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Elopement vs Micro Wedding



There’s been a rise in the use of so many words and terms this year: e.g, unprecedented, pivot, pandemic, new norm, social distancing - the list goes on! These are not necessarily new words, but like the humble mask emoji, they’ve sure had their fair share of airplay in 2020!


Another word that’s getting thrown around is ‘elopement.’ I’m getting loads of new enquiries that go along the lines of: “We’ve decided to elope, just us and 20 guests ...”


So I thought I’d sit down and explain a few terms and definitions to hopefully dispel any myths about what an elopement is and is not with the aim to inform along the way.


Traditionally and historically an ‘elopement’ is where a couple run off in secret to marry. In our modern day (for legal purposes) it needs to be: two people, two witnesses and the celebrant. Bare minimum guest list! The absolute intimacy of the occasion often means ceremony structure is virtually non existent, timelines are overly flexible, ceremony locations are 'non traditional' and often fluid, and instead, the focus is solely on celebrating the couple's love in a way that best represents them, minus any expectations, bells and whistles.


This 20 person ‘elopement’ referred to above, really isn't an elopement at all. It's what we now term, a 'micro wedding.' Which essentially is a smaller scale, traditional wedding. There is a lot more structure, there are guests to consider, direct, and of course potentially include in the ceremony. After all, despite attendee numbers being much lower than an average wedding size of say, 90-100 guests, engagement levels are much higher, so creating an inclusive space for your VIP's is integral to a micro wedding's success.


From a celebrant perspective there is a huge difference in the way each of these types of ceremonies are written and conducted. (Sidenote: there can also be quite a difference in the way they are costed. So if you are thinking that a hugely scaled down wedding size equates to a hugely scaled down celebrant fee, then you'd probably be wrong. This isn't a corkage per head scenario. Celebrants will often charge on a 'required time' based situation - and whether you are delivering a ceremony to 20, 100 or 300 people, the time required to prepare and deliver is often the same or very similar.)


So, now that we know the difference between an elopement and a micro wedding, what's the trick to these intimate occasions?


Well, there is absolutely no denying that elopements and micro wedding's can be the most magical of experiences, but the truth is, if not quite executed right, they can go from romantic to dead-set awkward in a heart beat.

To avoid ‘said awkwardness’, here are my top couple of tips:

1. Be sure to engage experienced and suitable suppliers! And when I say experienced, I mean experienced at the intimate gigs. One of the main differences between a larger wedding and an intimate one is there is nowhere to hide!

Your celebrant plays an absolutely integral role in creating and holding the space and environment for you to be you. A good one will know when to take the lead, and when step aside and let the romance and intimacy of the moment and event take over. Experience, makes for a better experience.

This goes for selecting photographers, videographers and musicians too! No one wants their photographer, videographer or musician in their grill to the point they spoil the moment, and on the other side of the coin, missed opportunities and a lack of empathy/emotion would be super upsetting too. You deserve more. An experienced photographer, videographer or musician will get the balance just right! Again, experience, makes for a better experience.

2. Do you! Elopements and micro ceremonies give you so much scope to ‘do you!’ From the location you choose, to the outfits you wear, and the tunes you select …. It all adds to the vibe YOU set ….

Never forgot, your elopement or micro ceremony is celebrating you, so it should reflect and be all ABOUT you! Don’t be afraid to think outside the perceived square and bring YOU into every aspect. And if you don’t know quite how to execute your vision, share your thoughts with your trusted team and let us create it for you!

So if you are keen on something different and something a thousand percent more you, then get in touch and let's lock in a time to talk through your vision or explore or workshop ideas.  

Minimum guests, maximum love.  It's actually that simple. 




Photographer: Dan Brannan Photography

Planner & Stylist: Pop Up With Style

Celebrant: Shannon Jeans


For more information, or to discuss your vision, please don't hesitate to get in touch by emailing me at: shannon@shannonjeans.com.au or pick up the phone and call 0409 025 876.


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