If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that beautiful weddings can still happen even in the toughest and most confusing of times. Valerie Gernhauser of Sapphire Events and Ruby and Pearl Events quickly jumped on the smaller wedding trend and created Minimal Matrimony for couples seeking to get married this year and beyond.

“Early on as our spring season was just kicking into gear, I could foresee an opportunity that this virus would be affecting our wedding industry for a long time,” she told Adore. “I am a serial entrepreneur and starting a business when I see opportunity is one of my hobbies, so I envisioned what this pivot would look like.”

Minimal Matrimony helps create and produce intimate micro and mini weddings. The difference between the two? The guest count and the number of hours in the day.

Mini weddings typically include all of the bells and whistles of a larger wedding (ceremony, full meal, and celebration) but are scaled down to 50 guests of less. Micro weddings are streamlined celebrations for 30 guests or less that take place in 90-minute increments. Each includes a ceremony, champagne toast, cake cutting, and traditional first dances. There may be passed hors d’oeuvres, but food is typically not a primary component.

“Our couples tend to go out to eat afterward and carry on the celebration on their own terms! We love micro weddings, because unlike elopements, our couples get to experience the highlights of a traditional wedding experience, without sacrificing the presence of their loved ones or the traditions that they might have looked forward to throughout the engagement.”

Minimal Matrimony works with some of New Orleans’ most exclusive and stunning wedding venues in town and offers four 90-minute time slots throughout the day.

“By pooling the financial resources of four couples, I am able to offer access to exclusive venues, stellar photo and video teams, and an amazing floral design that couples would otherwise not be able to achieve for the price. Plus, I am able to support our vendor’s teams and venues with an opportunity to bring in income during this crazy year, so supporting small businesses has been an added bonus through this offering!”

Another reason to consider a micro and mini experience? Smaller weddings have the benefit of costing less. “I have been advising my clients for years that the best way to get the most bang for their buck is to start with a smaller guest count. Food and beverage is the biggest check most couples will write for their big day, and that number is driven higher by a large number of guests, leaving little in the budget for other things.”

Gernhauser says that the micro and mini weddings of 2020 often come with similar budgets compared to their original larger celebration, but with the reduced guest count, couples and guests will enjoy the elevated and more personal experience. Additionally, the reduced size means more quality time with the guests who are present to witness the wedding.

She also believes that smaller weddings will not online survive beyond the pandemic but thrive. “This has opened a doorway for couples that always wanted small weddings to see that there is a lot of benefit to celebrating small…I want to encourage all engaged couples to consider celebrating safely, and by having small weddings now there is so much opportunity to have something special that couples might not have considered before.”

Caitlyn & Garrett

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"One of my brides, Caitlyn Milligan, kept her original wedding date and had a micro wedding with six people present. She will be celebrating with her larger guest count next year, but she and her groom decided keeping their date was so important to them, for personal reasons! And the anticipation surrounding their big day will be that much more when they celebrate on their anniversary next year!"

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Rachel Madelyn Photography

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Rachel Madelyn Photography

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Rachel Madelyn Photography

Jared & Schatzie

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"Another couple of mine eloped in July, and we put together their micro wedding at Laurenia Nola. Their original wedding date was also set for this past spring, and they've moved their bigger celebration to next year since so many of the family and friends would be travelling in. It was an emotional moment to watch them exchange vows. I set up a live stream so that their parents and closest friends and family could watch and cheer them on from afar! It was a tremendously happy occasion, and I'm so happy to see our couples get married and carry on with their love stories!"

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