How about a Micro-Wedding?

How about a Micro-Wedding?

Last year micro-weddings were taking the world by storm. OK, there were quite a lot of them – and at the expense of more lavish or traditional events.

Of course, this was because of the peculiar conditions we were living under. Numbers had to be limited and social distancing was very much the thing. Moreover, this went on over a long period of time (and kept being extended unpredictably).

So nobody could commit to a traditional wedding because they couldn’t book a firm date or guarantee suppliers or guests. Let alone know how socially distanced they would have to be on the day.

It made sense, therefore, that smaller occasions were arranged, which didn’t depend so much on forward planning. These events were simpler, for the same reasons.

As I write, things are considerably less restricted and have been for some months now. In my experience, people are again looking at “traditional” weddings (bride in white, formal processions, receptions for large numbers, and the like). Many couples are only too delighted to be able to pursue this lovely course of action once more.

However, there are some advantages to micro-weddings. Outlay can often be reduced, especially if the guest list is pruned. The money saved can go towards a luxury that would otherwise not have been contemplated perhaps. (One example might be better champagne!)

A more modest occasion might suit more retiring couples, as there would be less pomp and fuss. It would be easier for them to feel relaxed, in most cases.

A micro-wedding allows a move away from tradition, and that may suit some people. The occasion can be more personalised. I have been personalising larger ceremonies for several years, but it can work well in these cases too.

Traditions that can be modified or even omitted could include the bride’s father giving the bride away. Clothes can be less formal. The bride might not wear white, and may prefer a short dress – or even separates.

Venues can be less formal too, as cafes or bandstands can be used. Decoration still plays a big part, but quality can stand out at smaller-scale events. There can be personalisation for the guests too – perhaps their name can be inscribed on small gifts, for example.

Whatever the size of the occasion, make the ceremony yours.

Don’t forget that a civil celebrant will add so much to your ceremony, whether it be a larger “traditional-style” event or a micro-wedding. Just contact Michael for a chance to find out how!

photo: Victor Shack

Wedding Traditions

Wedding traditions used to be so important to many people. However, things are certainly changing and there is far more freedom to improvise than there ever was.

Nonetheless, there is still a groundswell of tradition – or at least some sort of modified (‘new!’) tradition.

One of the joys of weddings today is that you can have a bespoke ceremony (cue: celebrant Michael!)  and choose how many – or few – of the traditions to incorporate.

The traditions go beyond the ceremony itself, of course, as they would include paper invitations for beforehand and thank-you notes for after.

I’m not certain how ‘traditional’ it is, but it is definitely diplomatic to include all the family in the ceremony, letting them know in advance what involvement (if any) they will be invited to have. It’s also wise to reserve seating for them at both the ceremony and reception.


‘New traditions’ would seem to involve the couple contributing towards (or paying for) the wedding. Despite some massive, showy weddings today, many are opting for smaller or destination weddings.

Some couples are asking for money or gift cards, rather than a wedding list, in their invitation, which I consider poor etiquette. There’s nothing wrong, however, with mentioning to people that they would appreciate donations for new bedroom furniture, say.


Also improper is the failure to send a thank-you note afterwards. These should go out (on paper!) within three months (although some say – unbelievably! – that a year is acceptable). Courtesy surely dictates that you acknowledge any present you have been given fairly promptly after the honeymoon.

Gifts do not have to be expensive – a thoughtful choice can fit the bill admirably. For second marriages, gift cards and cash are probably most useful.

The wedding

As far as the wedding itself is concerned, it might not be the father who walks the bride down the aisle – it could be the stepdad. Then, there is no obligation to use bridesmaids or ushers, and so on. If you do, and if the bride and groom process in, do they come in first or after? What music, if any, will be played? What readings will there be? Who will deliver these?

The answers to these questions will influence exactly how traditional the wedding will be. The celebrant can be a great help here. For more information, please see my article at

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made life-cycle ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.

The Marriage Proposal

Whether you are having a civil ceremony or a traditional one, the marriage proposal is often one of the most fraught and nerve-wracking parts of the whole wedding process.

A lot of people still hanker after tradition (however ‘modern’ their thinking normally). In many cases, they don’t really know what they are expected to do.

The Proposal

Obviously, the engagement ring is an issue (and there’s not a lot of practical advice I can offer, as it’s such a personal thing), but you will actually need to propose.

First ‘minefield’

Do you ask your future father-in-law’s permission?

Certainly, in my case, I felt that my fiancee’s family was fairly traditional, so it made sense to ask. Fortunately it all worked out, but had I been rejected, I guess I could have said that I respected their decision, which they considered to be in their daughter’s best interest. As I lovedher, I would do my best to earn their permission. Perhaps they could suggest how I might do that?

At the very least, I would have been seen to have done ‘the right thing’ in their eyes.

You can ask either parent, of course, or neither. Most progressive parents will appreciate that it is  actually the bride’s decision that is crucial.

Another way round this is to ask for the parents’ ‘blessing’ (which shows respect, but leaves the actual decision with the two of you).

Second ‘minefield’

When and where do you pop the question?

I can’t be prescriptive, of course. You may want to propose 30,000 feet up during a sky-dive. You may prefer the snug in your local pub. You may choose a display of dancers in a crowded shopping mall. But I’d advise some planning – though nothing too elaborate. Keep it reasonably simple. (A lot can go wrong with those showy proposals!)

The proposal is a moment to be recalled and recounted many times in the future, so you want something that will bring up fond memories.

Choose something that you are pretty sure will appeal to her (not necessarily what would suit you!). Don’t propose at half-time during a Manchester United match, if she doesn’t like soccer! Instead, maybe there is a special spot that you both love, or an activity you both enjoy.

Atmosphere is important. A quiet picnic may be just the thing. You don’t have to be totally romantic, but it can help.

I decided to propose when we were on holiday – five days in Rome. I did plan to pop the question on the last evening in the wonderful Piazza Navona, but, in truth, was dreading it, and it might have spoiled my holiday (and my bride-to-be’s). On the second day, we went to the Villa D’Este in glorious weather, had the place to ourselves, and it just happened. Down I went on one knee!

It was what I had planned, though certainly not to the last detail.

Again, it’s your choice whether the bended knee proposal is for you. It may also be good to have practised what you are actually going to say. I kept it very simple, and as I’m not an orator, that was probably best. Once my fiancée had recovered from her shock, she was delighted! Mercifully, we could both really enjoy the rest of our holiday then!

The proposal should not be an ordeal. With a little consideration and fore-thought, it can be something you both will always look back upon with pleasure. An unforgettable beginning to an unforgettable new life together.

Michael Gordon can deliver a tailor-made civil ceremony in London or further afield in the UK or Europe.