Your meticulously-planned 250 guest-wedding can’t happen, and the venue you had booked won’t even consider a pared-down version within your state’s guidelines. What do you do now, if an elopement isn’t your thing? How about a Micro Wedding with your bridal party along with your closest family and friends? In New York State, that would put you between 50 – 70 guests. We’ve done a few Micro Weddings this year, and here are our suggestions:

RENEGOTIATATE YOUR VENDOR CONTRACTS – First you want to make sure your vendors are still in business and if they are willing to work the original date or are available on a rescheduled date. Your vendors have zero revenues coming in right now. Very few are able to return deposits, which are non-refundable for a reason, in that they guarantee business during the busy season and keep them afloat in the off-season. The wedding industry has been in a 9-month shutdown and many professionals will not survive to 2021.

Please tread gently when speaking with your vendors and remember that the event industry is one of the hardest hit. Most are holding on by a thread – if that. While the government sent a brilliant lifeline to small businesses in the form of Payroll Protection (PPP) loans, the loans were devised to keep companies afloat for only four months. Now that this money has been exhausted, and Congress can’t compromise on another round of funding, the industry is again in danger of drowning. Vendors want to keep your event on their books any way that they can, so don’t expect a refund. Discuss how best to use the deposit money if you have decided to cancel the wedding. Most vendors will come up with creative solutions with you.

You can also talk about lowering the guaranteed minimum to a number that can work for you as well as your vendors. Communication and kindness are key. Everyone is stressed out, and wants to come to a reasonable solution to make your Micro Wedding a wonderful one.

If an elopement is your thing, you can still involve your vendors. Have key musicians play outside City Hall. Perhaps the DJ can create a great two-hour playlist for you to play during your cake and champagne backyard reception. We have sent wedding cakes and dropped off catering for 15 to honor the couples’ original date and deposit.

FIND A NEW VENUE – If your original venue is shut down, wedding planner Alexandra Partow @partowevents suggests moving the event to the family property. “The perfect place for a small wedding is a backyard. The possibilities are endless. If there is a patio, we can create beautiful table settings with seasonal flowers and hang bistro lights. Outdoor heaters and/or a small white tent ensure your guests’ comfort regardless of the weather. A small gathering can be just as special and magical as a large gathering by including charming decor details that reflect the couple’s shared interests. For a couple who loves sailing, we tied napkins with rope knots and offered a raw bar set in a dinghy. There is the chance to be even more creative since the scale is smaller”.

What’s a frustrated couple to do if they don’t have a wedding planner or a backyard big enough to hold 50 or so guests? So many venues have moved their scheduled weddings to 2021 that you might be surprised to find multiple dream spots that are actually available NOW. We had a bride whose country club completely cancelled on her due to the pandemic. After more than 20 phone calls, she found The Wainwright House @wainwrighthouseinc, where we pulled off a gorgeous outdoor wedding for 30 guests. With waterfront views and dining under an open-air tent (tables set six feet apart, hand sanitizer stations at each one), our bride still had the wedding of her dreams.

ADD SPECIAL FLORAL & DESIGN FEATURES – Now that you’ve decided to throw a wedding in your parents’ backyard, how can you make it feel festive?  Your florist can add an archway with flowers and vines to delineate the space where the ceremony takes place.  Because you had a budget for floral arrangements for 20 or more tables, speak with your florist about how to use those flowers in new ways to make the property really sing.  Ivie Joy of @iviejoyflowers suggests “shifting the budget because of a lower headcount and creating immersive floral installations has been the new trend.  Highlight focal points, whether adding florals on the entrance, greeneries on the staircase, or an instant moment background”. 

For an outdoor archway, why not create a pretty balloon display?  We work with @tulumpartyboutique and they can also take our handmade dessert displays to the next level with special floral features, romantic lace, and candelabras. Tulum can devise Instagram-able candy bars that range from the colorful to the sublime.      

FOOD & BEVERAGE TRUCKS – You can bring in a fun food truck or two, from tacos to pizza to chicken and waffles.  Even better, enhance your bar with a cleverly tricked out vintage Italian van with prosecco and beers on tap.  We work with The Roving Bar @therovingbar, but we have noticed the trend throughout the country, so see what is available in your area.  The Roving Bar can customize the beers to include your favorite local craft beers. How cool is that retro three-wheeled Piaggio Apes, ready to serve perfectly chilled brews and bubbles?            

 If coffee is your grind, a mobile brew bar at dessert time will bring a big smile to your guests who love their cold brew or creamy latte.  Ask your caterer to create desserts that pair with various coffee drinks offered.  For NYC Micro Weddings, we work with @brewsipandjoy who pull up with their custom-made teardrop trailer to serve your guests                                                                                                                           

RETHINK YOUR ENTERTAINMNT – Micro Weddings with a fabulous 10-piece band would not only seem extra, but you may be in a state that is currently prohibiting dancing.   We work with society bandleader Hank Lane @hanklanemusic who have a large roster of talented musicians. They can turn yourdance band contract into one with a trio playing classical music during the ceremony, then transitioning into a jazz quartet during dinner. You can still have your first dance! If your DJ has skedaddled to live in his parents’ basement in Iowa to ride out the pandemic, make sure you stay in touch and have a new contract for any date and venue changes.

After much thought and agony, if you have decided go to the Courthouse and skip the big fat wedding altogether, you can still use your vendors in creative ways – talk to your DJ about spinning for your 2021 birthday in your building’s party space or roof deck.   Have the florist decorate the space and your caterer can provide the food. Your birthday celebration will become your Micro Wedding celebration, and you will be surrounded by your favorite people without all the stress of invites, escort cards, valet parking, and annoying relatives.    

COMMUNICATE WITH KINDNESS – We are all experiencing massive anxiety. The best way to plan your Micro Wedding is to stay calm, remember that we are all in this together, and find creative ways to make your wedding day remarkable.  You may not have 200 guests and a whopping dance party until the wee hours—but, isn’t the point to unite your lives and dance to your future happiness?  You can still do that!