I remember last March when the pandemic hit and my couples started rescheduling their weddings. I thought for sure things would be back to normal by July. And then they weren’t. And then the summer came and went and my fall weddings were still being impacted by COVID-19… Needless to say, it was a hard year, but I have to say that couples who had their hearts set on getting married in 2020 did an amazing job of adjusting to the circumstances. Now that we’re in the new year, 2021 couples have started to reach out about their wedding plans and, honestly, it feels like 2020 all over again for winter and spring couples. With the vaccine rollout having started out so slowly, restrictions on large gatherings staying in place, and dance floors still being banned, couples are unsure of what to do with their early 2021 wedding.
At this point, all of our winter and early spring weddings through the end of March have rescheduled or opted for a micro wedding now with a larger celebration later. I’m also getting a lot of new inquiries for couples who are just starting to plan their wedding now and have opted to keep things small. If you’re currently scheduled for a 2021 wedding through the early spring, here are some ideas for you.
Option 1: Have a Micro Wedding
This was a really popular option in 2020. Last year, eleven of our couples decided to have a micro wedding on their original date and postponed their big celebration until 2021. This is an option I would suggest for March and April weddings that have their hearts set on having a packed dance floor and want to do it safely. For couples who opt for this idea, here are some ideas for how to execute a micro wedding in 2021.
Traditional church ceremony with a small celebration now and a larger celebration later
Amanda and Jonathan’s wedding last year is a perfect example of how you can have a traditional church ceremony and make it feel as normal as possible. Honestly, if it weren’t for the face masks and smaller guest list, this wedding ceremony wouldn’t have felt any different than the typical church ceremony I’m used to photographing. Amanda still wore her wedding dress, Jonathan still got to see her walking down the aisle, and their bridal party and families were there to support them. They did have smaller bridal parties to reduce the number of guests. After the ceremony and portraits they celebrated with a dinner at a local restaurant. They shared their first dance and then their fathers, maid of honor, and best man said their toasts. They’re now looking forward to a larger celebration at their original venue in August. If you’re looking to have a traditional wedding ceremony now and postpone the larger celebration for a time when it is safer, check out this wedding for inspiration: Amanda and Jonathan’s wedding.
Traditional church ceremony with a smaller celebration
Another option is to nix the idea of a large celebration, cut down your guest list, and move forward with a small wedding. This is what Maggie and Justin did last August. They wanted to get married in 2020 and so they adapted to the situation and it turned out beautifully. Maggie and Justin had a traditional church ceremony and then celebrated with about 45 of their guests in an outdoor tented reception at their original venue. They still had their full bridal parties and traditional reception events, just with a smaller group of people than they had originally envisioned. Check out their wedding for inspiration here: The Manor Wedding Photos.
Option 2: Have an Outdoor Reception
Couples who still wanted to have a large wedding made it happen by switching to an outdoor reception. Here are some couples who did that:
Traditional Church Ceremony with a Large Outdoor Reception
Ryann and Jack got married at church and then had an outdoor wedding reception at their yacht club. Check it out here: Mantoloking Yacht Club Wedding.
Caroline and Kevin are another couple who opted for a traditional church ceremony with a large outdoor reception. They had to reduce their guest list a bit but they still had about 100 guests. Check out their gorgeous fall wedding here: Conservatory at the Sussex County Fairgrounds Wedding.
Alex and Andrew were another couple who had a reduced guest list with a traditional church ceremony and full bridal party: The Mill Lakeside Manor Wedding.
Option 3: Have an Outdoor Wedding
The following couples had an outdoor ceremony and tented reception.
These first two at Windows on the Water at Frogbridge felt completely normal since they had pretty large guest lists.
Kayla and Karl had smaller guests lists but it still truly felt like a regular wedding with full details, prep, portraits, and a beautiful ceremony. The big difference was the reduced guest list and small dinner vs. big reception after the ceremony. Check out their wedding here.
Alyssa and Diego had their wedding ceremony right on the grounds of their venue and then enjoyed dinner with their guests in a tented reception. It was such a relaxed day, and with everything outdoors, their guests felt safe. Check it out here: Ninety Acres Natirar Wedding.
Option 4: Have a Micro Wedding at the Shore
Alyssa and Fred decided to get married with just their immediate families present. They rented a beach house on LBI and celebrated with a weekend getaway for their entire family. They had their ceremony on the rooftop of the beach house and it was a beautiful wedding. Check it out here: LBI Micro Wedding.
Nicole and Michael had a beach ceremony surrounded by their immediate families only. They had about 17 guests in total surrounding them while they said their I Do’s and then they celebrated in Nicole’s parents’ beach home. Check out this wedding here: LBI Beach Micro Wedding.
Option 5: Have a Backyard Wedding
Tammy and Harry had a beautiful backyard wedding with a farm to table dinner outdoors and then dancing under the stars! Check it out here.
Melissa and Larry got married at a local church and then celebrated with a backyard wedding. Check out their wedding here.
Option 6: Get married at the courthouse.
Olivia and John live in Princeton so they chose the Princeton University campus for their wedding photos, and then headed to Flemington County Court House to tie the knot. It was such a sweet, no frills wedding as they await their big wedding later this year!
As you can see, it’s still possible to get married in a pandemic. I hope the stories of these 2020 couples who made it happen inspire you in your planning for 2021. Here’s to an improvement in the vaccine rollout this year so we can see the return of lively dance floors and the disappearance of face masks!!
Looking for more information on how to have your intimate wedding day captured, regardless of the circumstances? Current clients – shoot me an email! New clients – click here for more information on intimate weddings and please fill out this contact form.