What is a Tiny Wedding? Find out about the latest wedding trend in Birmingham

What is a Tiny Wedding? Find out about the latest wedding trend in Birmingham

What is a Tiny Wedding? Find out about the latest wedding trend in Birmingham

It might have been inevitable that the smaller living movement (read: tiny homes) would eventually make its way into the world of weddings. And, more specifically, into Birmingham weddings. Tiny Weddings Birmingham, the brainchild of veteran wedding planner Ann Marie Leveille (of Tres Beau Weddings), launched on Valentine’s Day 2017. Its Pinterest-worthy Instagram feed looks like a dreamy alternative to the traditional event, but what is a wedding day really like without the long lead-up and grand reception?

“Very cozy and comfortable,” says Morghen Sikes, Tiny Weddings Birmingham’s first bride. “It didn’t feel stressful at all. It was very easy.” She and husband Mac Sikes had a two-plus year engagement during which they tried to design their ideal event on a budget, but it never quite came together. When she heard about Tiny Weddings, she was happy to put the planning phase behind her. Instead of spending their wedding morning ironing out last-minute details, Morghen and Mac were able to relax with friends and later show up for a wedding that she says, “couldn’t have been more perfect.”

When Leveille envisioned Tiny Weddings, she had an audience in mind. She imagined it being the ideal setup for couples who were beginning second marriages and were looking for a more affordable experience. That was certainly the case for Barry and Melissa Smith, who wanted a small wedding featuring their combined brood of five children. They turned to Tiny Weddings after realizing what an early venue quote of roughly $5,000 would mean for the total cost of their modest-sized gathering. But Leveille says many of the Tiny Weddings couples have been twenty-somethings like Morghen and Mac who “just have other financial priorities” than a big wedding.

When Leveille envisioned Tiny Weddings, she had an audience in mind. She imagined it being the ideal setup for couples who were beginning second marriages and were looking for a more affordable experience. That was certainly the case for Barry and Melissa Smith, who wanted a small wedding featuring their combined brood of five children. They turned to Tiny Weddings after realizing what an early venue quote of roughly $5,000 would mean for the total cost of their modest-sized gathering. But Leveille says many of the Tiny Weddings couples have been twenty-somethings like Morghen and Mac who “just have other financial priorities” than a big wedding.

With the average budget for a Birmingham-area wedding between $35,000-$40,000, Leveille says “it’s become hard as a wedding planner to do anything for $20,000, even.” She thrives on the opportunity to design unique events, of course, but says that the price tag is “just mind-boggling sometimes.” A Tiny Wedding runs roughly one-tenth of the cost of a traditional wedding, with a base price point capped at $4,000. “There are plenty of people who don’t want to spend the money, or don’t have the money, but still want a meaningful wedding and experience,” Leveille says.

The way a Tiny Wedding works is Leveille sets predetermined dates, venues, and vendors, so all clients have to worry about is saying “I do.” With a tiny wedding, the day is short and simple. In fact, a Tiny Wedding timeline lasts, at a maximum, up to two hours. The call time for couples is only 15 minutes before their scheduled start, and guests can plan to arrive just before the ceremony. The public part of the day consists of a roughly 15-minute ceremony, a 35-45 minute “mini reception” with cake and champagne, and a getaway photo opportunity. A 30-minute, post-wedding portrait session for the new couple rounds out the experience. Taking all the important parts of a standard-size wedding, Leveille says she’s “distilled it down into the most meaningful parts and details.”

Budget was a factor for both the Smith and Sikes couples, but it wasn’t the only benefit they found in opting for a Tiny Wedding. They also talked about feeling liberated from the planning process. “There are limited choices,” Barry Smith says. “That was wonderful because it took a lot of the decision-making down a notch. We were able to just focus on the people involved and not so much the place settings and all the things.”

All Tiny Wedding ceremonies are officiated by Scott Leveille (Ann Marie’s husband). While Ann Marie takes care of the majority of the planning details for the weddings, the ceremony does require active participation and input from the couple. Mac Sikes describes the result as “a nice, personalized touch” based on Scott’s conversation with the couple. Morghen adds that the customized style allayed their “pretty religious” parents’ feelings about a non-church wedding. Melissa and Barry were able to include vows to each other’s kids and prayers offered by friends.

For Morghen and Mac, the constraints of a 20-person guest list helped them give the ceremony an added layer of meaning. “We wanted the people at our wedding to be people we could turn to for support. And there are people that we’re close to that aren’t necessarily those people, so those were people we wanted to be at the reception part,” Morghen says.

Even if Tiny Weddings Birmingham is, frankly, too tiny for your event, there may be lessons here for all weddings. Leveille suggests: “Just shift your mindset a little bit away from the pretty magazines and blogs and Pinterest that kind of go overboard with things, and then focus on what is actually really important to you as a couple.”

Money saved on their Tiny Wedding allowed foodie couple Morghen and Mac to host a (slightly) larger celebration dinner that evening, in the private event space at Cafe DuPont. Melissa and Barry funneled their savings into moments–pre-wedding styling, limousine rides, a nice dinner–that would make the day special for their entire newly-minted family.

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