The desire to enhance intimacy and reduce wedding costs have only increased since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic emerged. As more couples opt for celebrations with smaller guest lists, we’ve seen the rise of elopements, ‘minimonies,’ and micro-weddings. Read on to learn about these wedding trends, discover how to plan a micro-wedding in particular, and determine if a small wedding is right for you.
Small Wedding Trends
An elopement usually has less than 10 guests. It’s a more last-minute, under-the-radar celebration.
The ‘minimony’ surfaced primarily as a result of couples who had to postpone their wedding due to COVID-19. This type of wedding is like a prequel to the in-person wedding day. It brings together a tiny group, less than 10 people, to witness a simple commitment ceremony on your original wedding date.
Some couples have also chosen to live-stream their ‘minimony’. This is a great option if you need to press pause on your larger wedding, but you still want to get legally hitched ASAP.
A micro-wedding is an in-person wedding with up to 50 guests who are almost entirely composed of your nearest and dearest. For this wedding type, you probably won’t invite your mother-in-law’s second cousin or your colleagues from work.
Plan a micro-wedding just as you would a traditional wedding — but with fewer people invited.
Is a Micro-Wedding Right for You?
Opting for a micro-wedding depends on a variety of factors including:
- the location
- your budget
- the number of people you can’t imagine not being at your wedding
To help you determine if a micro-wedding is right for you, see if you meet any of the following criteria.
- You’re planning a destination wedding that’s better suited to a small group. More remote venues, your desire to plan group activities with guests, limited accommodations, and other factors sometimes connected to a destination wedding could make a micro-wedding an ideal choice.
- You’re okay with forgoing your full crew at the wedding. A small wedding has many perks, but it does mean you’ll probably have to leave some people you care about off the guest list. If you’re okay with that, forge ahead with your micro-wedding.
- You’re hoping to minimize cost. One of the largest costs of many weddings is food and drink. More guests usually mean your expenses will increase, especially as the average cost of a wedding guest has increased.
- You want to spend quality time with guests. While it’s near impossible to say more than a quick “Thanks for coming” to guests at a large wedding, a micro-wedding creates the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with all guests.
- You want to spend more of your budget on something other than food and drink. If you’re hoping to purchase a bespoke wedding dress, amazing floral displays, live entertainment, an extravagant honeymoon, or another pricey treat, a micro-wedding can help ensure you have enough funds for the splurge.
- You find large weddings overwhelming. A micro-wedding is a great choice if the idea of hundreds of people watching you say “I do” seems like too much, and you prefer a wedding on a smaller scale than more traditional nuptials.
- You hope to limit your carbon footprint by using fewer resources for the wedding. There are numerous ways a micro-wedding can help you be more eco-conscious. For instance, fewer people will have to travel by plane or car and less food and drink will be consumed, minimizing the amount of food waste and dishes that require water.
Tips for Planning Your Micro-Wedding
Once you’ve given the green light to a micro-wedding, use the following 14 tips to create a smaller scale celebration — without losing any of the magic of your special occasion.
1. Find the Right Wedding Venue
A major advantage of a micro-wedding is the abundance of venues available. While large weddings are limited to event spaces that can accommodate a big group, couples planning intimate nuptials usually have their pick of everything from a boutique restaurant, an art gallery, or the top of an iconic structure to an intimate beach, a sunset cruise, or a secret garden.
There are few limits to where you can say “I do.” As many aspects of wedding planning depend on the venue, find the right one before moving on to the following tips.
2. Consider a Destination Wedding
As a micro-wedding can significantly lower your costs, you may find that your budget allows for a destination wedding. If this is something you’ve dreamed of, start looking into how to make it happen. As an added bonus, it’s a lot easier to get 50 or fewer people to a far-off location than 150.
3. Only Invite Your Closest Friends and Family
One of the trickiest, but most important, aspects of a micro-wedding is only inviting the special people you and your fiancé can’t forgo. Create the invite list together, and be as discerning as possible with who makes the cut.
4. Reconsider Allowing Plus Ones
If your invite list is pushing 50, without accounting for plus ones, you can make them a no-go. It’s likely many of your guests will know each other, so you probably won’t get much flack for the decision. Even if you do, remember it’s your wedding. You have every right to say “No” to someone you barely know arriving on the arm of Cousin Anna or Uncle Bob.
5. Find the Right Officiant
While it’s always good to find an officiant that resonates with you, it’s especially important for a small wedding as it’s such an intimate affair. You can either hire a professional officiant from the area where you’ll wed, or ask a loved one who has a way with words to officiate.
6. Decide If You Want a Wedding Party
Some couples choose to not have a wedding party during their micro-wedding, as the guest count is already so low. Alternatively, you and your partner could have one special friend or family member beside you as you say “I do.” At the end of the day, the size of your wedding party is up to you, regardless of the guest count.
7. Get Creative with Wedding Elements
Fewer wedding guests usually mean more space for quality and creativity. A small guest list can result in a more unique venue, foodie-friendly meals, custom cocktails, involved games, elaborate decorations, and anything else you wish.
8. Embrace the Services of a Wedding Planner
While it seems like wedding planning for a micro-wedding is easy, there are still elements you may forget or find overwhelming. Enter a wedding planner. This wedding pro can ensure every detail is considered and dissolve a significant amount of your stress.
9. Hire a Photographer
Regardless of how understated you want your wedding to be, it’s still a momentous occasion that should be captured by a professional photographer. Take your time searching for the right fit, perusing online portfolios, and calling top candidates to get a feel if your personalities mesh.
10. Treat Yourself to an Amazing Wedding Reception
Just because you’re having a micro-wedding doesn’t mean you should forgo a fabulous reception. Because this type of wedding doesn’t require as many funds for food and drink, you’ll probably have more flexibility when it comes to selecting a venue, entertainment, decor, and fun details you think would enhance the celebration.
11. Decide If You Want DIY Floral Displays or a Florist
Although trying to create DIY centerpieces and other floral displays for a large wedding can seem like a recipe for disaster, it’s doable for a micro-wedding. If you enjoy getting crafty with flowers and foliage, consider making your own displays. Alternatively, you can always seek out a florist to help you develop a concept that matches your vision.
12. Make It Personal
Without an abundance of guests, creating thoughtful touches is more doable. This can include handwritten invitations, calligraphy place cards, arrangements of hand-picked wildflowers, and anything else that piques your interest.
13. Opt for Your Favorite Sweets
When you’re not trying to provide dessert for over 100 people, you can forgo the cake and get more creative. For example, if you love homemade cookies, pie, or candy, feel free to follow that urge. Some couples hosting a micro-wedding also choose to have a small cake and a separate table with a variety of sweets.
14. Determine When You Need to Acquire the Marriage License
Some areas have numerous hoops to jump through before you receive the marriage license. It’s wise to look into the requirements a few months before you tie the knot. This is especially important if you’re hoping to get legally hitched during an international destination wedding.