How To Maximize Event Space For Micro Weddings
This year, we’ve seen a surge in micro weddings in response to the pandemic and many industry professionals have had the opportunity to get creative with event spaces. Although guest lists are being downsized, that’s not to say square footage—or the décor within—is being cut. In fact, larger spaces are better for accommodating the parameters of social distancing. However, without a proper layout, micro weddings can either feel too crowded or too sparse depending on the space.
Here’s what the experts have to say about making the most of the available space while adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines to limit the risk of exposure.
Get creative with the ceremony space.
“Layouts for micro weddings are different for a couple of reasons,” explains Gretchen Culver, owner of Minne Weddings. “First, with a small ceremony, the traditional theater-style set-up doesn’t make much sense. Many couples are drawn to micro weddings because they love the idea of an intimate ceremony so they may opt for seating in the round or no seats at all. With so few guests, it is easy to get creative with the ceremony setup.
Break up the dance floor.
“Upon a site visit, look for the option to create satellite dance floors since we are not allowed to pack a dance floor,” encourages JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli. “If you can create four mini dance floors in the space, it will allow for a socially distanced dance party.”
Split up a large space.
“Splitting the space using pipe and drape might allow the ceremony and reception to be in the same room and have a grand reveal of the reception room,” says Shannon Tarrant, founder of WeddingVenueMap.com. “The key to an easy flip is a place for people to go in between for pictures or cocktail hour, as well as a team of experts who can move fast to get it all set up. If there is a pre-staging area for the reception tables, even better! Without the right amount of staff, your guests might feel obliged to help rather than be a part of the celebration.”
Make use of lounge furniture.
“We love utilizing lounge furniture to fill a space,” enthuses Juls Sharpley, founder of Bubbles & Bowties. “Take a couple of corners or long walls and get a really pretty vignette from a local rental company. A great lounge vignette includes—at a minimum—a sofa, two armchairs, side tables, and a coffee table. You can always add poufs, pillows, and throws for a really cozy feel.”
Take advantage of lighting.
“One thing I always love to do for every wedding but is especially helpful with smaller guest counts in larger spaces is to bring in an AV company to set and operate perimeter uplights,” Sharpley shares. “Lighting is everything in terms of setting a mood and can totally transform a space.”
Pre-plan as much as possible in advance.
“Having detailed floorplans for both the ceremony and the reception will give everyone a head start,” assures Keith Willard, event planner and owner of Keith Willard Events. “For complicated locations, pre-set the reception. Place pieces of tape where the legs of the table should be, and then remove the tables. This will give your setup crew specific cues to bring back in the tables quickly and efficiently after the ceremony.”
It’s essential to keep an open mind when planning a micro wedding, as it’s easy to see venues from the perspective of previous events planned there. Instead, approach event spaces as a blank slate at the disposal of your creativity and consider innovative ways to ensure guests’ health and safety without losing the intimacy of a micro wedding with loved ones.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.