micro-wedding

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Why my pandemic micro wedding was the best day of my life

Lauren Maybank decided she wouldn't let a pandemic get in the way of a perfect wedding… 

Leanne Bayley

From the moment you say ‘yes’ (after the rock is firmly on your ring finger) it’s a flurry of Pinterest, bridal mags and instagram-inspiration. There’s the excitement of finding the wedding dress, the sparkly accessories, choosing your bridesmaids and throwing a super glitzy bash for friends and loved ones - which is what most brides dream of, right? Until the Coronavirus pandemic happened.

Couples have had to say ‘I do’ to limited guests, having to cull original guest lists, and make huge cutbacks all-round due to COVID-19 rules of a maximum of 30 guests. Not to mention social distancing, masks and rules and regulations (singers/entertainers are currently not allowed!). 

MORE: Outdoor wedding inspiration for your post-lockdown ceremony

Couples who have spent years planning are left postponing their nuptials in order to accommodate their original guest lists, but some loved-up couples are still going ahead with mini bashes to seal the deal. 

Recent COVID-19 bride, Lauren Maybank, 40, from Leigh on Sea (@laurenpatriciamaybank on Instagram) tied the knot on 20 August 2020. A week before, on her 40th birthday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced weddings could go ahead with a maximum of 30 people. Lauren spent a week jigging around plans to accommodate a further ten friends/family from her initial six and basically pulled off a micro-wedding in four weeks including the notice of marriage (with most planning done in the last 3 days prior!). 

micro-wedding-flowers

You may now kiss the bride

Photo: Elena Popa Photography

Lauren says: “Believe me, we had the bigger bash in planning, and I applaud everyone postponing and holding out - but I personally wanted to plough ahead and bring some joy to what has been a very strange time for us all. 

"I think it’s so important to support the wedding industry which is really suffering right now – so anywhere you can use a local or small wedding business – do. 

"I didn’t do a hen, we have no honeymoon planned yet and so many friends and family were not able to join us – but we can throw a party at a later date, and the main thing is we were able to safely tie the knot with some loved ones."

10 reasons why my micro wedding was perfect

The guest list 

Smaller guest lists equals less planning, less cost and more savings for designer accessories! A smaller guest list also means you get to spend time and talk to everyone.

Micro wedding. Micro dress

I have an ‘official’ wedding dress from a lovely boutique in Essex (if we ever have a big bash for the rest of our guests). But a smaller venue = smaller outfit! Myself and my partner were going for a laid-back vibe, so he wore just the jacket from his tailored Reiss suit along with some tailored high street chinos from good old Topman. I purchased a little white Alex Perry dress from Net-a-Porter (with back-up from ASOS) and we had fun with our outfits. I added a big 80s style bow and a Madonna-esque £20 Etsy veil. We both had complimenting shades – and the sun came out for us that day! Plus, in smaller rooms/venues – a big puff-ball dress might take chairs/people out! 

micro-wedding-walking

Lauren's yellow Manolo Blahnik's were a real focus point 

Photo: Elena Popa Photography

Bridal masks are an ice-breaker

Let your creativity commence – compliment your outfit, make the happy couple laugh, make a statement. Masks are and will be compulsory for weddings for a while yet – so embrace your inner stylist. Our guests wore mad masks such as My Little Pony, leopard print, a big mouth! We both had a local business - Sacred Hawk - make us a satin white and black adjustable mask for walking in and out of the venue. 

RELATED: The best wedding face masks and coverings you'll say 'I do' to

micro-wedding-mask

Lauren wearing her face mask as she enters Chelsea Town Hall in London

Photo: Elena Popa Photography

Friends go above and beyond 

We’re all in this together, and as we’re all struggling, I have no doubt someone will step up for you. My hair stylist, Bradley King – did my hair for me for free, but he ended up being part of an epic micro wedding for the day, so he didn’t regret that decision one bit! I called on the help of a florist called Jacqueline at sunsnroses who bought a beautiful hand spun bow with her from silk and purl and deconstructed my bouquet (as I’d damaged it en route) she offered her time and expertise for free – and she gained some naughty Crosstown donuts as a big thank you! My videographer, Joe – also was a star. 

Lower stress

No frantic phone calls from guests, suppliers – anyone. We spent the day at Dean Street Townhouse, a fabulous hotel in Soho, had breakfast in our room in the morning and got ready separately (as the hotel is so quiet, they haven’t managed to open for breakfasts for the public yet), everything was SO chilled. We couldn’t applaud them more. 

The vows are kept short and sweet 

COVID rulings mean vows are kept to a minimum – so if you’re a nervous bride or groom – hoorah! With less people watching it's less pressure – so no stumbling on your words (even though my partner Robert called me ‘The Lauren’ instead of thee Lauren!). 

RELATED: 9 royal wedding venues & residences where you can marry too 

Zoom to the rescue

Yes, it’s really awful not being able to have all your loved ones at your ceremony but Zoom has been bringing people together since 2020 so your loved ones can experience the excitement from the comfort and safety of their living room. We had 16 people in total (including videographers, photographer etc) plus my parents on Zoom. We sent my mum and dad a bottle of prosecco and a lovely Italian grazing box from @fabulouslyfed_ in the morning – so they got all dressed up and toasted the day with us!

micro-wedding-steps

The happy couple leaving as husband and wife

Photo: Elena Popa Photography

Less time posing for photos

A shorter ceremony means a shorter photography shooter = less cost, less posing, less editing – more fun! We adored seeing our wedding pics and wedding video (within days!) and after the ceremony, we spent around 30 mins max meandering around the local area, posing to congratulations and cheers from Londoners (en route I lost my veil to the Thames!) Having a shorter session gave us more time to spend with our friends drinking cocktails in a lovely pub garden. 

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VIDEO: Special moments from Lauren and Robert's micro wedding - shot by Hawk Murphy

A chance to support small businesses

It’ll help to give those extra special touches. By supporting small businesses you might find you’ll also get a much more personalised service and a whole lotta love. We sourced our stunning hand calligraphy place cards, a local black cab driver and flowers/buttonholes and a cake topper from the town we live – Leigh on Sea. 

micro-wedding-cheering

Lauren carrying her sunsnroses bouquet

Photo: Elena Popa Photography

I had a dear friend do my pedicure and my eyebrows as a wedding gift and I used my favourite local nail artist - Meg's Nails - to do tortoiseshell nails for my hands – as I can never do ‘normal!’

Then I sourced a pub - The Phene - just two minutes’ walk to the registry office – I’d never even visited, let alone tasted their food – they surpassed all expectations and were really reasonable, and created a personalised menu and dressed the room for me.

I found a local florist to spruce up the table and used our favourite donut company to deliver boxed donuts as wedding favours (always great to soak up the prosecco).

I then found a local London cake company called Cutter & Squidge – and they whipped up a gluten free number in Eton Mess flavour. Everyone did their little part to make the day hugely special.

MORE: 9 gorgeous sparkly wedding shoes

Honeymoons can still be something to look forward to

We have a honeymoon to look forward to… We haven’t booked one or even thought about a honeymoon let alone planning. But we know we have that to look forward to in 2021, 22… whatever!

Follow Lauren on Instagram (@laurenpatriciamaybank) to see more photos from her big day.

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