The Ins and Outs of Elopements, Minimonies, & Micro Weddings

December 17, 2020

When we think of weddings we tend to think of a traditionally lavish event with a large group of people celebrating and mingling together. The traditional average guest count for weddings is 150+. The more the merrier has long been the standard, but that all came to a halt when the pandemic struck. Couples found themselves unable to have the wedding they wanted and had to navigate, postpone, cancel, or alter their special event to align with social distance guidelines. Out of necessity, wedding professionals have also had to adapt. In this new year, planners will be balancing weddings postponed from 2020, along with new bookings. 


What’s the difference?

Queue elopements, minimonies, and micro-weddings.These safer ways to celebrate may be exactly what your client is looking for. You might be tired of hearing and talking about the pandemic (and we totally understand) but the truth of the matter is that it directly impacts our work and lives as planners so we should embrace this newfound opportunity and appreciation for smaller ceremonies. This year will always remind us that it’s not about quantity but quality, and now smaller weddings can now get the spotlight they deserve. Elopements, minimonies, and micro-weddings have a plethora of upsides, some of them including cheaper cost, detailed and unique high-end experiences, intimacy, quality time, less stress and so much more! Today, we’re breaking down what these smaller ceremonies are and how the planning process differs for each one. 

Photo courtesy of Phosart Photography Cinematography


Elopements have long been a run away with your lover, spontaneous act. But elopements can be so much more than that! These events are typically private ceremonies involving the couple, the officiant, and a witness. The smallest, and cheapest option, at 4-8 people, is at an average cost of $100 to $500. The venue can be a courthouse or literally anywhere else. The sky’s the limit, of course with state restrictions in mind. Adventure, wanderlust, and dreamy locales, if the couple wants to travel somewhere special this is the perfect pick. If clients care about sharing this moment privately by themselves or with a handful of people, an elopement is a way to go. 

How to Plan

  • Get an officiant: Make sure you know the state’s/country’s marriage license laws.
  • Location: We’ve rounded up the Top 10 Dreamiest Elopement Destinations. Travel costs may be where the couple is spending most of their budget.
  • Decor: A scenic venue may mean less gaudy decor but it doesn’t mean no decor at all. Stick to easy to carry items, like flowers, tulle, and candles.
  • Photographer/ Videographer: Having the moment captured by a professional is an absolute must.
  • Attire: The couple can go for something more casual or stick with traditional attire. 


Photo courtesy of Vadym Pastukh / Shutterstock


Minimonies are similar to elopements at an intimacy level but just a little bigger. Add more loved ones, about 10. Instead of canceling their wedding, your clients can opt for a minimony. At a minimony a couple can still have a celebration with those nearest and dearest to them while adhering to social distancing guidelines in their state. Minimonies cost an average of $300-$2,000. 

How to Plan

  • The planning process is similar to an elopement, plus light refreshments, appetizers, and/or desserts. 


Photo courtesy of Colorado Micro Weddings


Micro Wedding

A micro-wedding is a smaller scale traditional wedding. With an average guest count of 30-50 people and an average cost of $1,000 to $10,000. The couple can still have all of the same traditions that they would have had at a larger wedding and the planning is the same as a traditional wedding as well. The timeline begins with the ceremony, follows with a cocktail hour, and ends with a reception. With this option, the couple can have their dream wedding while keeping their loved ones and communities safe. 

How to Plan 

  • Guestlist: Each state has its own rules and regulations, so always follow those first and foremost. With the safety of everyone at the forefront, help your clients decide what path they would like to take and which guests they would absolutely want to have at their event.
  • Venue: This is where your clients can have the most fun! Having a smaller guest count means that the venue can be a cool spot that may not have been an option before. Like a cafe or a museum!  
  • Design and Decor: Since micro-weddings are the larger of the small ceremonies, think about ways that you can Create Wedding Designs for Distancing
  • Explore 33 Creative and Unique Micro Wedding Ideas for every season and browse through micro-wedding packages and venues!
  • Vendors: More people means food and bubbly, a great caterer and specialized dinks make for a great party. Opt for a mini cake or delectable desserts instead. 

Smaller ceremonies are a surprisingly intimate and memorable way to remember the reason we have and attend weddings. Narrowing down what option is best for your client is what matters most. Start by asking them these questions from Elegantly Quaint or Intimately Elaborate and use this Flowchart to help them figure out where their priorities lie and which ceremony is the right fit. Small weddings can continue to live long and prosper even when it becomes safe to have large events again.


Hero photo courtesy of Haley Richter Photography


About the Author

Aisle Planner Editorial Team
Aisle Planner Editorial Team
The Aisle Planner Editorial Team is a collective of creative writers, editors, and former event pros who obsess over weddings and special events—and the businesses behind them! Drawn to refined details, design, and creativity, our team provides intelligent and straightforward articles with insights, practical tips, and expert guidance in putting Aisle Planner's "Power of One" behind your business.