Sweet & Simple: A Look Into the World of Tiny Weddings

by Lillie Read ~

As a millennial, I am at the age where a lot of my friends are getting married and what I’ve noticed is that these weddings are increasingly small, intimate affairs. Consequently, I started wondering if this was becoming more standard in the wedding industry as a whole and, as it turns out, it is. This trend is not isolated to my friend group. According to weddingreport.com the average size of a wedding has gone down 39% over the last eight years and, to take that a step further, 80.3% of people interviewed say that smaller, more intimate weddings are in.

Topiary letters spell "LOVE" on a table.

Known increasingly as tiny weddings, or pop-up weddings, these affairs are somewhat different from the smaller ceremonies and elopements of yore, but they are quickly catching on. There are companies offering pop-up weddings in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Charleston, and Atlanta to name a few. Some have dedicated headquarters where they host their couples; others offer a more flexible approach. Typically an hour long, these tiny weddings often forego an extended reception in favor of a post-wedding outing with the wedding party. I found examples of everything from museum hopping jaunts, to city-wide photography tours, to dinner and dancing. The only requirement is that these events must be fluid and easy to customize without sacrificing the style and experience of a more traditional wedding.

In order to get an insider’s view on this trend I contacted Anna and Justin Holladay, the husband and wife team that runs Atlanta’s premiere tiny wedding company, Sweet Grass Weddings, to tell me more. Stopping in to talk to the couple at their home-based studio I asked Anna about their take on tiny weddings.

“I like to think of us as being full service without the frills,” she said. “We have packages for everything from a two person elopement to a twenty person wedding, and we also have fully coordinated wedding excursion packages. All of our bookings include an officiant and photographer, plus the option to use one of our partner venues. Beyond that, our ability to leverage our expertise and resources to customize a perfect event is one of the most crucial services we offer.”

Bride and groomIt used to be that if you wanted a full-service wedding, you had to go big: large venue, high end catering, abundant flowers, long guest list, and huge price tag. However, tastes are changing. While couples still want to have a memorable wedding experience, they’re finding ways to do it without having to incur the associated stress, cost, and concern of a traditional event. In response, services like Sweet Grass Weddings and others around the country are creating ways for couples to have a bespoke wedding experience at a fraction of the cost that a large affair would require.

Beyond their inherent flexibility, the other benefit that tiny weddings bring to the table is their mobility. Pop-up weddings are all about having your event where and how you want it. To meet that need Sweet Grass Weddings has two options for its couples. For those who already have a venue in mind, Anna and Justin will design a scene to fit the space; for those who want somewhere to go, the Holladays will either use their knowledge of the area to find a venue that embodies the couple’s vision, or the couple can use one of the established venues with which Sweet Grass Weddings contracts. They have built exclusive relationships with some of the most unique and interesting event spaces around Atlanta including the Alpaca Tree House Farm, the Old Smyrna Fire House, and Woodlands Garden, among others. That variety allows them to cater to a wide array of tastes and needs while retaining a flexibility that is the key to the tiny wedding modality.

This focus on creating a personalized experience is what really sets the tiny wedding trend apart. With such a pared down approach tiny wedding companies really focus on details to make their event shine. For example, Anna tells me that Sweet Grass Weddings individually designs every wedding, no matter what size, after interviewing each of their couples to get a sense of their style. They will even set up a Pinterest board where the couple can provide visual cues for their ideas about setting and mood. Although the final design is a surprise until the couple arrives at the venue, far from being a challenge the Holladays find that this approach brings a sense of fun and excitement to the event.

Bride and groom kissing in front of old truck. Over the course of my investigations I have learned that it is important for couples to be able to trust the process. “This is a much different approach than you would have seen in the industry even 5 years ago” noted Justin Holladay, as he prepped decorations for an upcoming ceremony, “but I it think it reflects the way that priorities are changing. People are looking for something fun and easy, but they also want something that is personal and meaningful as well. The couples that use our service know that they want to have an amazing experience and they trust us to create that for them.”

After talking with Anna and Justin, and attending more tiny weddings myself, I have determined that the tiny and pop-up wedding trend does, in many ways, reflect our changing society. We spend so much time connected to the world that couples are looking for a way to turn inward and reflect on the personal impact of life’s most significant moments. Tiny weddings make for an intimate, meaningful event that is as creative and individual as the people who seek it out. In sum, I think it’s safe to assume that tiny weddings are a trend that is here to stay.

You can find Sweet Grass Weddings at sweetgrasswed.com.

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