OPINION: Micro weddings - the norm for future weddings?

14 Jan 2021

Among all the other things the global pandemic has done in 2020, it has fundamentally changed how people get married. But on the other side of Covid-19 will couples continue to throw the wedding ‘rule book’ out the window, leaving space for a flood of innovation, freedom, and personalisation in its place 

Image gallery

Image gallery

From weddings organised in weeks, to multi-event celebrations with different groups over several months, couples have been forced to do things differently during this pandemic, and that has precipitated greater innovation in wedding celebrations than we have seen in generations. 

But when life returns to normal – will our weddings do the same? Simon Gudgeon, owner of sculpture park and wedding venue Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset, thinks not. 

Simon has long been a champion of the micro wedding. He has been hosting weddings for groups as small as six long before anyone had heard of Covid-19, and he predicts the micro wedding, with its ‘less is more’ approach and some of the innovations it has precipitated, will long outlast the current restrictions.  

micro-weddings-the-norm-for-the-future-4Photograph: Sadie Osborne Photography

Small is beautiful 

Simona world-renowned sculptor, has created two licensed venues for micro weddings at Sculpture by the Lakes – The Pavilion, which can host a party of up to eight, and The Island, a hideaway on a lakewhich accommodates just six. Even the biggest venue at the park suits up to only 60 guests for a wedding reception. 

“We always wanted to do things differently - we’re not interested in competing with the big hotels,” explains Simon. To my mind, micro weddings are a fantastic option – not just now because of Covid – but at any time. Couples coming here want something quieter, something out of the ordinary – and even more so this year. 

“The last wedding we did was for four people – the bride and groom and their two guests. They had an amazing afternoon taking their wedding photos around the sculpture park, which is the most fantastic place for photography. It was our smallest wedding ever – but incredibly intimate and special. 

So, what micro wedding trends will be retained long after the Covid restrictions which necessitated them have gone? 

Intimacy 

“A very intimate day with a few close friends makes it far more special,” says Simon. When you invite hundreds of people, most of whom you don’t know very well, you certainly won’t be able to speak to all of them on such a busy day. 

With just six people or a few more, it becomes a lovely intimate day with close friends. Most of us can count our very close friends on one hand and feel very fortunate to have them – those are the people you want to spend that special day with.” 

micro-weddings-the-norm-for-the-future-3Photograph: Sadie Osborne Photography

Imagination 

When it comes to weddings, so often people will do what they think they should do or what feels familiar, without asking themselves what they really want - even down to the food. This is the view of Jennie Veale, events organiser at Sculpture by the Lakes.  

Jennie says: “People will ask for chicken or beef – without really considering what might be possible - what’s fun, what’s exciting, what will add something special. One of the things we’re now looking to do is live fire cooking for weddings – creating great fresh food, and you can imagine guests gathered around the fire bowls talking away into the evening too. When you’re catering for fewer people, you can shake things up.” 

Cost 

A small but amazing day beats a stress-inducing budget-buster with a big financial hangover – or a bigger event, where you’re forced to cut corners, says Jennie. 

This year people suddenly came around to the idea that they don’t have to bankrupt themselves for years to come with a huge wedding. We have done a few micro weddings which cost less than £1,000, which have been magical, intimate affairs. 

Weddings have become so competitive – full of one-upmanship – more about showing off your extravagance than anything else. Covid has stopped that trend in its tracks – and that’s a welcome change.” 

micro-weddings-the-norm-for-the-future-2Photograph: Sadie Osborne Photography

Freedom 

While some embrace all the wedding traditions, for others they can feel like a straitjacket. Covid has actually empowered people to do it their own way, which is a great thing,” says Jennie. 

“If more couples felt free to reject the tired old wedding formula and instead create intimate and truly special occasions that reflected them, that would be one very positive thing to come out of these tough times.” 

The great change to our way of life brought about by Covid does have its silver linings – and the shift in how we celebrate our weddings could just be one of them. It might be frustrating now, but if the weddings of the future are smaller, less of a financial burden, more relaxed, more unconventional, more intimate and special as a result, then that might just be a rather wonderful outcome. 

 

Sculpture by the Lakes is a unique wedding venue near Dorchester in Dorset. Nestled in 26 acres of glorious countryside this beautiful and tranquil sculpture park with more than 30 pieces of art, has a range of private facilities and venues, including The Retreat, private lakeside venue that accommodates 60 for a sit-down lunch or 100 for a drink’s reception. Sculpture by the Lakes provides a freshly prepared seasonal menu sourced directly from its own kitchen gardens.  

  

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