When it comes to weddings – and other milestone celebrations in these unique times - small is the new big. Micro weddings offer a wonderful – and safer - way for engaged couples to still say “I do” amid Covid-19 restrictions. As a wedding celebrant I’ve officiated multiple micro weddings in Wilmington and our island beaches. For destination wedding couples they’ve become an alternative to postponing or cancelling grander wedding plans. What’s more, micro weddings have morphed into an industry trend, one that began pre-pandemic. From florists to photographers, wedding vendors – and couples, alike – are embracing these smaller-scale wedding celebrations. 

What it is

In a nutshell, micro weddings are an intimate way to tie the knot. There’s no hard or fast rules but these tiny weddings involve having a limited number of guests. Think fewer than 20 of your nearest and dearest friends and family attending, but no more than 50 once gathering limits for events are relaxed. Micro weddings also provide more flexibility and affordability – plus, less stress - when it comes to wedding planning, because it’s a downscaled affair. The ceremony is the main event, sans extra frills and distractions.  

Location, Location, Location

Speaking of the aforesaid flexibility, you can hold a micro wedding just about anywhere. (Try doing that with a 100-plus person guest list!) With fewer guests, trimmings, and the like, there’s less to fit into a given area, so location options become nearly endless. Look to Wilmington’s breweries or parks, or one of our island beaches’ piers to start.

From a riverfront loft in historic downtown Wilmington to an oceanfront cottage in Carolina Beach, vacation rentals can be your wedding ceremony location, too. Fit for social distancing, head outside onto a deck or simply set up in the backyard, surrounded by palms or under an oak tree. Or, share your vows sans shoes, directly on the beach.

Thanks to Wilmington’s and its Island Beaches’ mostly moderate temperatures, beach and outdoor weddings are a year-round possibility. (It’s one reason our beaches are a desirable wedding destination.)

If spontaneity is calling, book an area hotel or resort for intimate nuptials. Couples have contacted me while en-route to their accommodations to set up a next-day ceremony. Grab a bottle of bubbly, cupcakes, and a bouquet, and have your best friends meet you on the Blockade Runner Beach Resort patio or charter a private cruise. Then, book a reservation for a celebratory dinner at a locally owned restaurant. Or for a meaningful ceremony that comprises a little more room for you and your guests, consider the Riverwalk at the Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront Hotel, the Hotel Ballast, or the Wilmington Convention Center. Other intimately-sized venues abound, like 128 South in Wilmington’s downtown district, and Wrightsville Manor located near Wrightsville Beach. All have indoor and outdoor spaces, providing social distancing opportunities, along with a plan “B” in case of rain.

What to wear

When it comes to micro weddings there’s really no dress code. From elegant wedding gowns and tailored suits to boho dresses and linen pants, anything goes. For your wedding attendants, the same “rule” applies to their attire, too.  

What to know

To get a North Carolina marriage license, both partners must appear in person at any county Register of Deeds office in the state, within 60 days of the wedding. Couples can then marry in any county in the state, regardless of which county the marriage license was obtained. There is no waiting period once the marriage license is issued. For more helpful wedding tips for out-of-town couples, visit the Wilmington and Beaches Frequently Asked Questions weddings page.

Planning a destination wedding? Email the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau services@wilmingtonandbeaches.com to inquire about free visitor information and pre-event planning services and assistance. Find a comprehensive list of wedding venues and settings now.