ST. LOUIS — For Alex Hill, good things come in small packages. Especially when it comes to weddings.
“The whole day I was focusing on me and my husband,” said Hill, who got married last month.
Hill chose a small venue and invited about 45 guests, which made her friends and family feel more comfortable attending.
“I had people wear masks,” Hill said. “Especially some of my older family members, they would not have come if it had been a regular wedding.”
Smaller weddings or “micro-weddings” have become more popular. Wedding planning websites, like The Knot are featuring the trend, recognizing how the coronavirus pandemic has forced some couples to reevaluate whether a big wedding is appropriate or feasible.
The micro-wedding trend is nothing new to Christie Steimel, the co-owner of Marry Me Cottage in O’Fallon, Missouri. The venue specializes in micro-weddings. The smallest wedding package is tailored for four people – including the bride and groom. The largest one is for 50 guests.
“We have been booking like crazy in the last few months,” Steimel said.
While some of Steimel's clients, like Hill, had already been planning on small celebrations, the pandemic has drawn a new group of customers to Steimel's venue: those who have canceled their big affairs.
“I do think couples are embracing it,” Steimel said.
Most of the weekend dates in 2020 are already booked and Steimel said couples are booking well into 2021. She said some of her millennial customers also see the financial benefit of a mircro-wedding.
“What we’re seeing in the wedding industry is a huge trend in the younger generation not spending $30,000 to $40,000 on a wedding,” she said. “They want to buy cars and homes. They have major student loans.
“They’re putting their money where their marriage is.”
Hill agreed. She spent $2,500 on her entire wedding. Instead, she and her husband Ross will be able to save up for a home.
"I really wanted it to be about me and him," Hill said.
Embracing the trend
Some hotels and event venues in the St. Louis area are embracing the trend – even upscale hotels that are usually the site of lavish celebrations.
The iconic Central West End hotel is offering two different wedding packages: "minimonies" for up to 25 people and "microweddings" for up to 50 people. Couples can add a Zoom option, so people can view the ceremony online.
The downtown hotel is offering a Rooftop Elopement Package for a two-hour event for up to 10 guests. It includes appetizers and a champagne toast.
The St. Louis County park has several indoor and outdoor spaces available for weddings.
The venue offers packages from $125 to $1,695 with an average cost of $795.