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What is a Micro-Wedding?

The Coronavirus pandemic changed the way we do life, and some of those changes are going to stick around for a long time. It is my belief that the appeal of the micro-wedding has been growing over the past decade, and now that Australia is experiencing enforced social distancing, it may just be the perfect excuse to hold your very own micro wedding.

what is a micro-wedding

What actually is a micro-wedding?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and define a micro-wedding as a wedding attended by less than 20 people, with an emphasis on the intimate and small-scale celebration of marriage.

Whilst not quite in the same ballpark as an elopement, micro weddings are being used as a way of “sealing the deal” in a short period of time, on a budget, and are often planed with the intention of a large-scale party at a later date.

blue mountains micro-wedding

What do you need to know about micro-weddings?

Micro-weddings are a totally legitimate, and legal, way of getting hitched. By law, you only need 5 people present at a wedding to make it considered legal. The couple, the celebrant and two witnesses. Personally, I have been present at a number of 5-person weddings and have doubled up being a witness and a photographer.

Of course, for some folks, even though 100+ guests sounds like a headache, sticking to 5 guests is still too small. Micro-weddings refer to that in-between size, around 20 guests, usually consisting of your very closest relatives and friends. Choosing which guests to have at your micro wedding can be both a blessing and a curse, and you’ll likely feel the stress of limiting your choices. One of the most crucial things you’ll need to prioritise in the planning of a micro wedding is communicating with your loved ones the state of the guest list. I hereby give you full permission not to invite your whole family. Just be respectful in how you let them know the choice you’ve made.

micro wedding in Leura

Should you have a micro-wedding?

There’s certainly no clear cut answer to whether a micro-wedding is right for you. Weddings, as a cultural tradition, are a chance for your community to celebrate the love you both have for each other. Let’s not forget the role of community in keeping you accountable to the vows you make to each other “for better or worse”.

I ALWAYS advise engaged couples to spend some time with each other and determine what their “Top Five” is. Your “Top Five” refers to the five most important things you want to spend money on for your wedding. If a big guest list isn’t a part of that initial conversation, then perhaps it’s worth considering a micro-wedding.

Galleries:


Are you planning a micro-wedding?

Please get in touch if you are looking for a wedding photographer to capture your day. Head to my contact page and fill out the form to see if I am available for your date. You can also keep up to date with my latest work on Instagram, @henrypaulphotography.

Chinmoy & Bec – Albert Hall Canberra Wedding

“Chinnerz is genuinely one of the kindest people I have ever met. If he sees someone in need, his default response is to go out of his way to help them; even if that means putting himself in harm’s way. His concern for the wellbeing of both everyone around him and complete strangers inspires me every day to be the best and kindest version of myself.” – Bec

“Bec is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. She has an unwavering sense of justice, and a strong desire to do right by others. She is incapable of turning a blind eye when someone is in need. She will always be the first to open her wallet or donate time or help out any way she can. It’s a quality that would make anyone proud to be her friend and has been the start of many of our adventures.” – Chinmoy

I still vividly remember my first video call with Chin & Bec. They were telling me about their wild plans for a cross-cultural wedding, interspersed with random talk about different board games and audiobooks. I knew very quickly that this was a couple I not only wanted to photograph, but also hang out with.

Our first meeting in-person was on the South Coast. They’d driven 3 hours to meet me for an adventure shoot. Little did I know how affectionate and photogenic they were going to be! It was clear that they were best friends and the real deal. After 45 minutes of braving thunderous waves crashing against the rocks, I hugged them goodbye before rushing home to brag about these two phenomenal humans to anyone who would listen.

A few months passed and the big day had arrived. The wedding itself was a 16-hour marathon of dancing, singing and clapping. A festival of flavour and colour! I witnessed my first Baraat in the heart of Canberra, at Lennox Gardens. It was basically a long and loud party welcoming the groom to his wedding. The Baraat was followed by a series of significant and romantic rituals that recognised the union of two families and the union between Chinmoy & Bec.

The traditional North-Indian ceremony culminated in the Mangal Phera. This stage is the most important and auspicious part of the ceremony. Taking their first steps as a married couple, Bec & Chinmoy circled a sacred fire four times, promising to seek righteousness, prosperity, love, and spiritual enlightenment together.

So here are some photos of Bec & Chin’s wedding. I hope I have done at least a tiiiny bit of justice to their memory of the day.

Lia & Robbie – Inner City Town Hall Wedding

Sydney Town Hall Wedding

Flashback to early March 2020. Before the threat of COVID-19 caused mass shutdowns and bans on large gatherings, Lia & Robbie pushed ahead with their celebrations, knowing full-well that this could be the last time they’d get to see all their loved ones for many months.

Armed with hand sanitiser, a positive attitude, and the most beautiful Excel Spreadsheet I’ve ever seen, these two lovers chose to stand in front of 80 of their friends and family to declare their lifelong commitment to each other. In my books, this is pretty much as good as it gets.

Leichhardt Town Hall was the perfect setting for this rainy day. Lia’s choir friend travelled from all corners of Australia to perform a stellar selection of songs (arranged by Lia herself!). Lia’s unique ensemble was handmade by the maid of honour, with dozens of other touches created by this wild team of creatives.
leichhardt town hall wedding indoor wedding ceremony sydney wedding photography hank paul photography henry paul photography town hall wedding reception
In this time of unprecedented stress and anxiety, my hope is these photos remind you that love is well and truly alive, and something worth celebrating. For those waiting for things to calm down in order to get married, let me assure you that the wait will be worth it.

Venue: Leichhardt Town Hall | Photos: Henry Paul Photography | Flowers: Sarah Weiner | Bride’s Attire: Handmade | Groom’s Attire: Politix & TM Lewin

Chinmoy & Bec Engagement

Chin & Bec are radiant. Having met them several times now, I can confidently say that they are best friends who make each other laugh to no end. They are also extremely authentic people who wear their hearts on their sleeves.

With their enormous wedding extravaganza a few months away, we decided to run away to the coastal town of Kiama for an intimate engagement shoot at Bombo Headland Quarry. It didn’t take much to convince these two, who drove all the way from Canberra, as it seems we share a love for road trips and outdoor adventures.

We wasted no time, ignoring the potential downpour of rain and jumping straight into some “superfeel” prompts designed to shake out any awkward inhibitions someone has when getting photographed. They told me they had never been professionally photographed together, but Chin & Bec were such pros at relaxing and just being themselves in front of me.

The privilege of documenting what it means to be in love never gets old, and I am bursting from the seams to capture their traditional Indian-style wedding real soon!!

bombo headland quarry

3 Cost-Effective Ways to Make Your Wedding More Ethical

Planning a wedding is an enormous task that takes many months of creative thinking, collaboration and financial investment.

 

There is no such thing as a “perfectly ethical wedding”, but if we all work to make ours a little better for the planet, we can celebrate marrying our forever-person knowing that we’re contributing to our forever-planet.

 

I have determined 3 simple, yet cost-effective ways you can make your wedding more ethical and better for the planet in 2020.

How do you determine what is “ethical”?

What are your personal values? Generosity? Making an impact? Kindness? One of the best ways to measure how “ethical” your wedding will be is to measure your decisions against a set of self-determined values. Ethics, by nature, are subjective and need to be agreed upon by the two people planning the wedding.

I have established my own ethical framework. Feel free to borrow mine, or write your own.

 

Hank’s ethical framework:

Sustainability

Generosity

Equality


1. Catering

If you haven’t heard, meat is not so great for the environment. Eating plants is one of the most impactful decisions you can make for your wedding, and will also affect your bottom line. If you want to go hardcore, you could opt for full vegan catering (which will be much cheaper than paying for meat). Otherwise, avoiding red meats or having vegetarian entrees can be a good compromise.

2. Wedding Party Attire:

Consider allowing your wedding party to source their own clothes, rather the prescribing a single style. You can encourage them to wear something they already own or borrow from a friend. This means you can save money, and not succumb to the lure of fast-fashion at the same time! If you do ask them to purchase something new, it’s best to make sure it’s something they’ll likely get future uses out of.

3. Screening your vendors:

Research costs you nothing! When meeting with vendors such as venues and photographers, it’s important you use your values as a framework for the questions you ask them and hire vendors who align with your values.

Do your research to see if particular vendors employ sustainable practises, are LGBT+ friendly, donate a portion of profits etc. Reading online reviews through Google and Facebook are helpful, but also be sure to ask them upfront about anything that is super important to you.

 

Want to learn more about planning an ethical wedding?

Download “The Ethical Australian Wedding Checklist” here.

Download “The Ethical Australian Wedding Checklist” here.

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