We are Cleveland wedding photographers for the couple that values legacy and authentic moments captured. We love telling wedding stories in a way even your grandchildren will feel like they experienced your day with you. We also photography a select number of senior pictures and information can be found on our SENIOR PHOTO page here. Dragonfly Photography is based in Cleveland, Ohio with destinations world wide.
Planning a Micro Wedding in Cleveland, Ohio
A lot of couples are hearing the term “micro wedding” for the first time but the reality is that micro weddings are not at all new on the scene. There can be a lot of misinformation about what a micro wedding is and I want to talk to my couples in Cleveland about how to plan one and what to consider if this is an option you’re thinking about for your wedding day.
First off, spoiler alert. I’m a fan.
To me, micro weddings are a way to have the best of both worlds, although to be fair I’m raising my hand as an introvert here so the idea of being the center of attention in a room of 400 people has never really been on the top of my list. But aside from being an introvert’s dream, a micro offers so much of the beauty and tradition of the wedding day without a lot of the stressful parts.
Difference Between a Micro Wedding and an Elopement
Before we really get into this I want to clarify the difference between an elopement and a micro wedding because I know this can be confusing. You’ll also hear the term “intimate wedding” which is really used interchangeably with the other two so if someone you’re talking to is using that term you’ll probably need to ask them to clarify what they’re talking about. An elopement is almost always just the couple and an officiant. Occasionally there will be a friend or two but usually, it’s just a small handful of people. It can be anywhere, the Cleveland Courthouse, the mountains of Peru, or in someone’s back yard! It also usually doesn’t have any type of reception afterward. It’s about being married and being on an adventure together. Whereas a micro wedding is literally just like it sounds, it’s a full wedding, sometimes even far more elaborate (because you can) only instead of 300 people you might have 30 people.
Benefits of a Cleveland or Destination based Micro Wedding
- More time with family and friends.
- A much larger budget (more on that shortly)
- Less stress planning
- Pandemic friendly (with the proper precautions)
- Can be extremely opulent
- Gives you space to enjoy a different experience you wouldn’t otherwise be able to
- More open timeline and a slower-paced day (or days)
Creating an experience for your guests
Micro weddings can be anything from the most gorgeous outdoor setups under tents, with live string music watching the sunset. To multi-day events that include games and events for your guest to enjoy. One of the coolest things about micro weddings is that you can create an experience for your guests that you would never be able to create if you were planning for a much larger crowd. The creativity is nearly endless and this is of course where you would really benefit from a great team of wedding professionals to help create your vision and bring it to life. But the main idea here is you don’t have to copy a larger wedding you can create something truly unique and intimate, something that your guests will enjoy and talk about for a long time.
I touched on this a second ago but micro weddings can be multi-day events and mini-vacations for everyone. This is going to work best when you’re doing something out of Cleveland and a more destination style wedding. But again, the possibilities here are pretty wide open. Events and activities for your guests, or relaxing time away. Brunches on the beach, or wine tasting in the vineyards. There is so much you can do with this! As a side note, when you’re planning a destination event it takes care of pretty much all of the pressure of the guest list concerns, no one you work with is expecting to be invited to Napa with you for your wedding, so it almost logically becomes a micro event.
Your budget can go so much further
One of the most misunderstood things about micro weddings I think, is actually how much further your budget will go planning a micro wedding vs a traditional wedding. If you think about it, a tremendous amount of the cost of a wedding has to do with a cost per plate. If you’re spending X amount of dollars per plate and multiplying that times 200 people that number gets big fast! Not to mention finding a venue space large enough to accommodate them. When you take that same budget and apply it to a much smaller scale event you’re pretty much able to have as simple and relaxed, or as opulent and extravagant a wedding as you’d like. Your budget goes so much further.
This can be HUGE for some couples who want to create a really gorgeous wedding but find themselves compromising constantly for the sake of the budget. I say this all the time, but I’m going to note it again here, your budget is essential, budget is not a bad word! You need to consider what really matters to you, and what you want to invest in. Always frame it in a 20-year perspective… 20 years from now, what will I care about? Whether Bob from accounting made the invite list probably isn’t in that scenario. Having memories that you treasure from marrying the love of your life? Probably. Creating the wedding of your dreams that you and your partner enjoy every moment of? That’s big. Everyone has a budget of some kind and if yours is more limiting but you have grand visions of something that involves hanging glass chandeliers (hypothetically… of course) a micro wedding can be a really great solution.
The 30 people you’ll absolutely want by your side in 30 years
But who would I invite? So here is that 20-year question again… or better yet let’s do 30 this time. In all seriousness, think about the people in your life right now. 30 years from now, when you’re thinking back to your wedding day, who could you not imagine standing there with you. Honestly? It’s probably not more than 20 people. 30 or 40 If you come from a large, close family. The reality is that we can only have so many deep relationships in our lives. Those are the people that need to be by your side. It gets a lot clearer when we look through the lens of time.
Micro wedding inspiration
There is endless micro wedding inspiration out there but Pinterest is a great place to start. A lot of the inspiration you’re going to want is going to be location-based too, so you’ll need to start by deciding if you’re going to get married in Cleveland or in a destination somewhere.
Micro wedding venues
The fun thing about micro wedding venues is that this is an outside of the box kind of moment! When you’re not trying to accommodate 200 people the possibilities are endless. Did you know you can get married right in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens? Or the Old Courthouse is available for super small events and a shockingly great price point? The possibilities are literally endless.
It’s funny how often people search for “micro wedding dress” but the reality is there really isn’t such a thing! You can choose a style that reflects your overall vision for your micro wedding of course, and that might have a very different look than a ballroom wedding… or it might not. Your wedding gown is going to be something you’re madly in love with and truly, there are no rules! Choose something you adore, that’s all.
Hiring a planner
The last piece of advice I’ll give you is this, if possible, hire a wedding planner. A great wedding planner can not only save you time, money, and stress, but they’ll have ideas that you’ve never even thought of. I would even go so far as to say if you’re planning a destination micro wedding you can’t do it without a wedding planner. They’re just that helpful! A note of caution, not all wedding planners are created equal, but the great ones are worth their weight in gold! If you need recommendations on wonderful planners just send us an email and I’m happy to pass on our favorites. There are some amazing planners in this area that we completely trust and love working with!
Micro wedding services and collections
If you’re wondering how to book micro wedding coverage with us, or if there are special collections that pertain only to that type of event… The short answer is yes… and no. When it comes to wedding photography a lot about a micro wedding tends to be really custom. A small immediate family only gathering in Cleveland is going to have radically different needs than a week micro wedding in Italy with a group of close friends. Because of that most of our wedding photography collections work extremely well and fit with micro weddings and if you’re planning a destination gathering we’re pros at making the adjustments for multiday and travel additions easy to manage. You can find more about our wedding collections here, and review more of our portfolio of wedding work here. We do have special collections for elopements but as explained those are going to be pretty different from a micro wedding and a much smaller group. The bottom line is love stories are awesome and I’d love to chat with you about anything you’re thinking of and see if we can be of help.
Below you’ll find some micro inspiration that will hopefully get you dreaming about the possibilities if you’re considering this option for your wedding day. Have fun planning and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need a little guidance. 🙂