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Micro Weddings | Planning ideas and inspiration

I’ve put together this wedding planning guide for couples who want to create a more intentional and meaningful micro wedding. Your wedding is a time to celebrate your relationship, creativity, values and what truly speaks to your heart. Small weddings aren’t about excluding things or people. They are about being intentional. At the end of the day, it doesn’t come down to how it looked, but how it made you feel.

Getting ready

Your getting ready location will be your base before the wedding and somewhere to relax while you get ready, and most likely come back to at the end of the day. There are no rules with how you choose to get ready, and many couples choose to help each other get ready so that they can spend this time together.

If you choose to get ready separately, you then have the option of doing a “first look” or reveal, where you see each other in your outfits for the first time. This can be a beautiful moment that just the two of you can have together alone.

Two brides getting ready together on their wedding dayA groom sees the bride for the first time on their elopement day A bride and groom hug on their elopement day in the isle of skye

A ceremony your way

Noémie & Francesca chose to have a small civil ceremony at their local town hall with just their families. Then the following day they held their own wedding ceremony where they were free to do what they liked! They had a bilingual ceremony and gave free rein to their two best friends who designed the ceremony from scratch. All the guests received a booklet with the translations. They also had family and friends performing a musical piece. In Noémie & Francesca’s eyes, it was just a really nice, relaxed ceremony surrounded by their friends and family!

A bride cries during a speech on her wedding day Guests watch and smile a wedding ceremony in brussels belgium

Creating your own ceremony script

Rach & Jed share their story on how they created their own unique ceremony:

“We started off by writing our own ceremony script because the stock standard script that you usually experience at weddings felt really impersonal and outdated. Our celebrant highlighted the legal requirements of what she was required to say, and that was all we asked of her. We requested that she step back (literally!) from conducting the ceremony as much as possible, and just act as a guide to keep things running smoothly. We wanted the ceremony to feel like it was a group effort and not a performance put on for a crowd. We especially wanted everyone (although there was only six of us!) to feel a part of the ceremony, not just an observer.

Jed and I started by acknowledging our relationships with our parents, and what love and marriage mean to us. Then we asked both sets of parents to talk about how to maintain a successful marriage and what marriage means to them. Our vows were kept a surprise from one another and we wrote these ourselves before the ceremony, with no rules about how they should be done. When declaring our intent, we used wording that was relevant to us, such as trustworthy, loving, supportive and genuine (instead of “sickness and health” and “death do you part”).”

Walking into your ceremony together

Christine and Calum: “For our ceremony, we arrived and walked in together as equals in our partnership. It may seem a small thing but it was something very important to us.”

Your vows

If you haven’t considered it already, writing your own vows is a beautiful way to personalise your ceremony. They don’t need to be lengthy or poetic, but they will have much more meaning than what a celebrant might write for you. Choose words that reflect your personality and are unique to you and your relationship. I recommend writing your vows on paper, so you don’t need to read them off a phone or another device.

Locations

I believe that one of the most important aspects of your wedding day is being with the person you love and being grateful for this time together. How you’re feeling in the moment is what will show through in an image, and this is far more important than any grand landscape or picturesque backdrop.

When I meet with couples, I try to find out why they have chosen a particular location and if there are any places that are meaningful to them. If it’s a place they have never been to before, I try to work out what might be a meaningful experience for them.

 

Sabrina & Angus spent their day walking around the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, which they did on their early dates and had fond memories of. They finished off their day at one of their favourite ice-cream shops in Edinburgh.

 

Noémie & Francesca chose to have their photos taken in a local park because it was a place that was meaningful to them and had special memories of.

Two brides walk through a park in brussels in winter wearing coats and mittens

Include things that you love to do

Not all weddings will have a cake, guests, a venue or a first dance. Weddings can be anywhere and as creative as you can imagine. Why not incorporate something you love to do together into your wedding day? Whether it is hiking, having a picnic, sitting by the fireplace or visiting your favourite ice-cream shop or cafe, I believe that including elements that represent what you normally love doing together makes your day extra special.

Two girls sitting in a cage in brussels belgium

Weather

What happens if it rains? My answer is always to embrace it, and this goes for all different weather situations. If you’re stressed and worried about the weather rather than focusing on the meaning behind the day, this will come through in your images. Be ready for any weather situation, with a couple of umbrellas if needed, and enjoy it! Pack a few white or clear umbrellas (you can usually find these on buy swap sell groups to avoid buying new) to make sure you have the option there if needed.

Traditions

Each one of us is unique, yet so many people try to create a day that fits into a template of what others think it should look like. It is completely fine to include traditions, but I encourage couples to choose what resonates with them and celebrate authenticity over perfection.

Noémie & Francesca started from scratch and chose the traditions that resonated with them, rather than taking a top-down approach to organising. They got rid of things like flowers, decorations, stationery, seating plans and other elements that they didn’t feel were important to them. They also chose to get ready together and do their own hair and makeup and decided to walk together hand in hand down the aisle at their town hall wedding. It was simple and this felt natural to them.

Christine and Calum chose to create a new last name together. They were sensitive to not hurting their families and rather emphasized that their choice was about joining them equally and creating something new together. “We chose a name which symbolised us and how we met. Easain is Gaelic for little waterfall, and contains the Gaelic ‘Eas’ which means waterfall. ‘Ain’, is old Norse for river and Scots for own,” explained Christine.

Go with the flow

You may trip over as you walk to the ceremony. It might rain all day long. You might rip your pants or dress. These things make for the best memories. I promise that there will be some part of the day that doesn’t go to plan, and it’s ok. It’s how you choose to react that decides whether you let it ruin your day or simply make it part of the day.

A bride carries her wedding dress that is covered in red dirt

Eco-friendly ideas

There are so many ways to add meaning to your day, consume less stuff and tread more lightly on the planet. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

You can offset the carbon emissions from your wedding by donating to organisations such as Greenfleet. Noémie & Fran were passionate about reducing their flying, so instead of a gift, they instead asked guests to offset their flights. Some guests took a 16-hour train ride to avoid flying!

Noémie & Fran recognised the pressure that exists for wedding guests to buy a new outfit or spend money on a gift, and asked their guests to wear something they were comfortable in and to avoid buying something new for the wedding.

Lisa & Elise didn’t want to fill the wedding with stuff that they would have to throw out after. They prepared small gifts that could be used (handmade soaps and a bookmark made from leather scraps) or eaten. They tried to limit the use of plastic by bringing Tupperware containers for leftover food and ensuring most things were recyclable or had further future use.

You can also choose to send out your invitations digitally, rather than by post, to save paper and keep things simple.

You can ask our guests to make a donation to your favourite charity, instead of bringing gifts. Other gift ideas could include bringing a letter, photograph or souvenir for a time capsule.

Leave no trace

Nature provides us with incredible backdrops and beauty, especially on a wedding day. Leave No Trace principles include:

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Dispose of waste
  • Leave what you find
  • Respect wildlife (including not feeding deer!)
  • Be considerate of other visitors
  • Stick to the path

Leave no trace is a lifestyle that allows us to protect the environment and leave it as we found it. By considering these principles into your wedding day, we can ensure that we can continue to use the outdoors and enjoy these locations for years to come.

A bride and groom walk through the fairy glen in the isle of skye

Eco-friendly vendors

Choose eco-friendly vendors where possible, who align with your views. If you choose to include flowers and other items, ask who made them and how. Is there a better alternative? If incorporating eco-ethical principles into your wedding is something that gets you excited, I suggest checking out the link to the Mindfully Wed e-guide below.

Printing your images

With all of the planning that goes into a wedding, the thought of what you will do with your images afterwards can often be overlooked or put off for another day. You have a few hundred photos online that you love, but leaving them on your computer doesn’t make for a great memory of your beautiful day, nor does it give you anything you can hold. I believe the best way to be taken back to the story of your day is to create an album. I can create the design and a custom cover and engraving to put together something that is unique and reflects your day. If albums don’t resonate with you, investing in fine art prints is another alternative to get your memories off the computer and into something you can hold and share.

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COMMENTS

Lina, this really is such a thoughtful, helpful and enlightened guide.
any couple would be incredibly lucky to have you capture their special day!

Thank you so much for your kind words and for reading! It means a lot. 🙂

I can see the emotion in every single one of your images and I love them so much! I also love how you effortlessly capture the context of the situation to tell the full story! Amazing, and so many great tips!

What an amazing and thorough guide!! I can tell you put a ton of work into this, Lina!

This is all super helpful, such in depth information! I love the short story you included at the beginning. It really helps put into perspective what is truly important on a wedding day.

Really great guide—it takes a lot to bring an intimate wedding to life and you touched on a lot of really important pieces.

WOW. Lina I don’t even know how to comment on this post. It’s packed full of SO MUCH great info. Your clients are seriously lucky to have someone really understand the ins and outs of planning intimate weddings like you! Amazing work, and thanks for the info!!

Lina, this post is AMAZING! Thank you for sharing all of these tips and ideas. I especially love hearing it from the couples themselves! And your work is fantastic- I love looking at your photos! Someday I hope to move to Scotland… 🙂

Such an amazing guide! I love the in depth look at each part of the day. you make so many good points and your photos are stunning to match! P.s. so cool Christine and Calum created a new last name- so cute!

Wow, a ton of great content here, wonderful work!

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