Micro Weddings pack just as much meaning, only in a much smaller package

We all know bigger isn’t always better, and when it comes to weddings smaller scale events are just as significant, and often less stressful and more affordable than the large and lavish variety. As a wedding photographer on Martha’s Vineyard for over thirty years, I’ve witnessed nuptials of all shapes and sizes. More recently I’ve noticed a trend towards more intimate affairs, and the concept of Micro Weddings really seems to be catching on. Basically a Micro Wedding is a wedding on a smaller scale, that involves a lot of the same details but for a small group of people, generally 50 or less. Here’s a look at what makes Micro Wedding so appealing. 

More affordable 

With average wedding prices in the tens of thousands, many brides and grooms simply can’t afford a large wedding, or are choosing to forego the big expense in favor of a longer honeymoon, or a downpayment on a house. Micro weddings can be significantly less expensive as they require less resources and involve less people, freeing up money for other things that can contribute to the couple’s new life together. Typically, brides and grooms are constantly reworking their numbers and spreadsheets once a new RSVP card is received, trying to see where they fall in their budget. With a micro wedding your money can go further and you may be able to do something on a smaller scale that you wouldn’t have been able to provide for a larger crowd.

More intimate

It’s no surprise that weddings have become big business and it’s easy to forget about the essence of the ceremony when there’s so many vendors to organize, details to consider, and guests to appease. Often the pomp and circumstance of a larger wedding can overshadow the basic meaning of a wedding, which at the core is a celebration of a couple’s love and future together. With a Micro Wedding brides and grooms can be more selective with their guest list, which creates a more intimate gathering with those nearest and dearest. While the task of writing a guest list can be the hardest part of a Micro Wedding, brides and grooms can take comfort knowing that those they invite are among their most dearest to share in their commitment. 

More manageable

It’s a well known fact that wedding days seem to go by faster than most other days in our lives, and many brides and grooms struggle to find the time to sufficiently interact with all of their guests before the party comes to an end. Micro Weddings mean less guests so it’s easier to get more quality time together without being stretched so thin. Less guests also means the event becomes more manageable as a result. With a smaller group the day can be more fluid and less rigid, and plans can be changed on the fly if needed. On Martha’s Vineyard weather can be an important factor for any special event. If rain and wind are in the forecast you can push back the ceremony or figure out a change of venue a lot easier when accommodating less people. 

More choices

Given the smaller size and scale of a Micro Wedding your options and vendor pool can actually increase. Perhaps you wanted to book that venue on the water that you couldn’t afford with 120 people, but when accommodating 40 people it’s very much within reach. Some venues might not even be able to accommodate a large group but once your numbers go down you realize there’s even more places to tie the knot than you had thought. Or maybe there’s a preferred caterer or private chef that you can swing with a smaller head count that will increase the quality of your guests’ experiences. When it comes to making choices for your Micro Wedding you can be even more creative and innovative! 

More sustainable

I’m all for reducing waste and being more eco-conscious when it comes to weddings and special events, and I’ve written about it before on the blog. We all know weddings can get expensive, and excessive, and lavish choices can often have serious implications for the environment. Micro Weddings on the other hand, tend to mean more control and less excess, which is a win-win if you’re wanting to reduce your costs and your footprint. Even thoughtful considerations on a small scale can make for a big impact on your big day. 

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It’s all in the details: Special considerations for planning a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard

We once heard that Martha’s Vineyard is only second to Las Vegas as the most popular wedding destination. It’s hard to believe that a seasonal island that is only 100 square miles could support such a booming industry–we are small but mighty! We’re honored to be one of a select number of wedding vendors that are able to successfully tackle and execute some pretty incredible events here.

Given the unique nature of Martha’s Vineyard (we’re surrounded by water after all and the Island gets pretty sleepy for at least 4 months out of the year) there are some extra things that must be taken into consideration to ensure getting hitched goes off without a hitch.

First of all you’ll need to get your guests here and thoroughly communicate the logistics involved, and be specific. Make sure to have a detailed wedding website or information card in your invitation that explains some of the nuances of getting to and around the Island. There is no bridge, no tunnel. It will require a boat or a plane and the various options available depend on the season, not to mention service can be complicated by the weather. Cape Air offers year round air travel from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Delta, JetBlue, and American Airlines offer seasonal service from various locations including New York and Washington D.C. For additional details visit the Martha’s Vineyard airport website here

The airport itself is pretty small and pretty adorable. No long security lines so no need to allot a bunch of extra time when departing, and when arriving your luggage will follow you off the plane shortly thereafter. (Fun fact: the show Wings was set in a fictional Nantucket airport but is similar in size and scope to our own Martha’s Vineyard Airport). Visit our local Chamber of Commerce website for additional information on getting here that could be helpful to your guests.

If your guests are opting for the maritime route they have a number of different ferry liners to choose from, which again is dependent on the season. There are several seasonal ferries available including the Island Queen from Falmouth, Hyline Cruises from Hyannis, Seastreak from New York and New Bedford and the Rhode Island Fast Ferry from North Kingston.

The Steamship Authority bills itself as the ‘lifeline to the Islands’ and is the only ferry that operates year round and transports cars to the Island. It leaves from Woods Hole on Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard several times a day. It’s important to note that if you plan on bringing your car over you must make an advance reservation (via phone or online) with the Steamship Authority, and plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Reservations for the summer season often book up months in advance so be sure to make your reservation as soon as possible. If you are a walk on passenger you must allot extra time to park in the designated lots and take a 15-20 minute shuttle ride down to the boat, where you can purchase passenger tickets at the terminal. Car rentals are available on Martha’s Vineyard but note that they can be significantly more expensive than off-Island prices–we have to import a lot of things here including the cars!

Once your guests have successfully arrived to the Island it’s time to help them get to their hotel or rental property. If you’re looking to host a big group and reserve a block of hotel rooms you will want to contact Summercamp in Oak Bluffs, or the Harbor View Hotel, Clarion Inn, the Kelley House, and the Winnetu Oceanside Resort all located in Edgartown. These are some of the Island’s largest hotels that can accommodate your special event, and provide appropriate amenities for a big group. Another popular option for housing big groups is to rent a private home. AirBnb, VRBO and homeaway.com all offer several listings on the Island, as well as local real estate companies like Point B Realty, Sandpiper Realty and Tea Lane Associates.

Be mindful of the accommodations you choose based on where your ceremony and reception are taking place, the Island is actually bigger than many people think. For example the Winnetu is located in Katama in Edgartown. If you have guests stay there and your wedding is taking place at the Beach Plum Inn in Chilmark (a gorgeous venue offering breathtaking views of Menemsha sunsets) your guests will be traveling 20 miles, essentially from one end of the Island to the other. This isn’t a problem but it’s good to understand the geography of the Island as you plan around it. There are various transportation companies that offer private charter service and specialize in weddings and large group transportation including Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing and Resort Man. There are also several cab companies available including women (and sister!) owned Lighthouse Taxi as well as Uber and Lyft service.

Another important thing to note is that most of your vendors will be small businesses, and given the demand for weddings and limited vendors they may book up far in advance. We recently rounded up our favorite venues, caterers, musicians, florists, bakers, locally inspired favors and trusted beauty professionals that you can read about here.

As for choosing a wedding photographer on Martha’s Vineyard we have decades of experience capturing dream Island weddings and would of course love to assist you with any photography services for your affair. We also recommend working with one of our local wedding planners including With Grace and KG Events to help you best navigate the Island’s resources and make it the momentous affair you’ve always dreamed of.

For additional wedding planning tips check out our wedding related blog posts and visit Martha’s Vineyard Island Weddings for a complete list of vendors, stories and inspiration.

Waste not, want not: Greening your wedding or special event on Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard is a popular destination for some of the most elaborate and intimate of affairs, and we’re lucky to be a part of many of them. On any given weekend there could be dozens of weddings happening on-Island, with vendors buzzing about in preparation, and guests traveling in from afar just for the occasion. All of this activity can make for a lot of extra waste, but if you’re careful in the planning process you can seriously reduce what ends up in the garbage.

Planning a green wedding on Martha’s Vineyard, or anywhere else for that matter, just takes asking around and giving some special consideration to the decisions you make for the event. And green weddings can still be just as elegant and chic! Here’s ten ways you can be sure to pull off a beautiful, fun-filled celebration that reflects more kindly on the environment.

Plan an outdoor event during the day. Martha’s Vineyard is home to beautiful beaches, rolling hills and gorgeous wooded areas that make for the perfect backdrop to any occasion. Allow the sun to provide the lighting and reduce your need for electricity in the process. If you’re planning a wedding think about having the ceremony and location in the same place so you can reduce your carbon footprint without the extra transportation.

Ask your caterer about composting. The amount of food wasted every day is staggering, and much of it is unnecessary. According to Island Grown Initiative (IGI) an estimated 11 million pounds of food waste are generated on Martha’s Vineyard each year. Here we ship our trash off-Island where it travels approximately 40 miles before being landfilled or incinerated, using fossil fuels to power the trip (and the return trip). Be sure to ask your caterer about composting the prep, scraps, and leftovers from your event. Many caterers like Kitchen Porch Catering will do this anyway. You can also hire IGI to do it for you as part of their Food Waste Collection initiative. Contact Aaron Lowe at (508) 687-9062 or at foodrescue@igimv.org more more details.
 

Rent or reuse your plates and glassware. Be sure to avoid disposable items at all cost. Many vendors like Big Sky Tents, offer full linen, china and glassware rentals. If you’re renting ask your vendor about eliminating or reducing the plastic wrap they’re usually packaged in. You can also purchase mason jars to be used as drinking glasses or jamming jars after the fact (they make great containers for canning beach plums). Another option is to sell or donate them to a friend planning an event at a later date. Sites like Wedding Recycle and Bravo Bride make it easy for you to buy and sell wedding decor products online.

When it comes to beverages consider a keg or large jugs of wine to eliminate extra bottles and cans. And if you need to serve straws purchase stainless steel ones that you can use as favors. Reusable water bottles make great gifts too!

Use local vendors. Martha’s Vineyard may be small but there’s vendors here for just about everything you need to pull off the perfect event. Try to reduce the amount of people and automobiles that have to be brought in from off-Island. And if you’re looking for gifts for your guests or bridal party opt for locally made items like Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt and Chilmark Chocolates that are made right here with extra love.

Repurpose your formal wear. There’s a ton of websites where you can shop for used wedding dresses and formal wear like NearlyNewlwed and Tradesy. Ask around in your family to see if there’s a dress you can alter to make yours, and consider allowing your bridesmaids to wear a dress they already own. Shop your closet for things like shoes and accessories, not everything needs to be fresh. If you decide to go new consider re-selling your clothes after the fact so they can be used again.

Ask for organic or locally grown flowers or consider decorating with potted plants. If you’re having fresh cut flowers delivered ask that they be transported in buckets to eliminate plastic waste. Have a friend or family member with a garden on Martha’s Vineyard? Consider asking them to grow them for you as a wedding present. After the event donate your flowers to the hospital or local nursing homes that would especially appreciate the arrangements. You can even ask your caterer about using them for an event the next day.

If you’re using potted plants plan to repurpose them throughout the entire weekend of events, including the rehearsal, wedding, or a Sunday brunch. Then give them away as a favor for repotting (the gift that keeps on giving!), or reuse them at home as a lovely and sentimental addition to your home.


Send e-vites or use recycled paper. It’s still pretty common place to send physical wedding invitations, but you can be mindful of the material they’re printed on. IGI’s Food Equity and Recovery Director Sophie Abrams Mazza recommends plantable wedding invitations that can grow flowers and herbs when you plant them–beautiful, creative and eco-friendly! When it comes to save the dates and RSVPs go digital.

Shop thrift stores and secondhand shops. You can find some really cool and unique pieces second hand. Shop around for previously used items that can be used for your decor and tablescaping, like glasses, jars, vases and baskets. On Martha’s Vineyard be sure to check out Chicken Alley Thrift store and the dozens of estate sales and yard sales happening each weekend. You can mix and match pieces for the perfect rustic chic look!

Express yourself. When talking to all of your vendors simply mention your commitment to going green and ask what they can help you do about it, whether it’s reducing the packaging of their items or repurposing the items they’re assisting you with. Martha’s Vineyard is a very eco-friendly community and vendors here are happy to help you make it happen–not only is it the right thing to do but it can often eliminate extra work in the process too.

For additional assistance with planning a sustainable wedding or special event contact KG Events and Design, a certified  Green Event Company on Martha’s Vineyard. 


Meredith and Naji’s Martha’s Vineyard Wedding

Wedding Details:

Couple: Meredith and Naji Martha’s Vineyard Wedding
Ceremony: St. Andrew’s Church
DJ: Eric Johnson
Wedding Cake: Cakes by Liz
Caterer: Blue Crab Kitchen
Recipes: Naji Boustany

Meredith met Naji in his hometown of Beirut while she was finishing Grad School. She was working on a zero waste program that she helped implement for local restaurants and the farmer’s market that Naji was running, and they instantly clicked.


The couple moved to New York City, and continued to do what they love best. Naji runs a Lebanese restaurant in the West Village and Meredith is a food activist who promotes composting to businesses and restaurants Around the Tri-State area.


They set their wedding date for this past August. Naji created his own Lebanese menu for their guests and Meredith made sure none of the leftovers were wasted.  Their family and friends arrived from around the globe, ready to celebrate the couple’s love.

Thank you, Meredith and Naji, for allowing me to photograph your Martha’s Vineyard Wedding!

Keya & John’s Martha’s Vineyard Wedding

Wedding Details:

Couple: Keya & John’s Martha’s Vineyard Wedding
Ceremony: Harbor View Hotel
DJ: The Sultans of Swing
Wedding Cake: Val’s Cakes

This past spring Randi Baird Photography was honored to capture John and Keya’s engagement session on Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark. This summer they invited us photograph their wedding at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown!


John and Keya selected flower designer Kristina Collins from Tea Lane Farms for their floral arrangements and bouquets. They chose The Sultans of Swing for their live music, and Val’s Cakes for their clothing-inspired cupcake desserts.


The couple’s personal touches made the wedding exciting and memorable for their guests. They even designed their own wedding signs (pictured above).


Thank you, Keya and John, for allowing me to photograph your Martha’s Vineyard wedding!