When Covid hit we could never have imagined the impact it would have on the wedding industy and those couples who were trying to plan one of the biggest days of their life. The term ‘micro wedding’ now seems common place and we are all having to adapt to a new way of living our life.
However, pre Corona, there were couples who actively chose to have a smaller wedding. They saw the huge appeal in reducing the numbers and focusing on the details which make a wedding day really unique.
This November, our very good friends Claire and Mark, will celebrate their ten year wedding anniversary. TEN YEARS! Claire was lovely enough to explain why they opted for a intimate wedding and why smaller weddings shouldn’t be dismissed.
When I read B&C’s posts about ‘the wonder of small things’ and their mini invitation bundle, it got me thinking back to our own wedding. We will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in November this year. I can’t quite believe it and boy was it a VERY different time.
We always knew we wanted a ‘destination’ wedding as we absolutely love travelling but we never expected to each be given the opportunity to take a sabbatical from work for 6 months. Planning our wedding was now a whole different ball game. We could spread our wings away from Europe and look at the Southern Hemisphere during the UK’s winter. As I was a teacher, we had always been restricted to travel during school holidays so we were like kids in a sweetshop.
We adore food and wine, particularly when we are on holiday and love learning about the local cuisine. Mr W takes this to a whole new level; scorpions in Vietnam, sea urchins in Indonesia and the icing on the cake… sparrows in Cambodia! Mmmmmm. We definitely knew we couldn’t subject our wedding guests to such delights so we chose a small, family run vineyard in South Africa, just outside Cape Town.
Our excitement was palpable but then the reality of the time of year and how far away it was started to hit home. None of my teacher friends would be able to come. I have a lot of friends and quite a large family. Mr W has a huge group of friends. We then realised it was going to have to be a small wedding.
It took me a long time to be comfortable with the fact that so many key people would be missing and if I’m honest, I nearly didn’t go through with it. It was my husband to be who kept me on track, reassuring me it was about us, what we wanted and symbolised who we were as a couple. Surely that’s what a wedding should be about? So many of my friends say this becomes lost in a larger wedding, where you end up pleasing the guests more than yourselves.
A huge advantage of planning a smaller destination wedding was that we knew the people who could come, WOULD come. I needed to have both sets of Parents, my sister and her family and our best buds. Those that could commit to joining us was just a huge bonus. It ended up being a wedding celebration with a gorgeous 24 guests.
Everyone took advantage of being in a country they possibly wouldn’t have holidayed in. South Africa became their holiday of 2010 and they still talk about it being their best holiday to date.
Having a small wedding meant that we could pay for a braai the night before for all of our guests to get to know each other before the wedding. Boy did we break the ice! Copious amounts of South African beer and wine helped, but new friendships were forged which made for a more relaxed wedding day.
I knew that atmosphere was going to be key with such a small number of guests. I love the luxurious feel of crystals and candles so went for a long dining table where we could all be seated together. We sat in the middle and were able to make eye contact with every single guest! We loved that sense of intimacy with beautiful candelabras, candles and flowers in a neutral tone. Getting married at 4pm meant that the light faded and we watched the sun go down on a tractor ride around the vineyard before entering the dining room, which was all set up enticing us to eat, drink and be merry!
The speeches were very special. I could see the emotion in everyone’s eyes. My Dad spoke directly to me as he sat opposite and then Mr W pulled out a trump card. He had asked my friends who couldn’t attend to record a special message and played them to us all. It was game over emotionally. I was complete. Everyone was there with me in my heart.
We were able to really push the boat out with the food, champagne and wine as the reduced number of guests meant we could have an extravagant menu and nobody paid for a drink for the whole two days. The staff were incredible and we got to know them well. The immediate family stayed at the vineyard for three days and it was like owning our own place; we were able to take over the whole venue and were treated like old friends. There was no curfew either as we were the only people staying there and couldn’t disturb anybody but ourselves. I think we wrapped up the celebrations at around 3am!
So, for couples out there who are worried about having to change their plans, I hope reading this gives you hope that small really can be beautiful. The intimate atmosphere, the opportunity to splash out in areas you wouldn’t normally have been able to and most importantly doing something that symbolises who you are as a couple. Such celebrations really are the start of your new life together.
Our 10th wedding anniversary celebrations will also be small this year. Are we bothered? Of course not. If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Lots of love and here’s to the next ten years.