COVID-19 has definitely changed everything about weddings and the wedding industry. Events are being postponed, celebrations are being scaled down and sanitation measures are now a staple. One thing that has been a big focus for couples of course is the size of the wedding. Pre- pandemic, the average guest list would be around 150-250 people, sometimes even reaching 400 people. Though intimate weddings have always existed, they were the exception rather than the norm.
For 2021 — and likely into 2022 — weddings happened, but small is still big. Intimate weddings are amazing, impactful and special. As a photographer, I’ve have fully embraced small weddings and I’ll even go one step further and say that I’m loving it. Here’s why.
You can be fully present.
So often with large weddings couples and their families can get preoccupied and even lost in the details. People become so concerned with how things look to their guests, making sure people are enjoying themselves and trying to make sure everything goes exactly to plan (which it rarely does!). When you have a small wedding, the people that are there are family or close friends. Suddenly it doesn’t matter if everything is picture perfect; everyone is happy to be together and celebrate such a special day with you. An intimate wedding truly allows you to live in the moment, bask in your day and not worry about a thing.
The real emotional element.
Often at a wedding, couples can become overwhelmed with so many people looking at them, and they hold back on letting their emotions out, not ideal for the photographer. When there’s just a small handful of people, made up of your nearest and dearest, it’s a freeing feeling. I have captured wonderful moments, the purest emotions during these intimate weddings that is a gift to a photographer, and in the end, something clients will treasure.
Freedom to move.
This one is twofold. As a photographer, I’m always aware of the people around me. For instance, during a ceremony I try to never block someone’s view while shooting, or to be too present that the couple is hyper-aware of me. With fewer people around and more space, this has afforded photographers so much freedom to move around, capture interesting angles and just see things differently and capture those special moments
For the couple, there is a more relaxed mood and vibe that comes with a small-scale party. They’re not worried about little things like being seen by anyone before the ceremony or the music to walk down the aisle or making sure the décor is perfect. It truly is about the day.
Those magical moments!
Smaller weddings lend themselves so well to both lighthearted and special moments. Since everyone there is someone close to the couple, there’s more chance of moments filled with laughter instead of trying to relate to a crowd of 400. There’s also a place for more intimate feelings to be expressed since it’s a probably a shared emotion amongst all present, whether that be a loved one remembered or a family tradition that is close to the heart.
The virtual element.
While in-person guest lists have been edited, the virtual guest list is unlimited. For those that have made use of Zoom for their wedding, the sky is the limit. While before the guest list might be limited due to the size of the venue, the budget set for the wedding or the distance to travel for some. With Zoom, anyone can be present for however long or short they want, with no financial burden on the guest or the couple. I’ve seen this lead to more involvement from guests and more joy from the couple because they feel like they get to actually ‘see’ everyone that has come out (virtually) to celebrate them.
Added to that, so often there is a grandparent that is not in good enough health to make it to the wedding. That became an even greater concern amid the pandemic. With the virtual side of the wedding, those elderly people that mean so much to the couple can still be present safely and not miss out. All of these moments are something the couple will want to remember and shooting these kinds of moments has been such a privilege.
Weddings are a way to celebrate, to love one another and to share joy. I’d love to see a continuation of small weddings in the future, even post-pandemic. It’s pure joy to shoot them and to deliver to clients such beautiful memories. Large weddings have their place in my heart too and as much as I love the smaller weddings, I can’t wait for the day when couples can choose the size and scope of their wedding again, one that is a perfect fit for them. I plan to be there to capture them all!
Valerie Baron is the owner and main photographer at Studio Baron Photo and has 14 years experience as a wedding photographer. With a background in both journalism and magazine work, her style is a unique blend of photojournalism and editorial. She excels at capturing the special moments and making her clients feel like the best versions of themselves on their special day. Known for her bubbly attitude and a great personality, according to clients it’s a pleasure to work with her.