How to Plan a Micro Wedding in Texas

A micro wedding, or small wedding, or intimate wedding (known this way to photographers) consist of a small family and usually the closest people to you. Usually, it is not a large traditional wedding in that sense. That is basically all! There are no strict barriers in my opinion of the number of people or what makes and what does not make a micro wedding. Honestly, if that word resonates with you for your wedding, then you are on the right page!

My hope to make this guide for you is to help brides and couples wanting a micro wedding in Texas. I am a photographer and I attended one micro wedding and I knew that I HAD to continue photographing these kinds of weddings. I met with the bride of the wedding that touched my heart, and she expressed to me how HARD and STRESSFUL wedding planning was for a micro wedding. She also told me stories of going to the sketchiest wedding venues’ ‘ lol. Just because she wanted a micro wedding did not mean she did not want a nice elegant wedding. So as a photographer in the wedding game here and as a local Houstonian I believe this will help so many brides and couples! If you need more help do not hesitate to reach out to me personally and also I have to say that all my wedding packages include timeline planning and I will help you through this whole process! I want to give a big shoutout to 772 Events who helped me wrap my head and get a solid understanding for wedding planning!

Bookmark this page or save this page to comeback to this during your wedding planning. I know this information can get repetitive but I promise you, there is information in here that is very good to know for your wedding planning.

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Planning a Micro Wedding 101


Before we dive into further detail, one thing needs to be set straight from the get-go – your budget. The reality is, weddings cost money and can cost a lot more money if you go into the planning process without a set budget in mind and starts booking vendors.  

We suggest you discuss your wedding budget with your fiancé(e) and anyone else who will also pay for the wedding (e.g. parents, relatives, etc.), before engaging with prospective vendors. The budget amount does not need to be a fixed amount from the get-go (for example $20,000), and can be a range with which everyone who is financially involved is comfortable (for example $18,000 – $22,000). Or you and other financially involved parties (parents, relatives, etc.) might not have a budget at all – sky’s the limit!

Regardless of what your budget amount is or who is financially responsible for your wedding, setting a budget from day one will benefit you by:

  • Simplifying the decision-making process while choosing your vendors; and
  • Reducing unplanned add-on expenses, which in turn reducing unnecessary financial stress

If you are unsure of how much your budget should be or how to stay on budget, we suggest working with a professional wedding planner. Professional wedding planners often work with multiple vendors and can provide valuable insight on vendor cost estimates. 

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Now that you have set a budget, it is time to set a timeline for your wedding prep tasks. E.i. Timeline BEFORE your wedding.

The most frequently asked question that we have seen is, “How soon before the wedding do I need to do this xxx task?”. Our answer is, it depends! If your wedding date is set two years in advance from now, you will have plenty of time to book venues, vendors, make a guest list and send out invitations. However, if you decide to get married in two months (!), that will not give you a lot of time for the planning and preparation process.

The wedding journey is unique for each bride; there is no answer that is one-size-fits-all. However, in general we recommend:

  • If you already know for sure which vendor / product / service that you would like to have at your wedding, whether it is of high or low importance, please book them as soon as you reasonably can so that you cross it off your list. 
  • For vendors / products / services that are either highly important, or in high demand, or not readily available (e.g. venue, caterer, photographer), please book them as soon as you reasonably can to avoid unavailability on your desired wedding date.
  • For vendors / products / services that are of medium or low importance, we suggest prioritizing them based on their importance / urgency or their allocation in your budget.

Julia’s opinion: There is a rule-of-thumb that I use to determine how important something is and whether you need it for your wedding. Ask yourself, “Will I still remember it and smile when I think about it 10 years, 15 years or 20 years from now when I look back?”. If the answer is “yes”, then it is important. If the answer is “maybe” or “no”, then it may not be as important and necessary as it may seem.

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Before researching your venue, it is important that you make a preliminary guest count for your wedding. This guest count will not be your final guest list; it will simply help you make a decision on your venue (after all you can’t fit 150 people in a venue designed for 50!).

We recommend making and finalizing your guest list after you’ve chosen and booked your venue. Traditionally, save-the-date reminder is sent out 8 – 12 months prior to the wedding date. However, if your wedding is less than 8 – 12 months away, we recommend sending them out as soon as possible so that guests may make necessary arrangements. This is especially important for out-of-town guests who might require extensive traveling. 

You might also opt to skip save-the-date reminders and only send out invitations, if you believe your wedding date is coming up soon enough that save-the-date reminders are not warranted. 

Traditionally, it is recommended that invitations are sent out 6 – 8 weeks prior to the wedding (about one and a half to two months). However, you may also send invitations earlier than that if you believe it will give your guests more time to respond; or if your venue / caterer has an early deadline for a final guest count. It is also important to remember that not all guests will RSVP despite receiving an invitation with an RSVP deadline or receiving reminders from you or your planner. 

Julia’s opinion: it is ok to add guests to your original guest list after save-the-date / invitation is sent out if you believe the new guests are important to have at your wedding, and if you can afford to do so. Making new meaningful connections and friendships doesn’t stop after you made a guest list, and you might find out that you would love to have your new connections at the wedding. If you choose to add additional guests to the guest list after save-the-date / invitation is sent out, please let your additional guests know of the wedding date as soon as possible, and that it is your pleasure to have met and known them along the way and have them at your wedding.  

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Your venue is where you will spend the majority of your important day and serves as the whole backdrop of your wedding. Your venue choice will also affect your vendor choice; certain venues only work exclusively with their preferred vendors, or your preferred vendor might not service the location where the venue is located. Furthermore, a well-managed and well-established venue will reduce the possibility of mishaps happening on your important day. 

We suggest researching and touring venues as soon as possible after you set the date, especially if your wedding date falls in the busy wedding season. Starting the venue selection process early will give you ample time to deliberate your options and ensure the venue is available on your wedding date.

We suggest you consider the below factors while searching for a venue: 

  • Cost: venue cost is one of the highest expenses in a wedding budget. Is the venue cost within or out of your budget? What services are included in the cost?
  • Availability: is the venue available on your wedding date? If the venue is not available, do you have the flexibility to move your wedding date to another day when the venue is available?
  • Capacity: can the venue accommodate your expected number of guests? Does this capacity include only inside seating, only outside seating or both inside and outside altogether? If the weather is unfavorable, what capacity does the venue have to hold all the guests?
  • Aesthetic: does it match your wedding theme and style?
  • Ambience and lighting: what photographer or photography style do you have in mind for the wedding? Some venues have warm lighting and photograph better with warm and moody photography, whereas other venues are on the brighter and whiter side and photograph better with vibrant and colorful photography.  
  • Location, location, location: how much travel will be required for the bride, the groom, and the wedding party to arrive at the venue? Do you have many out-of-town guests that fly into town to attend the wedding

Once you have found an available venue that you like and meets your requirements, we suggest booking it as soon as possible so that you are set to move on to the next steps in the planning process.

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The vendors you choose for your big day could make or break your wedding. When choosing your vendors, look for professionals that will work within your budget and keep your style and personality in mind.

Below are a few of the many sources where you can start your vendor search process:

  • Google and / or Google Maps
  • Wedding-specific websites such as The Knot or Zola
  • Wedding-specific Facebook groups (for example Brides in Houston)
  • Referrals from friends and family

We suggest that you choose a few vendors for each category (photographers, caterers, DJs, etc.) for the due diligence process. After gathering a list of possible vendors, it’s time to do your own due diligence on the vendors and check their credibility. 

If a vendor is established in the industry: Some vendors are more established than others and have built a portfolio of their services. For these vendors, we suggest the following:

  • Read their Google / The Knot / Yelp reviews
  • Research their websites and ask to see their portfolio of past weddings. Bonus point if they have worked at your venue in the past
  • Ask them if they have any reference from past clients, and contact their past clients if you can.

If a vendor is newly established: everybody must start somewhere, and vendors are not the exception. If you are thinking about going with a vendor that is newly established, we suggest asking them situational questions such as:

  • Have you worked for someone or another business in the wedding industry, and now decided to start your own business? For example, it is common for photographers to be second shooter for a more experienced photographer,  before establishing themselves as main photographers.
  • If you have not worked in the wedding industry before, what skills or qualifications do you have in your previous jobs that will contribute to the success of the wedding?
  • How do you handle unexpected incidents?

Once you have selected your vendor, always have everything that you agree with the vendor in a written contract and signed by both parties (yourself as client and vendor as service provider). The contract will serve as evidence of an agreement for services, and detail explicitly and exactly what is expected from each party (for example, $3,000 for eight hours of photography). Furthermore, written contract helps protect the damaged party in case of conflict, non-payment or non-performance in the future

Trial: always! makeup and hair – at least you know what you like or don’t like; photographer: can take engagement session to see if you work well with the photographer or if the photography style / quality is what you’re looking for; caterer and cake – always taste test

Thank you so much for being here! Make sure to follow me on my socials to keep up with some more tips!

Also here is a blog about some ideas of how to lower your costs for a small wedding.

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