elopement vs. micro wedding

Elopement vs. Micro Wedding – Which One is Right for You?

Filed in Portrait — April 7, 2022

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Smaller wedding ceremonies have been growing in popularity over the past few years! …And growing even faster after the virus-that-shall-not-be-named downsized many people’s traditional weddings. A lot of new terms have come around, like elopement, micro wedding, intimate wedding. That’s why in this guide, we’re going to compare an elopement vs. micro wedding. We’ll talk about what they mean, and help you decide which one is right for you!

What is an Elopement?

The meaning of the word “elopement” has changed a ton over the last few years. While it used to mean a quick, last minute ceremony (sometimes a somewhat scandalous, slightly booze-induced one), today eloping is so much more than that!

An elopement is a wedding day that’s focused on the couple and is all about their experience.

Elopements can be just the couple, or include a few family members or close friends. Eloping can look different for each couple! It can mean spending the day in a cozy cabin, hiking to a mountain top or flying to Iceland!

What is a Micro Wedding?

A micro wedding (also referred to as an intimate wedding or a tiny wedding), is somewhere in between an elopement and a traditional wedding. It’s smaller, usually no more than 25 people. Micro weddings are intentionally kept small, usually to keep the focus on the couple and their loved ones!

Elopement vs. Micro Wedding – What’s the Difference?

Those two definitions may seem pretty similar, but there are a few important differences when comparing an elopement vs. micro wedding! To help you decide, let’s talk about how the two compare.

Guest Count

The main difference that comes to mind when people think of elopements vs. micro weddings is the guest count. While it’s somewhat of a myth that elopements have to be just the couple, they are usually smaller than a micro wedding.

Elopements typically include 10 people or fewer including the couple and all of the guests. However, many couples do decide to tie the knot with no guests around.

A micro wedding usually includes anywhere from 10 – 50 guests, though most people refer to anything over 25 guests as an intimate or small wedding instead.

Wedding Venue

Another key difference between elopements vs micro weddings is the venue! Typically, the fewer guests you have, the more freedom there is to choose where you want to tie the knot.

Elopements often happen in national parks, hiking trails, state parks, or any other public land. The rules definitely depend on where you decide to elope, but these outdoor locations usually have a limit on the number of people that can be at your ceremony.

For a micro wedding, your choices for wedding venues might be more limited. Many parks will have pre approved locations that can accommodate up to a certain number of guests. Don’t worry though – many national parks have spots designed for bigger ceremonies – like campgrounds and amphitheaters. Thankfully, if you’re dreaming of an epic outdoor location, choosing a micro wedding doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your dream! You may find that you have a lot more options than you would with a traditional wedding day. Plus, you can choose to get married at a funky AirBNB, in a park, or even in your own backyard!

Wedding Day Activities

Another big difference between an elopement vs. micro wedding is in what you do on the big day! Both options give you more flexibility than a traditional wedding and offers a unique experience.

Elopements are usually better suited for big adventures. If you want to hike, kayak, rock climb, camp… or even take a hot air balloon tour on your day, this is usually easier with a small (or nonexistent) guest list. But this doesn’t mean you have to do something epic or adrenaline-rush inducing for your elopement to be an elopement! Adventure can also mean a picnic by the lake, stargazing to end the night, a convertible ride by the coast or anything else that comes to mind. 

The main difference between these activities and what’s commonly done at a micro wedding is that a micro wedding typically puts a lot more of the focus on spending time with your guests. While it’s totally possible to elope and have adventures with family and friends, a micro wedding is usually better for couples who want to prioritize time with their loved ones and to spend the day doing something that everyone can enjoy.

If you’re planning a micro wedding, you could rent an AirBNB and spend the day celebrating with your loved ones, take a houseboat on a lake and party with your nearest and dearest, tie the knot at a campground in a national park, rent a small wedding venue or anything else you can imagine!

Is a Micro Wedding Right for You?

One of the hardest parts of choosing a non-traditional wedding day can be fully committing to your decision. You may be worried about backlash, fear disappointing people, or get caught in the trap of how weddings are “supposed to be.” The wedding industry often puts pressure on engaged couples, trust me, I know. 

Here are some signs that a micro wedding is right for you. You’ll also read some reasons that couples choose this instead of a traditional day.

Micro Weddings are Less Expensive

Budget is a big consideration on any wedding day. The truth is that micro weddings can be much more friendly on the wallet. For most couples, choosing a small ceremony isn’t about avoiding investing in their day, it’s about sending money on things they actually care about! With a micro wedding spend money on what makes you happy, not on linen rentals or catering for 200.

Spend Time With Your Loved Ones

In the sea of plus ones and long lost relatives attending big weddings, so many of the guests end up being people the couple isn’t overly close with. With a micro wedding, you get to celebrate your day with the people you love and who love you!

Micro Weddings Prioritize the Experience

With a micro wedding you have more flexibility with how you spend your wedding day. This means that you can prioritize the experience you have over entertaining guests or jam packed timelines.

If you’ve decided that either an elopement or a micro wedding is right for you, contact me to start planning! I’ll give you all the tips and ideas to make your day absolutely perfect!

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