Planning a wedding during a pandemic? Tips on how to plan a safe and meaningful micro-wedding

We’re sure you’ve heard the words ‘micro-wedding’ and ‘mini-mony’ thrown around during this age of COVID-19 and we’re almost positive you had the same question we all did at the beginning: “What does this even mean?” We’re here as wedding industry professionals to help guide you through all the questions any couple facing these uncertain circumstances have. Fear not; we’re your one-stop-shop for all things ‘micro’ and are here to let you in on some firsthand industry advice in navigating these new waters with confidence. 

In this article, we will walk you through how to have a meaningful, safe, and intimate micro-wedding with all the luxe feels. We have teamed up with members of the Southern California wedding community to present you with a one of a kind experience that takes you behind the scenes of what to plan for and how to effectively run an intimate wedding with some modifications. Just because the word ‘micro’ or ‘mini’ may be in the title, does not mean these celebrations are any less detail-oriented! These vendors are fully committed to incorporating personal touches that showcase your personalities and gorgeous decor elements that elevate both your virtual and in-person celebrations. 

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a micro-wedding and who should consider one? A micro-wedding is basically a scaled-down version of an already planned larger event or a totally new event that still has all the elements of a ‘full’ wedding but with a more intimate feel and a smaller guest list. We’re taking your 120 person wedding and adjusting for a guest count of 30 for example while either postponing the larger celebration to next year or simply keeping the more intimate gathering as the main event. Think of your micro-wedding as the first celebration that includes a ceremony and dinner or cocktail hour and the larger originally planned wedding as your one year anniversary party! For events that haven’t been planned yet, a micro-wedding simply means selecting a team of vendors (caterer, planner, photographer and videographer, florist, rentals, etc.) and going through your standard wedding planning process but with a shorter time frame, fewer guests and a more intimate feel!  All in all, micro-weddings are for any couples who want to celebrate small now and party large later or any couple who wants to celebrate and party all at once right now! 

Stationery: Honeycrisp Designs
Incorporating creative and appropriate wording into invitations is the new way to still showcase those gorgeous suites you’ve designed alongside your stationery vendor and have everyone feel like they’re celebrating in person should you choose to forego a larger wedding. Small notecards that are an extension of your suite stating a “Change the Date” have been a popular option to let guests know that the party is still on, but moving dates. Adding something interactive and fun for guests to do during your virtual ceremony is also another way to both involve your nearest and dearest and get to show your creative side via snail mail. Cocktail recipes guests can use to mix up drinks at home and small informational cards with the live link to your YouTube or Zoom ceremony are also fun and exciting ways to update your invitations to reflect a changing date or add a fun element for those guests unable to join. 

Rentals: Archive Rentals
When deciding on gorgeous pieces that are sure to turn heads, Archive Rentals definitely tops our list of companies with some serious eye candy. From vintage pieces, modern design elements, gorgeous textured textiles and jaw dropping lighting, any micro-wedding wouldn’t be complete without their A+ inventory making a statement. Whether you’re hosting 10 or 100, they’re sure to have a tabletop or furniture piece that fits any and every couple’s style on their wedding day. As if their pieces weren’t enough to woo you, their design services and top notch experts seal the deal. “Archive is known for curating each event to the client and we do so by offering complimentary design services through video calls to review the overall wedding vibe, virtual venue walk-throughs to understand what the space needs and design boards to provide visual options for rentals in each category needed” says Lead Designer Lauren Kilar. “While we love having our clients visit our showroom in person, we are able to now do a virtual showroom tour and share tabletop setups, lounge vignette setups and more so that clients feel like they are seeing the items in real life and are rest assured that they meet the vision they have for their wedding”. 

In terms of safely delivering clean and quality products for your event, Archive also has you covered. “Our delivery team wears masks during the full setup and breakdown of the event rentals and requests that any setup diagrams be sent ahead of time to review so that they can maintain a safe distance from others. Our trucks are wiped down with each order to prevent contamination spread and our returned items are quarantined for a minimum of 3 days before they can be rented on another event” - Lauren 

  • Rent (2) sets of chairs - one for your ceremony and one for the reception to avoid cross-contamination
  • Or, rent chairs that can be wiped down (metal for example) - your planner or caterer can likely assist with this sanitation step during your cocktail hour!
  • Make sure you give your guests a bit of extra space by renting additional tables so that they don't feel like they are crammed next to each other - it will make for a more enjoyable experience!
  • Opt for a plated dinner tabletop setup - this option is safer than stations or buffets because guests are not sharing communal serving spoons and such.
  • Everyone loves a big lounge vignette, but in this case, opt for doing multiple, smaller vignettes to allow more guests to enjoy the company of a few others at a safe distance.
  • Create a trendy sanitation station for guests at the entrance of the wedding featuring a collection of masks in your color scheme and hand sanitizers with custom labels - even better - rent a unique table and a tray to display the items!
  • We are trying to streamline the rental process as much as possible for our couples right now by offering curated wedding packages in several styles so that couples can easily pick a collection of rentals that meets their budget and design vision for their smaller wedding. Micro-wedding decor, handled!

Looking at that carefully put together, minute-by-minute timeline and vendor list and wondering where to even begin when thinking of adjusting for a smaller headcount or a postponement? Tatiana Czerwiak and Chelsea Van Arnam of Lucky Day Events Co. share some insight into how their team is pivoting wedding planning logistics with current clients and how you can tackle managing details as you consider varying options!

“We understand that during this time, it may seem overwhelming to even begin to start thinking about planning again with all of the changes happening so quickly. That’s why we’re here to not only take that stress off your shoulders but help you execute a beautifully styled and intimate celebration without compromising your vision. Something we’re working on with most of our couples is a seamless wedding postponement process instead of a wedding cancellation. This involves us contacting each vendor team for each wedding for updated contracts, moving all deadlines and check-ins to correspond with the new date, adjusting layouts to allow for physical distancing, and making sure all details are handled with the venue and caterer. Handling all of these details now allows you to breathe easy knowing you’re covered for the year ahead and have your new date locked in. 2021 is booking FAST so we definitely suggest securing a new date if you’re looking to postpone for 2021. For those couples looking to both postpone their big celebration and still hold an intimate micro-wedding, we come in and help execute all rental and setup logistics while running a full wedding day with a smaller team on the original wedding day. This includes all aspects of a large scale wedding (setup, cueing events, vendor management, timeline management, tear down, etc.) with added safety precautions like constant sanitization, distancing, and masks. As a whole, we’re taking extra safety precautions to make sure all vendors, guests, and our incredible couples feel safe and taken care of!” - Tatiana 

  • If postponing, lock in your 2021 wedding date ASAP as vendors and venues are filling up quickly! You may need to consider a Friday or Sunday wedding if your preferred Saturday is already taken.
  • If you’re handling all vendor contracts yourself and need to adjust dates, make sure your team is updating all paperwork to reflect your new date and resending you a new contract and invoice to sign.
  • If you had any signage or personalized items printed, make sure they’re reprinted with your new date. 
  • Micro-weddings still have huge design impacts! Work with your planner or designer to maximize what may now be a fluctuating budget and determine whether some of those details you may have had to say no to initially are now on the table with a smaller guest count. 
  • Send out “Change the Dates” to all invited guests if invitations have already been mailed. 
  • If you’re still holding a ceremony on your original date and want to include those from afar, consider sending an electronic invitation to a Zoom ceremony or having your videographer create a YouTube Live link that they can access to watch your I Dos! 
  • Depending on when you’ve postponed to, make a note in your calendar for a new date to obtain your marriage license (remember, licenses in California are valid for 90 days from the issuance date!)
  • Reschedule any planned dress fittings or alterations and any hair and makeup trials. 
  • Reschedule any travel accommodations made (most airlines are offering flight changes free of charge.)
  • If postponing the larger celebration but still planning an intimate micro-wedding, feel free to use all those gorgeous decor you stockpiled and reuse next year! You might even find fun ways to repurpose them for your ‘anniversary’ celebration! 
  • Lastly, hug your fiance and your loved ones tight knowing love is never canceled and no matter which avenue you choose, your wedding is going to be a perfect reflection of the relationship being celebrated!

Photography: XO and Fetti 
Your wedding day is finally here, and all that you imagined for your day is happening...your only job for the day is to soak it in and enjoy it all! Your photography team will be with you for most of your day, communication is key - discuss your itinerary with your photographer to ensure you have a seamless day! Vanessa Mestas from XO and Fetti explains why your memories matter and why communication is key:

“Whether a couple is eloping, having a mini-mony, a micro-wedding or a larger celebration in the future - their (your) story matters!! Your photographs contribute to your family’s legacy and heritage. No matter your path, remember that it is important to hire a photographer you can trust to capture your day beautifully. Communication will be very important for couples working with a photographer for their micro-wedding or celebration during COVID, many couples are skipping traditions, keeping their day short or getting ready with each other instead of with their wedding parties. Discuss your unique plans so you can have proper coverage for all of your moments!” - Vanessa 

Speaking of “getting ready,” you may be thinking about how this part of the day would go for a micro-wedding. Vanessa explains how her team is handling this part of the day, safe planning is essential!

“Our team is promoting safely guided getting ready moments; for example, a bride could step into her gown inside her home but then step outside for her mother or loved one to help with any buttons or lace details. This way, vendors can still capture the getting ready moments and keep at a distance. We want to be thoughtful, we want to honor these special moments but also keep safe by limiting the number of vendors, staying socially distanced, wearing our masks and staying outdoors.” - Vanessa 

In regards to coverage, how many hours are typically needed for micro-weddings? “Micro-weddings can be a short three hour day with minimal getting ready coverage, a ceremony, family photos, portraits and a champagne toast or it can be a fuller day with all the above plus a brunch, lunch or dinner. Your Micro-Wedding photography coverage will likely be customized based on your particular needs and plans and will also depend on a number of things… for example, do you have a wedding party? How many guests are you expecting? Are you planning on all the traditions? The details on your plans matter when reviewing hours needed.” - Vanessa 

Couples going micro are also finding that they are cutting guests from their invite list, what can a photographer do to help couples who want to keep loved ones informed or involved? “While we cannot go live with photography, we can provide Sneak Peeks for the couple to share with their loved ones right away. We send photo previews the next day or within the week!” - Vanessa 

  • Reach out to your dream photographer as soon as possible as many are booking up weekends quickly due to 2020 postponements.
  • Provide details when reaching out to a photographer, where will you be getting ready and would you like those moments documented? Are you traveling to a second location for your Micro-Wedding? What activities besides the ceremony and portraits would you like captured?
  • Discuss the important details during your consultation and review a full gallery from your potential photographer.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask about what precautions they are taking when photographing a wedding during COVID-19.
  • Ask about Sneak Peeks if you think it might be something you would like to share with loved ones immediately.
  • Last, review all the moments that matter to you most with your photographer prior to your wedding day so you can simply soak it all in on the day of!

Hair and Makeup: Done by Domonique Baez
Let’s be real, we all want to look good and feel good during our biggest moments. It’s a no-brainer to hire a hair and makeup artist for your micro-wedding, but what does that look like during COVID-19? Domonique Baez from Done by Domonique Baez tells all!

“Everyone deserves to look good & feel good as they celebrate their biggest moments, and it just so happens that it's my passion to boost your confidence to the max! Let's be real, COVID-19 has thrown us all for a loop and changed life up tremendously. And while times are changing, my passion for serving you hasn't--so let's talk about some steps I've taken to pivot while still making sure you're looking & feeling your best on one of your best days ever.” - Domonique 

Domonique starts with a good consultation to get to know the bride and provides a “Bridal Preview” to establish confidence, with COVID-19 it is equally important to FEEL GOOD and Domonique is committed to safety. “Nowadays, boosting your confidence to the max means I am taking extra steps to make sure you are absolutely confident in your look AND safety. While being a licensed cosmetologist, I have
 also received certification in sanitation (Barbicide COVID-19 Certification) to make sure that I am implementing routine precautions including taking my temperature before working, wearing a mask (and a shield during makeup application), investing in proper tools and sanitation supplies, avoiding cross contamination, and taking extra time in between clients to properly clean the work area and materials.” - Domonique

  • When booking a makeup artist or hairstylist, consider asking if they are licensed cosmetologists and/or sanitation certified. 
  • Where does sanitation land on their priority list and what steps are they making to not only make you look good, but feel good and confident too?
  • Book your vendors ASAP! For most vendors, weddings booked prior for 2020 have been rescheduled to 2021 and beyond, so dates are filling up fast. Don't sleep on reaching out to vendors you absolutely want to book.
  • Embrace the season. Whether you're having a micro-wedding, elopement or planning a future 200+ guest celebration, take in every moment and do whatever is best for you as a couple. 

Florist: InStyle Blooms
Florals will always be a gorgeous part of any celebration and Laura Barraza from In Style Blooms has some great advice for couples wondering how to incorporate smaller floral pieces into their micro-wedding and how her and her team are delivering top notch florals while following guidelines and adapting to market fluctuations due to COVID. “Micro-weddings and elopement are gaining so much popularity due to the current situation. As a creator and flower enthusiast, I truly believe flowers bring joy and happiness. We all need more beauty and we need to embrace the moments where love conquers all” says Laura. “I love creating beautiful experiences for people to cherish for the rest of their lives. So no matter the situation please know that we are here and ready when you are to help you plan and design your celebration. This next chapter in your life matters and should be celebrated”.

One thing she recommends when looking to potentially downsize for the initial small ceremony, is to consider your bridal bouquet as a focal point. “If you need to make reductions to your wedding flowers, don’t make reductions to your bridal bouquet! Ladies, please realize that your bouquet will be photographed all day long with you and your husband & it needs to be beautiful, flowy and abundant. Think of it as an extension of your design and style”. 

She also has some great advice for couples looking to start their floral vendor selection process for their micro-wedding: “Communication is key! When booking your vendors, look for people you instantly have a connection with. Vendors that make you feel comfortable and confident will do a good job, provide excellent services, and surpass your expectations. A lot of couples make the mistake of booking vendors quickly without much research or because of a great deal - but no matter your price bracket, there are so many wonderful vendors who put care and the greatest effort into their work so look out for them! Planners are a great resource in this area as well for recommendations”. 

In terms of how Laura and her team are pivoting to both COVID restrictions and still executing gorgeous micro-wedding events, Laura says that a reduced staff and adherence to CDC guidelines are key. “Due to the current situation, I have reduced my staff for the time being.  Multi-tasking and communication are key and my focus is still the same; to stay organized and multi-task with my team on time. I follow the CDC guidelines closely and pre-plan with the venue and planner ahead of time to make sure all arrival times are staggered and effective. Temperature checks, social distancing, gloves, masks, and protective eyewear are worn during setup to ensure safety first for everyone. I’ve gone digital for all design mock-ups and provide detailed design boards. All flower orders are done online and client meetings and held via Zoom. Putting couples, my team & myself at ease that we can
still celebrate life and love and be safe at the same time!”


Videography: Milestones of Love
Virtual weddings are here! COVID-19 has put a focus on how guests can attend a wedding virtually and videographers are quickly adapting. With equipment that can connect to a live channel like, videographers are able to give your guests a glance into your ceremony from the comfort of their own home. Our Videographer team from Milestones of Love will be taking us through a live experience tomorrow, be sure to check back here to see a recap if you missed it! And if you haven’t yet registered, click here!

There you have it! Some tidbits from our SCB community and local vendors on micro-weddings and the changes we are all facing; whether you are celebrating your love with an elopement, mini-mony, micro-wedding or a larger celebration… one thing remains constant - the two of YOU! Stay safe & happy planning!