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We Asked Wedding Professionals for Their Best Advice on Planning an Intimate Wedding

Here's what what couples need to know.
We Asked Wedding Professionals for Their Best Advice on Planning an Intimate Wedding
IMAGE 12 Masters Photography, Mayad Studios
Here's what what couples need to know.

As the world adjusts to the new normal, the wedding industry in particular has completely shifted to smaller scale celebrations for the time being. Meaning, intimate micro-weddings are all the rage, and might just continue to thrive for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, we’re sure engaged couples looking to rearrange their wedding plans to fit the necessity of our current situation are already stressing over how to still make their small ceremony a memorable one, especially given all the restrictions in place. 

To help you find your answer, below we asked wedding industry pros on their best practical tips and reminders for couples when preparing their nuptials amid the new normal.

Teddy Manuel, events stylist

The most important thing that the couples should consider is the health and safety of all the people involved. We don't want to contribute to the rising numbers of the infected individuals in our country. Whether we're styling our homes, we need to make sure that safety standards are in place. There should be minimal contact with the crew and the guests. If possible, we don't let anyone with symptoms enter the premises. Some couples would even require health certificates. As a supplier, we need to assure our clients of our own safety measures. Our crew has to be protected with masks, and they should only be confined to the area allocated.”

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“When possible, we ensure that all the items we are bringing in are disinfected. We also need to advise our clients on banquet distancing. There should be enough space in between chairs and the capacity should be limited. It's now a challenging task to be creative with this safety measures and ensure that the output would still be beautiful. We just have to be creative. Our centerpieces can be a decorative barrier between people. The final output should still make them comfortable and at ease in spite of the safety measures in place.”

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Jeff Galang, wardrobe stylist 

“I think even though that it’s an intimate wedding, that doesn’t mean it has to be any less important most especially on their wardrobe. I always tell my brides who are pushing thru with an intimate celebration that they can still have that grand wedding moment. Wear that dress that you’ve been dreaming since you were a little girl. Intimate doesn’t always have to be understated. After all, it is still your wedding, just on a small scale. Give it as much priority as a big wedding.”

Rhed Sarmiento, wedding planner

“As much as possible the ceremony and reception should be in one venue, or are at least close to each other. I suggest food is plated to lessen the interaction. They can also send food packs that are the same as their food at the reception, for friends and relatives who are witnessing their wedding online at home.”

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“Couples can also prepare personalized safety kits for each guest, and this may serve as their souvenir for them. This may contain a pocket-sized alcohol, and personalized masks (so guests can wear this on top of their usual surgical mask) which will look nice in the photo as well. There could also be a note with reminders on social distancing, and proper personal hygiene with their personal note and acknowledgment of their guest’s presence." 

Arbee Panga-Delgado, Kiss the Girl Events

With the small guest count that you are eyeing, try not to scrimp on small details. Why not make the menu cards personalized. You can also give a thoughtful wedding favor and make sure your shortened party will be a fulfilling guest experience for your nearest and dearest.” 

“Lastly, if plated service is not an option, we recommend a managed buffet service for the reception. Aside from creative seating arrangements at the reception, your wedding planners may also implement a strict buffet line to promote social distancing. Dishes like soup and salad can be served russian style then mains and dessert can be served buffet style.”

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Kevin Lapeña, events host

“One of the first things couples should prioritize is who to invite. With only so few that are allowed to attend, those they feel are the most essential to actually be present, are the only ones that should be there. This also includes suppliers such as planners, photographers/videographers, entertainment, etc.”

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“As far as celebrations go, assuming restrictions ease, and venues are already allowed to accommodate 50% of its capacity, reception programs may stay as originally planned, or can also be scaled down in terms of production value to limit the number of people involved, depending on the size of the venue. Alternatively, live streaming/virtual receptions can be an option too!”

Sheena Añonuevo-Lopez, SMA Weddings and Beyond 

Even if it is an intimate wedding, consider hiring a professional coordinator to be in-charge of the activities for that day. There should still be a team who will take care of tasks not related to the jobs of the other suppliers that are present. Example: keeping tab of the timeline for the day, ensuring that all necessary items/accessories are carried to the ceremony and reception, overseeing the reception to make sure it's ready once your party arrives, personally assisting the bride and groom so they are stress-free, checking if the suppliers present have indeed provided the promised services, and many more. Such elements can still be present even in an intimate wedding so it would be a great relief for your few guests.

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“If you still availed of the Same-Day-Edit services of your photo and video teams to be shown at the reception, a program is useful to buy time for the said outputs to be finished. A professional wedding emcee is a good investment since he/she is trained to customize your program that will make your event enjoyable even if it just a small crowd. Lastly, if you are planning to have a bigger celebration later on, make sure you get the best photos and video clips out of this intimate wedding so you can have it shown as an AVP to your guests come the bigger reception day when restrictions are lifted.”

Amanda Tirol, events planner

Order great food that your few guests will really enjoy and remember and drink to your heart's content. As for your other loved ones, we can still make them feel special by maybe sending them food and drinks that they can enjoy with you, maybe through Zoom or even through LIVE events. Some people in the industry are setting this kind of platform up as well to help loved ones celebrate with each other.

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Still celebrate, still enjoy, remember to be fully present and live in the moment, let us not let this pandemic handicap our spirits and let us all remain resilient as better times will for surely be ahead of us.”

Roch Chua, wedding planner 

“For the couples who are planning to have an intimate wedding, they must know first the restrictions in their area. If they are under GCQ, the total number of guests allowed is 10 pax only. If they’re under MGCQ it will be 50% of the venue capacity with 1 to 2 meters social of distancing. They must comply with the safety protocols provided by the IATF. It is important that they get a Wedding Planner who knows how to handle this kind of situation right now and will give them advice according to the government’s guidelines.

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Eri Neeman, events host

Take a step back and ask yourselves what you really want and what will make you the happiest. Questions may range from “Do you want to get married and start a family already?” “Do you want to have the kind of wedding you originally dreamed about?” or “Do you have family/friends based abroad that you really want there with you?” Just answering these three things will make things so much clearer for you.”

If you’re planning to get married this year, you can settle for a civil wedding. To preserve its significance, you can celebrate your first wedding anniversary as your wedding reception with all your friends/family next year. But if you want to have the dream wedding you’ve always wanted (and that’s what will make you the happiest) then you have to move your date to next year, or at a much later time just to be safe.” 

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Daryl Limjuco, events planner

“Save and Splurge. Having an intimate wedding will make you save a lot from your wedding budget. However, having an intimate wedding also gives you the freedom to splurge on the things you think might be important or will definitely make an impression. For example, having your bouquet made with all imported flowers, special name cards for all the guests, and (never compromise this) having the gown/suit that you dream of without sacrificing the budget and/or other items in the wedding.”

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