Rocket Science Events, founded in 2010 in Minneapolis, specializes in elaborate, imaginatively designed weddings held in nontraditional venues, like an airplane hangar or boxing gym. At the start of 2020, Gretchen Culver, its founder, had three part-time employees, a handful of independent contractors working events and revenue projected to be slightly below $500,000. Then, the lockdown hit Minnesota.
“It was terrible for us,” she said. “All my weddings postponed and I waived the fee for changing a date. That meant, essentially, zero revenue for Rocket Science in 2020 and most of 2021.”
A few years before the pandemic, however, Ms. Culver began noticing that guest counts for many weddings were decreasing. Instead of 200 to 300 people at weddings, many clients wanted 100 or less. “I could sense priorities were shifting,” she said. “In the back of my head I’d been wondering if there was a way to make small weddings, with a smaller overall budget, work for my business.”
The pandemic offered an opportunity for her to find out. She consulted a planner in Birmingham, Ala., doing multiple micro-weddings a day and that conversation sparked a light-bulb moment for Ms. Culver. She created a separate business, Minne Weddings, which offers highly stylized, all-inclusive wedding packages on Sundays.
Several time slots are available on each date for a 90-minute wedding that can accommodate up to 32 guests. The package includes the venue, rentals, décor, digital invitations, flowers, photos, videography, cake, sparkling wine and an officiant; prices range from $5,000 to $7,000. Couples booking the last slot of a particular day can pay to extend the wedding to three and a half hours and add extras like special dances, speeches and more food. Everything is done through the website; in most cases Ms. Culver doesn’t even meet the couple until the day of the wedding.