Updated 7 March 2022
Elopement or intimate wedding?
As an elopement and intimate wedding photographer in Northern Ireland, I know I’m a little biased. But can I just say, micro weddings are the best!
Because whatever approach you take to planning your micro wedding, the smaller guest list opens up countless possibilities. Simpler logistics and a much more flexible budget mean you can plan your day exactly how you want it. No more compromises or sacrifices. Get the designer dress you want, get the perfect photographer, get a fancy wedding car. It can be the wedding of your dreams, only smaller.
You sold? Thought so!
But before you start planning, you have a big decision to make. Do you want an intimate wedding (just like a traditional wedding, only smaller), or an elopement style wedding (“let’s disappear together and just do it!”)
And then this decision will shape your day.
So I’ve put together a little guide to planning your micro wedding in Belfast, based on two very different, equally amazing days. One an elopement, one an intimate wedding. So you can have a little look and see which is more your vibe. Whichever one you decide, I’m going to show you how you can plan the micro wedding of your dreams.
Dressing for the occasion
Elopements are, in their very essence, non-traditional. So if you’re going to have an elopement-style celebration, there literally are no rules! And Ffion and Chris’ styling embraced this with open arms!
Ffion paired her tea-length dress from Spirit and Grace with soft waves in her hair, a pearl headpiece and a dried flower bouquet. But what I loved most about her look was the playful, retro touches that set her look apart from the traditional wedding styling. The chic red tie-back heels and the pop of her lipstick that tied in with the red accents in her bouquet and Chris’ tie. And of course, the badass leather jacket!
Their retro look was completed by the staggeringly cool vintage convertible Mustang their parents got them as a surprise present. Elopement vibes all the way!
But if you’ve always dreamed of a traditional white wedding, you can still have that aesthetic with a micro wedding. Naimh and Sean’s intimate wedding had all the vibes of a normal ‘big white wedding’, just with less people. So a ‘small white wedding’, I guess.
Naimh looked stunning in her Anna Campbell dress from Ivory and Pearl, with embroidered flowers, a V-neck cut and waterfall sleeves. Complemented by Hollywood waves in her hair, a pearl headpiece and earrings and an elegant bouquet, she looked the epitome of the beautiful, head-turning bride. And of course, we have to mention the James Bond look from Sean.
Between them they proved once and for all that intimate weddings can still have the classic, exquisitely beautiful style of a traditional big wedding.
Intimate Belfast wedding venues
City Hall weddings in Belfast are a firm favourite for elopements and intimate weddings alike.
Chris and Ffion’s elopement ceremony was packed with emotion. And it goes to show, just because it’s in a council building, it doesn’t make it any less romantic or meaningful.
And from a photography point of view, having your wedding in Belfast City Hall guarantees some amazing photos! Because for a council building (actually, for any building), it’s breathtakingly beautiful. With a sweeping marble staircase, stained-glass windows, a stage, a balcony, the majestic stone steps outside. There’s just endless places for couple portraits after you tie the knot. It went perfectly with Chris and Ffion’s retro-elopement styling.
Naimh and Sean opted for a traditional church wedding in a gorgeous little church just outside Belfast, St John’s Church, Lylo, Craigavon. The intimate, intricately decorated church was just perfect for their traditional intimate wedding theme. And although it was a little way outside the city, the small guest list allowed the wedding party to travel into Belfast for the reception without any trouble.
And this is a huge advantage of micro weddings. Because it makes logistical matters like this so much easier to manage, and opens up infinite possibilities you simply wouldn’t have with hundreds of guests.
Choosing your Belfast reception venue
Belfast is such a vibrant, varied city. And with the small guestlist of an intimate wedding, you have endless options for reception venues. So decide on a theme for your wedding, and just choose somewhere that feels right. Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it!
For their reception, Naimh and Sean chose the popular Belfast reception venue, Malmaison.
They chose classic styling and elegant floristry to offset the rustic backdrop of the exposed brickwork of the venue. And they included lots of fun little quirky details, as well as beautiful stationery by Busy Bee, including an awesome London Underground-themed seating plan and table markers.
It was such an elegant, fun, intimate celebration in this iconic Belfast venue.
Take the time to enjoy your photography
This is another huge advantage of having an intimate wedding or an elopement. You have SO much more time for couples portraits. Simply because you won’t have hundreds of guests waiting back at the venue, clamouring to get a piece of you. So it means we can go off together and take our time exploring this wonderful, beautiful, exciting city.
With Chris and Ffion’s elopement, they were deprived of a reception entirely due to Covid restrictions. And it meant we had the whole afternoon together to go on a photography safari of the city! With no time constraints, we spent the whole day going on an adventure through the empty city streets, embracing spontaneity and celebrating the start of their new life together. And not only has this given them an insanely varied gallery, it meant they got to spend some real time together as a couple. Time they wouldn’t have had on a traditional wedding day.
For Niamh and Sean’s photos we explored Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter on our way to the reception. Famed for its awesome and absolutely iconic wall art, the Cathedral Quarter is just perfect for photos! And as Naimh skipped through the busy Belfast streets in her stunning wedding dress, she was getting congratulations and applause from passers by. It was as though the whole of Belfast was invited to the celebration. And you can feel that unmistakable buzz of our beautiful city through the photos.
Later that evening we disappeared together to the rooftop for some more couple portraits. As night crept in, and with the urban cityscape of Belfast as our backdrop, we had complete privacy amongst the hubbub of the city humming far below.
Want me to capture your love story?
As a wedding photographer in Belfast, I’m truly blessed to have one of the most photogenic cities on earth as my playground! I love disappearing with my couples off into the city to get some truly epic, romantic photographs. The ones you’ll have printed and framed above your mantlepiece in your living room. The ones you’ll have as your screensavers for years to come.
So if you’d love to go off exploring the city with me as your photographer, I’d be delighted to hear from you. Please get in touch today to check my availability.