COVID restrictions have transformed weddings over the past year, not only making them much, much smaller, but fostering a welcome wave of innovation and personalisation too. So when lockdowns are finally a thing of the past – should the lockdown-style wedding go with them?
Confetti asks world-renowned sculptor Simon Gudgeon, owner of venue Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset, and the sculpture park’s event organiser, Jennie Veale, why they hope micro weddings are here to stay…
Read more: When can I have a normal wedding?
One: They are intimate, not in-your-face
Big, noisy weddings certainly aren’t for everyone. When you invite hundreds of people you create an awful lot of work and might end up hardly seeing the people you actually want to spend that special day with. An intimate event with just close friends and family is far more special.
We’ve been hosting micro weddings since long before anyone had heard of COVID, at our two licensed venues – The Pavilion, for parties of up to eight, and The Island, a hideaway on a lake, which accommodates just six. Even our biggest venue sits only up to 60 guests for a wedding reception. Couples coming here want something quieter, something out of the ordinary – and even more so now.
The last wedding we did at Sculpture by the Lakes was for four people – the bride and groom and two guests. They had an amazing afternoon taking their wedding photos around the sculpture park, which is the most fantastic place for photography. It was our smallest wedding ever – but incredibly intimate and special.
Read more: How to down-size your wedding
Two: You can throw the wedding rule book out of the window
With so many expectations, traditions, and assumptions built up around weddings, they can take on a life of their own and it can be hard for couples to go their own way. Strangely enough, the strict COVID rules have had the effect of casting out the ‘wedding rules’, and we’ve seen more new ideas in wedding celebrations over the past few months than in decades previously.
People have been looking for something fun and exciting – right down to the food. One of the things we’re doing now is live fire cooking – creating great fresh food, and an inviting fire-warmed place for guests to talk into the evening too. We’ve done these open fire cooking sessions for those visiting Sculpture by the Lakes for a day trip, but it works so well for weddings.
Three: They don’t cost a fortune
We all know people who have spent a small fortune on their wedding and lived to regret it. Far better to have a small but magical day than a stress-inducing budget-buster with a big financial hangover, or likewise an event which is bigger than you can really afford – leaving you cutting corners.
COVID has stopped all that competitive extravagance in its tracks, and people have realised they don’t need to bankrupt themselves with a huge wedding. We have done a few micro weddings which cost less than £1000, which have been magical, intimate affairs.
Read more: How to plan a wedding with a £5k budget
Four: They’re all about love
By stripping everything else away – including a massive guest list – these pandemic restrictions have put the focus back on the couple and reminded us all what is really important about a wedding day – the love between two people committing to share their lives together. Saying I do is the same whether it is in front of 15 people or 500.
Five: You’re free to be creative
Along with everything else it has done, the pandemic has forced us to do things differently – and that includes how we get married. From weddings arranged in hours, to multi-event celebrations, to live-streaming vows to friends and family at home, the nuptials of 2020 were anything but traditional – and actually, that’s no bad thing.
With fewer people, you can really shake things up. If you want the finest wines or a 12-course tasting menu, or to get married on an island in a sculpture park – you can. They might have arisen from lockdowns, but micro weddings might well be a passport to freedom for a couple on their special day in years to come.
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