Micro Wedding vs Elopement

May 27, 2024

What’s the Difference? Plus 3 Reasons to Consider a Nontraditional Wedding Day Experience

Micro wedding, elopement, intimate wedding, destination wedding – if you are planning a wedding, your head might be spinning with all these terms! What do they mean and what is the difference between each one? 

I believe that it’s less about the title and more about what you envision for your wedding day. And, spoiler alert, you can have whatever kind of wedding day you want. The choice is up to you! That being said, it can be helpful to have an idea of what kind of wedding you want to plan. In this blog I’ll be sharing the difference between a micro wedding vs an elopement. While these wedding types have some similarities, they do have a few key differences. So, keep reading to learn all about the differences between the two plus my top reasons to consider a nontraditional wedding. 

Micro Wedding vs Elopement: What’s the Difference?

Bride and groom hold hands during their micro wedding ceremony with guests

What is a Micro Wedding? 

The easiest way to think about micro weddings is to essentially think of them as mini weddings. Micro weddings often follow a similar structure to traditional weddings but on a much smaller scale. According to The Knot “A microwedding is for the couple who wants to really focus and spend the majority of their budget on the smaller details.”

Micro weddings usually have a guest count of around 30-50 people. This means you can gather your closest family and friends and share in an intimate celebration on your wedding day at whatever location you decide. 

Speaking of locations, most destination weddings have a venue. This could be an Airbnb, a restaurant, an event space, or simply your own backyard. In fact, you could even choose to have a destination micro wedding and invite your closest loved ones to travel with you to an intimate location. No matter where you choose to hold your micro wedding, having a place for all your loved ones to gather can help bring structure to your day and allow you a beautiful space to host.

Because they are smaller versions of traditional weddings, micro weddings tend to have more structure than elopements. Oftentimes, couples will work with a micro wedding photographer or planner to create a timeline for their day as well as other micro wedding vendors such as florists, officiants, hair and makeup artists, etc. Hiring a vendor team is one of the best ways to bring your vision to life and reduce stress.

Looking for more micro wedding inspiration? Check out this rooftop micro wedding in downtown Indiana 

Bride and groom exchange vows during their elopement

What is an Elopement?  

Do you dream of saying your vows in private or having a “just us” wedding day? Then babes, an elopement might just be for you! While the meaning of elopement has changed a lot in the past couple of years, one thing has remained the same – the focus is on the couple. Eloping today no longer means running away in secret (though it can be), but having an intentional wedding day focused on the two of you. 

Thinking of Eloping? Read my top elopement planning tips here!

Of all the different types of weddings out there, elopements are the smallest in terms of guests. They tend to have zero or only a small handful of guests (usually no more than 10 though oftentimes it is just the couple and the photographer). This allows couples to plan anything they want without worrying about other people.

One of the best things about elopements is that they can take place just about anywhere! Some couples want an adventure elopement where they hike up into the mountains, while other dream of a destination elopement on the coast of Italy (check out this Amalfi Coast destination elopement for some real life inspo!). The options are limitless when it comes to deciding where you want to elope, making this one of the most exciting parts of the planning process! 

A common misconception is that elopements don’t require any planning, but this is not always true. While elopements tend to have much less structure than traditional weddings or even micro weddings, they do still require a bit of planning. You may want to hire an elopement photographer (aka me!) to photograph your special day and you may need to book travel, accommodations, and apply for permits depending on your location. Because elopements do not involve a lot of guests though, these types of weddings can be more go-with-the-flow and allow for more flexibility throughout the day. 

Micro Wedding vs Elopement: 4 Reasons to Consider One of These Types of Wedding Experiences 

Make it Yours

One of the things I love most as an elopement and micro wedding photographer is seeing couples dream up a wedding day that is uniquely THEIRS! It is so easy to find inspiration and ideas online, but reflecting on your relationship and including elements that are meaningful to the two of you can make all the difference in creating a wedding day that is all your own. 

Micro wedding vs elopement: potted olive tree wedding details
Micro wedding vs elopement: Unique ideas for a nontraditional wedding - Bride wears crocs with her wedding dress
Micro wedding vs elopement details: custom candle wedding guest favor

Reduce Stress

It’s no secret that wedding planning can be STRESSFUL! If you want to reduce the stress that comes with planning a large wedding, then a micro wedding or an elopement can be a great option. While they may still require a level of planning, these events are often much more low-key and easier to plan, allowing you to more fully enjoy the experience from start to end.

Bride sprays champagne with her guests during her nontraditional micro wedding

Save More Money

Having a smaller event can help you save so much money. While micro weddings and elopements don’t always cost less, having a smaller guest count or eliminating a venue, can help lower costs or allow you to spend more money on things that are important to you such as a statement piece, a destination experience, or even your honeymoon. 

Micro wedding venue and honeymoon destination

All-In-One Wedding + Honeymoon

A lot of couples who decide to plan a micro wedding or elopement will typically host their day in the same location where they will be honeymooning! This is great for couples who want to simplify the planning process or spend more time at a destination. 

At the end of the day it’s not about whether you plan a micro wedding vs an elopement. The most important thing is creating a wedding experience that reflects who you are as a couple. By thinking outside the box and planning a wedding that aligns with your values and vision, you can plan a wedding day that is unlike any other. And, in my experience, that is always worth it!

More Micro Wedding vs Elopement Inspiration


ABOUT Kim kaye

Your destination wedding & intimate wedding photographer.

As you already know by now, my names Kim and no "Kim Kaye" is not a play on words for THE Kim K haha. Kim Kaye is legally my name 😉
I'm always down for popping a bottle of bubbly, traveling, making memories, laughing and never missing a sunset. I am SO excited you found me! You're probably wondering if I'm the wedding photographer for you, right? Well, I love to hear it because that promises me that you want a true connection with your photographer and I the same with my clients! 



Planning your day is a lot, let's be honest. Your wedding timeline is the key to having things flow freely throughout your day.
*hiring a planner is a huuuge benefit too* 
To help, I've created a timeline guide for you to use as a reference to get an idea on what you day will look like.