With COVID-19 wrecking havoc on life as we know it, many weddings and events have been postponed. Despite the circumstances, many couples are deciding to get married now in intimate weddings, saving the big party for later in the name of safety. The question that continues to come up for those considering a smaller intimate wedding NOW is: how can I make my intimate wedding special? Below are six ways you can make a intimate wedding special in the age of COVID-19.
Throw out all the rules
First things first, there are NO rules when it comes to weddings right now, except legal rules. Yes, you need a marriage license and witnesses. Yes, you have to abide by whatever legal guidelines there are in your state/county. But etiquette rules are out the window at this point.
Large weddings aren’t bad, but sometimes they can become slightly impersonal as you go from hugging one guest to the next as quick as you can. Intimate weddings are usually more personal and thoughtful. Instead of pleasing many guests, you’re usually just planning to please yourselves, making more intentional decisions about the day.
You can make the intimate wedding whatever you want it to be. If that means just the two of you reading vows with your witnesses and officiant, that’s perfect. If it means having a legit ceremony in your backyard as your parents look on, that’s great too. You don’t have to do a unity ceremony; you don’t have to toss a bouquet. You can completely personalize your day to fit your relationship and make it an incredibly personal experience.
Wear Different Attire
Though you may want to wear your wedding dress twice (umm, who else gets to do that?), maybe you can’t get your dress altered in time or you just want to wear something more casual. Either is totally fine! But if you feel like you want the intimate wedding ceremony to look a little different from the big sha-bang next year (or whenever it’ll be), consider ordering a more casual gown from Modcloth, BHLDN, David’s Bridal, Nordstrom or Rent the Runway. Note: you don’t have to wear a white dress. You can wear WHATEVER you want!
For the gentlemen, you could opt for a more casual look, skipping the tux for a suit or just sticking to a vest. Even a nice dress shirt with a tie can go in a backyard. Remember, there aren’t any rules. If you want to wear a tux and can get one, wear it!
Broadcast your ceremony live
There are a few ways you can involve everyone in your ceremony. You can livestream the ceremony on something as simple as Zoom. You can also (if it’s possible), get married in a parking lot and have everyone in their cars watching. Kind of like a drive-in ceremony. This may sound cheesy, but getting creative with the circumstances can not only be fun, but goes back to being intentional about your day. Maybe you really wanted as many people there as possible. Having a drive-in ceremony is safe way to do it.
Make an intimate wedding special with 15 Toasts
At traditional Western weddings, toasts are usually relegated to the best man, maid of honor, and father of the bride. Though couples now decide to have more toasts or even forgo them, a way to make an intimate wedding particularly special is doing 15 Toasts, an activity developed by gathering specialist Priya Parker. The idea is to ask those gathered to share a story around a common theme (in this case you’d probably ask them to share a memory of the couple or about marriage/love), and then end their story in a toast. The great part about this activity, other than how personal and heartfelt it could turn out to be, is that it can be done virtually. I recently read a story about a couple that was married on their front porch and invited guests to participate in 15 Toasts via Zoom. How special would it be to hear from your nearest and dearest in such a personal way!
Cut the cake and dance (if you want)
Who says you can’t do things twice? If you want to commemorate your “official” wedding day, you can still cut a small cake and have a first dance. And there’s no problem with repeating these things again when you’re celebrating with everyone. Dancing in your living room, or in your backyard under the stars can be very special, even if it’s not in front of 200 guests. I’ve been married three years and every time Josh decides we need to dance in our living room, I get a little teary eyed. For me, it’s more special than the dance we shared while nearly 100 people were watching us, but we are both introverted.
Make the day an adventure about you
Who says a wedding has to happen in a certain order or at a certain time. When there aren’t strict timelines and places to be, you can make the day completely about what you want to do. This opens up a whole realm of possibility! You can visit your first date spot, have a picnic lunch on the lake, share a drink in front of the fire pit, whatever you want. Think about what the perfect day would look like (again, just the two of you) and do it. You’ll never forget it.
How to make an intimate wedding special: wrap-up
If you’re sad about what’s happening in the world and how it’s impacted your wedding day, that’s okay. You’re allowed to feel that. And if you’re making the decision to still honor that original date with an intimate wedding, that’s great! There are many ways you can make it feel special, even if it’s plan B. Letting go of what you think you HAVE to do to make something feel like a wedding is the first step to feeling completely free to celebrate your nuptials in however you choose. The beauty of this circumstance is that the rules are yours to break and to make.
There is a beauty to making a day that celebrates your commitment to each other completely about each other rather than about everything and everyone else. Once you embrace that, I doubt you’ll regret getting married now. The party will always be there and it’ll feel completely different with everyone else there to celebrate you. If anything you get to have two celebrations, which doesn’t often happen. There will always be a way to honor your love and commitment, no matter the time or place.