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You’re not the only one!
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If you don’t know the difference between a minimony, an elopement and a micro wedding, we’re here to explain the differences and offer a few reasons why you might pick one over the other.

To better explain what a minmony is, let’s start with terms you may be more familiar with as a refresher.

Traditional Wedding

A traditional wedding is what everyone first thinks of.

Allow us to paint a picture: Saturday afternoon ceremony. Most likely at a church, the VFW Hall or a country club. All your friends and family in attendance. A huge reception where an open bar, dinner, a dance band, cake cutting and congratulatory toasts are all a part of the festivities.

It’s big and expensive with the average bill totally more than $30,000. It costs a lot to feed all those guests and to rent a venue big enough to hold them.

They can be supremely lovely, and they don’t leave anyone out, but that lavishness comes at a price.

Guest Count: Well over 100


An elopement (in its purest form) is the exact opposite. It’s a just-the-two-of you intimate occasion. It could take place at the courthouse in your hometown, or on a beach in paradise where you don’t want to have another soul around.

An elopement is truly a wedding on your own terms. You’ll be shutting out all the input from everyone else and just going for what the two of you want.

Guest Count: Zero

Bride and groom standing in the Las Vegas desert for their minimony ceremony.

Micro Wedding

Both a micro wedding and minimony land somewhere in between a traditional wedding and the strict definition of an elopement. And it all comes down to the relative guest count.

Micro weddings can include up to 50 guests. To some, that sounds like a lot of guests. But quick math of all the people in you and your partner’s inner circles can quickly add up to 50 people.

Parents = 4

Grandparents = 8

Siblings ≈ 2–6+

And their spouses ≈ 2–6+

Each of your 5 closest friends and their spouses = 20

We’re already (well) over 30 and we haven’t added on any favorite aunts, uncles or cousins and their plus ones. In a way, a micro wedding is starting to sound like a bit of a misnomer.

There’s nothing micro about a group of 50 people invading a restaurant or dance hall for a reception.

But when measured against the size of a traditional wedding, then yes, 50 guests is absolutely a fraction of the 130 guest average of a traditional wedding.

Guest Count: Up to 50


Minimony is a blend word, and is a combination of the words “miniature” and “ceremony.”

Minimonies have always been around as smaller, more intimate alternatives for couples who want to share their wedding day with a very select group of their tightest innermost circle. 

A more comfortable and much more manageable size is the perfect choice if you dislike crowds in general and if you and your partner like to keep things more private.

For example, Introverts often choose this type of wedding because they aren’t about putting on a big show for dozens of people.

Guest Count: About 10 max

Two brides with champagne during an outdoor minimony ceremony in Las Vegas.

Which type of wedding is right for you?

Think about your attitudes about weddings and other life events. 

Break down your personalities, your expectations and wants and needs for your special day, as well as the realities of your budget and other logistics, and it might quickly become clear which option will be best.

If you’ve been dreaming of a storybook wedding since fifth grade, you’re likely a traditionalist.

If you’re wanting a traditional wedding but perhaps for financial reasons you’d like to limit the guest count, then a micro wedding with up to 50 people might work better.

This option gives you the look, feel and experience you’re going for without going totally all out for a large gathering double or triple the size.

If you like to be a bit of a rebel and don’t care about pleasing people, an elopement could be for you.

If you love the idea of having a destination wedding in an amazing location, but you know inviting guests would be difficult, for a number of reasons, an elopement offers a great option.

The absolute easiest wedding is the one for just the two of you. 

There’s some amazing places out there in the world, but it could be a case as simple as the lack of available hotel rooms or larger venues at these destinations that would steer you to a minimony or micro wedding.

The logistics of getting a ton of people together in one spot at the same time is difficult enough when you’re crossing the street, let alone when you’re crossing state lines, time zones or oceans. 

Consider too, who are you actually dealing with in your families. If family dynamics will make a traditional wedding unpleasant, it might be time to think about eloping or going super small with a minimony. Some couples elope or keep things small to straight up avoid family drama.

Whether you choose a traditional wedding or opt for a smaller affair with a micro wedding, minimony, or elopement, just know that you can make your ceremony special, memorable, and unique to you and your spouse.

Need some ideas or a little help with the planning of your ceremony?

Check out our destination wedding checklist to get started.


  1. https://www.wedinsights.com/report/the-knot-real-weddings
  2. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-rise-of-the-minimony-and-the-micro-wedding

McKenzi Taylor
McKenzi Taylor

McKenzi Taylor is America’s go-to elopement and micro wedding expert, often featured in small and major media outlets, such as the New York Times. With over 15 years of wedding photography experience, it was after planning her own Las Vegas elopement in 2016 that McKenzi felt her purpose shift into elopement coordination. She started Cactus Collective Weddings soon after in 2017. Since then, she’s become a WIPA board member, and has helped well over 1000 couples get hitched in style around Las Vegas, San Diego and Black Hills.