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How Do You Define a Small Wedding?

Gretchen Culver of the National Small Wedding Society explains Small Wedding Sizes
Sherri Hildebrandt
Trish Allison Photography

Many couples are now opting for more intimate events in order to adhere to ongoing restrictions. But small weddings come in many shapes and sizes, so we spoke with Gretchen Culver, who co-founded the National Small Wedding Society, about how to approach each wedding style. Whether surrounded by family or cozying up with one another, couples can find the best fit for their special day. 

A mini wedding – also known as a small wedding or intimate wedding – has fewer than 50 guests, but all the traditional elements, just on a smaller scale. The budget, however, might not be mini: The same vendors as those at a larger wedding are required, with cocktails, a meal, desserts and dancing, but with fewer people to serve, presumably in a smaller space.

A micro wedding, or tiny wedding, has 30 or fewer guests. It might last only an hour or two, just long enough for a ceremony, followed by drinks and light snacks or cake, a few photos and possibly video. Culver’s company, Minne Weddings, creates all-inclusive micro-wedding packages that include a venue, a ceremony, cake and champagne, personal flowers and a photographer. (Add-ons are available.) This size is perfect for the couple who doesn’t want to do any planning.

An elopement is when a couple gets married with just an officiant and each other (and required witnesses, depending on locale). There’s nothing traditional about this bare-bones ceremony, but some newlyweds choose to send out “Just eloped” announcements and have a party later on.

A minimony is a new trend popular with couples who just want to marry and get on with their life together. It’s an “enhanced elopement” with 10 to 20 people attending the ceremony with no celebration following, but a big party or reception planned down the road: #marrynowpartylater!

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