What is a Micro Wedding? Everything to Know about Smaller Ceremonies

If you’re excited to have a wedding but don’t want the $30,000 price tag, a micro wedding, minimony, elopement, or sequel wedding may be the answer.

By Jane Chertoff and Georgie Darling

newlywed couple smiling at each other in a circle graphie
Photo by Le Image

Micro weddings are smaller versions of traditional weddings meant for 50 people or fewer. Use this guide to decide if a micro wedding is right for you.

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 expectations from family members, going with a smaller wedding style might sound like the better, less stressful option.

The good news? What was once considered a less common alternative to the traditional big wedding soiree, micro weddings are now embraced in the wedding industry as a common, favorable option (many wedding venues are even offering micro wedding packages!)

As an alternative to larger weddings, intimate celebrations like micro weddings, minimonies, elopements, and plans for sequel weddings have become more popular for couples across the country (and the world!).

If you’re thinking of getting married on a smaller scale, use this guide to decide which option is right for you.

What is a micro wedding?

Micro weddings are smaller versions of traditional weddings—typically with 50 or fewer guests. Just like a larger wedding, a micro wedding event timeline will start with the ceremony, followed by a cocktail hour and reception, and will include all the traditions that are important to the couple.

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


How big is a micro wedding?

A micro wedding typically includes 50 or fewer guests, with an average number of guests coming in around 30. But there's really no minimum figure when it comes to planning a micro-wedding. It could just be you, your other half, a handful of family members, and some of your closest friends.

How much does a micro wedding cost?

The average wedding cost for 50 guests in 2023 is between $1,500 to $10,000. However, it’s definitely possible to hold a micro wedding without spending $10k. In contrast, the average wedding in the U.S. costs around $30,000, based on a wedding size of 100 guests.

Should you have a micro wedding?

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate big on a smaller scale, sit down with your partner to talk through the pros and cons and make sure your goals are the same.


  • You can have a more personal and intimate wedding ceremony experience with your guests, those that matter most to you.
  • If large crowds and being the center of attention isn’t your thing, smaller ceremonies can limit anxiety.
  • You can save time and money on planning the wedding.
  • You can be more creative and flexible with your venue, style, timing and traditions. Maybe now you can splurge on a small destination wedding.
  • You’ll have more money in your budget for the things that matter most to you. Longer honeymoon, anyone?


  • You may not be able to invite everyone on your initial guest list. This could cause some tension or disappointment among family members or friends.
  • Your cost-per-head may end up being more expensive depending on your venue and traditions.
  • If you had your heart set on a large wedding, you may miss out on some of the excitement and energy that comes with it.

How to plan a micro wedding

As more couples host micro weddings, the benefits of having this type of event, pandemic or not, are becoming more celebrated. 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.

  1. Limit your guest list.

The most difficult part of planning a micro wedding is choosing the guest list. Since a micro wedding size is 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, consider saving that invite for someone else. Check out this article for more tips on how to stick to a small guest list.

  1. Let people know you're hosting a micro wedding.

If you were originally planning a larger event, there are a good number of people you were planning to invite to your wedding that now aren't going to be receiving invitations. And if you want to prevent any hurt feelings or misunderstandings, it’s a good idea to let people know that you've decided to have a much smaller event.

  1. Choose your space.

With 50 people or fewer, your venue options are endless. You and your love can host your nuptials anywhere from small ceremony venues to a private beach. To pick the best spot, talk to your partner about places that make you both 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

  1. Hire some help.

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, wedding cake, and drinks, and there will be more money in the budget for the things that matter most to you—whether that's an amazing florist, the most delicious food and cocktails, an incredible wedding photographer, or the wedding dress of your dreams.

  1. Make it your own.

Once you send your wedding invites, find your venue and book your vendors, it’s time to finalize all 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.

  1. Make time for your in-person guests...

One of the best parts of having a micro wedding is the extra time you 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. With a micro wedding, it’s much easier to have quality time with each guest.

  1. ...and don't forget the guests who can't be there.

By definition, hosting a micro wedding means scaling back your guest list. But just because some of your wedding guests won't be able to join the festivities in person doesn't mean you don't want to include them at all (they made your original guest list for a reason!)

Look for ways to celebrate your upcoming nuptials with the people you aren't able to host in-person at your micro wedding. For example, if you decided to limit your micro wedding to family members, you might host a Zoom celebration with your friends a few days before the event. Or, if you don't want anyone to miss out on your "I do's," you can livestream your wedding ceremony—and send a link to all the guests you would have invited to a larger wedding so they can join in on your big day virtually.

We’ve got all the best wedding planning tools (completely free!) to help you plan a wedding of any size. Find everything you need to plan the wedding you want with Zola.

Does a micro wedding still feel like too big of an event to manage? Not to worry; you have other, even more intimate options for your wedding ceremony and reception—starting with a minimony.

Other types of micro weddings

Remember, it’s your big day. If a traditional micro wedding doesn’t work for you and your partner, these other options may be just what you’re looking for…

What is a minimony?

Minimonies are similar to micro weddings but on a much smaller scale. Minimonies are small gatherings of 10 people or fewer. They include immediate family, close friends, and a few vendors like an officiant and photographer. Their size and intimacy make them the perfect way to honor your big day.

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.

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

If a micro wedding or minimony sounds good for now—but 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.


What is a sequel wedding?

Sequel weddings are large celebrations in honor of a couple that's already been married in a smaller ceremony. 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 years after a couple officially gets married.

Sequel weddings are a great compromise because they give you the knowledge that you'll be celebrating your marriage with all the important people in your life in the future—which can make it easier to enjoy a smaller, more intimate event in the present.

Your sequel wedding can be similar to a traditional wedding reception or it could be completely unique to you and yours. Choose a venue large enough to host your guests, and decide on your timeline and get ready to celebrate!

Should we just elope?

For some couples, the thought of hosting an event of any size can feel overwhelming. Or maybe you always envisioned a private ceremony for just you and your partner. If this sounds like you, the best option might be to elope.

When you think of elopements, images of couples running to city hall or heading to a dreamy mountaintop might pass through your mind. While these options are romantic and beautiful, there are so many 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


To recap

A micro wedding is similar to a traditional wedding, just for a smaller group; generally, micro weddings have 50 or fewer people in attendance.

A minimony is an intimate affair with 10 or fewer people in attendance (including the officiant and maybe a photographer). Minimonies are generally reserved for immediate family members and the closest of friends—and fall somewhere between a micro wedding and an elopement.

With an elopement, you and your partner opt to get married on your own—with an officiant and potentially a witness or two. This option is ideal if you want to get married quickly or with minimal planning—or keep "I do's" as a private moment between you and your soon-to-be spouse.

A sequel wedding is a larger event you host after hosting a micro wedding, minimony, or elopement. Sequel weddings give you the opportunity to bring together a larger group of your friends, family, and loved ones to celebrate your marriage at a later date—whether that's a few weeks, a few months, or a few years in the future.


An intimate event, like a micro wedding, minimony, or elopement can be just as magical as a large wedding ceremony. So, send out wedding invitations to your loved ones and get ready to have a wedding that both of you will cherish for the rest of your lives.

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