I’ve always loved small weddings, and this styled shoot is no exception. With the help of Fox & Fern Botanicals and Easy Bistro & Bar, I designed an intimate, modern micro wedding in Chattanooga’s West Village.
There’s often a misconception in the wedding world that small weddings mean small budgets, mountaintop elopements, and super casual vibes. And while they absolutely can involve those things, I wanted to show you how to craft an upscale micro wedding in a more urban location.
For this shoot, my friends Sarabeth and Z met me downtown (during their lunch break, because they’re absolute champs) to create this relaxed but refined micro wedding. Sarabeth wore a nontraditional blazer-style dress, and Z rocked this tailor suit and bolo tie. I reserved the private dining room at Easy Bistro & Bar in downtown Chattanooga and worked with Fox & Fern to coordinate the floral arrangements. It all came together to create this beautiful, one-of-a-kind styled shoot.
This shoot was a far cry from Sarabeth and Z’s actual wedding (which I shot a few years ago) but somehow still very true to who they are. Plus, we had so much fun.
WHAT’S A MICRO WEDDING?
The term “microwedding” is thrown around a lot these days. By definition, it’s a small wedding with less than 50 guests. Unlike elopements, micro weddings usually follow the timeline of a typical wedding day – ceremony, maybe a cocktail hour, and a reception. They can even have a bridal party! The biggest difference is the size of the guest list and the general vibe of the day.
In my experience, micro weddings are incredibly intimate, super laid-back, and personalized to the couple. But because you’re inviting fewer people, you can host an extremely upscale micro wedding on a regular full-sized wedding’s budget. You can cut out all the “fluff” involved in a big wedding (like all those plus-one’s you’ve never met. Looking at you, Aunt Marge’s college roommate.) and shine a light on the details that are most important to you. And when you’re feeding 50 people instead of 500, you can afford to splurge on your dream dress, top-notch cuisine, or in Z’s case, a sick bolo tie.
At the end of the day, your wedding is your own no matter the size. If you want all the bells and whistles of a massive wedding with a smaller guest list, go for it.
CHATTANOOGA MICRO WEDDING CEREMONY
We used the private dining space at Easy Bistro & Bar for both the ceremony and reception. Even with the ceremony spot set up on this clean, frosted glass wall, we could still fit 30 people comfortably without rearranging between ceremony and reception. If you’re down to shuffle things around between ceremony and reception, you could seat up to 42 guests in the space.
One of the beauties of a microwedding is having the freedom to get creative with your ceremony location. Since you’re only seating a handful of guests, you’re not limited to a giant church or event center. You can opt for a space like Easy Bistro & Bistro with built-in character in a location that works for you and your guests. If you want a modern Chattanooga microwedding – and a great excuse to show your out-of-town guests the city – this spot in the West Village has my vote.
Aside from a few inspiration images, I gave Fox & Fern total creative control of these florals.Safe to say, they killed it. The owner, Liza Greever, is a master of tailoring a couple’s flowers to fit their venue and vibe. She crafted this stunning asymmetrical backdrop for the ceremony, along with the bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonniere. I thought these florals added an upscale but edgy vibe to the room, especially with Liza’s use of dried flowers. She perfectly transformed the private dining space into a badass wedding venue.
CHATTANOOGA MICRO WEDDING FLORALS BY FOX & FERN BOTANICAL STYLING
Liza Greever opened Fox & Fern Botanical Styling to bring intimately designed, highly personalized florals to weddings across the Chattanooga area. When I started looking for a floral designer for this styled shoot, Fox & Fern was my first choice. (And it helps that their studio neighbors the venue!)
No matter the size of your wedding, Fox & Fern will make it unforgettable. But with this micro wedding shoot, I knew I wanted the florals to be the focal point of the day. With a micro wedding, you can really invest your budget into the details that matter most to you, whether that be the venue, the dress, the food, or florals. And since Fox & Fern is so flexible with their designs and budget, you can pretty much guarantee they’ll knock it out of the park.
If you’re eloping, throwing a full wedding, or even hosting a micro wedding in the Chattanooga area, book a consultation with Fox & Fern. I seriously can’t recommend them enough.
CHATTANOOGA MICRO WEDDING RECEPTION
Since the dining room served double duty for this micro wedding, Fox & Fern crafted centerpieces and bud vases that perfectly complemented the ceremony backdrop. We steered away from elaborate linens and instead let the florals take center stage on the reception tables.
Chef Erik Neil, co-owner of Easy Bistro, prepared us the most mouthwatering, picture-perfect spread of oysters I’ve ever seen. Seriously, what’s more fun, cheers with champagne or cheers with oysters on a half shell? He paired the meal with red wine and bubbly (it’s a wedding, after all), and he treated us to these adorable mini desserts in lieu of a traditional cake. If you look closely, you can see Sarabeth giving Z a death glare when he went to shove dessert in her face. Lucky for him, he did not.
Even without the big, white cake and laser lights, this setup truly felt like a wedding reception. And because micro weddings come with small venues and guest lists, the couple gets to spend more time with their nearest and dearest. Instead of making the obligatory rounds to twenty tables, they can chat with each and every one of their guests. It’s a great option for those who value connection and want to enjoy the company of their friends and family on their day.
EASY BISTRO & BAR IN DOWNTOWN CHATTANOOGA
Easy Bistro & Bar has been around for over ten years, but they recently relocated to this gorgeous location in the West Village.
This new space by Haskel Sears Design could not be more perfect for downtown Chattanooga, and the design makes the perfect backdrop for a reception, micro wedding, or rehearsal dinner. I especially love the clean archways throughout the private dining space, and I think they’d make a stunning ceremony spot.
If micro weddings aren’t your style, Easy Bistro & Bar would make a fun rehearsal dinner spot. Out-of-town guests can explore downtown Chattanooga before dinner, and you can run off with your friends for an afterparty. And if you’re planning your ceremony at a different venue downtown, you can rent out the entire Easy Bistro & Bar for your reception.
Aside from being my favorite spot in the West Village, Easy Bistro & Bar is also an award-winning restaurant. You can’t go wrong with their menu, and I highly recommend their private dining space for any special event. Email email@example.com for more information.
BRIDE AND GROOM PORTRAITS IN DOWNTOWN CHATTANOOGA
I loved shooting the reflections of the city in the venue’s windows, but I was even more excited to get my couple out onto the street. There are tons of options for photo locations in the West Village. And while it’s super trendy, downtown Chattanooga’s still old-school cool. I especially love its historic brick buildings and cobblestone streets.
In terms of hosting out-of-towners, you can’t do better than the West Village. It features a handful of hotels, some of the best restaurants in the city, and some fun boutiques. Your guests will get to celebrate your day and get to know the city you love. What’s better than that?
Sarabeth and Z were so laid back for their photos, and we had a blast together on the streets of downtown Chattanooga. Sarabeth’s funky blazer dress and Z’s classic suit reflected the city’s same combination of new and traditional. We capped off the shoot with biodegradable confetti and some super cool dance moves, and then Sarabeth and Z headed back to work.
If you’re a Chattanooga couple considering ditching the huge guest list, I highly recommend a micro wedding. I love advising my couples on how to best get the feeling they want for their day. While I’m not a wedding planner, I’ve been to hundreds of weddings of all sizes throughout Tennessee and the world. You want an intimate ceremony with a rager or a reception? A courthouse ceremony and a quiet dinner afterwards? No guest list at all? I’ve got some ideas.
If you dig this shoot, check out my other weddings in the downtown area. And if you’re planning your own Chattanooga micro wedding, I’d love to document your day.