The trend for intimate celebrations - which so many embraced during the years of the pandemic - is here to stay, and has become a rising and thriving corner of the luxury wedding market.
More and more couples are embracing the idea of a smaller guest list, liberated from the expectation that weddings have to be large. They are investing their budget into elevating the quality of the experience. In turn, more wedding pros all over the world are looking to these couples as their ideal clients – excited to attract more bookings from couples wanting to tell their stories in this intimate, beautiful, non-traditional way. Learn how to attract and serve couples having micro weddings!
Why Couples Choose a Micro Wedding
There are a multitude of reasons why couples choose to elope or have micro weddings – and not all of them are straightforward, or positive. There can be quite a complex emotional landscape associated with the decision, and it’s really important to be sensitive to all of these additional “layers” when serving couples in this niche.
It may be that this is what they wanted all along, of course – but it could also be that they are opting for this style of wedding celebration due to challenging personal or professional circumstances. There could be friction in family or friend dynamics, social anxieties, budgetary constraints, or medical reasons woven into their decision too.
When connecting with micro wedding couples, remember not to make any assumptions about their situation, and take the time to ask them to share their story with you – if they feel comfortable too – so you can better understand their why.
Key Features of Micro Weddings
When compared to larger celebrations, there are a few key features that stand out – which are worth considering when creating a wedding offering tailored to this type of couple. Of course, these aren’t hard and fast rules, because each wedding and elopement is completely unique!
In general, it’s worth keeping in mind that micro weddings and elopements:
- Have a smaller guest list than the average wedding in your local area
- Can be planned on a shorter average lead time
- Have a comparatively higher budget per person
- Are generally less focussed on tradition
- Are generally more focused on the experience
- Can be more flexible & spontaneous (sometimes!)
- Typically involve the couple having a highly personal relationship with vendors
- May have a different definition of “luxury” than other wedding clients
That last point is one worth thinking about in a little more depth. I believe that, in many ways, the meaning of “luxury” for micro-wedding clients shares much in common with that of the high-end travel industry.
Luxury is an excellent meal, a well-crafted travel itinerary, a sensory cultural experience, a moment of exceptional customer service, and a space with curated aesthetics. They value seclusion, attention to detail, personal fulfillment, and the kind of convenience and flexibility that truly increases overall well-being. It’s more about memories than things – but they are also drawn to the appeal of quality, and want to treat themselves to meaningful items & premium experiences.
"It's about quality over quantity!" - The Stars Inside
These are some beautiful responses that I’ve had from real micro wedding couples to the “What does luxury mean to you?” question in my onboarding questionnaire:
- “Luxury to us is someone knowing what we want before we know we want it.”
- “Luxury to us is somewhere that has thought of every detail and that you can tell has had lots of thought and effort put into every aspect of design, food, service - even down to the scent running throughout a venue.”
- “Luxury to us is great service, feeling taken care of, high-quality items, and not having to worry about the details.”
- “Luxury to us is having the freedom to live as we want, to be able to come home to each other after work, knowing we are safe and whole.”
- “Luxury to us is comfort, and that extra mile we go in order to achieve it.”
What Micro Wedding Couples Are Looking For
What I’ve learned over my years of specializing in this niche is that micro-wedding couples are not your average client. They see their wedding as a chance for a personalized adventure that's off the traditional path that reflects their cultures, values, and unique love stories.
They’ve most likely chosen this path because they want to do things their way, outside of wedding rules and expectations. They want suppliers able – and excited – to go on this journey with them, and step outside the box with them, and for them.
They’re looking for:
- Ways to hyper-customize and elevate the experience for them and their guests, typically for a celebration that spans multiple days, multiple locations, and multiple styles/levels of formality.
- Venues & vendors with bespoke services, or offerings created specifically for intimate weddings. “Packages” are not well received, and “minimum spend/order/guests” is a turn-off.
- Exclusivity & uniqueness: they want to make the most of hosting an event that is non-traditional, and have options that larger weddings may not otherwise have access to.
When it comes to their team, they may be looking for:
- A wedding planner
- One or multiple venues – private or public, or both
- A photographer
- A videographer
- A ceremony celebrant – typically symbolic / humanist
- A floral designer
- A hair & make-up artist
- A stationery designer
- A private chef or bespoke catering offering
- A cake designer
- Musicians & Entertainment
- Rentals, décor, production, and lighting
- Private transport – charter flights, cars, boats
- Bespoke gifting ideas
- Bridal designers, boutiques, and a menswear tailor
- A travel specialist & concierge
- A honeymoon concierge
And anything else they need to fill their experience with meaningful luxuries.
They’ll broaden their search away from traditional wedding venues and over to restaurants and wine bars, boutique hotels, galleries and museums, gardens, luxury AirBnbs and private villas, and even geographical landmarks. They’re searching with the eye of experienced travelers and may extend their micro wedding into a honeymoon, or a holiday with family or friends. More open to weekdays, shoulder seasons, and off-peak dates. They may be looking for hotels that can offer activities, concierge services, and access to wider experiences.
They’ll want to avoid traditional catering packages, and instead place much more emphasis on seated meals and fine dining. Micro weddings are all about private chefs, sommeliers, signature cocktails, food and drink experiences, multiple-course tasting menus, and completely seasonal and bespoke menus. The quality of staff service and food presentation is even more noticeable in small groups, so this needs to be flawless.
Their photography and videography will be even more important to them because they will be using this to share and explain their choice to elope. Most want extended coverage, with their photography and videography team following them for gatherings and mini-shoots over the course of multiple days. The resulting gallery and trailer should tell a story – like a captivating piece of travel journalism. Others may ask for short coverage for 4 – 6 hours.
"They will most likely still want to invest in highly bespoke wedding decor in order to create immersive atmospheres." - The Stars Inside
For micro weddings, it’s key to make sure there are comfortable spaces for small groups to gather and lots of personalized details to take in. Floral design, lighting, and stationery are heroes of this – and have even more impact in smaller spaces! Couples celebrating with a micro wedding or elopement want that wow factor and will go above and beyond to create breathtaking styling vignettes – similar in approach to styled shoots.
Music also plays a very important part in creating a welcoming space – especially live music by solos or duos. Couples may be looking for non-intrusive, graceful, atmospheric performances that aren’t too overpowering for small groups. Other live entertainment is also sought after live illustrators, performers, photo booths, and so on – as long as they are elevated, sophisticated, and well-suited to small groups.
They will be looking for a solid team to support them: hair and make-up artists, cake designers, celebrants, and bridal wear designers – vendors that understand and welcome bookings where the size may be smaller, but the attention to detail is still paramount. When the supplier team outnumbers guests, it’s more important than ever to have a tight-knit team that understands the vision, and so they will be looking for a team that shares their values and ethos.
The Destination Micro Wedding
As my wedding planning and design work revolves primarily around couples celebrating with their loved ones abroad, there are a few additional thoughts I can add here specific to destination micro weddings and elopements.
In general, these couples:
- Prefer to see supplier costs inclusive of all equipment, permits, freelancers, travel, and accommodation expenses.
- Are looking for vendors with all the relevant documents & insurance, and with global teams.
- Are most likely very tech-savvy and globally-minded, so your content should reflect this. They want to know you understand, love, and embrace the location they’ve chosen.
- Are looking for support in making planning their destination wedding as easeful as possible.
If destination weddings are part of your target market, make a point of cultivating a genuine understanding of the motivations, resources, and habits of the couples that love them. Share this passion with them.
This is true for all weddings, but I would say it’s more important than ever with couples having a smaller, more intentional celebration – as it’s likely that travel is at the very heart of why they’ve chosen this, and want their wedding to be the extraordinary beginning of a spectacular honeymoon.
The Mindset of a Micro Wedding Vendor
Now that we’ve reviewed a little bit about what micro-wedding couples’ priorities might be, it’s worth taking a moment to think about mindset. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the way couples and vendors can instantly click, like a match made in heaven, but I’ve also witnessed suppliers losing business from my couples for simple reasons like the language they used, or the approach they took in the proposal stage.
Communicating with these clients in a thoughtful and mindful way means keeping in mind that:
- Just because a wedding is a micro, this doesn’t mean it won’t be luxurious, grand, or extravagant. They are likely to want to invest a larger proportion of their budget in elevating the experience for their guests. They don’t want to feel like they are less important to you (or being taken less seriously) than your “large” bookings.
- Just because they have decided to celebrate in this way, this doesn’t mean it was an easy decision. They are most likely swimming against the current, and navigating friction from friends, family, and societal expectations. It’s really important to them to feel understood.
- Just because they are getting married in a way that is less mainstream, this doesn’t mean traditions are any less important to them. They may be looking for ways to adapt the traditional wedding framework to their intimate wedding vision.
Most importantly: there is no such thing as a “normal” wedding.
The Benefits of Micro Weddings for Vendors
Having embraced, and immensely enjoyed, specializing in this niche for a few years now, I can say that it is exactly the direction my business was meant to take all along. But just because it has worked for me, doesn’t mean it’s the right use of your time, your creativity, and your business model.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way of running your wedding business, and no “better” or “worse” client to book – it’s all about what is right for YOU and your long-term goals. I do however encourage all wedding suppliers to take the time to consider whether this thriving, young, booming corner of the wedding market could be something you want to explore further.
As I see it, these are some of the benefits that can be found in this space:
- Simplicity: Shorter lead times, less admin, reduced strain on you and your staff, better allocation of resources, and shorter hours. On average, the amount of effort, stress, and work involved for vendors can be less – which means the profit margin can be higher, if you are pricing yourself correctly. This is a generalization however, and I have certainly experienced planning some micro weddings and elopements that were considerably more complicated than some of my larger weddings – so this is very client and brief dependent.
- Flexibility: Micro weddings are typically more flexible and nimble – and often happen outside of peak dates - which means you can fit them into your schedule more easily. Couples eloping or hosting micro celebrations are generally less set on weekends, Summer months, fitting into school holidays, and all the other data considerations that a larger guest list requires. I have generally seen that couples choosing this way of celebrating want to have a lighter, more relaxed, more open-minded planning experience, and so there is generally more breathing room for both them and you as a vendor.
- Quality of relationships: Couples planning micro weddings on average have more personal partnerships with their vendors, which can mean more trust and better and more amicable communication. Clients wanting to elevate their micro wedding will be very open to ideas – so if you’re able to offer experiences, add-ons, and upgrades that meet their needs and truly add value to them, they are very likely to go for it!
How to Connect with Couples Having Micro Weddings
If you feel like you would like to connect with more clients having intimate elopements or micro weddings, either as a niche to specialize in or as an additional, complementary arm of your wedding services, then it’s important that you start targeting your content to these couples.
Use your social media, blog, and online presence to add value to couples planning micro weddings.
Here are some topic suggestions for your captions or blog posts:
- Benefits of micro weddings and elopements
- Ways to add meaningful details to micro weddings
- How to make large wedding venues feel intimate
- How to curate your intimate guest list
- Destination ideas for intimate weddings / top venues in […] for micro weddings
- Styling trends and ideas for micro weddings
Make sure you also review your brand language: is it inclusive of couples celebrating in this way? Will they feel understood and welcomed as they navigate through the pages of your website?
Micro weddings and elopements are a truly special subsection of the global wedding market and one that I have found to be immensely rewarding, exciting, and inspirational. I adore my couples, and I love the honesty, self-awareness, and authenticity with which they approach planning their intimate gatherings; they will not compromise on creating a day that is true to them, and that’s the most wonderful thing of all.
Serving these clients, if this kind of work suits you and your business, is an honor and privilege – but also comes with its own challenges. Creating wedding days suitable for small groups, as small as possibly just the couple themselves takes a shift in mindset – and is a deeply reflective exercise. For me, it means considering what is truly at the heart of a wedding celebration, and how to ensure every single guest knows and feels that they are part of the couple’s legacy, their circle of trust, and their chosen family.
I hope this article has been helpful and thought-provoking, and inspired you to be a thoughtful, caring, efficient ally for all couples that are marrying in different ways.
Hero photo courtesy of Alex & Madi Photography