With concerns about public health and travel, brides and grooms are choosing small, intimate celebrations.
Event planners are busier than ever and, not surprisingly, smaller weddings have taken the lead, especially in Northern Arizona.
“We’ve had a lot of micro-weddings of 50 people or less since March this year,” said Nancy Bewley, owner of Prescott-based Luella House Weddings and the soon-to-open historic Willow Creek Inn. “I think it’s because small weddings make sense to people right now. People can spread out and the couple can have those who are most dear and closest to them attend, plus the expense is lower and the event is more manageable.”
Rhonda Messal, of Fort Worth Texas, planned her micro-wedding at Moran Point at the Grand Canyon last May. A total of four guests attended.
“I thrive on simplicity. I chose to have a small wedding because I’m a simple girl who was raised in the mountains of Colorado and I prefer a more minimalist approach to things,” said Messal, a human resources executive. “Getting married on the rim of the Grand Canyon and taking in God’s beautiful creation was simply amazing, and keeping it small was so hassle-free.”
Choosing to have her wedding at the Grand Canyon in April, April Margulies, owner and founder of Trust Relations Agency in Williams, said, “With COVID, there was no telling when things would open up again and we didn’t really want to wait to find out. My parents would not have been comfortable traveling at the time, so asking anyone to attend seemed unfair. In the end, it was a great excuse to keep the moment intimate and just focus on each other rather than planning and executing some complicated event.”
According to Las Vegas-based Cactus Collective Weddings owner McKenzi Taylor, 2021 weddings have become much more intimate affairs, and micro-weddings have gone from second-best to many couples’ first choice.
“Gone are the days of the 300-person guest list, the splashy banquet hall and multi-tiered wedding cakes, at least for most post-pandemic couples who are more conscious of the health of their guests as well as the health of their bank accounts.”
Williams Justice of the Peace Robert Krombeem confirms the trend as well. “With COVID making many of our hopes, dreams and plans for the future come to a screeching halt, we have seen a definite increase in small, spontaneous courthouse weddings.”
In Flagstaff, Sutcliffe Floral Owner Kelly Tulloss says she has seen a lot of brides have their weddings at Airbnb’s, out in the woods, backyards and the courthouse. “I think Flagstaff provides the perfect setting for smaller, intimate outdoor weddings, and they are very popular here.”
Churches also are seeing the shift to smaller weddings. Flagstaff’s Mountain View Church (MVC) Pastor Nathaniel Bradford is preparing to officiate a micro-wedding consisting of the bride, groom, maid of honor and best man.
“Pastor Nathaniel and I are honoring the couple and their wishes to have just their immediate family present,” said Bradford’s wife, Cindy, who is the wedding coordinator at MVC. “They decided to keep their wedding small and simple and believe their love for each other and their faith is more significant than any crowd.”
Weddings in Sedona Owner and Senior Planner Susan Perry says small weddings have always been popular in the Red Rock Country and continue to be. “We have a healthy range, from small elopement, to micro, to large, custom weddings. Because we are such a popular wedding market, couples come from around the world to get married here.”
Meanwhile, Viola’s Flower Garden Wedding Coordinator Jessie Bangle says smaller weddings are here to stay. “Since COVID, people are sticking to 50 people or less, mostly for regulations, but also because these weddings are more intimate and less expensive. Going forward to 2022, we’re not seeing big numbers and the trend is unique styles of decoration and scaled-down weddings where the bride and groom can spend more time visiting with their guests.” FBN
By V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN