The Difference Between Elopement, Microwedding & Minimony Explained

So, how about 2020 weddings, huh? First spring events got taken away, then summer, and now weddings through the rest of 2020 and the start of 2021 are in jeopardy. While there’s no cut-and-dried answer for what the future of weddings will look like (it’s not like we have ESPN or something), being prepared, knowing the facts, and having a realistic plan is the best course of action to ensuring you get to celebrate safely.

Before you decide to say “f*ck it” and just optimistically move forward with your original plans, however, international wedding educator and founder of Love Inc., Brittny Drye, suggests taking a good, hard look at the current situation. “It all really depends on where you live and what your venue looks like,” says Drye. “Several states have already opened up and outdoor venues are allowing full capacity, whereas if you live in hard-hit places like New York City [or Florida. Or Arizona. Or Texas. Orrrrr California] and/or have an indoor venue, there’s a strong chance that you won’t be allowed to celebrate at full guest capacity.”

We know it sucks. Like, really sucks. “It’s okay to be sad about it,” Drye insists. “Take the time to mourn the fact that this significant life event is having to be postponed” or changed. Whenever you’re ready (and there’s no rush, brides), a few options that experts suggest for having a wedding amidst these ~unprecedented times~ include scaling back to things like a minimony, elopement, or microwedding. Even if they look a little different than events did in the past, we’re putting them all out there so you can figure out which one feels best to your situation and relationship.

Minimony, Elopement, & Microwedding: Explained

There are three mainstream options for couples looking to celebrate (and pivot away from the big wedding concept which, truthfully, doesn’t exactly seem realistic rn). Here’s how Drye breaks the new events down:

Elopement: “An elopement is an intimate ceremony—usually just the couple, officiant and/or a witness. While traditionally elopements are spontaneous, they are now becoming much more planned events, with couples traveling to breathtaking destinations to do them.”

Minimony: “A minimony is a term coined by The Knot that has been applied to commitment ceremonies taking place during COVID for couples who have had to postpone their wedding. It’s a way to honor your original wedding date, and perhaps even get legally married, with the expectation of doing the full celebration at a postponed date. It typically takes place in your home and you may have friends/family witness via Zoom or a few in-person with social distancing.”

Microwedding: “Think of a microwedding as a cross between an elopement and a big traditional wedding. Microweddings are 50 people or less, but still have design details.” Basically, it’s like a pre-2020 wedding, but on a smaller scale.

How To Decide Which Event Is Right For You

There’s no right or wrong decision here when deciding how you want to move forward with your big day. Drye suggests sitting down and having a frank discussion about what you and your partner prioritize.

“Is it having all of your friends and family there in-person? Or would you rather spend money on the guest experience and have fewer guests? During these COVID times, what does your timeline look like? Do you intend to stick to your original wedding date no matter what, or are you okay with waiting?” If budget is your deciding factor, typically a minimony is the least expensive option, followed by an elopement and then a microwedding.

Tips For A Perfect Elopement

Elopements have been around since looooong before COVID, and for good reason: They’re (mostly) drama-free and romantic as hell. There’s literally zero concern about seating charts, who gets a plus-one, and whether or not to invite that one frenemy who always says passive-aggressive comments about your hair. It’s just you, your partner, your officiant, a witness or two, and a photographer so you can put the bulk of your budget toward getting breathtaking shots.

Just because you’re having the most intimate of ceremonies doesn’t mean your day needs to be any less beautiful. “Destination elopements are increasing in popularity—on a mountaintop in Colorado, amongst the rolling green hills of Ireland, on a beach in Hawaii,” Drye suggests. “And if you’re looking to add more stylized elements into your elopement, seek out a planner who offers elopement packages to help coordinate.” You can make it special by incorporating elements like wearing your mother or grandmother’s veil, having special readings or sharing your own vows, and even including elements such as a floral backdrop, a first dance in the woods, or a romantic picnic-for-two to celebrate afterward.

Tips For A Perfect Minimony

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Honestly if having an at-home wedding means eating a homemade cake like the elderflower and lemon one that @georgieleanor made, then I’m here for it. 🍰 “My fiancé and I took the opportunity to celebrate our non-wedding today. We were supposed to be on a beach in Bali getting married in front of 200 people from all over the world but instead we are, like most, at home. Sounds silly, but we actually enjoyed the “non-wedding” prep! We didn’t have any budget or access to normal shops, so we challenged ourselves to just use whatever we had in the house. Mini ceremony in our back garden was officiated by my little sister and zoom guests included closest family and lifelong fluffy friends: pookie bear, flopsy, phanfy and moo-cow. I baked an elderflower and lemon cake (with flowers from our garden), and my fiancé arranged the exquisite decor and Spotify playlist. We had such a blast focusing on today we almost forgot what we were missing. We’re just really grateful that, at a time like this, we still have each other. And today, that’s all that matters. Happy Easter everyone 🐣!!”

A post shared by Betches Brides (@betchesbrides) on

If you’re going the minimony route (which means you’re having either a legal elopement or a commitment ceremony and then partying HARD when it’s finally safe to have a large event) you can still make your at-home day extraordinary. “You can bring in vendors from your main event to incorporate elements into your minimony, such as having your DJ play a setlist for your guests to dance to or even your first dance, have your cake designer send sweets to guests and a mini cake to you so you can have a virtual cake-cutting ceremony, or have your floral designer create an arrangement to display,” suggests Drye.

Even if you don’t opt for a full minimony and choose to just reschedule, Drye advises to still do something special on what would have been your original wedding date. Dance in your kitchen, share a piece of cake, have a candlelit dinner, and rock that wedding night lingerie. The only thing sadder than moving your wedding date is moving your wedding date and spending your original date sitting at home doing nothing.

Tips For A Perfect Microwedding

If you don’t want to postpone, don’t want to have a ceremony at home, and want to celebrate with your VIPs, a microwedding might be the perfect solution. Basically, it’s a 50-person-or-less (including vendors) event that has all the good stuff a traditional wedding has: ceremony, reception, dancing, drinks, and spending way too much money on things like flowers and flatware.

“Microweddings were already on the rise pre-COVID, and what’s interesting is that while going that route can certainly save you money, couples were still spending average-sized budgets. If you really want to wow with the guest experience, microweddings allow your budget to stretch much more since you have fewer people,” says Drye, adding, “one of the perks of a microwedding is that it’s much easier to add personalized touches for guests, such as handwritten notes at their place settings, specialty tastings, or individual mini cakes for each person.”

In addition to creating a truly memorable guest experience, a microwedding also opens up the options to more creative venues such as breweries, museums, or gardens—places that can’t accommodate the more traditional large-scale events of the past. But note, while the wedding is on a smaller scale (and can typically be planned within a 6-month timeframe), it’s still a good idea to work with a planner if your budget permits. This will not only ensure the day goes as planned, but will also help with adhering to any and all safety regulations. Luckily, many planners now offer microwedding packages that are less expensive than their standard packages.

How To Change Your Plans

“Under normal circumstances, anyone you send a save-the-date to receives an invite, but we’re currently dealing with unprecedented times,” notes Drye. “If you’re pivoting from a large-scale wedding to a microwedding, elopement, or minimony, simply have an honest conversation with those on your guest list who you have to cut.” It might feel weird, but (I hope) literally everyone understands the health and safety concerns. Ultimately, what matters is that you have a day that feels the most genuine to you and your love story.

As for how to decide who to cut, Drye advises eliminating circles, as opposed to individuals, so people don’t take it personally. “For example, those who have to travel out of state or older guests who are more at risk,” she says. Once you make your decision, inform guests via phone or video call, not text or email. Yes, it’s awkward, but your chances of salvaging your relationship with those guests kinda rely on it.

At the end of the day, it sucks. It sucks that you have to change your plans and you have to plan sh*t all over again. Ultimately, however, as long as you marry your person and splurge on a top-of-the-line photographer, your day will still invoke jealousy out of anyone who happens to hate-stalk you and that, my friends, is what weddings are all about.

Images: Eliza Szablinska / Unsplash; @betchesbrides / Instagram (4)