Small is beautiful. And when it comes to your big day, a micro wedding isn’t just a beautiful option, it’s a budget-flexible and intimate alternative to the traditional wedding. Plus, it’s more pandemic-friendly, which is why we saw a meteoric rise in the search term micro weddings during 2020.
Will that trend continue? So far it looks like in 2021 the trend will continue.
Not sure you love the sounds of anything micro when it comes to your wedding? Don’t be deterred by the term!
While a micro wedding is smaller in terms of guest size, that doesn’t mean the celebration has to be any less spectacular.
In fact, regardless of whether you have a small budget or a big one, a micro wedding gives you much more freedom when it comes to finding a venue, and plenty of opportunities to splurge on various elements of your wedding.
Look, a micro wedding isn’t for everyone, but it could be for YOU! To help you determine if an intimate celebration is the way you want to go, we’ve laid out what’s involved in hosting a micro wedding and put together a pros and cons list. If you decide you’re down for a micro wedding, you’ll want to stick around for our tips on planning each element of your magical celebration!
What is a Micro Wedding, Exactly?
A micro wedding is a unique celebration that combines the traditions of a full-blown wedding ceremony with a minimalist mentality. It’s intimate, beautiful, and often (but not always) budget-friendly.
Suppose you’re someone who likes to honor traditions but is more comfortable with a bare-bones celebration than all the pomp and circumstance. In that case, a micro wedding may just the right fit for you.
A micro wedding typically has about 10 to 15 guests. Its small nature allows for complete flexibility when it comes to wedding venues. You can host a backyard ceremony, a mountaintop wedding, or choose any other venue that celebrates your unique style.
The venue for a micro wedding may be unconventional compared to those typically used for a bigger wedding, but that does not make it any less magical. In fact, a small party means the world is your oyster when it comes to finding an enchanting venue if your heart so desires.
A micro wedding can be just exchanging vows, but it can also be a full-blown reception and party. Your wedding is your special day; the details are up to your imagination.
Micro Wedding vs. Elopement
We know that, at some point in the wedding planning process, most couples joke about just eloping instead. We get it! A wedding can be stressful and expensive.
Instead of cutting out the whole celebration, a micro wedding is a perfect compromise.
Eloping is intimate, but it’s also private and often secretive. It’s usually the exchanging of vows with just one or two witnesses present. It’s often spontaneous and scaled back. It can happen at your local courthouse, the top of a volcano, or on a boat at sea.
A micro wedding, on the other hand, is a celebration with a smaller guest count. It is a planned small wedding event that combines some of the benefits of eloping with a joyful reception.
Both options can be budget-friendly and beautiful examples of celebrating love. It’s up to you whether you’d prefer some of the traditions of a full wedding or a spontaneous, scaled-down elopement.
Micro Wedding vs. Minimony
Micro weddings are also similar to minimonies. The main difference, though, is that a minimony is a mini ceremony, with the intention of a larger wedding celebration later. A micro wedding is a one-and-done event.
Minimonies became a go-to choice for countless couples during the COVID-19 outbreak. The global pandemic flipped wedding plans upside down. Minimonies allowed couples to still get married at their original, planned date while pushing back the larger bash for a safer time.
A minimony is a “commitment ceremony” with typically less than 30 guests. The follow-up to the minimony is the full ceremony and reception, with a larger number of friends and family.
How Much Does a Micro Wedding Cost?
Your micro wedding budget totally depends on you! For some couples, this is the chance to throw a stellar celebration on a tighter budget. The costs for a budget-friendly micro wedding tend to range from as low as $1,500 to $10,000. That’s significantly less than the traditional ceremony and reception, which is estimated to be more than $30,000 on average.
However, for some couples, a micro wedding is a chance to really maximize their dollars-per-guest rate. That means focusing and investing in the details of your wedding, and treating your guests like royalty.
Top-shelf alcohol, couture wedding apparel, and lavish floral arrangements are more possible to pull off with smaller wedding. A micro wedding allows for a luxurious experience for every guest in attendance. At a large, traditional ceremony, you may have to skimp on certain elements, such as the food and drink, to stay on budget with your cost-per-guest rate.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, most couples who choose a micro wedding are still spending the same amount as a traditional ceremony. They’re using the excess budget on luxury items, like high-end meals and Instagrammable venues.
Should You Have a Micro Wedding?
Deciding to have an intimate micro wedding, minimony, elopement, or traditional ceremony is entirely up to you and your significant other.
Your budget, venue goals, guest list, and dream details all impact your signature wedding. Your imagination is the key to making decisions here. You can have the wedding of your dreams, it’s just up to you to envision each element of the day.
If you’re hoping for a more personal wedding experience that’s curated for you and your dearest friends and family, a micro wedding could be the way to go. We know, though, that any significant decision isn’t complete without a pros and cons list, so we’ve put one together to help you out:
Pros of a Micro Wedding
- Budget Flexibility – you can either maximize your cost-per-guest rate with lavish wedding details or steer toward an intimate, less-expensive celebration, while still treating your small party to an unforgettable day
- Unconventional venue options – with a smaller crowd, the sky’s the limit on your venue possibilities. A destination wedding or courthouse ceremony are both in the cards, as is a castle wedding, cozy mountain chalet celebration, or a beach party
- Intimacy – a micro wedding allows for you to celebrate with your closest loved ones. It’s a romantic, tight-knit ceremony and celebration that will allow you to interact with everyone you’ve invited for more than the usual three to five minutes per person associated with larger weddings
- Best of both worlds – A micro celebration blends the traditions of a full-sized wedding with several benefits of an elopement. Good food, music, and dancing are still crucial elements of a stellar micro wedding.
- Creativity – with a smaller guest list and a wide-open sea of possibilities, you’re only limited by your imagination with these ceremonies.
Cons of a Micro Wedding
- Can be expensive – The details can get away from you and your budget if you opt for luxurious items.
- Limited guests – Cutting down your guest list may bring some heartache. If you cannot fathom leaving out your cousins, best friends from school, or work husbands and wives from your big day, a micro wedding may not be possible.
- Bucks tradition – Honestly, this could be a con or pro, depending on your view. A micro wedding is an unconventional choice. If you’re a traditional gal with dreams of a big wedding, this isn’t the celebration for you.
How to Plan Your Own Micro Wedding
So you’ve decided to have a micro wedding, but you aren’t sure where to even start planning the big event. Don’t sweat it! We are here to help. Keep reading for tips on how to plan pretty much every element of your upcoming nuptials and micro celebration.
The first step to planning your micro wedding is to decide on a budget. It’s not the easiest or most exciting conversation, but it is one of the most critical wedding planning elements. Without a financial plan, you won’t have a framework for making decisions.
Fortunately, micro weddings are budget-flexible!
This is your chance to decide as a couple whether you’d like to maximize the details and have a higher cost-per-guest rate at your wedding, or save some cash for your honeymoon and celebrate with a less-expensive backyard wedding party. You can set your micro wedding budget as low or as high as you’d like.
For more inspiration on planning a budget-friendly micro-wedding, check out our guide for throwing an exceptional backyard wedding on a budget.
The signature of a micro wedding is its small guest list. Most micro weddings have an average of 10 to 15 guests. (If you can’t narrow down your list of 100+ friends and family, now’s the time to switch gears and plan for a traditional celebration.)
Choosing the friends and family members you want to stand by your side on your special day is touching and necessary. Your loved ones will be happy to honor your love and celebrate your commitment.
One important note, though— don’t forget to send save-the-dates! This isn’t an elopement; a heads-up is still necessary for guests to be included. The save-the-date can be as simple as a phone call or bespoke, like a handwritten note.
After setting the budget, your attention should turn to venues. Fortunately, with micro weddings, you can get creative with venue choices. Here are a few of our favourite venue ideas:
- a favorite restaurant or bar (book a private dining area or rent out the space for a night).
- a treasured museum or art gallery
- a meaningful hiking spot or beach location
- a cozy mountain chalet
- a historic mansion or unique AirBnB property
- a beloved (or brand new) travel destination
- a farm, backyard, or rooftop overlooking the city
If you opt for a destination wedding, check up on any marriage laws in that country. Officials may require that couples bring specific documents, like birth certificates, to receive a marriage license.
We can’t wait to see your wedding photos from hot-air balloons, scuba-diving ceremonies, or sweet backyard celebrations.
Your wedding day is your special moment as a couple, and we want you to look and feel fabulous. Your wedding attire, hair, and makeup should be as formal or laid-back as you’d like. Choose the wedding dress or suit of your dreams.
Ensure a dress expectation for your guests, too. If you’d like a black-tie dress code, make sure you’re clear about that in your save-the-dates. If it’s a comfortable beach wedding, flip flops and bare feet may be more your style.
Set your wedding around a theme, like these Star Wars fans, or choose a color palette that you love.
Photography is always a great place to splurge when budgeting your wedding. These are photos you will look back on for a lifetime!
Consider investing in a professional photographer for your wedding day and engagement photoshoot. Their careful eye and attention to detail can make all the difference in your photos. If you have friends with a passion for photography, consider reaching out to them too. They may have ideas for beautiful shots you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Food, Beverage, and Desserts
The bread and butter (literally) of any wedding reception are the food and drinks. As a couple, you should get on the same page about food and beverage expectations. Will your ceremony be more of an open-bar type reception or a dry wedding? Are you planning a dessert-only event or several courses?
Food and drink are often the biggest per-guest spend, so a micro-wedding allows a lot more flexibility with your choices. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be able to serve up some incredible food for 10 to 15 peeps.
Your wedding menu is an area for imagination; choose a beautiful wedding cake or opt for your favorite desserts instead. Create custom drinks or custom dishes for your guests.
If your reception is at a restaurant or bar, check to see if they have any specials, deals, or unique dishes for your wedding.
We do want to note, always double-check with your venue on potential liquor or alcohol rules.
Don’t forget about music and dancing! If you have space in your budget, consider hiring a DJ or book some live music for your party.
If you need to cut corners on costs, invest in a great speaker, and create your own reception playlist on an app like Spotify or Apple Music. Create the ambiance you want at your wedding celebration! If you love Beyonce, make sure there’s plenty of Beyonce in your playlist. Big Ed Sheeran fan? Throw his music on the list too.
Beyond having a stellar playlist, there are other opportunities for entertainment at your wedding. Games like Cornhole or Jenga are big hits at outdoor weddings, and perfect for a smaller crowd.
In any wedding, the details are a place to shine. The decor and flower arrangements can totally change the atmosphere of a ceremony and make your moment all the more beautiful.
With a micro wedding, your natural surroundings can make a big splash. Choosing floral arrangements that are seasonal and match the environment can make for a less expensive and seamlessly designed wedding.
A benefit to micro weddings is your chance to give careful attention to any DIY projects. With fewer centerpieces and floral arrangements, you can spend more time or resources on each item.
Check out this beach wedding for some unique decor inspiration.
No wedding is complete without an officiant. You can choose a religious officiant from a house of worship, a civil officiant (who typically charges around $200 to $300 for weddings), or a friend or family member to lead your ceremony (they will need to be certified as an officiant if you want the nuptials to be official).
With a smaller guest list, it’s easier to get creative with wedding favors. Consider handwritten notes or custom gifts for your guests.
You may also need to order rental items, like tables and chairs, or set up hotel reservations for your wedding party and guests. We recommend following wedding planning checklists to be sure you check off every item on your to-do list before your micro wedding.
Micro Wedding Wrap Up
Micro weddings are smaller, easier to manage, and more intimate than traditional ceremonies. With a micro wedding, you have so many opportunities to be creative in your planning or scale things back to a budget-friendly ceremony.
Your micro wedding is your chance to create a very personal ceremony that reflects who you are as a couple. One of the biggest benefits of a micro wedding is that you’ll have much more time to spend with all of your guests on the big day. Treasure the experience, and best of luck with your planning!