Planning A Small Wedding?
Are you now planning a small wedding due to Covid19?
Are you thinking of having an intimate wedding now and a big party to celebrate at a later stage when it is safe to do so?
Well, you aren’t alone. So many couples who were planning their wedding day have been affected in this pandemic and for the foreseeable future it looks like micro weddings will be the way forward.
I reached out to some of my followers who recently got married and asked them to share their experience with us! The positivity in reading their stories and how they are so happy they made the decision to go with a small wedding is so beautiful. I fully appreciate this isn’t what you had all planned but if you are thinking of going with an intimate wedding have a read of the below wedding stories! Each story is written by each bride – enjoy!
Emma & Danny’s Wedding Day in Howth
“We decided to get married in August, 7 days before we actually done it after postponing in April to August and then August to next July 2021. I had to find a new venue that we could get married in and then have a dinner. We also wanted it close by so contacted Wrights Findlater in Howth.
Thankfully our original celebrant was available. We decided to scale back everything else including not having a bridal party, using a playlist for the ceremony music and keeping it simple by just having a dinner after the ceremony so no entertainment. Our original photographer wasn’t available due to having to quarantine so I just booked a photographer for the ceremony and couple shots of us in Howth.
If you’re planning on organising a smaller wedding and in a short time frame, delegate roles to take some of the stress off you. I didn’t but by this stage this was my 4th wedding to organise because of all our postponements!!!
As the wedding was a last minute decision I was unable to wear my original wedding dress as I was 17 weeks pregnant in August and my dress had been already altered back in March. So I ended up buying a non-maternity dress from ASOS for €140 and got it altered in my local dry cleaners and only got it back the morning of the wedding.
Also, Danny’s my husband’s suit was still with Louis Copeland and wouldn’t of been ready in time so he done some last minute shopping as well. I also done a lot more DIY for our smaller wedding than I had planned for our original wedding. Mainly due to the fact the ceremony room wasn’t as nice so it needed about of sprucing up.
We still have everything booked for next July in our original venue The Millhouse in Slane as the plan is to still have our wedding party here. We plan to have a blessing ceremony and do our own vows and a hand tie ceremony (these were all planned for our original date and we took them out so we could do it next year).
Budget wise we kept ours small for the main reason that we our planning to have our big celebration next year. We are so happy we done it. It has taken away so much stress. If we get to have our wedding party next year that would be amazing but if we don’t we are finally married and not worrying about what is entirely out of our control. Our ceremony was so intimate and emotional because of all the ups and downs the past few months had caused. I would say to any couple out there … just do it!!!
Bron & Aidan’s Wedding Day
Once we decided to go ahead with a small wedding of 41 people. This was difficult as I come from a big extended family and there was no way we could bring them all. Our breakdown was parents, grandparents, bridal party (this includes my sister and his sister), godparents and then the remainder was friends. We called the rest of our closest family and friends that we couldn’t bring just as courtesy and they all understood and had no issues. Adapting wise, we just went with it. There was a lot of chopping of changing, a lot of hoping things would fall into place.
We got our green folder two weeks prior, and got our table plan in at 5pm the evening before the wedding but our plan was to do everything we could to go ahead and hope it all would come together. Some things went wrong but all the major things came together and that’s what matters. The smaller stuff won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
My advice would be to do as much as you can as early as you can. Be prepared and have everything you can done. There will be things that will happen that will be out of your control. Try not to stress too much about these although that is much easier said than done. Have your cry and talk about it. Don’t feel bad by thinking it could be a lot worse. This is relevant to you and you’re allowed to be disappointed. Just try not let it completely drain you or stress you out. Remember that the small things won’t make a difference when your married to the love of your life.
We had thought about wearing different clothes and keeping our main outfits for another day but then we were having our photographer etc so we decided to go ahead and wear them. I was nearly not wearing mine as it was delayed 2 months and only came in 2 weeks before our wedding but I had a backup plan in place just in case. Everything else stayed the same except for the band. This was probably the best decision we made. We were lucky that our original band knew me and suggested downsizing so we didn’t lose a deposit. Other couples I spoke to wanted to do the same but were having issues with deposits so this may not be as simple for them.
We had our ceremony, then the two lads that played at the church played at the drinks reception and then we had our smaller band. We had wanted to get a candy cart, a photo booth and I had looked into the singing delivery men but we hadn’t one ordered and so in the end we didn’t book anything extra as it was bringing more people in and would take from our guest numbers. It was 50 including suppliers when we got married.
Our plan is to have a big party when we can in our house and invite everyone that we couldn’t bring. Most likely early 2022. It’ll be more of an informal affair and a get together for everyone that couldn’t share our big day with us. Just some finger food and drinks to celebrate with people.
In relation to budget advice we basically just left out all the bells and whistles that we hadn’t booked and went with what we had. We had our favours, decorations etc but left out the unnecessary bits and pieces that we weren’t overly pushed about.
Our friends and family were amazing. They went above and beyond for myself and Aidan. I’m a slight control freak so although they wanted to do everything for me, I had to do some things myself!!! On my wedding morning the girls decorated the house in photos , banners and had champers at the ready all the time.
I went up the aisle with my bridesmaids and Aidan went up with the groomsman so we didn’t have to worry about bringing our cars. We got married in Cavan and then went back to Farnham Estate so we went up the night before. Once we arrived, the bridal party went and did a massive shop to stock the house with anything we may need. On the morning of the wedding, I gave them the envelopes with the suppliers money and they sorted all of that for me alongside having my stuff ready and making sure I had breakfast, making playlists etc. I just had to relax and enjoy. During our speeches, my sister said a speech and they had organised a video where our friends and family who we couldn’t have had sent in well wishes videos.
They put this all together and it was played on the screens in the ballroom. It was the most thoughtful thing we could have imagined and we were so thankful to our family and friends who sent in messages. It is something we will have forever. They were all just there whenever we needed them, on the day and all throughout the lead up when we bounced ideas of what to do back and forth. They gave us their advice and supported us in whatever way we needed. We will be forever grateful to them for what they’ve done for us both.
I really didn’t let myself get excited too much because I was conscious that it would be taken from me in an instant and then dealing with it would be harder so it wasn’t until the night before at about 9/10pm when I knew there were no more announcements that I knew we would be getting married and then I let myself enjoy it. I had the best morning with the girls and it was so relaxed and laid back. Just what I had wanted.
We managed to get an Irish honeymoon. We were so lucky with this because a week later the hotel was shut. We went to the Monart in Wexford for three nights. Absolutely amazing! We wanted to go somewhere that was chilled out and relaxing and I had been there before so knew it would be the perfect spot to just relax and recharge after the busy week we had. For anyone that is looking for a nice place to go, it is exceptional here and they really go above and beyond.
My advice for couples thinking of going ahead with a smaller wedding is to go for it. It is so much more intimate and you get to spend time with everyone there. We got to go around to everyone a few times rather than just a couple of minutes and feeling like you didn’t get around to everyone. I would have never picked a smaller wedding because I’ve a big family but if I got the chance again, I would go with the smaller number. Everyone said they enjoyed themselves so much more than any other wedding because everyone spoke to everyone and it was so laid back. We’d do it again the same in a heartbeat. You can celebrate with the rest of your friends and family another day. It’s not easy, my best friend couldn’t come as she lives in Dublin and my grandmother went into hospital 2 days before so herself and my grandad couldn’t come but my cousin recorded the mass on her phone and my grandparents got to see this.
Enjoy your day, there will be tears, laughter and so much joy and when you marry the love of your life – everything you’ve gone through will be so worth it.
Elizabeth and Stephen McEvoy. 24~10~2020
“We got engaged in September 2019, a few months after moving in to our new house and nearly 10 years together. We had everything booked and organised before Covid19 came! We thought initially Covid wouldn’t be a problem for us by October! We decided if it was still around that we were going to go ahead with church part of our wedding regardless, even if it was just a handful of people at the church. We had a guestlist of 210 people but as the months went on we knew we were never going to be allowed that number so we decided on 100 guests. We waited until 4 weeks before the wedding to send out our invites waiting on all the government announcements in the hope we would be allowed our 100 guests. The government announcement was made and we had to reduce to 50 guests, which was so hard! Our invites went out and great excitement started to build as everyone was so looking forward to the day. Unfortunately the cases of Covid increased and the week before the wedding it looked like we were going in to level 5 with only 6 people allowed attend the wedding. On the Monday before the wedding the government gave the go ahead for 25 people to attend weddings. We contacted everyone and had our day Saturday 24th of October. Some family and friends stood outside the church to see us which was really nice.
To other brides I would say you can still have the most perfect day with smaller numbers. We had so many well wishes from people the few days before the wedding which was really lovely.
We went ahead with our original plans for the church, the hotel (Abbeyliex Manor, who were so accommodating), my dress, the lads suits, the girls bridesmaids dresses, the photographer, the videographer. We changed from a 5 piece band to one man (Ed) who played in the residents bar at my twin sisters weddings on March 7th 2020. Our church singer sang at the hotel also for 2 hours and added a great atmosphere before dinner.
Ed started planning at 7:50pm until 11:15pm and what a night we had. Everyone loved the music and danced the entire time!! It was so lovely to be surrounded by our closest family and friends and to watch how happy everyone was for us.
On the lead up to the wedding family and friends met us in smaller groups to wish us well and to build excitement for us, which we really appreciated. We plan to have a party next Summer in Abbeyliex Manor again with our originally band to celebrate with everyone that couldn’t be at our day in October. We look forward to our party next year to celebrate with the people we missed on the day.
My biggest tip would be decide on what ye want to do as a couple and stick with it. We had loads of people giving suggestions and opinions but we stuck with what we wanted and honestly we had the best day. The most popular feedback from our 25 guests was they couldn’t get over “how it was so like any other wedding”. We honestly had the best day.
Oh and I am very lucky to have a sister as a wedding Make-up Artist (Laura Behan)
Jane & Graham’s Garden Wedding
“We wanted to get married in his parents garden so we had the legal side the night before and hired a small conference room for an hour in a hotel and went for dinner with our two witnesses in the hotel that evening. The whole thing was very easy to plan.
The main thing was to get the celebrant on a day she was available and update the green folder. The same celebrant came to his parents garden the next day and we had our wedding ceremony there then with family.
My big tip is to keep it simple – we literally had no stress at all. We hired a marquee for 18 people as I was very conscious of guests comfort levels too in relation to Covid, which is why we had a marquee which would traditionally hold 70 people but we only had 18 people in it to allow for social distancing. We got a man to do BBQ food for us, bought our own alcohol and snacks etc, a family member made our cake. Keep it as stress free and flexible as possible as you don’t know if you will have to change days with Covid closer to the time.
We did everything differently to what we planned. We had the big wedding planned but this was literally very low key with 18 people and very very relaxed. I wore a different dress as I want to keep my dress for next year for the big celebration with all my family and friends. This event was literally siblings and spouses and their kids and two bridesmaids. Two of our siblings couldn’t make it as they live abroad so we had a zoom set up for them and they dressed up too which was so so lovely. I rang my brother loads that day as I wanted to be sure he was fully included. It was very hard not having him there but he will be next year 🙂
Family and friends all came on board getting involved helping set up the marquee, making the cake, giving me something borrowed to wear etc. We were just delighted with how great everyone was.
For entertainment we had a speaker and music in the background from Spotify. It was very relaxed and let everyone chat a lot.
I definitely want a wedding next year with all my family and friends there. I would like to have a small ceremony with everyone and the traditional Irish wedding after that. We have our suppliers and hotel booked for next year so fingers crossed.
If you’re thinking of going for a smaller wedding go for it 🙂 just keep it simple if possible so that if the government guidelines change closer to the time you won’t be stressed and it will be easy to change to another day. Just do it your way and what’ll make you happy.
We went away for 3 nights to Kerry afterward to relax. On the night of the wedding we booked into a hotel so that we had somewhere nice to go after the wedding finished up 🙂
Sarah & Brendan’s Dream Wedding Venue
“Well when Covid first hit we thought come October we will be fine. We felt all along there was no way we could go from a guestlist of 100 from 300 never mind 50 or 25. When we heard it was 50 guests we instantly felt our venue wouldn’t be suitable for a smaller wedding. We chose our initial venue because it was suited to a big Irish wedding. We had some very long conversations about what we should do. However we were always so determined to go ahead because that was our date. Our hearts were always drawn to the beautiful Markree Castle but with our original numbers it was not possible. However, with the smaller numbers we contacted the amazing Deirdre, wedding coordinator from Markree Castle, and our date was free. It was nearly like it was meant to be. We instantly got our wedding excitement back. Our wedding was 24th October and I think it was August we changed venue.
My top tip is not to panic. Take each day as it comes. There are so many rumours out there on social media which will make you more anxious. If possible limit your time on social media because it will also make you more anxious. Just focus on the task on hand. Keep yourself busy. Don’t stop with the wedding planning. Keep doing little bits to keep you interested. I had lots of time to focus on the little details like party favours. Finally, mind yourself. Eat, sleep and drink water. I had a dress fitting 3 weeks before my wedding and my dress had gotten a little big on my wedding day and that was solely down to stress and being in isolation due to a close contact 2 weeks before our wedding. Who would write it!!
I wore my dream dress, be it 300 or 25 I was wearing my gown on my wedding day. We did personalised hand sanitisers for each guest which wouldn’t have been possible for our big numbers as it would have been outside our budget. We did prebagged sweet bags with personalised stickers to seal the bags. The Sweet King company are great! We also cancelled our photo station and just used an instax camera and a little guest book for people to glue in their Polaroids and write a message. If we didn’t have a smaller wedding we wouldn’t have been able to have our wedding in our dream venue. We also got to have hot whiskeys for our guests which was ideal on the day as it was a nippy one!
We had family do our ceremony music which was so special. It also helped having great singers in the family after dinner. We showed a slideshow of photos just after dinner and had a prosecco toast. In Markree we got to have our first dance in their courtyard under the twinkling lights and everyone had sparklers.
We are planning on having our first year wedding anniversary party in our original venue. We just hope for a drinks reception, finger food and a good band. If this can’t go ahead due to restrictions we won’t feel too bothered as there is always time for a party and at least we are married and we won’t need to keep postponing.
Although you have a smaller wedding the same amount of ground work is done. You still pay for your dress, bridesmaid dresses, suits, hair and makeup, photographer, videographer. However, if you feel changing your venue would make your day more intimate and you had a venue in mind but it was outside of your budget, go for it. We honestly wouldn’t change a thing about our day. We had a magical weekend.
Don’t listen to what others have to say. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but don’t lose sight of what it’s all about. It’s about you marrying your best friend and if at the end of the day your married then it was a huge success. A party can happen again but don’t put your life on hold forever having to keep postponing. It’s not good for your mental health and some people want to move on with their lives and start a family or get approval for a mortgage.
We received so many cards and deliveries to our door. Family were so supportive. We livestreamed our ceremony and people tuned in from Australia, Canada, Scotland and all over Ireland and sent us photos of them tuning in all dressed up. As my husband has a big immediate family the numbers were a little off balance so after the meal my brother had arranged for all relatives to send in video messages. This was so so precious and emotional and something we will have forever. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I had one bridesmaid who was in Australia and she was a fantastic virtual bridesmaid. She sent a bottle of Moet for us to have before leaving the house. She video called us on the day and got fully glammed up. It meant so much. She was such a support throughout even though we were oceans apart. I was also so lucky to have the most amazing maid of honour anyway could ask for. She reassured me throughout and I am so lucky to have her in my life. I wouldn’t have done it without her. Choose your bridal party wisely gals!
We haven’t had our honeymoon yet. But the week after the wedding it was so nice to detach from the news and daily figures and how it was going to impact our wedding plans. We got amazing takeout food, drank loads of wine and bubbles. We opened all our cards together and listened to lots of Spotify. Time to recharge after what has been the most stressful time of our lives.”
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these brides stories and looking at their photos! What shines through for me is their positivity and how each of their weddings days are different to suit their personalities. I hope if you are in a similar situation you got something from this blog – whether it be some inspiration, motivation, reassurance or indeed just enjoyed the read x
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