If I ask you to picture a wedding, what’s the first image that comes into your head?
Is it a happy couple dressed up to the nines, surrounded by a big crowd of their nearest and dearest? For many people, that’s the quintessential idea of what a wedding looks like and, if you do a quick Google image search, that’s what you’ll mostly see.
It’s true that most weddings these days tend to be quite big affairs, with lots of people and lots of partying. Perfect!
If it’s perfect for you, that is!
But what if you want to get hitched to your beloved and that kind of wedding doesn’t do it for either of you?
Maybe you’re both introverted and the idea of being around so many people all day feels exhausting?
Maybe you are private, and you don’t really like the idea of sharing your milestone moment with lots of other people?
Maybe you have big, complicated families and the politics of who to invite feels huge?
Or maybe your funds won’t stretch to a big wedding because you’re saving up for a deposit on your first house?
Whatever the reason, many couples feel that they don’t really want a wedding with all the bells and whistles. But a quick jaunt down to the local register office doesn’t quite cut it either because, though it’s small, it’s also impersonal.
You want small, but you want it to be you. So what are the options?
Well, here are two great ones for starters:
Historically, to elope meant ‘to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent’ and, many years ago, couples often went to Gretna Green, a town on the Scottish border that let them marry before they were 21, as English and Welsh law forbade it.
Nowadays though, to elope tends to mean ‘to escape’. To escape all the pressures and the expectations, run away from the wedding industry juggernaut, free yourself from the financial or familial burden, and just do things your way.
An elopement involves just the couple, with two witnesses if they’re doing the legal bit. It can be done in a register office but to me (and of course, I would say this as a celebrant!) that flies in the face of the idea of escaping to do things your way.
So how about doing that legal part together quickly (here’s how) and then eloping to celebrate in style?
I’m thinking you, your beloved, me and a friendly photographer.
I’m adding a local beauty spot, or a place that’s special to you.
I’m picturing you two wearing whatever floats your boat – full-on wedding attire, your favourite jeans or anything in between.
Together, we’ve created a space that means something to you both and you feel held and safe as you commit yourselves to each other with words from the heart, and maybe a ring exchange or handfasting, in a way that reflects you. There will most likely be a lot of laughter (and maybe a few happy tears too).
It will be personal, emotional and possibly spiritual too, if that’s what you like.
Afterwards, you can have photos taken of the pair of you, maybe whilst enjoying a picnic or a cream tea with a bottle of something delicious and bubbly, capturing your day just as you want it.
No pressure, no expectation, no well-meaning but interfering family members, no crippling debt… Sounds good, right?
But what if you still don’t want a big wedding but would like a small handful of loved ones with you when you tie the knot? Enter the micro-wedding.
Micro-weddings (weddings with up to 10 guests) are similar to elopements in that they are much simpler, cheaper and less pressure than a big wedding.
In fact, during the pandemic, when wedding numbers were very restricted, some couples found themselves quite relieved to have to cull their invitation list and spoke of their day feeling much more personal as a result. Here’s a post I wrote about micro-weddings when we were in the midst of it all.
A micro-wedding can happen in your front room at home, in a garden, on a beach… pretty much anywhere you like as you don’t have lots of seating to arrange and people to accommodate.
Like an elopement, a micro-wedding allows you two to be uninhibited in what you say to one another, safe from the perceived judgement of your cousin’s ‘plus one’ that you’ve never met before, or your disapproving Aunty Sue (assuming you didn’t invite them as part of your handful of course!)
A micro-wedding often (but not always) will involve your closest family or chosen family… the people you feel safest and most loved around, all carefully and consciously chosen to add to your moment with their presence.
As there are so few people there, you can involve everyone in the ceremony if you’d like, acknowledging the important roles they play in your lives. Or not! It’s all up to you.
Again, there will be laughter and happy tears. Again, you’ll have photos of the moment to cherish forever. Again, you’ll have had none of the stress-induced nightmares or budget dramas that you would have done with a wedding ten times the size.
Does an elopement or a micro-wedding sound up your street?
Let’s talk about your ideas together. I work with some awesome photographers and other suppliers and we can pull together a team to tailor-make your dream day.
Free yourself from the frenzy! Get in touch with me here.