government regulations).
Lastly, for the entertainment portion of the evening, you may opt out of a dance floor to maintain social distancing. Think of another fun activity to have in its place. Consider having live music for guests to enjoy (sans dance floor), or have an experiential activity, like a wine tasting. If you and your partner are total foodies, focus the evening on the meal (can you say multiple courses with wine pairings) instead of the party.
Splurge on impactful details
Fewer guests means fewer tables and spaces to decorate. If you’ve dreamed of lush floral arrangements but just couldn’t afford to have them on every guest table previously, you may be able to make it work with a smaller event. If you plan for guests to spend the majority of the evening at their table, make sure each seat feels special. Splurge on beautiful plates, flatware and glassware (if that’s your thing), and make sure your guests have comfortable seating at your Raleigh micro wedding!
Beyond just the design of your day, I highly encourage you to splurge on your photography if you haven’t already booked, or keep your existing photographer for the full day of coverage. Now more than ever, capturing those moments of your wedding day will be so critical (especially to share with guests who may not be able to attend your smaller wedding). Plus, with fewer guests, your photographer will be sure to capture shots of everyone!
Remember, that your micro wedding isn’t necessarily a smaller scale version of the wedding you already planned. Some things will change. The safety of your loved ones is the most important thing, so your wedding day may not look exactly the same as you had envisioned it. But it will be beautiful, personalized, and (certainly) memorable. And, best of all, you’ll be married! Hooray!