The difference between Elopements, Minimonies, and Micro Weddings

July 13, 2020

Back to Blog

Posted in:

Elopements, Mini-Monies, and Micro-Weddings are all the rage now.  With Covid-19, couples have been left wondering what they are going to do.  Spring events moved to the fall, and now many fall events are postponing into 2021.  Many couples were hoping that this virus would be contained before the next season rolled around, unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Many states are in different phases of reopening and have different guidelines in place to keep everyone safe. You will need to double-check your state guidelines, confirm with your vendors, and ask your venue what their policies are. We are in Richmond, Virginia and we are in Phase 3.  I know that DC is a bit behind us and that some counties and cities in the state of Virginia are adjusting a little differently. 

Before you send out those invitations there are some big decisions you will need to make. 

Before COVID-19 it was the norm to have 150+ guest counts.  Many couples struggled to cut the list. “If we invite this person we have to invite this person” and the saga continues. Having large guest counts is fun. It’s great to see all of your friends and party together, but the downside is you don’t have time to visit with everyone.  There will just be too many people and you won’t have as much time as you think you will to chat. The other downside of a large wedding is that your budget doesn’t go as far.  Most of the inspirational images you see on Pinterest or on the blogs are very time consuming and expensive. It’s very hard to scale a ‘Pinterest’ wedding. 

Enter Covid-19

We went from a complete shut out where events were not able to happen at all, to a slow phase-based opening schedule.  Depending on what phase your state is in depends on what you can do at your event. These phases are also dependent on how the state or county is doing with its positive cases. The state can shut down again if it feels that it is necessary to flatten the curve.  None of this is great news for those who are planning weddings and events. 

Of course, we would all love to get back to large events and social gatherings but at this time it’s pretty risky. Risky for your guests who may be traveling or unable to social distance, and risky for the couples planning who may have to cancel or postpone their wedding.  The guidelines are put into place to keep people safe, both guests and those working the event. They are fluid based on positive cases.  If we go back into a shutdown you will need to postpone your large event. Having moved several weddings this year it is not fun.  It is stressful and expensive and I hate that our couples have had to experience that. 

That doesn’t mean that your marriage, and the celebration of your marriage, should be on hold. There are many options that we can do and they are actually really great ones. 

The benefits of all of these options below are that they are more likely to happen.  Having a smaller guest count will better your chances of being able to have your wedding, but also your guests will be more comfortable attending. 

Having a smaller guest count also means that your budget will go much further.  You can elevate your experience, enjoy a nice meal at a gorgeous tablescape, have that fantastic photographer and videographer that you wouldn’t have been able to have, enjoy a private serenade or a string trio, and spend time with your partner and guests. It’s a much more intimate, slow-paced, event and it’s something that ends up being very special.  It’s a much more cherished experience. 

Minimony, Elopement, & Micro Wedding Explained:

There are three main options for anyone who would like to get married and celebrate now.  This is a slight pivot from the large wedding, but honestly large weddings aren’t very realistic at this time.  Especially if you are in Virginia, or DC, and are planning a wedding. 

Minimony– This has been a popular option for couples who are still holding out for that larger event. ‘COVID Couples’ get legally married in a small ceremony, usually with 10 or fewer guests and hold out until the larger party later. You will still need your key vendors, but you are focusing on the larger event. These couples may be a little more budget-conscious as this isn’t their ‘big’ wedding. 

Micro Wedding – This is a cross between an elopement and a big traditional wedding.  These events of 50 people or less will still include all of the elements of a large wedding. With the micro weddings, we typically see couples really leaning into their design and elevating the experience for their guests and themselves. The budget goes much further and they are able to really treat their wedding day as a once in a lifetime event. These micro weddings offer so many options for creative execution as larger weddings are harder to scale. 

Elopement– An elopement is an intimate ceremony.  This used to be a spontaneous, secretive way for the couple to get married. This is now more of a planned event. Usually with the couple, officiant, and/or a witness. Some couples may invite a few friends or family members. Often times the couples travel to exotic and remote locations. This is great for those who love adventure and wanderlust.  With travel restrictions, many couples have been opting to stay in the US.  If you are hoping to leave the country make sure you double-check the restrictions on getting out of the country and then make sure you can get back in. 

Sooo, which one should I do?

If you are a “COVID Couple” or are recently engaged, and have been watching the train wreck that is the wedding industry, it can be incredibly daunting to figure out which path forward is going to be best. 

If having all 300 of your friends and family at your wedding to celebrate, is the most important, then it would be best to postpone and have a minimony.  You will still get married on your wedding date, but you are focusing on the big event when it’s safe to have one again.  I will caution that no one has a crystal ball. We don’t know what the future holds. This pandemic may be over quickly and we can get back to larger gatherings, or this may drag on for a while.  In the meantime, you may decide to purchase a home, start a family, or move. If any of those life events happen will you be ok with your ‘minimony’ being your wedding, or your big wedding looking different now that life has changed?

If guest experience is the most important part of your wedding I would 100% recommend a micro wedding. With the smaller guest count, you can really love hard on your guests and the experience will be elevated.  Guests won’t be as nervous to attend being as the guest list is smaller, and this will be your wedding. No one will be holding out for a future date. You are free to purchase a home, start a family, or move. If you want to do something different, creative, fashion-forward, this is your moment. You can always have a larger reception later, an anniversary party, a vow renewal, etc. if you ever get that urge to have a larger party. 

If budget is the driving factor, an elopement might be a less expensive option depending on your location. Traveling to a remote location and bringing with you a highly skilled photographer and videographer can get pretty expensive. If you are just wanting to get married, having something small and local will help save on cost. Again, no one is going to prevent you from celebrating later.  That just won’t be the expectation from the start. 

I am really loving these smaller intimate events.  They are challenging in a different way and they are much more design-focused, which I love. The expectations are thrown out the window and couples can really tap into what makes them ‘them.’  We are offering all sorts of planning services, from the large traditional weddings to the smaller elopements on mountain tops.  

As always, I would love to chat.


Share this post


Sub Category




by appointment only