Since the pandemic hit, so much of our world has been changed. But the wedding and events world has been, and continues to be, turned upside down. It’s been a roller coaster of sorts – just when you think things are starting to get a little better, a venue unexpectedly shuts down, or case counts jump. It’s been stressful for my couples, who have postponed or suddenly revisioned their wedding days, and it’s been tough for me watching more than half my year’s work get pushed out.
But one major unexpected silver lining for me has become: MICRO WEDDINGS. I didn’t know this would lead me to so many beautiful, intimate, meaningful celebrations, and meeting some new couples in the process too! I photographed my first covid wedding with Lia and Jeffrey on May 10, who postponed their celebration to February, but had a small ceremony of 10 people on their original date at Jorgensen Farms Oak Grove. My next covid wedding was with a brand new couple, Josie and Caitlin, who had a similar situation but needed a local photographer since their original one was from out of town.
And from there, they continued: to date, I’ve photographed 7 micro weddings or elopements. A couple of them have been existing clients who moved their receptions out, but the majority have been brand new bookings, which has been the biggest surprise of all! And though they were all small and cozy and sweet, they were all different in their own way. Martha and James had a backyard elopement with no in-person guests at all on June 6, while Ashley and Jonathan’s pine forest ceremony on June 26 was a celebration that had been planned to be small from the start.
Weddings are looking a little different now and this is not a bad thing! It’s a pleasure to photograph something so special, an honor to be one of very few present. And it’s comforting to be a part of celebrations that are safe. Just in the past week, I’ve booked 4 new couples for micro weddings in the next 3 months. While things remain uncertain, having the opportunity to capture these moments gives me so much to look forward to.
But I’m not the one who actually got married! So, I thought I’d ask my couples to share their experiences in their own words!
LIA + JEFFREY
May 10, 2020 | Oak Grove at Jorgensen Farms
Full blog post: https://amyannphoto.com/blog/2020/05/22/columbus-ohio-micro-wedding-at-jorgensen-farms-oak-grove-lia-jeffrey/
Our venue notified us that we had to postpone our wedding and reception for 100 people, but that we could still have a ceremony with 10 people present on our original date. Three factors really went into our decision to have a micro wedding on our original date. For starters, we had already gotten our marriage certificate, and it was set to expire a few days after our original date (romantic, I know). With the uncertainty of COVID-19, we weren’t sure when we’d be able to get another one. We knew we were moving to Colorado 20 days after our original date, and wanted to be married before we made the move. The thought behind this was that we wanted to start this new chapter of our lives together as a married couple – I hope this makes up for the lack of romance behind the wedding certificate portion! Finally, we had already been engaged for 2.5 years and just couldn’t wait another 9 months.
Having a micro wedding took a lot of pressure off of us. It was simple, intimate, and required minimal planning. We coordinated with the venue and Amy for photography, my aunt created my bouquet, and I bought a dress online. We picked up a bottle of bubbly and a cake from Whole Foods the previous evening, and that was that. We got to enjoy the entire day and each other instead of rushing around. While I’m glad that we had our micro wedding, it was bittersweet knowing that most of our family and friends weren’t there for it. We Facebook Livestreamed it, but it wasn’t the same. We are looking forward to renewing our vows and celebrating with everyone on Valentine’s Day!
CAITLIN + JOSIE
May 23, 2020 | College of Wooster
Full blog post: https://amyannphoto.com/blog/2020/06/19/college-of-wooster-lgbtq-micro-wedding-caitlin-josie/
Being on the homestretch of wedding planning when the pandemic hit the US was tough. While we were waiting to see if we could reschedule our larger celebration that we had originally planned for May 23, 2020, we knew we still wanted to get married on our date. We quickly adjusted our plans; we selected a new location, extremely downsized our guest list, contacted all our vendors to adjust contracts, and finalized our new plan for the day.
We planned a small ceremony at the place where we first met, our alma mater, The College of Wooster. We only invited our immediate family and a few friends. It was truly difficult to turn down generous offers from family and friends to come to our wedding. It broke our hearts every time we had to say no. We appreciated all the love and support, but we wanted to keep everyone safe and healthy. Caitlin works in the Pediatric Emergency Department as a Registered Nurse, and is at risk of being exposed on any given day, we felt we had to be extra cautious.
While planning the details of the day, we knew we wanted a professional photographer to capture every moment. Unfortunately, our original photographer lives in Texas, and with our ceremony taking place in Ohio, it didn’t seem feasible to fly the photographer out for a small, short ceremony, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Luckily, Josie had started following Amy Ann Photography on Instagram a while back, and she immediately came to mind when considering a more local photographer. It was less than a month out, but we reached out to Amy, trying not to get our hopes up. We were in luck, and Amy was available on our day!
While the wedding planning process always seems to have its’ ups and downs, our planning experience seemed to be a particularly wild rollercoaster ride of uncertainty and emotions. Adjusting to the new reality took some time, but once we were able to finalize our plans for rescheduling our larger reception for next year, not only did we we feel a huge wave of relief, but we were finally able to focus on planning our intimate ceremony and make it into the perfect day that it was. It was a crazy ride, but we were blown away by the love and support shown by our friends and family, near and far. Despite all of the bumps along the way, we showed one another that we know how to work through adversity and tough times, and that we could not be more ready to embark on this new journey of marriage together, as equal partners.
JEN + CARIE
May 30, 2020 | Backyard in Grove City, OH
Full blog post: https://amyannphoto.com/blog/2020/06/29/columbus-ohio-lgbtq-backyard-micro-wedding-jen-carie/
Our original plans were to have a much bigger ceremony and celebration in January 2021 at a beautiful local venue with all the traditional touches…but then covid came along and changed our thinking. It was a blessing in disguise. The only reason we were waiting until January to get married was to have more time for planning the big event (and, maybe, cooler weather). But both of us were ready to get hitched right away—so one day we decided to just do it!
Having a day worth remembering was our only wish, and that meant having our loved ones there with us. We chose our backyard, frankly, because of the stay-at-home order, but we fell in love with our choice because of the many good memories that had already been made there over the years. How great would it be to add one more? With just enough space for 15 people to comfortably move around while staying safely distanced, one of our closest friends married us in an intimate ceremony as the sun set in a clear sky. The evening was absolutely perfect.
I’m not sure what advice to offer other couples considering the same decision, but we did learn a few things along the way. Here are a few ideas that could prove helpful for anyone trying to pull off a wedding like this in just 3 short weeks:
- Know what core things matter to you both and stick to them. Scope creep can be a real drain on your energy and your budget. So keep it simple
- Be ambitious but realistic. I naturally have that “go big or go home” mentality, which can be a ton of fun and make grand things happen. Yet it’s important to be grounded in reality when it comes to what you can pull off in such a short amount of time. And be quick to let go of things that don’t truly matter. (See #1.)
- Divide and conquer. If you’re planning things yourselves or have limited help, play to each others’ strengths in how you divvy out the to-do list and then trust each other to do your best. Then celebrate all your accomplishments along the way!
- Keep your eye on the prize. Anyone will tell you that planning a wedding is stressful, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. And the process can certainly bring you even closer together if you stay focused on the outcome. It helps to make time for loving gestures and kind words, no matter how crazy busy things get.
MARTHA + JAMES
June 6, 2020 | Backyard in Canal Winchester, OH
Full blog post: https://amyannphoto.com/blog/2020/07/05/columbus-ohio-backyard-elopement-martha-james/
We decided to have a zoom wedding mid march, due to COVID-19. We have a lot of family members who are in higher risk categories for the virus, and we didn’t want to force a potentially dangerous decision onto our close friends and family.
In the end, it was the right decision. Neither of us are dancers anyhow, so some embarrassment was avoided.
We missed getting to see our friends and family, but will likely do a family visit tour to see the folks from out of town as a honeymoon once/if all this blows over.
If you are considering cancelling your wedding plans for health reasons, do it. We loved our small wedding, and no celebration, no matter the size, or how well planned, or how long you’ve been looking forward to it, is worth the health of your loved ones.
ASHLEY + JONATHAN
June 26, 2020 | Orchard House Bed & Breakfast
Full blog post: https://amyannphoto.com/blog/2020/07/24/orchard-house-granville-micro-wedding-ashley-jonathan/
Our decision to have a “micro” wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic was probably the best decision for our family. Originally, we were going to get married at the courthouse in April with a large reception planned for next year on our anniversary. An intimate ceremony is what we envisioned for ourselves anyhow! When we got word that our courthouse ceremony was cancelled, we kind of gave up on the idea of getting married this year. Our son was born in February and our main focus was keeping him safe. Then we started seeing social media posts about elopements/micro weddings and that sparked our curiosity. Many wedding venues began booking intimate ceremonies allowing a maximum of 20 people in attendance. It felt perfect for us. We just wanted to be married and to celebrate with our closest family and friends.
We ended up choosing The Orchard House for our wedding. We got married in the pine forest, took our portraits on the beautiful property (by our amazing photographer 😍), and had a champagne toast inside of the bed and breakfast. This was all followed by tacos and cake! I was glad we were able to share a meal with our family and friends to celebrate. Even though it wasn’t a huge celebration, it was incredibly special to us.
As far as planning our ceremony, most vendors we contacted were available due to larger weddings being postponed. We probably planned our wedding in two months, and that was enough for us! All of our vendors implemented safety precautions and made us feel safe. I liked that the planning was fairly simple and affordable. We are not planning on a large reception anymore. Our micro wedding was all we needed and I will never forget our magical day in the midst of a global pandemic.
ISAAC + ERIK
July 18, 2020 | Backyard in McCordsville, IN
Full blog post: Coming soon!
We had been engaged for almost two years and had planned on having our wedding this summer. When the reality of the pandemic hit NYC we realized that we would likely need to postpone any gathering to at least next year. After a few months of quarantining in Brooklyn, we were fortunate enough to find some space to isolate at a family home in the midwest, close to our parents. Erik’s aunt was talking with us in a lakeside chat and was gracious enough to offer her home to us to host a small ceremony this summer.
We called our close family members to make sure they felt comfortable leaving their homes. We asked everyone to stay home 7-10 days before the wedding. Each household had its own table and the caterer was sure to provide individually pre-portioned meals.
We felt if we kept the wedding outside and took extra precautions we could do our best to keep everyone safe and still have a wonderful time together. Having a smaller wedding allowed us to keep our focus on our family and each other. We are so happy to have been able to celebrate with those closest to us and find a little extra joy this summer.