In the first half of this decade, weddings were all about opulence and extravagance: mass floral installations, an abundance of beautiful bespoke furniture, tailor made champagne and cocktail bars, and so much entertainment that you’d have to remind yourself that it was a wedding and not the South African Music Awards. There were no holds barred when it came to guest lists with all and sundry invited including distant relatives and next door neighbours.
Slowly but surely, weddings have become more intimate with guest lists rarely extending 100 guests. There’s been more of a focus on avoiding unnecessary waste, unjustifiable exorbitant costs and really getting to the heart of what weddings are all about. Sure, there are still extravagant weddings, but they are the exception, not the rule.
It’s safe to say that the move towards smaller weddings was already in play before the Coronavirus hit however the pandemic has really pushed us to take this to another level. What we’re seeing now is a move towards minimonies, elopements, intimate weddings, and micro-weddings and we think they are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
So, what do all these new styles of weddings entail?
Minimony is the preview of what’s to come on your actual wedding day with some saying it’s the wedding ceremony with the reception to follow when allowed. It’s a legal ceremony with an officiant held on the day that you were meant to get married with family and close friends. It also includes snippets from your wedding-to-come such as the colour scheme, style or type of flowers you were going to have, or a mini version of your wedding cake.
Not a foreign concept to most of us but maybe something that has been overlooked due to the pressure of a traditional, white wedding. Within the matrimonial world, it is commonly understood as a secret wedding, where you and your beloved ‘run away’ to a location to get married without telling your family and friends. We’re not necessarily encouraging the literal meaning of eloping but if you’re not up to the pressure of a traditional wedding then eloping is a good option. Add an extra bit of excitement and have a destination elopement. There is little restriction in terms of location – small private island, the middle of a forest, on top of a mountain or a hot air balloon – the sky is the limit. It’s just you, your partner and an officiant to handle the legalities. Legally, in South Africa, you will need two witnesses to make the marriage legal but that’s easy enough to arrange.
A micro wedding is a small wedding of no more than 20 guests, and it somewhat follows the flow of a traditional wedding. It takes a lot of pressure and stress off you, and these types of celebrations generally are a lot more relaxed and informal. Many unnecessary costs are spared but without missing out on some of the special elements of a wedding – you still get to cut your cake, have speeches and do your first dance (only if you want to). You can quite literally pick and choose which traditions appeal to you and omit the ones that don’t. There’s less pressure to conform to guests’ expectations.
If you are more of a traditionalist and an elopement or micro wedding is not quite your thing, then an intimate wedding is perfect for you. This is typically a wedding with no more than around 50 – 60 guests and generally follows the traditional wedding format. It can be as formal or informal as you want, and you can include or exclude as many wedding traditions as you like. By restricting your guest list, it’s likely to be a day filled with memories with your tribe as you don’t have the ‘luxury’ to invite extended and/or estranged family and friends. You can focus on quality over quantity and on what is important to you as a couple without getting caught up in all the societal pressure.
Things are changing rapidly around us, and yet many things still stand still with no clear picture into what the future holds. We have some of the best technology at our fingertips so streaming your wedding to those that can’t make it or don’t ‘crack the nod’ is definitely an option. We suggest you dig deep and determine what your wedding day truly means to you, what elements are absolutely essential and what you could (quite happily) do without. Embrace the new norm: keep it small and manageable and splash out in the areas that mean the most to you. Get in touch with us and let us ease the pressure of planning your ‘new normal wedding’. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.