COVID-19 Anniversary: Micro Weddings in O.C.

Rather than postponing nuptials until after the pandemic, couples and venues reimagined a dream wedding.
Photograph by Erin J Saldana @erinjsaldana

Nellie Mun
owner of RSVP Event Space 

How did you start planning small weddings?
To do a micro wedding, even though the guest count is small, you still have to have all the different elements. We are an indoor event space, so we put together an all-inclusive package. We provided the photographer, the livestream company, the florist, the cake, and toasting flutes for the couple. The first micro wedding we did was in June. We offered it at a very low price because we were hoping people would just book it. We had the perfect couple take advantage of that. We asked them to wear masks as they came in, and we asked the guests and vendors to as well. We also had hand sanitizer stations. All of the vendors were in tears, not just from the emotion of the ceremony, but because we were all doing what we loved again. 

How have restrictions affected your venue?
We had a couple more micro weddings planned in November. We had two more ceremonies booked on the same day at different times. Five days before the weddings, the new shutdown order came in that we couldn’t have indoor ceremonies. We don’t have an outdoor space, but a couple of doors down, our neighbor who has an escape room has a little patio space. I asked him if it would be OK if we rented his space, and he said yes. Because it’s exposed to the parking lot and the alley, we had to rent privacy screens, and the florist had to adjust because she was planning on putting these climbing vines on the brick wall, so instead she created a stunning backdrop on the screens. Somehow, we made it work. The clients were very gracious and flexible; they wanted to have their wedding on that day rather than postpone it again.

Photographs by Erin J Saldana @erinjsaldana

Tell us about the livestream service.
Now a lot of companies have come up with ways to offer this service. The livestream company we use has a multi-camera setup in order to get all the angles. They run a slideshow half an hour prior to the ceremony so guests who attended virtually are able to watch that and feel included in the celebration. The livestreaming has become common now. Even when things open up and people do bigger weddings, maybe they’ll want to share with family outside of the country or people who can’t travel. It’s just a great way for them to feel like they’re there, and having the multi-camera helps to see all the expressions. I actually think it’s a better seat.

Do you think micro weddings will continue after the pandemic?
I do. The festivities and energy of a big wedding is amazing, but I think people are seeing the value of just having their closest friends and loved ones around them. I think they’re realizing that having a huge wedding, as fun as that may be … I think the pandemic has caused us all to see the most important things and celebrate with the most important people.

Photograph by David and Sarah Mudge

“We got the phone call two weeks before our wedding that our entire country was going into lockdown. We decided to reschedule for Nov. 21. By November … we said, let’s just not go through with this. We were at a point in our life where I found out I was pregnant, and we’d been together for 10 years, so we decided to elope. We went to a park in San Clemente, got dressed up, our good friends took our photos for us, and their dad married us. After our elopement in December, we were seriously so happy. We were more in love than ever and so excited to move on with the next chapter of our life. It makes you think twice about what a wedding is truly about, and that’s the commitment of two people’s love for one another—that’s it. Nothing else. Not the flower arrangements, the fancy venue, the expensive food, the three-tier cake, or anything else. No matter what way you have a wedding, it’s still going to be special.”

—Jordan Moore, Costa Mesa

“We were originally planning on having about 150 guests at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, but then the pandemic hit. We (ended up getting) married at my husband’s parents’ backyard in Newport Beach. We had 10 people there total; it was really nice that it was intimate around one dinner table. We told everyone they weren’t allowed to talk about politics or coronavirus, and they followed the rule. My husband and I have both said that we wouldn’t change it if we could, just because it really put an emphasis on the importance of why you’d get married in the first place. It just put into perspective what intimate moments are created with a smaller group, especially with people who are just those core people that are the closest to you. It was very special the way that it all came together.”
—Jonathan Brewer-Sweet

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