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Trend Alert: The Next Wave of Micro-Wedding and Elopement Trends

Although we’re hopeful of the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, we are still firmly entrenched in the pandemic and the industry continues to adapt in order to serve our clients’ needs while following guidelines and avoiding undue risk. In 2020, many couples found themselves with the difficult decision of postponing, downsizing, and even cancelling their weddings. As a result, micro-weddings and elopements emerged as one of the biggest industry trends as they allowed for couples to celebrate their love safely and intimately.

Guest lists were slashed. Travel plans were cancelled. Room blocks were abandoned. 2020 became the year of mini celebrations and, with the pandemic continuing to impact our daily lives, this trend will carry on strong in 2021.

Photo courtesy Manda Weaver Photography

This year, however, wedding professionals have the foresight going into peak season. There are no surprises; the industry has been rebuilding and vendors have been producing couples’ dream weddings despite the circumstances. As a result, expect for micro-weddings and elopements to take on a life of their own with a unique set of trends that are just as extraordinary as those of the traditional wedding.

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Here are a few ways wedding professionals and their clients are mixing up the scene in 2021.

They are keeping it close to home.

Travel has been challenging in this COVID era and, as a result, many folks are choosing to stay local for their nuptials. In some cases, that means literally tying the knot at home. What better way to celebrate love than to say “I do” at the one place that signifies unity and stability?

Julie Roth Novack, CEO and co-founder of PartySlate, speaks to the new-and-improved backyard wedding: “While COVID-19 continues to temporarily force couples to rethink their wedding plans, many are rediscovering the beauty of their own backyards. We believe intimate, elegant at-home weddings will continue to be popular as couples look for creative ways to host their dream celebration during the pandemic. We will see talented teams of event professionals transform backyards into dream settings.”

Photo courtesy Renee Lemaire Photography

While at-home weddings can certainly be a cost-effective solution for the budget-minded couple, they are just as disposed to being lavish, extravagant celebrations that leave no stone unturned.

They are planning many mini events.

For couples, hosting a micro-wedding might feel like they have to leave out friends and family members that they’d otherwise invite to their big day. To combat this concern, couples and their vendor team are hosting multiple mini celebrations to bring everyone in on the fun without risking large group settings. 

Brand and styling expert, Kate Cullen, explains: “In a bid to celebrate with everyone they hold dear, couples are embarking on multiple smaller celebrations with different groups of friends and families–from special dinner parties to drinks, brunches, weekends away, and the promise of a big party later on. Couples are seizing the opportunities to celebrate in the ways their different guest groups love most, ensuring everyone enjoys the wedding celebratory experience in their own unique way.”

Not only is this a creative way to spend intentional time with guests, but it’s also lots of fun for couples to embark on a diverse mix of activities throughout their wedding experience. Why celebrate at a dinner once when you can have a week’s worth of brunches, tours, hikes, and cocktail parties?

They are embracing—not sacrificing—luxury.

A common misconception of smaller weddings is that they are downsized for budget purposes. While this may be a reason, it’s certainly not the only purpose for micro-weddings. Pandemic aside, micro-weddings and elopements have served as a way for couples to celebrate their nuptials in a comfortable, intimate atmosphere with their closest loved ones. It also means the budget can be allocated elsewhere for a fully customized experience.

Natalie Wing, founder and director of Goose & Berry, encourages couples to incorporate elements they otherwise wouldn’t have included: “Having a small, but of course outstanding, wedding will open up budget in different areas, meaning you can provide your absolute nearest and dearest with the best quality food and drinks your budget can buy. Now that there’s no need to skimp, why not go all out and have that seven-course wedding feast filled with caviar canapes, oysters for starters and a chocolate cremeux to finish like you always dreamed of?”

“If there is one thing that a worldwide pandemic has taught us, it’s how special our family and friends are and a small, intimate celebration is a great way to make up for lost time and spoil them,” Wing assures.

They have flexible expectations for their wedding.

While there is no permanent escape from the bridezilla, couples planning their weddings amidst the pandemic are loosening their reins on planning for a much-needed low-stress experience. They are going into the process understanding that things might change over time, so they are remaining flexible and adaptable to whatever may come.

Photo courtesy Classic Photographers

Pamella Dunn, owner of Pamella Dunn Events, elaborates: “As we enter a new year, a new vision with a family focus, one that includes intimate details and fabulous luxury experiences is emerging. More recently engaged couples embarking on their wedding planning journey mid-pandemic have expectations that include last-minute changes, fully-seated cocktail parties and receptions. Whilst adjustments may have been made and the big dreams may have been adapted, what hasn’t is the excitement and occasion.”

Moral of the story: Weddings aren’t about the fanfare and the Insta-worthy details that cost thousands of dollars. Those elements may be nice, but when it all boils down, weddings are about celebrating love amongst friends and families. Even if the details don’t fall exactly into place as expected, 2020 has taught us to value what matters most: the love we share with our favorite people.  


Kylie Carlson

Founder / CEO, The Wedding and Event Institute
Kylie Carlson is the owner of ...