how to have a micro-wedding and reception!

All, Personal, Wedding

August 7, 2020

Bridget Bellucci

Trying to figure out how to have both a micro-wedding/elopement and a reception? As so many couples are forced to change their plans to intimate weddings and elopements due to COVID, I wanted to share how we had two weddings. I promise, this re-route of plans can be a blessing in disguise! Here are some tips on what to do, re-use and incorporate in each! (please keep in mind, I’m just sharing our story pre-COVID)

Two Wedding Days?

Going to weddings all the time, I knew how quickly a wedding day goes by- it’s hard to feel like you have adequate time with each and every person there, while trying to soak in the day with your new spouse, and still having time to dance your booty off. So, we split it into two…

One day that could be truly about us getting married! Where we could have all the time in the world to focus on a more intimate group and create memories with those closest to us. The second day- our reception, could be a celebration of our marriage and would allow all of our favorite people to gather in one place for a real party! 

The Micro-Wedding / Elopement 

It would’ve been difficult to have everyone we know come out to California, so a smaller group was more manageable for our guests, and us. We rented two AirBnBs next door to each other- to maximize the time we had together and to have a nice place to gather!

The more intimate size allowed us to connect and create memories with each and every one of our guests and still have the incredible backdrop of Yosemite without worrying about too many logistics.

Bride and groom kissing on a cliff with the sunrise and half dome behind them. In Yosemite National ParkExploring National Parks is one of our favorite things to do… having your parents, siblings and bffs experience you in your element has to be one of the coolest experiences of my life!
Wedding members and guests gather in a circle as the bride and groom exchange vows in front of Half Dome, in Yosemite National Park.
Wedding party walks through the woods in Yosemite National Park. Groomsmen in black and bridesmaids in assorted pink dresses. Assorted pink and white bouquets with mixed live and dried florals.Also, with a lot of wedding planning, you pay per-person… so a smaller guest list allowed us to splurge on what mattered most to us, and cut costs on things we didn’t care as much about! (p.s. this is always advice I give any couple planning!) We had a chef come out for the day to create a beautiful brunch, and later a dinner spread as well as our wedding cake!

One of my favorite parts of this day was the intimate and customized experience. There were small touches like name cards with personalized notes from Mark and I. Obviously, this would’ve been extremely difficult to do for 150+ guests! 
Bride and groom dance in the center of farm tables at their micro wedding in Mariposa, California. Guests seated at the tables watch, with pampas grass, dried florals and taper candles lining the tables.A lot of my flowers were dried flowers, so I re-used them for our reception as well!! (If anyone is looking for a way to minimize costs for having both a micro wedding and reception… There are actually a lot of decorations you can use for both!)

The Wedding Reception

I am so grateful that we were able to invite all the people we hold near and dear to our hearts! Looking out and seeing all our loved ones beaming back at us is one of my favorite moments ever ever. This alone made the entire night for me!Bride and groom enter their reception space with their wedding party clapping. You can see twinkle lights in the trees and vintage rugs as the dancefloor.
A wedding reception space with guests sitting at long farm tables, a vintage rug dance floor, twinkle lights in the trees, and a black barn at Kester Homestead in the Finger Lakes, NYWe thought about re-enacting our ceremony or renewing our vows for this event, but instead decided on presenting a wedding video for everyone at our reception! This allowed our guests to really experience our big day… and our videographer definitely delivered!!! – call Kammer Films asap!A wedding video plays on a projector at a wedding reception. Guests watch from their seats with twinkle lights and candles lighting the space. Bride and groom get teary eyed watching their micro wedding video with their guests at their reception.The rest of the evening was spent dancing and celebrating as any wedding day would! We didn’t have a DJ or dance floor in California so this was our time to parrrrty!
Another major plus of a separate reception was the opportunity for more photos and memories. We were able to take family portraits with those that couldn’t make it to California, and there were many other candids that were caught with loved ones throughout the night! 
The final pro of having two separate wedding days- I got to be a little more indecisive! I was able to create two different environments and didn’t feel as pressured to make the one ‘right’ choice. I had two different vibes, color palettes, dresses, hairstyles/makeup, etc. For someone as indecisive as me, this was a big relief!!!I really think having an intimate wedding day and a separate reception gave us the best of both worlds! So if you are facing the challenges of re-imaginging your day(s), don’t be discouraged! Both days have such a special place in our hearts and we definitely wouldn’t have done it any other way!


p.s. feel free to comment below if you have any questions about either day or the planning of both!

wedding day
photos: Jordan Voth
video: Kammer Films
rentals + flowers: Stockroom Picks
hair and make up: MakeUp By Amanda Marie

reception day
photos: Chantel Marie
venue + coordinating: Kester Homestead
additional rentals: Pretty Little Vintage Co
hair: Hair By Hartt John Paul Salon
make up: Meg Pierce at The Hamill House
dj: Visa Versa

want some backyard wedding inspo for your reception? check out Katie + Eric’s day here!

  1. […] lot of new terminology has popped up over the past few years – elopements, micro weddings, intimate weddings… So one of the first questions a lot of couples have is “what is an […]

  2. Anna :) says:

    How much time did you have between the wedding day and reception day? Did you serve dinner for both?

  3. […] For some couples, having a big celebration with 200 guests is just right – but for others, a micro wedding or an elopement might be more their thing. Typically, the default for what a wedding is “supposed […]

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