Small is the new big. Luxe white weddings with six-figure budgets are making way for low-digit guest lists and intimate ceremonies. And it’s no wonder why, with benefits like fewer guests to wrangle and the freedom to put your money where your heart is.
Melbourne couple, Kat and Tarquin, did just that. However, as a couple who got engaged at a heavy metal festival in Germany, their big day was never going to be ordinary.
For their wedding, they rounded up 18 of their closest friends and family and flew halfway around the world to tie the knot in Vegas!
Kat says, “I am originally from Adelaide, Tarquin is from New Zealand and we both live in Melbourne so deciding where to have the wedding in the first place was tricky.”
“When we started looking into having something small in Melbourne we soon learned how expensive it was going to be and realised we would not be able to have our wedding here as well as our dream honeymoon of road-tripping around the States.”
“We had always joked about getting married in Las Vegas and one night we decided – let’s just do it!”
“We nearly decided to get married by Elvis, but after quite a bit of research I happened to stumble across The Neon Museum. It is an amazing graveyard of old vintage signs from Las Vegas ranging from the 1930s to today.”
“The ceremony was short, sharp and shiny. It was a mixture of traditional and non traditional. My Dad walked me down the aisle but to Whitesnake. My brother was the ring bearer. We acknowledged those who were unable attend, my grandparents who had passed and wrote our own vows that were fun yet meant a lot to both of us.”
“Afterwards we went to The Arts District for photos and joined our guests on the rooftop patio at Carson Kitchen where we had great food and drinks overlooking downtown Vegas.”
Kat and Tarquin’s first 6 weeks as a married couple were spent road tripping around the US in a giant truck. They hit Texas, New Orleans, Memphis, Miami, Seattle and Los Angeles before heading reluctantly back to Melbourne.
Including outfits, hair, makeup, rings, transport, the ceremony, reception and photography, the wedding cost $13,000 – A steal compared to the $36,000 that Australian couples spend on their weddings on average. Some estimates, such as a survey by Bride to Be magazine put it much higher at $65,000.
Kat has some advice to share: “Don’t feel guilty about wanting to do something small for you and your partner. A lot of people get caught up in wanting to please other people and you get lost in the day. My friends who are married have all said “the day goes so quick” and it really does.”
“I personally could never really understand the need to completely stress out planning and spending an absolute fortune on just one day. I wasn’t one of those girls who have planned their wedding since they were 12. Our day was exactly what we wanted and we were lucky enough to spend it with some of our closest friends and family.”
Kat, who is a graphic designer and owner of Two Crows Creative, is not someone who settles for ordinary. Together, we designed a black diamond engagement ring in a hexagon-shaped rose gold setting and a white gold double band.
“As a graphic designer I love and appreciate the design process. I knew I wanted something different that was a combined engagement and wedding ring, and wasn’t something I would be able to find in a store. Having my ring custom made and working with an amazing jewellery designer like Fairina allowed me to get exactly what I wanted within my budget.”
The rise of micro weddings
As a custom jeweller who specialises in unconventional, story-worthy jewellery, most of the couples I work with don’t care for flashy events and blingy engagement rings. Instead, they opt for secret elopements or small weddings with only their favourite people in attendance. They want their day to be about creating memories with the most important people in their lives, and none of the stress that can come with planning a big wedding.
How to plan your own micro wedding
If you’re thinking of ditching tradition and going down the tiny wedding route, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Keep the guest list small
It sounds obvious, but it can be more challenging than you think. Start with the 5 most important people in your lives. If that doesn’t cover it, allow 5 more. Don’t just include people because they would be upset if they weren’t invited. Instead ask yourself, “Would I be sad if they weren’t there?”
2. Choose a unique location (because you can)!
With less people, it’s easier to be flexible. Go beyond the traditional wedding venues and think about your favourite bars and places that mean something to you as a couple, like the park where you had your first kiss, or the restaurant where you had your first date. Sometimes the most untraditional places are where you’ll get the best photos.
3. Consider a destination wedding
Get on a plane and travel somewhere you and your partner have always wanted to go together. Take your favourite people with you and have the kind of wedding you would never have been able to with a hundred people in tow.
4. Save your cash for the things that matter most to you
Keeping your wedding small means you don’t have to spend big on common wedding inclusions like a large venue or catering for distant relatives and friends of acquaintances. Micro weddings empower you save your funds for the things that make your heart sing, like the perfect floral arrangements, a stunning handmade dress or a set of story-telling wedding rings you can enjoy every day of your married life.