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Emily Sullivan

The Big News on ‘Micro Weddings’

In the wake of the COVID crisis, wedding expert Emily Sullivan shares ways fellow planners can design successful "micro weddings."

The term “micro wedding” may sound like a new trend to come out of the COVID pandemic. But in reality, intimate weddings with 50 or fewer guests have been around for years, and are a popular option among couples everywhere. There are many couples who want all of the wedding bells and whistles but without the hefty price tag or the stress of planning a larger celebration. This is where the option to host a micro wedding comes into play.

It’s not a surprise that the severity of this crisis has left both couples and creative partners to struggle with the uncertainty of planning for future gatherings. Because of this, smaller events have spiked in popularity, and the micro wedding market will only continue to grow once events are given the green light to resume.

The reality behind the shift in size

A common thought for vendors and industry pros who read this might be: Doesn’t a larger wedding mean more money in our pockets? This has almost always been the case in pre-pandemic days, especially when we were in a market where luxury events often equated to extensive guest lists.

However, intimate weddings can be profitable and just as lavish for the couple and guests. In fact, those who opt for micro weddings often pull out all of the stops, making the price per person much higher. A couple who wants to include 100-plus of their closest friends and family might even have the same budget of a couple with only 30 invited guests, but the latter will be able to invest their dollars much more for additional amenities.

Why micro weddings are appealing to clients

Simply put, one of the main reasons couples prefer a more intimate gathering is due to the planning process. The ease of planning for 30 guests, for example, avoids the stressors that can come with planning a wedding with a larger head count. Additionally, the timeline is trimmed down to six to eight months, rather than the traditional year or more we typically see.

On top of that, the idea of something all-inclusive is perfect for couples who want everything packaged together and streamlined. This was once only the norm for destination weddings, but our clients no longer need to travel to a resort in order to obtain all-inclusive services.

Then, there’s the guest list, which we know can cause a world of tension if not executed appropriately. Micro-wedding couples get to skip the pressure of inviting everyone in their social circle. Intimate weddings are for the closest family and friends, which turns the stereotypically stressful wedding experience into a comfortable celebration with loved ones.

Where to start with creating micro wedding packages

If you decide that this offering is right for you and your clientele, you might be wondering where you should begin when it comes with crafting the perfect intimate wedding package.

First, consider your market and your typical couple. Who is booking you? Are you catering more to the local crowd or to destination clients? Is there a desire for smaller scale gatherings?

Once you’ve nailed down the trends within your inquiries and past couples, think about what’s needed in terms of taking on this new facet of business. Make sure that you aren’t already stretched too thin in regard to your team, and discuss with them how much time and effort is needed to invest in intimate affairs.

From there, I recommend surveying your creative partners on their own experiences with micro weddings, and letting them know that you’re interested in dipping your toes into smaller wedding packages. Put some feelers out there that you’d like to be considered for helping out with these celebrations, and be easy to work with! The couple who chooses a simplified, intimate wedding is going to expect just that, and you’ll want fellow vendors on your side to vouch for you.

Once you gain momentum and have a few experiences under your belt, then you can think about add-ons to your website as a permanent offering.

Top challenges with micro weddings

Even the smallest of weddings have some challenges, but the good news is that the obstacles with micro weddings are generally more manageable than those related to full-service events--barring COVID’s set of hurdles we’re now facing.

  1. Be sure to set boundaries

There’s a misconception that intimate weddings mean everything offered in the package plus a full-service experience for the couple. We stand by giving all clients equal treatment and helping them to achieve their dream day, but it’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t feel obligated to include more than what’s outlined in your package. To set these boundaries, make it clear within the description of the package and the contract itself of what’s included and what isn’t.

  1. Avoid offering an overload of options

Again, one of the main driving factors of couples choosing a micro wedding is because they want less stress. That said, keep everything as simplified as you can to avoid presenting too many choices and thereby overwhelming clients. A prix fixe menu with set bar options is quick and easy for everyone involved, but with the option of customization as the couple sees fit. It’s best to start by giving them only a few options and allowing them to expand from there if desired.

Micro weddings have allowed us to become really close with all of our clients, and they truly brighten up our weeks and give us a change of pace. However, note that you are still running a business, so the transition to offering these tiny weddings should be worth it. If you’re ready to take on micro weddings, start by doing an audit of your business’s marketing and sales efforts--that way you’re in a prime position to take on this new niche.

Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a full-service wedding planning company based in New Orleans serving couples everywhere. Her business includes the Intimate Weddings by Emily Sullivan Events division.


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