How to Plan a Chic, Modern Micro Wedding During COVID-19
Many couples forced to rework their wedding plans because of COVID-19 find themselves putting together a backyard wedding at home—often a beautiful and sentimental location. For couples with an aesthetic that's more sleek and modern than garden-inspired, though, a chic event is still within reach. Event planner Lea Stafford styled this contemporary micro wedding, for example, around the couple's bold personalities. "I always suggest beginning with the true basics and foundation of the couple," she says.
Start by looking for a meaningful venue—"Is it where they had their first date? Is this where the proposal took place? Perhaps it's a destination where they love to travel together," she says. "Reach out to your favorite modern museum, resort, natural reserve, greenhouse, yacht, or library." Then, focus your color palette around a few dynamic shades—Stafford recommends four at the most, like the black, white, yellow, and mauve she used here. "I typically like to stick to more of a limited color palette no matter the size of the wedding," she explains. "It serves well as a nice backdrop for any other fun stuff you have planned, such as guest-engaging activities. It also lends itself well to capturing nice photos of attendees who happen to be wearing colorful attire."
Best of all, planning for a smaller group allows you to emphasize small touches that make a big impact, from nontraditional floral arrangements and upscale welcome boxes to casual bridal attire and textured tablescapes. "Feeling free enough to live out of the box and continue to move forward with what feels right for you as a couple is extremely important here," says Stafford. "I truly believe when you scale down and offer a smaller environment, you are forced to celebrate with those you truly value and can treat them to an ultra-intentional experience."
Choose an Understated Invitation
Though many couples planning micro weddings skip formal stationery, a clean, unfussy suite contributes to the sense of occasion. "If experiencing all of the traditional components of the process and the day is still very important in the smaller scale setting, I'd say definitely stick to working with a stationery artist," says Stafford. Focus on a few main elements, and choose natural, modern materials, like those in this suite from Bourne Paper Co. "The pieces that are most important, such as the invite, RSVP, and any relevant day-of pieces, should be done using a simple, textured handmade paper or a single-colored stock with simple typography," says Stafford. "Keeping clean lines and a clean texture will be very important."
Package Pretty Favors
Favor boxes, like these from Bestowe Gifting—they include dark chocolate, goat's milk soap, bath salts, and individual cans of rosé, all with coordinating labels and packaged in simple wooden boxes—are a VIP perk that spoil your in-person loved ones. "If we focus on the guest experience, being intentional with a highly curated welcome box filled with luxe, local artisanal treasures and the couple's favorite things is always a great idea," says Stafford.
Express Your Personal Style
Since your micro wedding will likely be more casual, don't be afraid to show off your personal style with nontraditional fashion—like an Amsale jumpsuit and deep green ASOS tux (worn without socks). "You never want to skimp out on style," says Stafford. "In this editorial, we highlight those couples who are not afraid to allow their bold personalities to shine through."
Get Creative with Your Florals
A smaller bouquet made with a few bold flowers in striking shades—like these greenish-gold anthurium lilies paired with small, textural blooms and soft ferns—makes a big statement. "I am a gal that loves contrast and texture," says Stafford. "If you have those two, you really can't go wrong."
Skip the Tie
Petite ivory flowers with eye-catching berry-colored centers, textured foliage, and a neutral ribbon dress up the groom's sleek suit and classic turtleneck.
Keep It Chic
Here, white walls, uncovered windows, and wood floors create a minimalist background that sets off the architectural shapes of black chairs, rectangular risers, and draped florals. "I love a good neutral palette," says Stafford, who suggests working within a similar scheme if you're planning your own chic micro wedding. "It goes so far and can be applied to just about any setting. It is very popular in the event you have to switch venues."
Think Beyond Blooms
Instead of typical "growing" floral-centric arrangements lining the aisle, Stafford and florist Anastasia Andenmatten suggest dried grasses and earthy moss, instead. "Find texture in other plants or materials," says Stafford. "It can go a very long way. Again, it's all about removing yourself from the conforming society that many are quite cozy living in."
Choose Impactful Upgrades
Delicate coupes filled with Champagne—and topped off with tiny, flawless blooms that coordinate with the groom's boutonniere—will help you create a memorable toast for you and a select few. "This all goes back to determining what is most important for the couple. That can mean investing in photography, the dining experience, design, guest experience, or the ceremony," says Stafford. "I suggest splurging on what the couple is the most passionate about and will be very impactful years to come."
Create a Welcoming Table
You may be setting a smaller table, but that doesn't mean skimping on style. High-contrast black chairs pop against white linens, while layers of texture, color, and materials create a colorful and cohesive tablescape. "The key is to allow the table to welcome guests—this will encourage those to settle in and engage. You want them to feel like they are sitting at a close friend or family member's dining table," explains Stafford. "Folding in texture can be done in many ways, through your vessels, napkins, coasters, or paper goods. They provide your welcoming table with a much-need dimension it deserves."
Add Bold Accents
Subtle black vessels allow the rich tones of your floral centerpieces to stand out. "Adding warmth through small touches of color or candlelight is ultra-important," says Stafford, noting that this transports you to family holidays or an intimate date night at home. "Either way, it is very familiar—and that is exactly what you want."
Scale Your Place Settings
Stafford used ceramic stoneware and black-and-gold flatware from Theoni Collection for the slim-lined place settings. "Scale is extremely important," says Stafford. Understanding the size of the available surface—and you might have a lot of it, if you're doubling up on tables or spacing out seats with social distancing guidelines in mind—and the guests' personal setting space plays heavily into designing a beautiful, yet functioning table, she notes.
Three smooth, white, multi-tier cakes from Revelry Cakes were decorated with sophisticated, long-stemmed blooms—a nod to the idea that when you're hosting fewer guests, you can splurge on your favorite elements (like dessert!). "I highly encourage couples to go big in an area they love going big in during their day-to-day life," says Stafford.
Photography, Sarah Eichstedt Photography
Event Design, Lea Stafford Events, LLC
Flowers, Anastasia Andenmatten
Stationery, Bourne Paper Co.
Cake, Revelry Cakes
Rentals, La Tavola Fine Linen; Theoni Collection
Bride's Jumpsuit, Amsale
Bride's Accessories, Esqueleto
Groom's Suit, ASOS
Welcome Boxes, Bestowe Gifting