Get married now, party later: 14 tips on how to have a small + intimate wedding

small and intimate wedding

Embracing a small and intimate wedding now and having a larger reception later can be intimately beautiful and you get to celebrate again with your guests. I just got married and have put together these 14 tips for a really lovely micro wedding.

After our wedding date was postponed several times and it became clear a ceremony and reception were off the cards. We had a small wedding in September with 15 of our nearest and dearest.

The new wedding restrictions are for legally recognised weddings only in the UK, which means all ‘non-legally’ recognised weddings are sadly not and follows the ‘Rule of 6’. In these instances, many weddings may have a cultural ceremony now followed by a civil ceremony and reception later.

The image above is of one of our gorgeous real brides, Amy who married her sweetheart in Scotland in August, who had to postpone her originnal wedding date, image taken by Steven Gallagher.

14 tips for a small and intimate wedding

1. A smaller wedding means more money to spend on your wedding outfits. I wore a beautiful bespoke head piece by Kelly Spence and he wore a navy brocade tailored suit from Vanshik Menswear.

    With fewer guests, you have more to spend on your outfits. I wore a beautiful bespoke head-piece by one of my favourite bridal accessories designers, Kelly Spence and Stu wore a  beautiful navy brocade tailored men’s Sherwani suit from Vanshik Menswear. For the reception he’ll be wearing the classic suit and tails, but am campaigning for him to wear his Sherwani suit again, as many of our virtual guests have said they were really hoping to enjoy an Indian wedding. Have all my fingers crossed for that one!

    We love to recommend our brides check out Freya Rose for bridal shoes, Victoria Fergusson for more beautiful bridal accessories and Gresham Blake for groom's suits.


    2. Book make and hair zoom lessons or book a supplier for the day (remember, wedding suppliers are not included in the restricted 15 number). I had make-up lessons from Birute Thomas using products from the Tropics range and Hair by Duboux was there in the morning to create my long hair with clip on extensions.

      You can have your make-up artist and hair stylist around during the day for touch-ups or in the morning whilst you’re getting ready. If you’re planning a wedding to the ‘Rule of 6’, beauty zoom trials and lessons could be the way to go. I did that with award-winning make-up artist, Birute Thomas, who helped me choose which colours to go for from the Tropics range and taught me how to create the look myself. I got lots of compliments on the day, some thought my make-up was applied by a professional! If you can’t have your make-up artist there with you, don’t worry, you will get to book a supplier when you get to do it all over again with your guests. Sally from Hair by Duboux was there in the morning to create my long hair with clip on extensions. She offers virtual trials and appointments too, so she can get to know your style. Here’s a blog post she wrote for us of all the things you can do virtually when planning your wedding hair.

      virtual hair and beauty trials

      3. Choose a wedding dress you can effortlessly transform to another look, like our slip-style Elsa, Elsie or Elsa Sass worn under the Margot lace or tulle over-dress, skirt or topper with art deco beaded belts and silky sashes.

        You don’t need to buy two dresses for two different events. You can get one and style it differently to create two completely different looks. Wear the Margot lace over-dress with the Elsa or Elsie dress or Elsa Sass for a romantic, ethereal look. Change it by wearing it without the lace or tulle topper for a slinky look channelling Hollywood on the dance floor. Accessorise in different ways an art nouveau beaded belt or silky satin sashes.

        transform your dress

        4. Get two sample sale dresses for the price of one. We have a selection of sample sale dresses all looking for beautiful homes, which can be seen HERE, priced £400 to £750.

          All samples range from sizes 8 to 12 and are priced between £400 - £750.


          Look at bridal boutiques who have sample sales, or on for a second-hand dresses. Or look at vintage and retro pieces too. I love Annie’s on Camden Passage, it’s a treasure-trove of coveted delights with beautiful art deco beaded accessories and pieces. Our Irish stockist, Bella Bleu in Cork has a really great selection of vintage pieces too.

          sample sale dresses

          5. If you love your Sabina Motasem dress so much, simply wear it again when you have your reception, or get married all over again with all your guests

            Wedding dresses rarely get worn twice. Isn’t this a wonderful way to get more wear out of it? All your lovely virtual zoom guests will want to celebrate with you in the flesh whilst you’re wearing your beautiful dress too. Not only that, if you’re keen on finding a way to get even more wear out of it, a clever seamstress could transform your dress into beautiful separates and a shorter dress. Your dress can go beyond the big day.

            6. Create lovely memories with your groom or your chief bridesmaid at ‘Make Your Wedding Ring’ or jewellery workshops. 

              We bought our rings from Marcia Vidal who came highly recommended through a friend. I love her stylish pieces and the gold is 100% recycled with 5% going to help refugees. It’s a win-win. We went for two identical hammered light gold rings, they’re a little different to your usual wedding band. Marcia is running the MINDFUL JEWELLERY MAKING WORKSHOP at her Dalston studio on Shacklewell Lane in London. Numbers are restricted to just two people and the cost of the silver is included in the price of £150. You get to make a simple ring and a pendant. 

              Check out events by Marcia VidalHeather Stephens, Orla JamesDC Jewellery and the Wedding Ring Workshop.

              wedding rings

              7. Don’t economise by not booking a photographer to capture those special moments, which you won’t get a chance to take again… unless one of your guests happens to be a pretty good photographer!

                Check with your photographer if they can offer a 2-hour package for your wedding, you will probably be booking the same photographer for the larger event too. Miss Gen Photography offers short coverage packages elopements and intimate weddings as well as coverage of larger celebrations and has covered lots of micro weddings too on her instagram.

                If your wedding numbers are restricted to six, you may not be able to book a professional. You could ask all your guests to take as many images as they can and have one local place like Dropbox to upload their images and videos to.

                If any of your guests is keen on learning something new, its worth checking out a wedding photography workshop like the ones that Marshal Gray Photography runs for amateur photographers. You’ll have loads of practise on how to pose naturally in front of the camera by having two events and taking part in one of these workshops and it will be fun too. Other wedding photography workshops worth checking out are David Paul Photography, Samuel Docker Photography and the Trained Eye.

                Image below is by Marshal Gray Photography who shot our Siren collection.

                photography workshop

                8. Buy local and support local businesses wherever you can.

                  I wanted to support my fellow wedding suppliers and local businesses as much as I could. For our cake, I ordered a really delicious Lemon and Polenta cake from Rinkoff Bakery in Whitechapel for just £26. We ordered a banoffee cake for £36 and they were available to order just the week before.

                  Image below from Rinkoff Bakery website.

                  rinkoff bakery

                  9. For DIY invites and stationery you can try for affordable wedding printing. To create your own artwork try templates from Vistaprint or Canva.

                    I used a local printer in Islington called Hanway Print to print our greeting cards, but have a special wedding section where you can print everything from RSVP, table plans, invites and thank you cards and there’s no limit on how many to order too. Not just that, but they have gold foil detail as an option too. You will need to create the artwork if you happen to know anyone handy with Illustrator or InDesign, but you can go to Vistaprint or Canva who have some templates available.

                    Image below from website.

                    wedding invitation

                    10. Have a Zoom station during the ceremony and through to the reception. Here are my full Zoom wedding tips, read the full blog post here

                      Whether you have 15 or 6 people at your wedding, there will be lots of special friends and family who won’t be able to be there on the day with you. I married my best friend in September with just 15 of our nearest and dearest in the flesh, but another 50 people were watching online via a Zoom station. It was small, it was intimate, it was beautiful. Here are my full Zoom wedding tips, read the full blog post here.

                      zoom virtual wedding

                      11. Make the surroundings as special as possible with a floral arch, dried flower hangings and displays, fairy lights and quirky furniture. 

                      With more money to spend, your special day can feel incredibly special. Go for a pretty floral arch from a local florist or a dried flower hanging or look at creating dried flower displays in mismatched vases and jars. Create a Spotify playlist of tunes. Look for a local wedding supplier who can rent out furniture where you can hire chairs. Go for groups of mismatched chairs around the garden to create an eclectic relaxed vibe, or chairs arranged as an arch or in rows.

                      Amazing florists to check out are Terrace London, Botanique Workshop, Wild About Flowers and Bluesky Flowers.

                      This beautiful floral display below is by Teepee Sauvage in France and featured on The Lane.

                      dried flower display

                      12. A little memento from the day makes a big difference. Make masks from leftover bridal fabric and commission a cool illustration from Aneela Illustrator.

                      From the leftover fabric – I made some gold silky masks for all the family to wear. We had an illustration created from one of our photos by Aneela Illustrator. You could have this image printed on cards and send a special thank you to each of your guests along with a special keepsake, thanking them for being there and all their love and support. It’s a lovely little memento of the day. I also asked each of my lovely virtual guests to take a picture of themselves saying cheers to the camera, so that I can create a little montage of them for another keepsake of our special day.


                      13. Anything you can do to make things simpler, do it. Pamper yourself in the lead up to the wedding, take time for grooming and relaxation.

                        Planning a wedding is stressful enough as it is compared planning one that fits with all these changing restrictions and fewer numbers. Your nerves and excitement will be amplified. Take time to indulge in relaxation and feel good things, so you’re nice and calm before your big day. Do a little spa day ahead of the wedding and take lots of treatments.

                        My other half found a lovely barbers on Columbia road, called Breathe Barbers, who opened during lockdown and they have a stylist there who cuts women’s hair too. Stu loved the experience there. He had his beard trimmed and felt all nicely groomed, ready to get married.

                        Image below from Breath Barber's website.

                        breathe barbers

                        14. Plan the big honeymoon when you’re having the reception, but plan for a lovely staycation instead.

                          Staycations have become ‘the’ thing to do this year. Once we’d got married, it really felt like we weren’t ready to go back to reality just yet. We wanted to do something to commemorate the wedding, so we did a little weekend away on the Kent coast, in Deal. We found a lovely Airbnb with its own roof terrace where we could hear the sound of the crashing waves. Being by the sea is where I feel calmest. We had a very comfortable stay at this lovely house, just seconds from the beach. There are so many amazing eateries there, like The Rose. I’m still dreaming about the crab risotto with truffle oil…

                          Image below from Airbnb listing.


                          Or find a place with a hot-tub in a magical treehouse hideaway like one of these luxury places in the heart of the Cotswolds at the Fish Hotel which includes a traditional Cotswolds breakfast too. I've always had a bit of a thing about treehouses and this is definitely on my list for another little romantic mini-moon getaway.

                          Images below from the Fish Hotel website.

                          treehouse holiday
                          treehouse holiday
                          treehouse holiday


                          SEE THE SAMPLE SALE HERE

                          SEE THE COUTURE COLLECTION HERE

                          SEE SOME OF OUR REAL BRIDES HERE

                          October 07, 2020 by Sabina Ali

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