One option that’s taken off during COVID-19 is the MICRO WEDDING. Small intimate weddings for less than 50 guests have always been an option in New Jersey, but never as popular as the large party for 200-plus. Now, with the current restrictions on indoor dining, they’ve become a necessity—and what everyone is looking for. They remove the biggest wedding planning concern right now: When will it be safe to get married?
So what exactly is a micro wedding? “It’s totally a ‘real’ wedding, but it’s more intimate,” explains North Haledon wedding officiant Celia Milton, who has been busy with micro weddings this summer and can recommend venues and other vendors her couples may need. “Usually, we think of a micro wedding as 10 to 30 guests, sometimes a little smaller or a little bigger. The couple can have a creative, inspiring ceremony, a fabulous dress, a stylish suit, gorgeous flowers, beautiful music and photos and video to capture the day. They can arrive on a horse, in a canoe or in the back of a turquoise ’66 Mustang if they want! But the beautiful part is that they can actually spend time with the people who mean the most to them.”
These are typically held at one location—ceremony and reception—with no need for transportation, multiple set-ups or even hotel blocks, says Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design in Verona, who is offering many types of micro events to her couples. “Frequently, these events can be completed within six hours from start to finish,” she says.
Another difference is the scaled-down wedding party—or the complete absence of one. “This type of wedding focuses on the couple and allows them to forego the wedding party,” Rothweiler adds.
A micro wedding is appealing to many types of brides, not just the ones affected by COVID. “There are lots of great reasons why they’re popular,” Milton explains. “They’re the perfect solution for couples with friends and family spread across the country who can’t make the trip for a giant wedding, for those who don’t like being the center of attention, for second marriages, or for if the couple is being deployed or moving to start career training. Or maybe it’s just their style!”
There are also many benefits to a micro wedding—one of the most important being the intimacy it provides. “With a micro wedding, you get to include only the people you want strictly by default,” Rothweiler explains. “I’ve always said to my couples that they should only invite the people they actually want at their wedding. But that’s not always easy to do with pressure from parents or guilt to invite everyone from work. The excuse that ‘we’re having a small wedding’ actually works with a micro wedding.”
Photographer Jeff Tisman, who in a normal year would have been booked each weekend shooting at New Jersey’s top venues, has been enjoying the micro weddings he has been documenting this summer. His couples for the most part are getting married on their original dates this year, with large parties or vow renewals postponed until 2021.
“They’ve been so relaxed, the couples are in tune with each other, and just the families are there,” he says. “There’s no pressure, no timeline. It’s a beautiful, intimate affair. There’s an authentic feeling of love, and it’s more about the people there.”
Another benefit to the micro wedding is the ability to customize your event. Just because it’s smaller doesn’t mean you can’t have all the great details you’ve been planning and dreaming about.
“Maybe a couple wants to nix the cocktail hour, or maybe they want an extended one; with the celebration taking place at one location, it’s really easy to move stuff around,” Rothweiler explains. “Any couple that wants to create a truly personal wedding will benefit from a micro wedding.”
This should not be confused with elopements, Rothweiler adds, where two people run off and have a few people join for dinner afterward. “With a micro wedding, you can still have the dream wedding you want with less guests and more flexibility in regard to customization.”
A micro wedding also offers assurance in these unpredictable times. “It has to be beyond frustrating to be in this pandemic and be constantly rescheduling a wedding, never knowing if the next date will actually be the wedding date,” Rothweiler says.
The micro wedding solves that because by its nature, it’s aleady in accordance with the state’s gathering restrictions. There’s no worry that a micro wedding will need to be postponed.
“Let’s not ignore the financial benefit of a micro wedding as well,” Rothweiller adds. “Flowers can add up very quickly when you have many bridesmaids that need bouquets. You can ditch those additional costs and have the option to bring in some luxury blooms you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. There are many areas where you can save money and put that money toward other details you always wanted but didn’t originally have the budget for.”
We predict that the micro-wedding trend will soar well into 2021 due to social distancing. “They are going to be the norm,” Rothweiler says. “Couples are not going to want everyone in masks and have to hold weddings outdoors or not at all. Micro weddings will take away those issues, allow couples to customize their details, and keep guest lists to just the people the couple really wants in attendance.”
Milton agrees: “A small, stylish wedding is just perfect for many couples. Even if they are planning a bigger celebration later on, a micro wedding is a wonderful way to mark the day. Many couples who have rescheduled their big celebrations are choosing to keep their original wedding day and celebrate in a micro way.”
Celia Milton. Celebrant Celia Milton can help you plan a micro wedding that will fit your style and budget. She has a great list of restaurants, venues, breweries and galleries for micro weddings, along with wedding pros that will make your day perfect.
Crossed Keys Estate, Andover. Ceremony location options include the choice of gardens, lawn or tent. Lawn games and welcome refreshments are included.(See offer below.)
Drifthouse by David Burke, Sea Bright. The Drifthouse restaurant offers amazing ocean views from the outdoor deck. David Burke is also offering micro weddings at Ventanas in Fort Lee and Orange Lawn in South Orange. (See offer below.)
Fernbrook Farms, Chesterfield. A variety of different micro wedding packages are available at this 230-acre active farm with 1750 Georgian manor house. Outdoor ceremony in the garden followed by the opportunity to take photographs through the grounds, or have dinner for you and your guests with sparkling wine toasts, charcuterie picnic baskets for guests, wine and dine duet plated dinner, gourmet wedding cake, overnight accommodations and continental breakfast.
Main Street Manor, Flemington. Elopements and micro weddings in the garden include bride’s bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, celebration toast, hot hors d’oeuvres, wedding cake, overnight stay and breakfast the next day.
Natirar, Peapack-Gladstone. Micro weddings held at both Ninety Acres and the Mansion. Includes full open bar, cocktail hour, three-course plated dinner and cake.
Raritan Inn, Califon. Riverside ceremonies and outdoor, tented receptions on the patio, along with a rustic barn, set on 24 acres.
Red Barn, Carneys Point. For just $295, The Red Barn will host your micro-wedding. The package comes with an officiant, a take-home wedding cake, ceremony music, a first dance and a livestream broadcast to friends and family via the internet.
Rothweiler Event Design. Event planner Danielle Rothweiler has teamed up with New Jersey’s best wedding venues, along with the most talented wedding vendors in the area, so that you can plan your micro wedding easily and quickly. She also plans backyard weddings.
Seaview, Galloway.Ceremonies and celebrations can be held at two of Seaview’s outdoor venues, including the Bayview Terrace, lined with lush landscaping, gazebo, fountain and soft lighting and the Centennial Pavilion, which has a vine-draped pergola and views of the wooded Pines golf course. Intimate indoor wedding ceremonies may be held in the grand main dining room, offering large windows with unobstructed panoramic views of the sprawling golf course, the bay and the Atlantic City skyline.