Wedding Sites & Services Blog

Difference Between Elopements and Micro-Weddings – by Enchanted Designs

2020 has been many things, including the year of the intimate wedding. We have marveled at the creativity of couples, vendors and venues as established plans have been disrupted and adjusted, and new plans have adapted. We have seen a lot of requests for Colorado elopement and intimate wedding planners and photographers. But there is a large difference between elopements and intimate weddings (aka micro-weddings). We've noticed the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, which can lead to a little confusion while planning and booking your vendors. Our friends at Enchanted Designs Weddings & Events help us out by explaining the differences between the two types of weddings... read on!


By definition, an elopement is when a couple marries in secret. They're strictly about two people, who decide to have a ceremony without (or under 10) guests. They also last for an hour or two instead of the typical 4-5 hour reception. Colorado allows you to self-solemnize, so you technically do not need an officiant at your ceremony.  

Elopements have changed throughout the years. Instead of heading to the courthouse to get married, couples are heading out on adventures for their day. Whether hiking up through the mountains to traveling to another country, destination elopements are a popular option. And Colorado is the absolute perfect place to have a gorgeous outdoor elopement! One thing to keep in mind when finding your perfect spot, check and see if you will need a permit to use the space for your ceremony. In most National Parks, you will need to secure a permit prior to your day.


Summer wedding couple in field

Photo By Jo Julia Photography



Elopement photos are simply magical! Especially if you are planning a destination elopement, like in Colorado or another stunning location. Having either just the two of you or a small number of guests, you have more time to explore the space.  And without needing to deal with the time restraints of moving on to the next part of the night, you can spend more time taking those breathtaking photos with your photographer.


Spring wedding couple under blue sky with clouds

Photo By Christina Kiffney


Another advantage is when you are eloping, you have a more fluid schedule for the day. Without being confined into a scheduled timeline of the day, you have more flexibility to enjoy the getting ready process or decide what time you want to have your elopement for the ideal lighting and schedule it around maybe sunrise or sunset. 

Even though elopements do not involve all the pieces that a normal reception does, you can still treat it as if you are having a small reception. You can have a gorgeous two-person table set up with flowers, pillows and all the little details. Imagine adorning it with a special meal from a local caterer and a miniature cake for you to still have that special ceremonial cake cutting. Make a playlist of your favorite songs and bring a little speaker so you can still have your first dance. While much smaller, an elopement can still be very much like a normal wedding day without all the craziness!


Micro weddings, also referred to as intimate weddings, are like a normal wedding ceremony and reception, just on a much smaller scale. A micro-wedding typically consists of 10-50 guests. Imagine a wedding with just your family and closest group of friends and being able to focus on your new spouse and have fun with all your guests. This type of wedding is perfect for couples who prefer a modest guest list, but still crave having all the gorgeous details, yummy food, personalization, flower arrangements and having a fun party!

Sometimes couples have their heart set on a particular venue that cannot accommodate a large number of guests, so having a smaller guest list is an advantage to secure your dream venue. Couples can also focus more on a “quality over quantity” style of wedding. Depending on your budget, you can invest more into the little details, dress, décor, food quality and bar offerings with a smaller guest count as you are spending less per person for a large reception.


Maybe you do not have a huge budget to spend on an extravagant wedding but want something a little more than an elopement. Having a smaller, intimate wedding can be perfect for those couples that still want to have a meaningful celebration with your tight-knit crew. You can save quite a bit of money on a micro wedding than on a traditional, large reception.

For intimate weddings, you can focus more on the little details and maybe even splurge more on the quality of those details.  Do you have that dream wedding board on Pinterest?  Having a small wedding means you may be able to have a little more flexibility with your budget that you can spend more on larger tablescapes or personalization of items for your guests.  Some couples really enjoy spending that budget more on celebrating with their closest family and friends and it going further than it would with a larger event.


Winter wedding couple kissing in front of arch

Photo By Tayler Carlisle Photography


Smaller weddings can also give you more flexibility with the day.  Having a smaller guest count means that you can spend more quality time with each guest at your wedding. Trying to make time to talk with 150 guests can feel overwhelming and can quite honestly can be a lot of pressure. You want to make sure to thank everyone for coming as you so appreciate it, but it can take so much time out of your night that you don’t get to enjoy your reception properly.  

If a big wedding is right for you, then you should absolutely have it, as soon as circumstances allow! Or if you feel like an elopement or micro wedding is your dream day, go for it!  Everyone has different styles, wants, and budgets for their wedding day and you need to do what is right for you. It is your day and you should enjoy it no matter what!

And if you are ready to start chatting details about planning your Colorado elopement or micro wedding, then reach out and we can start working through the details!

Many thanks to Enchanted Designs for this blog. For more information, please visit them here and contact them to hear about their Elopement Planning Package and Micro-Wedding Planning Package!


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