In the throes of wedding planning, it’s not uncommon for couples to think about throwing in the towel and eloping. Between the stress of choosing vendors, staying under budget, and managing familial expectations, a smaller wedding might sound like a good idea. The good news is, what was once an alternative to the traditional large wedding, is now embraced as a prime option for social distancing due to COVID-19.
Though the pandemic prevented thousands of couples from celebrating how they hoped and planned to, many decided to let love prevail and celebrate in unique ways. Instead of the large gatherings, intimate celebrations like micro weddings, minimonies, elopements, and plans for sequel weddings have become commonplace. These events allow the couple to send out a handful of wedding invitations to their closest loved ones and celebrate their marriage despite the circumstances. If you and your sweetie are trying to tie the knot during these socially distant times, use this guide to decide which option is right for you.
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Micro weddings are quite literally smaller versions of traditional weddings, meant for 50 people or fewer. The event timeline will start with the ceremony, followed by a cocktail hour and reception, and will include all of the traditions that are important to the couple. Micro weddings are a favorite for many couples who had to rethink their original wedding plans due to COVID-19. This option allows them to protect the health of their loved ones and have a small version of the wedding that they planned.
Real Couples: “We both feel like we got all of the best parts of a wedding ceremony and reception without all the stress and excessive cost. If we could do it all over again, pandemic or no, we would opt for the intimacy of the smaller ceremony.” - Robert and Carly
As more couples host micro weddings, the benefits of having this type of event, pandemic or not, are more apparent. With fewer people comes a lower cost, simplified logistics, and more time spent with each guest. If you and your partner are planning a micro wedding, use these tips to turn it into the day of your dreams.
The most difficult part of planning a micro wedding is choosing the guest list. Since these events are 50 people or fewer, only send invitations to your closest friends and family. When deciding who to invite, ask yourself the question “can I imagine my wedding without them?” If the answer is yes, save that invite for someone else.
With 50 people or fewer, your venue options are endless. You and your love can host your nuptials anywhere from a small museum to a private beach. To pick the best spot, talk to your partner about places that make them happiest, and use those places as inspiration.
Real Couples: “We were able to really focus on the main reason why we were having the event in the first place — to celebrate our marriage and commitment to each other. I have zero regrets and we will no longer be having a large wedding because our intimate ceremony and reception turned out to be everything we could have wanted. It’s easy to get distracted by the flowers, event decor, band, and venue, but in the end, it's all about you, your partner, and your love for each other.” - Caroline Zalla
Just because the event is small doesn’t mean that you don’t need help. If there’s room in the budget, we recommend hiring vendors to make your day extra special. With a smaller guest count, you can enjoy higher quality catering, cake, and drinks, and there will be more money in the budget for the photographer of your dreams.
Once you send your wedding invites, find your venue, and book your vendors, it’s time to finalize all of the details that will make your wedding your own. Whether you want to exchange personal vows or start a beach-side surfing session, celebrate in meaningful ways with your closest friends and family.
The best part of having a micro wedding is the extra time you will get with your guests. In a traditional wedding, couples may only have a few minutes to speak with each person before they need to move on to the next. In a micro wedding, you can plan time to have meaningful conversations with each person.
If a micro wedding doesn’t sound like a good fit, check out these other options for having a smaller wedding.
Minimonies are small gatherings of 10 people or fewer including a photographer and officiant. Due to social distancing measures, thousands of couples have opted for this type of ceremony instead of canceling their weddings altogether. The size and intimacy of minimonies make them the perfect way to honor your wedding date and keep your friends and family safe.
To host a minimony, gather an officiant, photographer, and your closest loved ones, such as parents, siblings, or best friends, and head to a ceremony location. This can be on the beach or in your backyard, as long as it feels special. Once you’re there, exchange your vows, take photos, and soak in every second of this special moment with your partner and loved ones. If you still want to celebrate with friends and family at a later date, sequel weddings are a great way to have the best of both worlds.
Real Couples: “Our beach ceremony was intimate, meaningful, and low stress. Our words were for one another, without distraction. My memory is filled with my beloved, our children, the sea, snow-clad mountains in the distance, and our beautiful circle on the beach.” - Stacy and Markus
Sequel weddings are large celebrations in honor of a newly wedded couple. When a couple elopes or hosts a minimony, they can throw a sequel wedding at a later date. These events can take place one week, one month, or even several years after a couple officially ties the knot.
Your sequel wedding can be similar to a traditional wedding reception or it could be completely unique to you and your spouse. Choose a venue large enough to host your guests and decide on your timeline.
When you think of elopements, images of couples running to city hall or heading to a dreamy mountaintop pass through your mind. While these options are romantic and beautiful, there are so many other ways to celebrate your union with an elopement.
Elopements are intimate unions, typically between the couple, an officiant, and a witness. If you and your partner want to get married quickly or just prefer to share this special moment in private, this might be the best choice for you.
Real Couples: “The biggest benefit of an elopement to me is that I’ve really been able to take back my wedding day! Even with a small wedding, others wanted to have a say in how things were planned or who was invited. Now that it’s just going to be the two of us and we can really do whatever we want. I’m looking forward to having our special day being just about us and the commitment we’re making to one another, which is what a wedding should be about in the first place!” - Kim Hefner
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate while social distancing or you just want an intimate celebration, use this flowchart to help you decide which ceremony is best for you. Sit down with your partner and ask each other these questions to make sure your goals are the same.
Whether the pandemic changed your plans or you want to host an intimate event, micro weddings, minimones, and elopements will be just as magical (maybe more) than a large event. Send wedding invitations to your loved ones and get ready to have the intimate wedding that both of you will remember for the rest of your lives.