Hi Steph, we are back to our “In Conversation” series. Today’s topic is about the rise of the Melbourne Micro Wedding or Backyard Wedding.
For the past 18 months, with the impact of Covid, here in Melbourne we have endured such lengthy periods of time in lockdown. Many bride and groom have had their wedding plans for their special day cancelled or delayed. For some, this has sadly happened more than once. Any confidence to make plans for bigger weddings has dwindled for fear of further cancellations and the emotional devastation such cancellations cause.
Moving forward, restrictions are likely to follow us for quite some time. Social gathering numbers, whether in the home or in public venues, are expected to remain limited. This likelihood and a social change in attitude have seen the rise of the micro wedding.
Q. Steph, what is a micro wedding?
A. A micro wedding is the most intimate of all the weddings. Usually, only a total of 10-20 people, it brings together the wedding party along with just their closest of family and/or friends without all the pressure which comes with a larger wedding and more guests. Today, I am finding this type of wedding foremost when I am contacted for bookings. I think this is driven by the uncertainty we have all lived with, leaving lots of brides with a lack of confidence to make a commitment to a booking date.
Q. From your experience, when a micro wedding is decided upon, how popular is a backyard wedding?
A. Incredibly popular. Melbourne wedding party venues require formality and commitment. Given the recent uncertainties, wedding party consensus has moved the flexibility and simplicity of a backyard wedding very high on the list of possibilities. It offers so much wiggle room, attendee numbers, expenses, and creativity. A backyard wedding can be any size from smallest micro wedding as well as medium or larger, depending on the amount of space available. One backyard wedding I worked on during covid, the attendee numbers were small, but the bride was from France, her family attended the event on Skype. They were right there with the bride and groom for both the ceremony and party parts, on the screen, enjoying and joining in all the events of the day. You could not achieve this in a larger more formal setting.
Q. Do you find, a backyard wedding is more a ‘do it yourself’ wedding?
A. Yes and No. It can vary so much.
Of course, with a micro wedding or backyard wedding, if your budget is limited, it can be managed in a very cost-effective way. Some adopt a ‘do it yourself’ approach, engaging the skill sets of their family and friends who are involved with the wedding party to contribute. It can be the friend who’s a hairdresser, the ladies in the family maybe good cooks and take on the catering, the cousin who’s a DJ, your brother who is in a band. There are no rules. However, I find, even when costs are being closely managed, the wedding party will still invest in a professional wedding photographer. The wedding album is forever and their desire to have the day photo-documented professionally is paramount.
The simplest backyard wedding I have photographed was a BBQ, there are no boundaries.
I do find many who chose this type of wedding are creative people. Often, they work in the arts as performers, fine artists, musicians, hairdressers, makeup artists, or even food and hospitality. I find, those from a creative background have a very clear image of the ambience of their wedding venue, how it should look and really want to manage the total creative styling themselves. When it’s a backyard wedding, they have full licence to create the ambience they desire without the restrictions a wedding venue may impose
To the opposite extreme, a backyard wedding, though micro in size, may still have all the trappings of a large Melbourne wedding venue. Styling the venue, catering, hair, make-up, flowers, professionals in these fields are equally capable to work with the intimacy of the micro wedding just as they do with the large Melbourne wedding venues.
Q. You mentioned the intimacy a micro wedding brings. Do you think this is the driving force for a wedding party to select a micro wedding or backyard wedding?
A. Most definitely. Of course, there are the aspects we have already discussed, but intimacy is a powerful motivator. It’s romantic, attendees are most likely good friends with each other and there is the matter of the nervous bride and groom. Not every bride and groom are comfortable with saying their vows in front of strangers. The larger the wedding, the more likely there will be guests the bride and groom don’t have a relationship with. Those obligation invitations can be avoided when a wedding is planned to be micro in size.
Q. Taking the micro wedding away from the backyard, how popular are small wedding venues Melbourne?
A. In Melbourne, there are many small wedding venues, restaurants, who will offer spaces suitable for the smallest of numbers. Also, public spaces can be booked through local councils, but whenever you take the micro wedding way from your own environment, there will be less control and additional costs and/or restrictions to be managed. If you are thinking to plan a micro wedding and you don’t have a backyard readily available to you, think outside the box. I photographed a beautiful wedding which was located in the backyard of a café. It was still intimate, still a backyard wedding.
Q. From your experiences, are there any other points you’d like to bring to our attention regarding a micro wedding or backyard wedding?
A. Yes, there are a couple of points to add. The people to attend the micro wedding are usually all so close, much of the formality of a bigger wedding is often eliminated. There will still be both a ceremony and reception, but they will take place in the same venue, without moving between locations for the ceremony and celebration party. Other traditional elements like the wedding dance, cutting the cake, tossing the bouquet, speeches, each wedding party may choose to include all or none. Of these elements. It’s very individual. Also, with such a small number there is more flexibility to have the wedding on any day of the week, not just on the weekend.
Thank you, Steph you have certainly enlightened us to the many possibilities we can think about when deciding whether to have a micro wedding or backyard wedding.
In your role as both a wedding photographer and fashion photographer, you work very closely with hair and makeup artists. Perhaps, in out next conversation we should look more closely at Wedding Hair and Wedding Makeup.
By Nicola Hazzell