Micro Weddings vs Elopements

A bride and groom standing against an urban wall with graffiti.

Micro weddings and elopements have definitely increased in popularity, in part due to the pandemic. Throwing a micro wedding or eloping are easily two of the best ways to get hitched that require minimal wedding planning, prepping, and money. But it’s key to know that while micro weddings and eloping are similar in their simplistic nature, they are different. If you are considering whether these two options might work for you on your big day, here’s a breakdown on micro weddings versus elopements and what to know.

What is a micro wedding?

A ceremony for a micro wedding decorated with floral garlands.

A micro wedding is like a typical wedding but done on a much smaller scale. The guest list is typically 25 to 50 people, mainly family and close friends, and is usually held at a low-key venue, like a restaurant or backyard. It’s an intimate experience with some of the components of a bigger wedding including an officiant, ceremony, wedding dress, and a reception. You’re not cutting corners so much as you’re making the most out of what you have. So, yes, there will be food and a wedding cake!

What is an elopement?

A bride and groom looking at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on their elopement.

An elopement is even more pared down than a micro wedding. If you have romantic images of a bride and groom whisking away in secret to a city hall to make it official between them, then you’re not too far off the mark. An elopement usually involves just the bride and groom, but lately has included a teeny tiny guest list of make two to four other people who usually serve as witnesses and/or best man and maid of honor. The ceremony is usually done in a city hall or backyard and that’s pretty much it. Once you’ve said “I do”— you’re done. No party, no cake.

Who should have a micro wedding?

If you’re someone creative who doesn’t mind doing a little DIY if need be, then a micro wedding’s for you. It’s also a perfect choice for those who want some of the trimmings of a bigger wedding without the price tag and the hoopla. And if you’re someone who’s flexible with how things should look and be—even better! Basically, a micro wedding is a fresh take on a more traditional affair done in a smaller way.

Who should have an elopement?

Eloping is best for couples who are private and just want their big day to be about the two of them. It’s also well suited for couples who are working with a small budget and a short turnaround. And it goes without saying that elopements are best for those who don’t need a lot of pomp and circumstance. While you definitely can wear white on your wedding day if you elope, it’s also the type of affair that you can show up casually to. It also needs to be said that eloping also works if you’re okay with your family not being there—and the aftermath that will go along with it. Elopement is essentially best suited for those who want to get married, but don’t need a traditional wedding.

How do you know which one is best for you?

A bride and groom wearing casual clothing and walking through a field with a rustic barn behind them.

Take an honest look at what you want your wedding day to look like. If you dream of having a day that includes your closest friends and family as well as some of the features of a traditional bigger wedding, then a micro wedding is for you. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t want to plan a wedding at all and prefers something short and sweet and a little spontaneous, not to mention extremely intimate with just you and your partner, then eloping is probably how you want to say “I do.”

Whether you choose a micro wedding or an elopement, it’s important to know that “more” is not always necessarily better. An intimate affair can be just as meaningful and special as a large wedding. The format of the wedding is always evolving. There’s no one way that fits all; do what reflects you and your partner’s wishes.

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