In the last year, COVID has caused a surge in the term ‘microwedding’ – but what is a microwedding? There are so many terms around right now; microwedding, intimate wedding, minimony, elopement – what on earth do they all mean and which one is right for you? It’s important to note that the definitions of these kinds of weddings aren’t necessarily written in stone anywhere and they can change as the world itself changes. For example, due to COVID, a lot of people have started calling 10-people weddings ‘microweddings’ when prior to COVID, the number that made up a ‘microwedding’ was a bit higher.
What is a microwedding?
The definition of a microwedding varies based on which article you read, but if you think of weddings in terms of ‘sizes’, a microwedding would be a size small. It’s got everything a standard wedding day has – even the possibility of a wedding party and a cocktail hour – but it’s just scaled down to a very small number of guests.
A microwedding still planned reasonably in advance; several months to even a year and can be booked any day of the week – weekday or weekend! A microwedding generally has between 10-30 people in attendance and the whole affair can last several hours between getting ready, photos, ceremony, cocktails and dinner. Most microweddings don’t have an open dance floor but the couple can often share a dance at some point in the celebration.
What is an intimate wedding?
So if a microwedding is 10-30 people and just a scaled down ‘full’ wedding day, what is an intimate wedding? An intimate wedding is the bigger version of a microwedding but not as gradiose as a standard wedding. Again, thinking of weddings as ‘sizes’, an intimate wedding is a size medium.
Intimate weddings can range from 40-75 people, give or take a tad. It’s still planned reasonably in advance to the date although most couples choose weekend dates for intimate weddings since there are more guests to accommodate. Intimate weddings still have all the bells and whistles including cocktail hour and can even have an open dance floor! Just like microweddings, one of the key things with intimate weddings is that you can naturally spend time with all your guests and don’t have to resort to receiving lines just for a chance to see everyone at least once.
What is an elopement?
So if an intimate wedding is a size medium and a microwedding is a size small, elopements would be the “extra small”. While there’s no hard definition of elopement, they generally share many, if not all, of the below features:
- Planned with very short notice (less than 3 months)
- Less than 10 people; typically just the couple + witnesses
- Ceremony + photos only; no reception or dinner
- Weekdays are normal; weekends are more rare
- Often a surprise from friends + family
After well over a decade in the industry, I’ve noticed that couples often use the term “elopement” when they mean microwedding or intimate wedding. Whether you’re wanting coverage of parts of the day or not, if your day includes 10 or more people and/or you’re having a cocktail hour, dinner or some kind of gathering with those people, you’re in microwedding territory!
So what is a microwedding? It boils down to the events of a traditional wedding day adjusted to fit about 10-30 guests. It still contains all the awesome traditions and meaningful elements that a full day would have, you just have a smaller guest list. Microweddings are much more common now thanks to COVID and in a way although they were growing in popularity for many reasons even before the pandemic. The biggest benefit to planning a microwedding is that you’re setting yourself up to be truly present during your wedding day and not just going through various motions just to follow a schedule. I certainly hope that microweddings will be here to stay!