Sequel weddings have been around for many years and are set to become popular in 2021 and 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has shifted, skewed, and sometimes dramatically altered the wedding plans of so many couples in the last year and the coming years.
It has changed the landscape of the wedding industry, how it functions, and how it very well may continue to work in the future.
Over the last year, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of weddings. But it’s also brought with it new ideas––and even new vocabulary!
For example, ‘minimonies’, ‘micro weddings’, and of course, the ‘sequel wedding’.
As events slowly start to open up again, couples turn their thoughts to planning these events. But what is a sequel wedding? And how do you prepare one?
Sequel weddings aren’t an entirely new concept. Instead, it refers to a couple hosting multiple ceremonies, already a tradition in many cultures and religions.
Similarly, celebrities are popular to extend their wedding celebrations: think of Sophie Turner, Joe Jonas, Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin.
But we’re about to see sequel weddings become a new norm for 2020 and beyond as couples choose to create more authentic moments of celebration with their family and friends.
After months of not seeing each other in person, the joy and connection that happens at a wedding is not something we’ll want to keep for just one day.
Instead, minimonies, micro weddings and elopements will join with big reception celebrations for a sequel wedding. Let Cosmopolitan events Wedding Venue help you create the most magical day of your life.
Here’s what you need to know about throwing a sequel wedding.
What Is a Sequel Wedding?
A sequel wedding is a wedding of multiple parts. You may think that you haven’t heard of them, but they are already a widespread occurrence.
For many, the sequel wedding is the chance to have a small, intimate wedding or elopement with their closest. Others want to get married, but the big party may not be financially viable yet.
Many couples have an intimate ceremony first, with a large celebration later with friends and family.
The first event is usually where the official legal documents are signed, and the couple is seen as married or in a civil partnership in the eyes of the law.
The second wedding is usually a much bigger affair. The couple will usually invite many more friends and family to this event.
They might even enjoy a symbolic wedding ceremony led by a celebrant with a much larger reception.
In essence, a sequel wedding is a two-part wedding where a couple will celebrate with multiple ceremonies.
Typically, the first ceremony is intimate with close family and friends. In contrast, you invite a much more extensive guest list to the second ceremony and follow it with a large, grand reception.
There are many reasons couples choose to do this, for example, having a small church or registry office wedding followed by a much larger party on a different day at your chosen venue.
We see a rising trend following the Coronavirus pandemic. More couples choose to host a small minimony, micro-wedding or elopement on their original wedding date or later this year, with a much bigger ‘sequel wedding’ planned for 2021.
Not sure what a minimony, micro-wedding, or elopement are? Here’s a brief recap.
A minimony is a miniature version of your postponed wedding, most often held on your original wedding date.
This is your legal ceremony (or a commitment ceremony with a celebrant) and will be done before a few loved ones, either in person or virtually.
You do everything planned on your original date, such as having your first dance, hiring your photographer for a few hours, making your vows, and cutting a miniature version of your wedding cake.
The key to your wedding being a minimony is that you’ve had to cut down your guest list; this more extensive guest list will then get an invite to a follow-up wedding when large groups can meet again.
There you’ll have another ceremony where you walk down the aisle and exchange vows (just not legal ones this time) and your reception.
A micro wedding is a wedding with less than 20 guests. It differs from a minimony because you always intended on having a small guest list.
Most often, with a micro wedding, there isn’t a reception planned later; the couple chooses to have an intimate wedding day with just their nearest and dearest.
What we’re finding after lockdown is that couples are feeling the pull of having a big party with all their loved ones to celebrate, finally being able to reunite.
They won’t have another ceremony, but they will have a ‘sequel reception’ where they might hire a more casual venue like a pub or restaurant, and the focus will be on a party rather than a second wedding day.
An elopement is traditionally the couple and maybe two witnesses going away to marry in secret.
Many eloping couples don’t tell their families. Still, we may see a rise in teams gathering a few friends or family (maximum 10) and getting married without telling their extended family and friends until after the event.
This is followed by a party-style reception where you can either reveal you got married or tell people in advance and let them join you to celebrate.
A sequel wedding allows a couple to become legally married now and postpone their originally intended celebration for a time when it is safe for large groups to gather.
This has enabled couples to celebrate the joyous moment still now and have something to look forward to down the road.
Many of our couples have even found the intimate ceremony to be more meaningful than expected and are grateful to have the opportunity to have multiple options to celebrate.
Why Choose to Have a Sequel Wedding?
Firstly, during coronavirus, we are less likely to celebrate marriage in the way we would like. This is because social distancing restrictions still limit wedding ceremonies and receptions.
A sequel wedding gives couples the flexibility to get married now (even during the coronavirus pandemic) and then have a party later when social distancing is a thing of the past.
What About When There Isn’t a Pandemic?
There are many reasons why couples choose to have a sequel wedding instead of celebrating one day. Here are just a few:
Many couples prefer a small, intimate registry office civil ceremony for their second wedding but still want a more significant celebration with friends.
For many, the abroad wedding is their ‘real’ wedding, but for many reasons, you might legally have to marry in AU first and still want to mark that occasion in a minor way.
It may also be that the destination wedding is your legal wedding, but you’d still like a local celebration.
Family and Friends
Perhaps someone special in your life is sick or an elderly relative who cannot travel to attend your more significant celebrations.
A sequel wedding will allow you to accommodate the needs of these special people who you want to be present at your wedding.
Two people do not have to have the same religion to fall in love. However, you may want to celebrate both faiths by having two ceremonies for those in interfaith relationships.
A sequel wedding allows for each faith to be acknowledged and celebrated. Some choose to do this by having the legally binding ceremony at a registry office and enjoying a symbolic ceremony led by an independent celebrant who can ensure the inclusion of both faiths in the tradition.
Many couples getting visas to join their partner in another country will have a legal ceremony to adhere to the visa rules.
They’ll want to celebrate this incredible moment in their journey to being together and then have a massive wedding with friends and family later.
It could be that these events take place on different continents, and it’s simply not possible to have everyone together in one place.
Your Parents Don’t Share Your Vision.
It can be that your family wants to pay for your big day, but the number of guests they want to invite or their more formal vision doesn’t fit with yours.
In this case, they may be pleased for you to have a smaller day out of your budget that fits your theme and another day in line with what they would like planned.
Just Because You Want To!
Maybe your wedding vision is simply unusual! You may prefer to plan something true for both you and your partner.
Regardless of your situation, having a sequel wedding gives you the flexibility to plan your dream wedding, giving you the best of both worlds.
In 2020 and beyond, couples choose to break from tradition and adopt a “more is more” approach to their weddings.
They’re hosting two fully-fledged wedding ceremonies, just with different size guest lists.
The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that 1) many couples have been separated from their loved ones and want to have a party to celebrate being able to reunite, but 2) those couples don’t want to put their guests at risk organising a large gathering for the time being.
That’s made the sequel wedding a sensible and exciting proposition, and here’s why it could be right for you:
Want elderly or at-risk relatives to see you exchange vows? A minimony means you can share the day without worrying about them being exposed to those outside their social bubble.
You’ll make beautiful memories with them, won’t have to stress about their safety at a more significant event and get double the celebrations!
With many postponed weddings pushed forward to 2021, you may not be able to secure the venue or supplier you want on your new date.
With a sequel wedding, you can have a small ceremony now and then postpone the second wedding to a date when your dream wedding team is available.
Alternatively, they might be able to host a small weekday wedding for you, and you can choose a new venue or supplier team for your reception later.
You’ll get to spend more quality time with those you love as there’ll be more time to see everyone.
After so long apart from loved ones, the fact that two weddings mean the most opportunity to dance, laugh and hug your loved ones could be enough of a reason.
If a particular date is significant, e.g. your anniversary, you might not want to forgo your wedding plans.
In this case, hold a minimony on that day and honour that occasion. That day will still be your wedding date and give another level of meaning to your anniversary; it just won’t be the date of your big reception. (FYI, you can use this as an excuse to have two anniversaries!)
Can’t decide on a theme? You can throw two unique and bespoke events, with new suppliers, new outfits (if you want) and a completely different atmosphere.
If you’re desperate to marry sooner rather than later, you may not have a choice! The Government may limit the number of guests allowed that could be anywhere from five to 50. That means you could be having a minimony in 2020 followed by a giant party in 2021, whether you planned it or not!
The thing to focus on here is that you get double the celebration at a sequel wedding––it’s not about losing out on the big wedding you planned, but gaining a more intimate personal one too. Looking for the best Wedding Photographer in Melbourne? Check out our ultimate list here.
More than that, it’s a safe way to celebrate with loved ones, and right now, the health of those we love is our highest priority.
How to Coordinate a Sequel Wedding
If you’ve already booked vendors, including a wedding planner, you’re likely in luck.
Most wedding professionals are ready and willing to transfer deposits to use that money for a micro wedding or their future sequel wedding.
Connect With Your Vendors
Start by reaching out to each of your booked vendors and find out their postponement policies to make sure you’re not going to lose out on any deposits made.
From there, decide which of those already-booked services you can use towards your first event and which are best saved for your sequel wedding.
If you choose to use the same vendors for both events, they’re likely to be much more flexible with applying dollars as you want and even giving you a better price for the minor event.
Create Guest Lists for Each Event
Your sequel wedding may include your original guest list, and your sooner ceremony may be close friends and family—but coming to a clear-cut decision on both is crucial.
Families can become very sensitive about attending multiple events, so be sure that your guest list considers all family dynamics and that your immediate families are comfortable with the breakdown of each list.
Notify Your Guests
Once you’ve gotten all of the vendor components squared away, it’s time to notify your guests of all of the changes—both the more extensive guest list for the sequel wedding and the more intimate guest list reserved for your smaller ceremony.
This is a general rule but especially applicable during this time; guests are so appreciative of being informed about your plans, expectations, and how you’ll communicate with them.
Use your wedding website as a way to communicate with your general guests easily, and reach out to the intimate guest list separately regarding information for the original, now more minor event.
Consider How You Want Your Sequel Wedding to Differ
When it comes to planning your sequel wedding, it can be helpful to distinguish it from your first wedding.
If one is religious, make sure and confirm if this will also cover your legal marriage or if you’ll need to take care of that separately.
When selecting your ceremony officiants, she recommends having them weigh in on ways to make each ceremony different and meaningful in their way.
You also want to think about what’s most important to you planning your two separate ceremonies.
Save the heartfelt, tearful vows for your smaller ceremony amongst your closest family and friends and the epic dancer party for your sequel wedding when you’ll be able to host more guests.
Maybe with your sequel wedding, you have the ceremony be shorter to give you more time to enjoy the party.
Commit to the Idea
Changing your wedding in any capacity is a difficult thing to do, so it’s no surprise if you feel anxious or unsure about the whole concept of having a sequel wedding.
Chances are, many of your married friends and family members didn’t have to deal with any of the obstacles that have been set out before you, and that can be frustrating!
But one of the best pieces of advice that planners are giving their couples is to commit to the idea of a sequel wedding once you’ve set your mind to it.
Find a sequel wedding option that makes you feel excited, and then own it!
It may not be the traditional sequence of events you’ve been dreaming of all your life, but it certainly stretches out the celebration and gives you more room to personalise.
How to Host a Sequel Wedding
Budget for Two Weddings
Two weddings will cost more than one. Be realistic about your budget, so you don’t stretch yourself and feel stressed.
It may be sensible to put plenty of time between the two events to give you a few more months to save up. There are ways to reduce costs across the two:
Typically, one of your weddings will be more formal than the other.
Decide if you want the formal wedding to be a small legal ceremony or a bigger bash, e.g. an intimate ceremony at a church will be standard, but informal if it’s in your back garden; a fancy reception will be formal if it’s held at a stately home, but informal if it’s at a pub.
Having an informal second wedding will save you the most amount of money.
However, if that’s when you want to splash out, choose a cheap or free venue for your minimony, such as a local park or parent’s garden, or a private room in a restaurant following a registry office ceremony.
If you have the same photographer for both, ask if they could give you a deal for the minimony.
You’ll only need the photographer for a few hours, and you’re more likely to have the wedding in the off-peak season or on a weekday, so you might be able to negotiate on prices.
Wearing the same dress or suit at the two events will save money. However, if you want to keep it unique for the second wedding, consider borrowing a dress from a friend or family member or finding a cheap party dress online for the minimony.
Don’t get trapped into traditional food options: replace a sit-down three-course meal with food trucks, an afternoon tea or a picnic.
Adjust how much alcohol you’re buying. For example, if you want an open bar, only do it at one of the events.
An at-home minimony is prime time for you to bulk buy champagne and wine from a supermarket and save the mobile bar for the second event.
A Spotify playlist is good enough for your first dance at your small wedding, and you can save the band or DJ for the second.
Alternatively, a Spotify playlist is more than good enough at a big venue that has a good sound system, and you can get your most music-savvy friend to prepare a playlist for you for free.
Pick two or three priorities for each event and work your budget out from those. For example, it could be amazing Michelin-starred restaurant food for your 15 minimony guests, and then a fantastic live band and loads of flowers for your second event.
Hold back the money for those priorities, and you’ll be able to adjust what you can afford for the rest of the weddings.
Plan Your Guest Lists
A minimony should be limited to less than 50 guests, but we’d recommend keeping it in the 10-30 guest ballpark.
Any more significant, and it loses the intimacy and quality time you planned it for. Make a list of immediate family and close friends for your minimony, and put everyone else on your sequel wedding list.
Be ruthless where you have to – everyone will still get an invite; it just won’t be to the first event.
If you’re inviting guests to different ceremonies for religious or cultural reasons, it may be that there is no overlap between guests, and many would feel out of place at the other. Consider which your guests would be most comfortable.
FYI, the minimony guests should get invites to both events, but make it clear there is no obligation for them to be at both.
The point is that both days will have similar meaning for you, and you’re just happy for them to celebrate one with you.
Decide on Your Aesthetic
You’ll probably want to have two completely different visions at the two weddings – and you’re more than entitled to!
We love a relaxed, romantic garden party vibe for a minimony with a family dinner party-style meal; that might mean rustic décor with wildflowers, big platters of food on the table and a homemade cake.
For the second wedding, you might want a chic hotel where you can party until the early hours with guests and then roll upstairs into the bedrooms––that will lend itself to a calm, contemporary look, with personalised touches, elegant flowers and modern geometric décor.
More and more couples are influenced by an Instagram aesthetic for their wedding but don’t want everything to make its way onto social media.
Your vow might be too unique and sacred for you to share, so your second wedding fills that gap.
Inform Guests There’ll Be Two Weddings.
Unless you’re having a secret elopement, it’s best to be upfront about your minimony.
Email your guests and add a note on your wedding website explaining that your guests’ health is the most important thing to you and, therefore, you’ll be marrying in an intimate ceremony with just those in your social bubble.
When the time is right, you’ll be hosting a larger party, and you can’t wait to celebrate with them.
Importantly, consider your wedding party’s budget! Your bridesmaids or groomsmen might not be able to afford two sets of hotel rooms or two different outfits, so be considerate of what you’re asking them.
Perhaps you only have your maid of honour or best man at the minimum (especially if they’re your siblings), and your bridesmaids and groomsmen get their chance to walk down the aisle at the second wedding.
Make Each Day Unique
What we’re trying to avoid is your guests feeling like they’re invited to the ‘second’ wedding and that it’s somehow lesser.
It’s not. The best way to do this is to invest in individual personalised décor for each wedding day.
Yes, it’s a bit silly as you know that both are equally important, but we all know that aunt or cousin that might take an invite to the ‘second’ day personally!
Get everything from wedding signs to favours, cake toppers, service orders, and more printed with your sequel wedding date. Wear a new outfit or add new old, new, borrowed and blue accessories. Check out our Top Wedding Planners here to help make your special day as smooth as possible.
Break tradition at one of the dates with something that makes it utterly unique – whether that’s cycling down the aisle on a tandem bike to choreographing your first dance. Using a different aesthetic and adding in lots of personalised details will help it to feel like its own special day.