— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
With 2020 behind us and 2021 in full swing, the wedding industry is slowly getting back on its feet—but still not in the traditional sense. Since COVID-19 rules and restrictions are changing and vary from state to state, many couples have decided to cancel their 100-, 200-, 300-count wedding plans and opt for something a bit more with the (unprecedented) times: a micro-wedding.
Get expert shopping advice delivered to your phone. Sign up for text message alerts from the deal-hunting nerds at Reviewed.
Micro-weddings, or minimonies, refer to weddings with 50 guests or less and allow for social distancing guidelines to be followed while still celebrating with those nearest and dearest to you. Creating a tiny version of the full-scale wedding you had in mind is the perfect way to say “I do” that’s still got all the sparkle and excitement you deserve, minus all the worries and the big expenses of a traditional wedding.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that virtual gatherings are the lowest risk activities you can participate in right now. It places "smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least six feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area" in the "more risk" category, meaning micro-weddings aren't as risky as medium- and large-sized gatherings, but there is still a level of risk involved when hosting one. The organization advises event staff to follow proper hygiene and disinfecting protocol and that both staff and attendees wear face coverings when they cannot social distance.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together the top 10 things you’ll need to plan for the perfect micro-wedding for you and your SO, including recommendations from our writers and editors who have tied the knot during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Need help finding products? Sign up for our weekly newsletter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
1. Gorgeous wedding invitations
When you’re inviting fewer people, naturally, you’ll need fewer invitations, but that doesn’t mean they still shouldn’t be beautiful. We love Minted, a stationery company that allows you to choose from hundreds of wedding invite suites, along with Save The Dates and Date Change notices (which very well might be needed in these times), that are customizable so they’ll feel bespoke. Having trouble deciding? With its free sample kit, you can take stock (pun intended) of all the different luxurious papers and various letterpress options so you can choose the combo that’s right for you.
2. An alternative (and cheaper) wedding gown
Sometimes a small wedding calls for an alternative wedding gown to better mesh with the new plans. BHLDN, Anthropologie’s wedding label, has every kind of dress imaginable from ballgowns to bohemian-style, and most are ready-to-wear (there’s even a section on their site called "Last-Minute Bride!") Plus, if you’re looking for that in-shop experience, you can book a virtual styling appointment to help you get that perfect fit.
3. A portable, yet loud Bluetooth speaker
With less than 50 guests, it doesn’t make sense to shell out for an expensive DJ. Instead, try this large, portable Bluetooth speaker that’ll play all of your favorite tunes from a distance of up to 100 feet. It pairs with laptops, tablets, and phones and is water-resistant for all you poolside vow-exchangers. Reviewers love that it even has USB ports for charging devices and comes with a microphone (now you can be the DJ), setting it apart from other speakers of its kind.
Need to make a playlist? Consider doing so on Spotify, which is the best music streaming service we've ever tested.
4. An alternate wedding venue
Fewer guests mean cooler venue options. Skip the overdone function rooms and try your luck looking through home rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO for a truly unique place to say "I do." Most rental properties require an additional fee for having a wedding there, but even with this extra cost, it’s likely still cheaper than a traditional venue. You’ll also find more flexibility when it comes to dates and locations. Do some research to find the best Airbnb venue in your state, or search around the country for even more options. Before you book, make sure you also read about Airbnb's coronavirus policy, including how cancellations work and how hosts are required to clean properties between bookings.
5. DIY flower arrangements
Intimate weddings call for smaller floral arrangements, but you can save even more money by arranging them yourself. Bloominous gives you all the tools (ie: flowers, ribbon, vases, and hardware) you need to create gorgeous and professional looking bouquets and displays on your own—you just need a little creativity and an inspirational Pinterest board. Feel free to call the wedding party over for a socially-distanced arranging session before the big day so everyone can get in on the fun.
6. A super sentimental photo board display
Not only does Minted do invitations, but you can also create photo collages featuring you and your loved ones to display at your minimony. Choose your favorite photos of you and your beau through the years and upload them into a fun arrangement—like this adorable heart shape. You can select from five different sizes and choose the frame style that best matches your wedding mood board. Each photo art piece is professionally installed with plexiglass and has included hanging hardware, so you can display it in your home for years to come, too.
7. Unique bridesmaid dresses
It’s likely that as your guest list got smaller, so did your number of bridesmaids. Lucky for you, that makes choosing and purchasing bridesmaid dresses that much easier. Fame and Partners is an online-only retailer that features gorgeous, custom made dresses and outfits your whole bridal party will adore. You can have each member of your party pick their preferred style, fabric, pattern, and size and everything is shipped right to their door. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
8. Single-serving desserts everyone will love
Staying compliant with COVID restrictions can be stressful at times, but there’s a silver lining: the adorable single-serve desserts you can serve at your mini celebration. You can get creative with petit fours, cupcakes, cake in a jar, mini pies, macarons, a curated collection of truffles—the list goes on. Since they’re served individually, these desserts can also double as the wedding favor or the escort cards for a truly unique touch. Want some options you don't have to make yourself? Baked by Melissa offers its delicious mini cupcakes in three-pack party favors and Cheryl's Cookies has a cookie tray that can feed the whole party. We found both were delicious and completely worth it after testing a variety of gourmet food gifts.
9. A truck that brings food and booze
Instead of hiring a caterer or bartender for your micro-wedding, consider renting a food truck or mobile bar for some extra charm. Your close friends and family will be thrilled at the prospect of having one all to themselves, and it’s also a great way to personalize the event. Some trucks can be rented on their own, but most require an attendant to be present for serving, which can help minimize crowding in one place. Services like Roaming Hunger can link you up with food trucks in your area, but make sure you look at all the required special event, parking, and fire code permits before you consider booking.
10. Customizable lawn games
Who doesn’t like giant versions of classic games? Entertain your guests with customizable lawn games from Uncommon Goods that can feature couple names, the date of the wedding, or pretty much anything you want. Personalize them even more by asking guests to write notes on different boards and blocks as an alternative guest book. The best part: when spread far enough apart, the outdoor games will keep everyone distanced while they socialize, though they still should be wearing masks.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 10 things you need to plan the perfect micro-wedding