Going to the Chapel! 50 Micro Wedding Ideas For an Intimate Marriage Ceremony
The rise of the micro wedding was one unforeseeable outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to ever-changing regulations of social gatherings, this kind of mini marriage ceremony has become a household name. And quite frankly, a trend. It’s not unsafe to surmise a bit of reworking to the number of people on the guest list has been a must, which is why micro weddings are having a moment in 2021.
What is a micro wedding?
You can think of the micro wedding as the tiny house of the wedding planning industry. A micro wedding is, in fact, a wedding but on a significantly smaller scale. Micro weddings typically have anywhere from as little as 40 to 100 people. Of course, everyone’s individual definition of what’s considered “micro” varies.
“A micro-wedding generally refers to an event that’s under 50 people,” explains Julie Wohlers, a Zulily Lifestyle Expert. While Zulily doesn’t offer wedding planning services, the site itself has become a premier destination for both wedding supplies and tips.
Wohlers adds, “In the U.S., the average wedding guest list is about 150 people and costs $30,000, which might not be realistic for every couple’s budget. The micro wedding allows you to celebrate with your nearest and dearest, to put even more thought and effort into the details, and may mean you can actually afford more options than you could at a larger-scale event.”
What is the average cost of a micro wedding?
It’s the question all brides (and really, whoever is paying for the wedding) want to know: What does an event like a micro wedding cost on average?
According to Wohlers, “The total cost depends a lot on the couple’s wishes, but with a smaller guest list and access to smaller venues, your budget will go far. The price tag could be as low as a few hundred dollars or as high as a few thousand. In general, I would say the average micro wedding costs $1,000 to $5,000.”
Because you don’t have to guarantee a certain quota of people, most of the wedding expenses can go toward the things that really matter. So, instead of shelling out all your money on the venue itself and paying anywhere from $125-$300 a head, micro wedding budgets usually go toward the fun stuff.
“The bulk of the budget likely goes towards outfits for the bride and groom, food and drink, and the photographer’s fees,” Wohlers says. “A smaller wedding will reduce your spending and make the task of creating some of your own décor or party favors more manageable and enjoyable.”
Related: Unique Wedding Gifts
What’s included in a micro wedding?
A micro wedding usually has all the standard facets of a traditional wedding—just on a smaller scale.
“A micro wedding includes everything that you would expect to find at most weddings, but scaled down: a beautiful, intimate ceremony; a festive celebration or reception afterward,” Wohlers says. “All the other details are up to the couple! Small gatherings mean you can make everything more personal for your guests and incorporate unique details that are meaningful to the newlyweds.”
What size is a micro wedding?
A micro wedding can be as small as a Justice of the Peace wedding with just a few family and friends or it can range anywhere from 20 to 100 people (though 100 is fewer and further in between and really toes the line of being a “traditional-sized” wedding).
However, according to Wohlers, under 50 is usually a tell-tale sign of a micro wedding.
“Though weddings may look different these days, it doesn’t mean they have to be any less fun, memorable, or romantic. In fact, I was able to do a micro-wedding myself (pre-pandemic), and felt like I was able to make the most of the advantages of a smaller and more intimate guest list,” Wohlers explains. “It made it more budget-friendly and gave me a chance to create more personal and sentimental touches.”
Even if your reception hall is a little less packed than originally expected, there are still plenty of ways to ensure your wedding day is as magical as you’ve always imagined it to be. After all, there’s a lot to be said for a slightly smaller affair. It’s more intimate for sure and you can pay much more attention to detail. And with weddings, it’s truly the little things that add up on your big day.
50 Micro Wedding Ideas
1. Elope at Back to the Cabin
A beloved elopement-slash-micro-wedding-venue in Ontario, Back to the Cabin hosts intimate elopements nestled away in the Canadian woods. You can book this Scandinavian-style A-frame cabin via Airbnb or by messaging them on Instagram.
2. Host your friends and family at Peconic River Herb Farm
This public nursery on Long Island is a plant-lover’s paradise and from July to October, Peconic River Herb Farm hosts micro weddings of 60-100 people. Get married in the greenhouse or host your dinner guests inside using one long table. The photo opps are endless.
3. Take the plunge with The Elopement Co.
At The Elopement Co., they’re in the literal business of elopements, micro weddings, and courthouse services. Their North Carolina elopement package starts at $4,000 while their micro wedding package starts at $5,000.
Related: How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift
4. Tie the knot at The Hotel Salem
Located in Salem, Massachusetts, The Hotel Salem is an elegant urban venue that specializes in smaller-scale affairs. While they take on weddings as small as less than 50 people, the hotel itself has 44 rooms, which accommodate as many as 90 guests.
5. Look into Dream Day Weddings’ Simple Wedding Package
Getting married in Michigan? Dream Days Weddings offers The Simple Wedding Package for small-scale weddings and elopements. Their prices for elopements begin at $1,800 for up to 10 guests and for anywhere from 12 to 29 people, their ceremony prices start at $2,000.
6. Write your own vows—no mic necessary
Everybody does it these days and that’s for good reason. But even though this might feel generic enough to also be done at a traditional-sized wedding, it’s important to note that with your nearest and dearest streamlined to a close few, everyone will actually be able to hear your vows. And therefore, appreciate them.
No microphones necessary, no “I couldn’t hear over the baby crying” as an excuse. Exchanging personal vows will feel all the more special and intimate in such a small setting and the guests will agree (and probably tear up) too.
7. Get hitched in the Emerald Forest
The Emerald Forest in Redmond, Washington has mystical forest fairy vibes. After all, it’s got an on-site luxury treehouse and an actual theatre and projector as well as a concession stand and firepit. Emerald Forest packages range anywhere from $2,700 to $4,725 for a total of 35 people (including vendors).
8. Destination trip to Hawai’i
At the O’ahu Wedding Villa in Oahu, you’ll find an array of all-inclusive packages ranging from 25 guests or less (on the beach!) to as many as 75.
9. Arrange seating in a circle
This isn’t always feasible for weddings that are 125+. But if you’re dealing with a significantly smaller “audience,” if you will, everyone will actually be able to see you and your partner say “I do,” if situated in a circle.
Related: Personalized Wedding Gifts on Etsy
10. Host in your own backyard
No venue? No problem! Host your own micro wedding right in your backyard and that’s cutting out a huge cost for the space. (Although you may make up for it in landscaping and decorations!)
11. Rent out Harmony Vineyards on Long Island
Off the beaten track and far west of the East End vineyards Long Island is known for, you’ll find Harmony Vineyards nestled away in Stony Brook, NY. About two hours from NYC, this little-known winery situated on the Nissequogue River only takes on micro weddings of 60 people or less.
12. Elope and lodge at M&D Farms in Westerlo, NY
M&D Farms in Westerlo, New York is a magical garden oasis amongst the Catskill Mountains that can house a wedding ceremony and reception of up to 150 people. Though their rates (which you can see here) don’t change for smaller gatherings, intimate events are M&D’s bread and butter. Plus, their on-site 1800s farmhouse can house up to eight guests if you opt for the full-property rental.
13. Bring on the games
Come cocktail hour, the bridal party is usually taking pics and there’s not much to do other than drink and mingle. Make the downtime more fun by providing games for your guests—cornhole, bocci, horseshoes, lifesize Jenga, connect-four-in-a-row. In fact, some micro wedding destinations actually come with complimentary games included!
14. Get married on an abandoned train
Kind of. El Adobe de Capistrano was once a train depot in San Juan Capistrano, Southern California that has since been converted into a wedding venue for small gatherings. There are multiple rooms, a garden, a chapel, and plenty of space for your guests to spread out and wander.
15. Plight your troth at the WithinSodo rooftop
Located in Seattle, Oregon, WithinSodo is a small, industrial wedding venue with lots of whimsy. The building itself has tons of different rooms to choose from, but our personal favorite is the rooftop, of course.
16. Opt for a warehouse
And not just any warehouse venue… You’ll love The Revery in downtown Los Angeles, California for its West Coast charm and minimalistic aesthetic. The Revery can fit up to 200 seated, but they’re known to do smaller-scale weddings as well.
17. Check out Story Brook Farm Weddings‘ micro wedding package
Story Brook Farm Weddings has not one but two micro wedding packages to choose from: the Fairytale Micro Wedding package or the Love Story Elopement package. The Fairytale starts at $3,995 (plus tax for dates throughout the year) and accommodates 16 people (but can be upped to 24 people for an additional $50 per person). The Love Story Elopement package is just for two, costs $795 (plus tax), and is only available on weekdays.
18. Access The Hidden Garden in LA
Also in downtown LA, there’s the ever-charming Hidden Garden, which is privately owned. It’s so chic, upscale, and exclusive, they don’t even have a website or packages publicly listed, but if an intimate garden party amongst the pepper trees and a 1908 greenhouse is totally your vibe, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
19. Say “I Do” on the Oregon Coast
Nestled away on 300 acres of a historic family estate in Brookings, Oregon, Crook Point accommodates small weddings and elopements. Pricing for intimate elopements starts at $9,750 and ranges up to $14,250.
20. Walk down the aisle at Mattie’s in Austin, TX
Mattie’s in Austin, Texas is quite the hidden gem. While this drop-dead gorgeous wedding venue can host up to 160 guests in Marion Hall, the Lounge Room (which can accommodate up to 32) and the Table Royale (up to 16 guests) at Mattie’s are both beautiful options for more intimate gatherings.
21. Host your nuptials at The Saguaro in Palm Springs
The Saguaro in Palm Springs has a variety of different rooms to choose from and they even just debuted their latest addition, The Sago Ballroom and Terrace. Their elopement package starts at $5,500 and features rooms for five guests for a two-night stay, access to a poolside cabana, a champagne toast, and a ceremony (the price also includes tax and a service charge). Email email@example.com for more information.
22. Choose family-style seating
The long dinner table trend has been a fan-favorite on Pinterest for a long time now and as micro weddings become more and more popular, we’re seeing even more of it in real life. Wedding guests love how intimate it is and you’ll love the IG-worthy pictures.
23. Climb the Silver Summit
Technically there is no climbing involved. Silver Summit Events in Utah offers bespoke elopement and micro wedding packages. These packages include everything from wedding design and planning to production and Silver Summit provides 25% off their normal service package to any couple who books a reception 12 months before their date.
24. Use fabric or curtains as décor
No need to blow the whole budget on expensive decor toted as “wedding decor” (it’s probably upped in price simply because it’s for a wedding). Enlist the help of regular old fabric bought by the yard or silk curtains instead. They’ll still add and none of your 20 guests will ever suspect it’s the cheaper option.
25. Rent out The Hartman
An intimate bed and breakfast just outside of Toronto, The Hartman is a premiere Canadian destination for micro weddings and elopements. Tented events in The Hartman’s private garden can accommodate up to 100 while the inside has standing room for 75 and seating for 45.
26. Get married at Zion Red Rock Oasis
Not far from the iconic Zion National Park, Zion Red Rock Oasis in Utah features similar desert landscaping, a river running through the property, a private lake, and a theatre on the property if you choose to make it a multi-day event.
27. Rent a bounce house
With under 100 guests, you could make a bounce house work for your budget and the number of people. Everyone gets a turn!
28. Add fun, cozy spots to the reception
You know that same rattan peacock chair that everyone rents for the bridal shower then never uses ever again? Bring it to the reception! In fact, bring as many cool and comfy seating options as you have (or can rent). With such a small amount of people, it will be so fun to add a few cozy spots to the reception.
Peacock chairs, egg chairs, swinging chairs, benches… Anything you can bring from home to create cozy, romantic spots when guests need a moment away. Plus, they make for special photo ops, too!
29. Splurge for a mobile bar
With such a small reception, you may have money in your budget left over for something fun! There are plenty of rentable mobile bars nowadays that specialize in everything from prosecco and rosé to craft beers and IPAs and with a smaller setting, your guests will really get to take advantage (and you’ll get the most bang for your buck!).
30. Book I Do Events in Alaska
I Do Events is based in Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska and their Petite Weddings package starts at $1,000. This includes up to 25 guests and six hours of planning before the big day. (Photo by Nicole Donnelly)
31. Settle down at the Jupiter Hotel in Portland, OR
The Jupiter Hotel isn’t just a hot hotel spot in Portland, Oregon; they are now hosting micro weddings! Their OG Wedding Package starts at $6,500 and includes a two-night stay and five buckets of local crft beer. For $9,500, you can buy out the Jupiter Hotel and make arrangements for up to 50 guests.
32. Book Stem and Light in Ellis, TX
Have you ever seen a venue so dreamy? All wedding packages at Stem and Light include access to tables and chairs, a decorative wood table for displaying desserts or gifts, a large island for food service, an exterior patio for the ceremony and/or reception site with moon arch, and full access to the greenhouse and 10 additional acres, plus the bridal suite. Packages start at $1,100. (Photo by @machalabrownphotography)
33. Wed amongst the Red Rock formations at Red Agave Adventure Resort
Paint the town red! (Or at least, your micro wedding.) Small ceremonies at the Red Agave Adventure Resort in Sedona, Arizona feature indescribable views of the state’s most iconic red rock formations, Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. Scenery aside, this outdoor venue requires events of 30 or more to book the entire resort; micro weddings of less than 30 must book a total of six chalets. Rates are $179/night for a studio and $279/night for a chalet.
34. Bring your own plants from home
Genius! Why pay for greenery twice when you can simply bring what you have from home? Plus, it makes for an even more special memory knowing the plants in your wedding pics are ones you cultivated and you know, kept alive.
35. Elope at Oak Leaf Cottage in Georgia
The Oak Leaf Cottage in Trenton, Georgia can accommodate weddings as small as 25 and as big as 125! With ethereal grounds that give off total Twilight wedding vibes, it sits on 28 acres, features an upscale barn structure, and feels super tucked away. You can get married at their mountainside site, in the forest, at the cottage, or in the barn and they also offer special elopement and micro wedding packages, too.
36. Exchange vows at River House in Lowndes Grove in South Carolina
If you’re planning a South Carolina micro wedding, let us bring your attention to an adorable hole-in-the-wall wedding venue that’s ideal for ceremonies of 100 or less: River House. Located in Lowndes Grove, River House offers sweeping views of the Ashley River and is much closer to downtown Charleston than it feels.
37. Drop it low (like to the floor)
OK, we’ll preface this with floor seating isn’t for everyone (especially not for your great-grandparents who flew in from the other side of the country and are 80 and tired). Still, if you’re game and everyone else is, floor seating—supported by meditation cushions—could be a fun way to switch things up if you have a small crowd.
38. Check out the Wild Dunes Resort in South Carolina
Also in South Carolina is Wild Dunes Resort, but this venue has a slightly beachier vibe. Their micro wedding package begins at $8,750 (and accommodates up to 20 guests), but 15 additional guests can be added for $175 per person. You’ll get an oceanfront ceremony, dining room, officiant, three-course plated dinner, two-tier wedding cake, and a two-hour open bar of premium alcohol.
39. Celebrate above the clouds
No, really at The Cliffs at Glassy Chapel in South Carolina, wedding vows are exchanged on the edge of Glassy Mountain, where you and your partner will be literally perched above the clouds. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains in the dreamiest venue you could ever imagine, you can book this micro wedding site starting at $3,000.
40. Hire Wild Social Micro Weddings
You may be planning something small-scale, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require a lot of work! It does! By hiring Wild Social Micro Weddings (based in Colorado), you’re electing to have Cassie and Mallory do all the work for you. With them at their reigns of your micro wedding, your big day will turn out detailed, special, and virtually unforgettable.
41. Elope at Treehaus in Colorado
Treehaus in Colorado is the perfect space for an intimate wedding or elopement. Its black and white checkered floors, hanging disco ball, and beautiful outdoor spaces make it not only Instagram-worthy but totally elopement-worthy.
42. Book Mable’s Smokehouse and Banquet Hall in Brooklyn, NY
If you’re from New York, then you know exactly what we speak of when we say Mable’s Smokehouse and Banquet Hall has all the Brooklyn charm you could possibly want or need. First and foremost a working smokehouse, Mable’s offers private catering for weddings and other small-scale events, starting at $30 a person, plus bar packages starting at $40 a person.
43. Tie the knot at Jedidiah Hawkins Inn
A small, off-the-beaten-track inn on the North Fork of Long Island, Jedidiah Hawkins Inn is the dreamiest setting for intimate gatherings of 80 or under. If the weather is nice, you can exchange vows outside, just in front of the barn, then make your way inside the historic barn built-in 1863.
If you’re working with a tent or outdoor space, bring your own lighting. Collect vintage chandeliers or hey, bring what you got from home! Curated lighting can really add a personal touch and it’s always the better option over unforgiving fluorescents.
44. Book the House of Seven Gables in Salem, MA
The House of Seven Gables—located in Salem, Massachusetts and yes, the one that inspired the book of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne —is a 350-year-old seaside cottage that feels so quintessentially New England. This micro wedding venue offers waterfront ceremonies and tented receptions and their various packages start at 10 guests in either the Holyoke-Plumstock Room or Hooper-Hathaway House.
45. Make it official at On the Rocks at Fox Hopyard
Located in East Haddam, Connecticut, On the Rocks at Fox Hopyard‘s biggest draw is its breathtaking octagonal pavilion. The venue itself is situated on a 500+ acre golf course and their 60-person minimum includes the use of the bridal suite, a five-hour reception, white table linens four butler-passed hor oeuvres, a four-open open bar, champagne toast, and a coffee station. Packages range from $99 to $119 a person.
46. Road trip to Warren, Vermont
Rates may be higher during the leaf-peeping season (that’s fall when the leaves start changing in New England), but weddings at the Sugarbush Inn in Warren, Vermont are always gorgeous. Ideal for a small ceremony and reception, Sugarbush Inn’s micro wedding packages accommodate a minimum of 11 and a maximum of 40 guests. You can also elope at Sugarbush alongside four to 10 of your nearest and dearest.
47. Rent out Playa Largo Beach House in Key Largo, FL
Playa Largo Beach House comes highly recommended as a micro wedding venue from Florida Keys-based company Blue Water Weddings. You can rent out the gorgeous three-bedroom beach house and beach access is included in your stay!
48. Take your guests to an apple farm
Pick your apple and have it, too! At Mark’s Good Apple Farm in Bloomville, New York—nestled along with the Catskills—you’ll find everything from a former dairy farm, a 1790s farmhouse, post and beam barn, fruiting orchards, and hay fields AKA the wedding background of your dreams. Their pricing starts at $100/person with a minimum $5,000 minimum spend.
49. Dance the night away at Burr Mansion in Fairfield, CT
Small-scale wedding packages vary from $500 to $2,000 at Burr Mansion in Fairfield, Connecticut, with tent rental an additional $2,800. The mansion has 15 different event spaces to choose from as well as four acres of gardens and charming reflecting pools.
50. Build your own elopement package with Eloping Is Fun, NYC
Last but not least, build your own dream micro wedding package—whatever that looks like for you. Eloping Is Fun, NYC will help you piece together your big day a la one-on-one sessions with resident elopement guru Jenny—from photography to vendors. It’s not just fun; it’s easy!
Next up, the best wedding trends of 2021.