When most folks think of weddings they think of grand affairs in large ballrooms stuffed to the gills with family and friends. After all, for the couple getting married this is their big, special day. They want to share it with everyone they know and love. Plus, you can’t invite some friends and family members or you risk causing hurt feelings and a rift in your family. When it comes to weddings, you have to invite everyone, right?
Well, no, not exactly.
Here’s the thing; some couples simply don’t want a huge wedding with the entire fam in attendance and would rather have something more intimate. Others can’t afford the massive costs of a huge wedding, which can easily exceed $20,000.00 and can go much higher. Then you have those who want to get married with only their nearest and dearest in attendance, not every 2nd cousin or their long-lost Uncle Fred.
For all of these couples, there’s a new wedding option in town; the Tiny Wedding. Think of a tiny wedding like a regular wedding that’s been hit by a shrinking ray. The pomp and circumstance are the same. The vows are the same. Tiny weddings have all the trimmings too, like the cake, a wedding photographer, and a wedding planner. They’re just much smaller (and, no, they’re not an elopement).
What’s the Difference Between a Tiny Wedding and Elopement?
Thanks to Las Vegas, when most people think of anything besides a big, fancy wedding, they think of people eloping like they do in Sin City. The fact is, however, that a tiny wedding differs from eloping in quite a few ways. One of the biggest differences is that a tiny wedding is planned, and those plans are shared with a small group of friends and family so that they can be in attendance. Most people getting eloped do it spur-of-the-moment and with quite a bit of secrecy. No plans, no invitations, and, in most cases, almost no family.
A tiny wedding also includes quite a few more guests than an elopement, which inevitably causes some challenges about who to invite and who not to invite. Unlike an elopement, a tiny wedding requires planning, invitations, flowers, cake, and has many optional other features. You won’t find any of those things when you elope in Vegas (only Elvis impersonators).
You will find a wedding cake in most cases, as well as your choice of an officiant (instead of the one who happens to be available). Flowers are usually ordered for a tiny wedding also, just like a regular wedding. Most importantly, as far as keepsakes are concerned, the all-important photographer will be at your tiny wedding. Instead of a couple of quick pics on your phone, you’ll get all the grandeur and beauty of artistic photographs shot by a true professional.
There are similarities, of course. Both an elopement and a tiny wedding feature very small groups of people. With a tiny wedding, it varies from 2 to 10 people, whereas an elopement will be for more hours with up to 20 people who will be treated to music, and appetizers. Both can be quite romantic. Both can feature no formal wedding reception afterward, so you can get going on your honeymoon right away. But that’s more or less where the similarities end. So if eloping interests you but you’d like something with a bit more pomp and circumstance, an eloping might be just the ticket.
One of the major differences between a Tiny Wedding and an Elopement is that the wedding venue sets aside a day for Tiny Weddings. Normally there are dates in each season of the year, each with a different look. Elopements are scheduled by the couple, their selected wedding date, and include a longer wedding timeline. Where Tiny Weddings normally are over in two hours or less, an Elopement, typically scheduled on a weekday, will provide for up to five hours of time at the venue.
Are a Tiny Wedding and a Bespoke Wedding the Same Thing?
Yes and no. Both a bespoke (custom) wedding and a tiny wedding can feature a very small group of people. Both can have all the accouterments like flowers, a cake, a photographer and so forth. Both offer the choice of simply a ceremony and nothing more. Where they differ, however, is that a bespoke wedding can be much larger, involve more hours and can include anything and everything you like to make it more of the dream that you want your wedding day to be. The sky’s the limit plated meal, DJ or band, photo booth, a videographer with a drone, and even entertainment. Each option does come with a price, but it’s totally up to your vision.
And check this out; a wedding at Mountain House Estate in Sonoma’s wine country can be a tiny wedding and a bespoke wedding at the same time. For example, you can invite 10 of your fave family members and friends and treat them to a wine tasting after your ceremony, or a full-course meal in a setting that’s gloriously intimate. A tiny bespoke wedding can feature your most favorite flowers, the cocktails that you and your sweetie drank on your first date, and any number of endless customizations. Just let your planner know what your dreams are, and they’ll work to bring it to life.
In other words, you can throw a tiny wedding that’s also a bespoke wedding that, while much smaller than normal, is still as glamorous, glitzy, and elegant as any big wedding. You can also do it for a fraction of the cost but, if you wish, throw in some big-time perks also that will make it truly special.
What are the Differences Between a Tiny Wedding, a Minimony a Micro wedding, and an Elopement?
Let’s be honest, quite a few terms are being thrown around these days to describe a small wedding with a small group in attendance. Frankly, the differences between them are sometimes so subtle as to almost be indiscernible, In the interest of setting the record straight, though, we’re going to give you the definition of all four and let you decide which one best fits your dream wedding (if at all).
A Minimony, as the name (sort of) suggests, is a very small (mini) wedding ceremony that’s usually shared with less than 10 people including you and your sweetie. Most consider a minimony a commitment ceremony only, with the true wedding and wedding reception to come in the future. For that reason, it’s kept very small and usually doesn’t include as many of the traditional trimmings of a big wedding bash.
That being said, a minimony can include, for example, a mini wedding cake, a small number of flowers and flower arrangements, and a photographer too, if that’s something you want to include. Usually, a minimony is followed by a sequel wedding, which as its name suggests is a bigger, more involved, and more traditional wedding that is planned for sometime in the near-ish future. Unlike most elopements, a minimony is usually planned somewhat in advance so that, if a photog and flowers and other ‘extras’ are needed, they can be ordered.
A Microwedding aka an Intimate Wedding
A Microwedding is much more like a traditional wedding but with fewer people. Typically a microwedding has 50 or fewer guests (which, for some, is still quite a few). The benefit of a microwedding Is that you and your spouse-to-be can increase the glamour and glitz and throw something really special. That’s because your budget will go a bit further since fewer people are coming and fewer venue hours are required.
Now, sure, you can throw a microwedding to save money if you like. However, most couples are using it as a way to throw an extra special wedding instead. For example, since fewer people are coming you will have the budget to splurge on top-shelf extras, a designer wedding dress or a 7-course sit-down dinner to die for. Some couples are even paying for their guest’s lodging and meals! (Your choice, of course.)
One advantage of an intimate wedding with a lower guest count is that offseason (less expensive) dates can be considered. If you select a wedding venue that has both indoor and outdoor spaces, and the weather cooperates, you can have a spectacular wedding day, and save thousands of dollars.
A Tiny Wedding
A tiny wedding and a microwedding are very similar except that most couples throw a tiny wedding so that they can keep their wedding costs lower. Yes, they still have all the frills like a photographer, beautiful flowers, and a lovely wedding cake, but they don’t go overboard on anything either. By keeping control of the guest list, and the frills, you can also control the overall wedding budget.
That’s not to say that a tiny wedding can’t be beautiful, rustic, and elegant, just that you can do it on a bit of a smaller budget, especially since fewer people will be attending. That’s the biggest difference between a microwedding and a tiny wedding; most tiny weddings will have less than 10 people.
So why not just go to the courthouse steps? The pictures and privacy. At a wine country wedding venue, a professional photographer will be getting photos you can share with your children many years from now. Those all important detail shots, using the surrounding beauty to stage the photo of your dreams. Spectacular photos, without huge wedding budgets are possible.
Traditionally, elopement was when a couple decided to get married right away, on the spur-of-the-moment, and usually in secret. Sometimes, couples eloped because their families didn’t approve of the marriage. Elopements were popularized in Las Vegas, of course, but you can elope in many other places these days. One thing to keep in mind if you want to elope but do it more traditionally is that it still takes a little bit of planning.
For example, some couples choose to elope at a rustic winery in Northern California’s Sonoma or Napa wine country. We’ve heard of some who got on a boat, went out to a lighthouse, and got married there, which could be very romantic (as long as you don’t get seasick easily). In other words, the definition of ‘elope’ is changing with the times as couples want to do things smaller but without the secrecy and with just a bit more planning and perks.
What’s interesting is that term ‘tiny wedding’ was coined by someone in the wedding industry. His name is Kieron Hales and he’s the owner of Zingerman’s Cornman Farms in Michigan. Mr. Hales saw the need for smaller weddings that were more than an elopement but less than a big, no-holds-barred wedding. Thus the term ‘tiny wedding’ was born.
Mr. Hales understood that to keep costs down for the couples, he needed to have multiple Tiny Weddings in a day. That way, premium vendors could come in and provide services to the couples, and essentially, the couples are dividing up the cost of hiring wedding professionals for the day. All the while, giving the couples and their guests a great experience.
What is a Sequel Wedding?
When some people see the term “sequel wedding” they think of a couple who’s been divorced and are getting married a second (or third, or fourth) time. A sequel, so to speak. The reality is that a sequel wedding is where a couple chooses to have a small, more intimate ceremony first and then, a little further down the road, a bigger ceremony and/or party with many more people in attendance.
In effect, a sequel wedding can follow a tiny wedding, an elopement, or a minimony. Those smaller weddings can be the preamble to the much larger sequel wedding and celebration with friends and family.
No Matter Which You Choose, Plan Your Wedding as Early as Possible
No matter what type of wedding you decide to have, planning is always the key to success. That goes for a traditional wedding with all the trimmings, a microwedding with a smaller group of close friends and family, or an elopement with just a handful of people. With all of those and a tiny wedding as well, you should plan for it as early as you can.
Many couples throw one of these newer, smaller, more trendy weddings with plans to have a sequel wedding later. The reason being is that they can have the smaller wedding much sooner and put the sequel on hold until their plans are more concrete. Let’s face it, planning a wedding can take several months at least and some couples simply don’t want to wait that long to say “I do”.
Still, you’ll need at least a few days or a couple of weeks to get everything planned for a minimony or an elopement, and a month or more to prepare for a microwedding or a tiny wedding, so keep that in mind when you’re making your choice. Here are a few services and other things you’ll probably want to have no matter which type of wedding you plan to throw:
- A wedding dress (You can rent one quite easily these days)
- A wedding cake (Go small)
- A photographer (1 or 2 hours of their time is all you’ll need)
- Flowers (A handful of beautiful arrangements will do.)
- Food and alcohol (Consider finger-food and skipping the sit-down meal)
- Invitations (E-vites are fast, easy, and free)
- The Venue (Sonoma wine country has several options in California)
The Good News Is…
Many wedding venues have designed all-inclusive packages for the various weddings discussed here. Look for those that aren’t ‘cookie cutters’ that will allow you to incorporate those special details you’ve always wanted. Tell your wedding venue and planner about your thoughts and dreams, so that they can make them come alive.
Nothing Is Stopping You From Going Tiny!
In closing, we simply want to remind you that this is your special day and you can do it however you like. A tiny wedding can be just as special, just as elegant and just as memorable as the biggest of weddings and will cost you much less. It’s easier to plan, more intimate and some would say more special too.
Whatever you choose, a tiny wedding, elopement, a microwedding or a minimony, we wish you all the best and a hearty congratulations! And remember, from a tiny acorn the most magnificent oak trees grow!