Small Weddings = Big Memories

The global coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on all of our lives.

Like many of you, I know people who have lost loved ones, who have been sickened by the virus, who have lost jobs, and who – like me – have had their industries completely disrupted. Governor Baker issued a revised gatherings order at the beginning of July that has reshaped how the wedding industry will operate until there is a vaccine, and that was a hard blow to take.

At the same time, though, I have to be honest and say that is also offered a big opportunity for people like me who actually LOVE small weddings and the intimate feeling the create, the much less stressful experience they offer, and the memories they can provide.

Bear with me.

I’ve been photographing Boston weddings for over ten years – hundreds of them! – and that includes lots and lots of small weddings, intimate weddings, elopements, City Hall weddings, backyard weddings, living room weddings officiated by friends, dinner parties, brunch weddings, and cocktail party weddings. Contrary to what Bride Magazine would have you believe, not every wedding comes with a rockin’ dance floor and a $10,000 bar bill. Some of my favorite weddings have been the most private ones, where the couple is surrounded by a few close family and friends, making their promise to each other without the scent of expensive floral arrangements in the air.

Because you see, floral arrangements and rockin’ dance floors to not a marriage make.

  • Amanda and Jenny got married on a horse farm, with only their immediate families in attendance and with everyone wearing muck boots (just in case.)
  • Chris and Melanie flew all the way to Boston from England so they could get married in the Public Garden far away from the gaze of their families, and with just me and the Justice of the Peace!
  • Jenny and Yee had their friends officiate a private wedding ceremony in Larz Anderson Park and then everyone changed into casual clothes and went out to lunch!
  • Sonia and Felipe chose Cambridge City Hall and a walk along the Charles River to celebrate their commitment since they wanted it to be private and perfect.

Intimate weddings have always been a thing, and no less special than the huge rollicking ones we’re used to seeing on wedding blogs and Instagram stories.

I know that for many couples, a socially distant small wedding is NOT what you had in mind, and therefore may feel like a huge disappointment. But trust me when I say that the memories of your commitment to each other will be equally memorable (and maybe more memorable) than if you had that big, stressful, expensive bash you’d been planning.

My advice: embrace it.

This pandemic is making us all focus on what matters most and stop being distracted by all of the noise of our previously busy and social lives. For me, I have been loving the fact that I am home for dinner with my family EVERY NIGHT of the week (pre-pandemic, I was home for dinner maybe 3 nights…) I talk with my sisters on the phone for long periods of time; my dad calls from Florida to check in more often than before; working from home means my wife and I are able to see each other a lot during the days and take frequent breaks to play with our kids. These will be the memories that the pandemic leaves us with, not the disappointment of changes to our plans and our work.

So embrace it. Your small wedding, with only a handful of your most special people around you, will be lovely and special and sweet. Plus the two of you have a lifetime together to host big parties with packed dance floors and awkward group photos.

And remember: small weddings are no less photo-worthy 🙂

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