What’s a Micro Wedding? (And Why You May Think It’s the Best Idea Ever)

A wedding ceremony set-up with chairs and an arch in a field with a backdrop of trees.

With the average cost of the American wedding hiking up to an extreme amount of $20,000, it’s no wonder that couples are getting creative in order to keep costs down while still celebrating their nuptials. Enter the micro wedding—the latest in a string of quirky wedding trends—which is defined as a wedding that has anywhere between five and 50 guests. Like the name implies, it’s a wedding—but in miniature form—which means fewer guests and, most importantly, less money.

Other than fewer guests, what does it really mean to throw a micro wedding? How is it any different than a traditional ceremony and reception? And what are the biggest benefits of throwing a much smaller wedding? Let’s go over all the basics of a micro wedding—and why it might be the wedding solution you were looking for.

A Micro Wedding Is Not an Elopement

A bride and groom at their micro wedding on the beach with a few guests behind them clapping.

First things first: a micro wedding is not an elopement, which typically involves heading to the courthouse or jet-setting away to the nearest all-inclusive resort to tie the knot privately. An elopement will usually only have one or two witnesses at most and will not have all the bells and whistles of a traditional wedding ceremony and reception such as bridesmaids, a dinner, or a wedding shower.

A Micro Wedding Can Save You a Lot of Money

Obviously, fewer guests means less money you have to spend on the overall budget. The fewer people you invite, the less food, alcohol, invitations, wedding favors, linens, flowers, and wedding cake you will need to pay for. This is one of the biggest advantages to planning a micro wedding: you literally get to have your cake and eat it too. Many couples who choose to go the micro wedding route are eager to put their savings accounts to better use for things like buying a home, going on a vacation, or starting a family right away.

You Can Also Stretch Your Budget Further

On the flip side, a micro wedding is also a way for couples to get the wedding of their dreams—without having to pay an absolute fortune. With fewer guests, you can afford to splurge on that ’90s cover band you love so much or be able to spring for the plated three-course dinner. Whatever kind of wedding fantasies you may have can become more of a real possibility when you have fewer guests on your list.

A Micro Wedding Is Perfect for Those Who Can’t Do Large Crowds

A bride and groom kissing at their micro wedding with a few family and friends throwing confetti around them.

If you and your partner are more introverted and are completely freaked out by the idea of getting married in front of 100+ people, a micro wedding can feel a little more intimate and less intimidating. A big bonus to a small wedding crowd is that you won’t feel like you have to break up your guest interactions into 30-second conversations. You can actually spend time with all of your loved ones and not have to feel rushed when you are catching up and socializing at the reception.

You Open Yourself Up to More Venue Possibilities

Have you always dreamed of getting married in your grandmother’s beautiful Victorian-era home? Do you always eye that gorgeous little gazebo in the park as a location for your dream wedding? Having a smaller wedding not only means that you can be more flexible in how you spend your wedding budget, but it also means that you can be more creative with where you get married. Because you’re not having to accommodate 100+ people (and find chairs, parking, and space for them to eat), you can get married in nontraditional wedding spaces like your backyard, a rustic barn, your favorite restaurant, or a small room at a beautiful local library.

You Can Skip Over all the Traditional Wedding Stuff You Don’t Like

A bride and groom dancing at their micro wedding with a few loved ones surrounding them.

While this is also true of a bigger ceremony, a smaller wedding means that there aren’t as many expectations to stick to the script. This means you don’t have to do any readings, have any special music, or do the bouquet toss if you don’t want to. You can just keep all the fun stuff, whether that’s the champagne toast or the cake cutting.

The Hard Part of a Micro Wedding? Narrowing Down Your Guest List

The appeal of a micro wedding is that there are fewer guests to pay for, but the downside to this of course is that you actually have to pare down your guest list. This can be especially difficult if both of you come from large families with dozens of cousins or have a big community of friends.

If you’re having a hard time narrowing things down, here are a few things to ask yourself as you make your guest list:

  • Does the person you are inviting know the two of you as a couple?
  • Have you spoken to this person in the last year?
  • Can you imagine the ceremony or reception without them?
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