Minimonies, Sequel Weddings and Micro Weddings – your COVID-19 Wedding Guide

by | Jun 8, 2020

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Minimonies, Sequel Weddings and Micro Weddings – your COVID-19 Wedding Guide

Picture: Budgetsavvybride

This week my husband and I went into a well-known Bank wearing masks.  We felt a bit like the stars of Netflix’s popular series, Money Heist. Strangely, the bank personnel wasn’t alarmed. They didn’t even make an effort to reach for the panic button. It was just banking as normal. My. How Covid-19 has changed our reality.

In this month’s blog, we look at the wedding options available while Covid-19 is still looming over our heads, and it is likely to do so for a while. But life goes on, and so does love.

Your options at this stage:

  • Minimomies and Zoom weddings
  • Sequel weddings
  • Micro weddings

 

MINIMONIES

The Knot, known in the U.S. for wedding trend spotting, coined the terms Minimonies and Sequel weddings recently.  This is of course opposed to matrimonies. Esther Lee explains: “In the time of COVID-19, the latest type of nuptial introduced by The Knot is the “minimony,” eventually followed by a sequel wedding. There are key differences between the various types of events… More prevalent in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic is the option of a minimony with a postponement to your eventual wedding date.”

What is a minimony?

Picture: Fernandes wedding in Naples

“A minimony usually involves an officiant (in-person or virtual), a small group of loved ones, along with select vendors your larger wedding would include,” Esther Lee explains on the TheKnot website.

Your minimony should include a tactile experience to make it real. Take time to read your hand-written vows and create smaller versions of what your real wedding would have been like – the first dance in your lounge, a smaller version of a wedding cake, and some lovely flowers. Take selfies or Zoom record this symbolic wedding ceremony. Next year this time you will be all smiles at your Facebook memories of the day.

Minimonies and Zoom weddings we love

The most heart-warming original idea we have seen over the past few months must be filmmaker Dan Mace’s surprise wedding in their home garden. Fiancé, Gabrielle Esterhuizen, had no idea what was in store for her.

Dan explains in an interview with W24 that postponing their wedding set for 21 March 2020 was heart-breaking. They had absolutely everything organised. Inspiration struck in the middle of the night and Dan came up with the idea of creating cardboard friends representing their family and friends.

This dedicated husband-to-be worked through the night, built an altar, and organised a friend to ‘officiate’ the ceremony via video call.

Watch this cute video to see Dan’s improvisations which include wedding rings made from guitar strings and a huge Just Married sign on the roof of their house. It doesn’t get more original than this.

Zoom wedding of 120

Although a Zoom wedding for 120 guests doesn’t quite qualify as a minimony, it’s pretty amazing what can be done with technology nowadays:

Picture: W24

Whereas filmmaker Dan Mace kept his virtual wedding limited to cardboard friends and a remote officiant, a Johannesburg couple ended up with more virtual guests than would have been at their actual wedding.

Not limited by geography any longer, Ianthe Sandnes and Izak van der Walt were able to invite friends from all over the globe, who would not otherwise have been able to attend their wedding. 120 guests called in from Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, as well as Argentina, Amsterdam, and Rome. Even a bridesmaid joined in from the coast of Bali after her cruise work was suspended due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Their virtual wedding didn’t take a back seat to the original day at all – they had a DJ making music, two comedians adding an online laugh, and a three-tiered mini wedding cake. They also managed to stick to the wedding agenda – from the actual ceremony to individual speeches and opening a dance floor.

Izak loved the fact that they could record their mini-wedding and explains the making of the Zoom wedding in the W24 article:

“We had a photographer, which was myself and my bride-to-be, we had other photographers around the world taking screengrabs, which was amazing. What’s cool is that you can record Zoom, we had our wedding video unedited.”

What made it even more special is that all guests dressed up as they were going to the actual wedding. And of course, the bride was in white and the groom in a suit.

Further afield

 

Picture: IOL

Further afield in New Delhi Avinash and Kirti had an online wedding on April 14. 80 friends and family members attended virtually. “They held an online Mehendi, and a sangeet ceremony apart from the marriage which was performed according to the Hindu custom wherein a ‘pandit’ (priest) was chanting Hindu mantras while being connected on a video call”, according to Puja Gupta reporting for IOL.

Mumbai-based Sushen and Kirti from Bareily also had an arranged marriage online on April 19 with the help of Shaadi.com who has introduced a ‘Wedding from Home’ service to help couples tie the knot by making arrangements for all the online ceremonies.

The online services include:

  • sending out e-invites for guests
  • Mehendi ceremony where a Mehendi artiste gives an online tutorial.
  • A make-up artist who teaches the bride how you can get the bridal look
  • grooming tips are taught virtually
  • a ‘panditji’ who does all perform all the wedding rituals.

IOL reports that Twelve Muslim couples in Madhya Pradesh also entered into wedlock on April 17, despite the lockdown, through video conference.

Are Zoom weddings legal in South Africa?

The short answer is no.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi stated on 25 March that no marriage certificates – new or old – would be issued during the lockdown. There have been no further official statements indicating otherwise.

But we see so many wonderful reasons for going ahead with a symbolic wedding that we will certainly encourage you to celebrate your originally intended wedding day. It’s also a great excuse to bring everyone together. While an officiant would have been your most important service providers on the day with a real-life wedding, you will now have to dig deep to find someone who knows the ins and outs of running a Zoom meeting. We have some tips on how to look like you are an old hand at Zoom meetings here.

 

Weddingetc helps us understand the legal requirements for weddings:

There are certain requirements for a legal and valid marriage in South Africa. Some of these include:

  1. You must ensure you are both legally allowed to marry and must understand the legal consequences of marriage
  2. You have to present all the required documents (including ID documents of both partners, divorce orders from previous marriages or death certificates if applicable) to the officiant
  3. Your marriage officer must be authorised in terms of Act No. 25 of 1961
  4. Your marriage must be conducted in the presence of at least two witnesses
  5. The witnesses and the marriage officer must sign the marriage register after the solemnisation of the marriage, and you as the newly-weds should be given a handwritten marriage certificate

Point 5 poses the biggest challenge at this stage.

With restrictions having relaxed a bit by Lockdown phase 3 in June, it may well be possible to gather two witnesses and a marriage officer, but clearly, the official document will have to wait until further notice.

WHAT IS A SEQUEL WEDDING?

When Covid-19 is finally just a Facebook flashback memory, it will be time for your Sequel wedding – also known as “The Real Thing”. The sequel wedding will contain all the elements of your originally planned wedding, just at a later stage. You may, however, decide to turn this into a Micro Wedding instead. 

WHAT IS A MICROWEDDING?

As restrictions lift, weddings with up to 50 guests are likely to be allowed, with all the proper Covid-19 health and safety precautions taken.

Isolation has a way of showing you what matters and sadly some friendships may have fallen away during this time. There is a good chance that your guest list may also change accordingly.

While this provides opportunities to cut down on budgets and save some money, micro weddings may very well swing the other way with a bigger focus on opulence for the fewer guests:  “I think people are going to want to celebrate in style and luxury when we are allowed to socialize again. Make every occasion count – (That’s) my new motto.” This according to Helen D’Óliveira, owner of For Goodness Sake Bistro.

Micro wedding trends include:

  • musicians instead of DJs
  • long family-style harvest tables with intimate guest seating
  • personalised table settings
  • personalised COVID masks
  • fewer people equals fewer formalities
  • destination weddings

 

Couples may cut down on the numbers and create a memorable experience for fewer guests which for all our travel-starved law-abiding citizens may mean a  welcome destination wedding.

Umthunzi Hotel on the Hibiscus Coast with its 49 rooms fits the bill perfectly – a poolside chapel, lovely sea views, a short walk to the beach, and good climate all year round for your wedding guests. The entire hotel design lends itself to family celebrations and with WiFi available, you will be ready to capture the Instagram moments.

For the ultimate micro wedding, we love the idea of getting a free honeymoon suite for 5 or more rooms booked.  Or discover the pleasures of being a weekday bride by pre-booking in-room spa services. The beauty of it all? You can simply relax in the comfort of your room and drift asleep afterward.

#LOVEISNOTCANCELLED

The popular hashtag #loveisnotcancelled has gained momentum and is now standing on 20 000 posts. Covid-19 has inspired so many designers to create beauty from a worldwide disaster.

In the U.S. Winnie Couture presents The Haute Mask collection – glamorously designed and handcrafted with couture fabrics and glittering crystals and plumes of lace.

Photo: Hautemask

The website assures us that the masks offer safety and each mask is made with detailed precision, lined with 100% organic cotton, an adjustable nose bridge, elastic ear loops, and a filter pocket for safe and breathable wear.

The Haute Mask collection above features four unique styles, two styles for Brides, and two or Grooms.  The Grandiose Haute Mask for Brides with glittering crystals will only set you back by $389USD –that’s roughly R6778 at the present exchange rate.

At that price, it is good to know that Winnie Couture is donating 100% of proceeds from the Haute Mask collection to Direct Relief, a non-profit organization that is providing personal protective equipment and essential medical items to U.S. and international health workers responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Closer to home our South African designers like Jeannie Naidoo are coming up with beautiful ideas. If you have your heart set on a micro wedding (less than 50), or just you and your bestest, chat to your wedding dress designer who would surely love to add value to your wedding dress.  We also feel inspired by (Fb) DOTK Boutique and their handmade, embellished Glamour Collection Facemasks from only R90 per mask.

For the modern bride, the wedding masks made by Handmade by Hazel Anne are perfect – we love the silkscreen options of your own wording, in the case Mr and Mrs on the mask.

As we are slowly allowed to have our chosen micro wedding or sequel wedding, wedding gatherings will only be permitted under the strictest of protocols. Venues will only permit the wedding if face masks are worn by everyone.  This provides a wonderful opportunity to personalise the masks for your wedding guests, with a  fabric, text, or image of your choice.  You could even colour co-ordinate this with your wedding colour scheme or theme.

Bless your wedding guests with a mask upon arrival at the wedding venue, and make sure your bridesmaids and grooms have their own personalised masks.

A sign of the times – Mannequins wear masks inside a wedding dress store window in Zagreb, Croatia, Thursday, April 23, 2020. The store is closed due to the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

DOING IT THE IKEA WAY

Five years ago Ikea Sweden came up with a brilliant concept for virtual weddings, way before we had an inkling of the pandemic heading our way. The virtual wedding took place via Skype and placed remote guests together in a virtual location.  Guests’ heads were superimposed over bodies so it looked like they were sitting in the room sharing in the special moment.

Sadly so, the web link has expired but we still have to applaud the sheer genius of the idea and the creative video. Currently, Sweden has no lockdown – a stance they took from the outset – and this may be the reason why Ikea did not renew the offering.

With challenges come opportunities and if we have any brilliant programmers or entrepreneurs out there, reading this blog, here is your chance to make headlines. South Africa will do a happy dance if you can re-invent the Ikea concept. Come, on, it’s not like you don’t have time on your hands… Challenges are supposed to make us better, not bitter, right?

Or in the wonderful wise words of Oprah Winfrey: “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand. “

Afterall  –  #loveisnotcancelled 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

CHRISTA BADENHORST

She knows her Merlot from her Mojito, her hotel from her motel. From craft food to caviar, her innate curiosity about life and wanderlust provide inspiration for her blogs, articles and press releases about the travel, wedding and Spa industry. Over twenty years in the hotel marketing & PR arena with impressive hotel groups, from Dubai to Durbanville, has evolved into the pure enjoyment of freelance projects under the banner of About Branding.

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