So, you just got engaged (CONGRATULATIONS!) and now you are trying to decide what type of intimate wedding is right for you. Maybe you envision something a little more intimate than a “traditional wedding celebration”, but you don’t know exactly what category your dream wedding day falls in. Well, I’m here to tell you that you are not alone.
Most couples that come to me don’t fit a rigid category and aren’t sure what to call the wedding that they are envisioning. A lot of couples actually fit into that gray area between “wedding types,” and that’s absolutely normal.
For quite some time, it appeared that couples had to make a decision between a conventional wedding ceremony followed by a reception or eloping. But, in fact, weddings are actually a spectrum, and you don’t have to put a label on your wedding day. But, to help you plan your wedding endeavors, and get a better idea of what you are looking for, let’s go over a few of the similarities and key differences between popular categories of intimate weddings.
Because weddings exist on a continuum, remember that most of these categories overlap! After all, no wedding should have to fit into a perfectly wrapped box!
Traditionally, when people thought about elopements, they pictured a spur of the moment, secret endeavor, taking place at a sterile courthouse. Luckily for everyone, elopements have evolved and expanded in the last couple of years.
Nowadays, elopements look much different. Couples who elope can take advantage of local vendors, prepare personalized details, and some even choose to have loved ones present.
While there is still a unique air of adventure and whimsy with elopements, couples are taking extra steps to personalize their special days. Some couples bring a few family and friends into the mountains to share their vows while other couples opt to say their vows in solitude along the red arches of Utah and finish with cupcakes. Meanwhile, other couples deck out an Airbnb or VRBO and elope onsite, making it easy to gather with loved ones. Typically, it’s just in a more relaxed fashion than a traditional “wedding”.
Generally, an elopement is a meaningful wedding day experience with fewer than 20 loved ones present. This is often due to the fact they are hosted in small capacity spaces or in natural environments that are not conducive to large groups. Whether you choose to elope with 20 loved ones or just the 2 of you, your elopement is all about crafting a personalized day to celebrate your union!
With elopements, as with weddings, the world is your oyster. However, elopements give you the chance to put your budget toward untraditional and unique activities in a stunning destination.
The biggest difference between elopements and weddings lies in the planning. With a traditional wedding, you’ll be spending your time planning seating charts, coordinating wedding parties, choosing vendors, organizing RSVPs, etc. Elopements, on the other hand, narrow down the planning process to essentially a few key things: location, activities, and vendors.
The opportunity to incorporate unique activities in your wedding day is one of my favorite aspects of eloping. With an elopement, you can include any epic idea that your wild heart desires. Whether you are envisioning a helicopter ride, a canoe along the lake, or an intimate dinner with a private chef, it’s all within the realm of possibility for your elopement day.
Also, if you hire an experienced elopement photographer, you can expect assistance through the entire planning process. When you plan your elopement with me, I am there to help you every step of the way. Upon booking, I’ll send you my exclusive “Adventure Elopement Planning Questionnaire” to kickstart the journey. This questionnaire delves into your epic vision for your adventure elopement and guides the overarching theme for your day.
With location and vendor recommendations, permit assistance (you can’t forget those!), and timeline preparation, we’ll co-create your authentic, unforgettable wedding experience.
And, of course, I’ll be there through your most epic adventure yet to capture every honest emotion in cinematic color and with an editorial flair so you’ll have a gallery to cherish for a lifetime.
If you want a little more in-depth guide on how to plan your elopement, check out my other blog post!
You may be wondering whether an elopement is right for you.
Do you crave a stress-free wedding day that is actually about the two of you? Are you a free spirit who can’t imagine celebrating your union on someone else’s terms? Do you hate the idea of planning a big party for everyone else and want help planning YOUR dream day? If you answered ‘yes’ to the following questions, then an elopement might just be for you.
The idea of a minimony surged during Covid. It was a way for couples to keep their original wedding date while still abiding by the public health restrictions in place. These couples would hold an intimate ceremony followed by a larger reception or ‘sequel’ wedding at a later date.
A minimony really is just that, a mini-wedding ceremony! It can be a great choice for those who want a wedding experience with a few of their closest loved ones, but who also want a private and intimate atmosphere. Additionally, it also often serves as a happy middle ground for couples who desire that small and private affair while thoughtfully considering the wishes of their families.
Much like elopements, a minimony wedding is all about crafting an intimate and heartfelt celebration. Typically hosting around 20 or fewer cherished guests, a minimony centers on creating a close-knit atmosphere where every moment and detail is cherished.
This smaller gathering allows you to focus on meaningful connections and create memories that truly matter. So whether it’s an intimate garden affair or a serene waterfront exchange of vows, the essence of a minimony lies in sharing your love with your dearest companions.
Now, let’s talk about the distinctiveness of a minimony wedding. While sharing some resemblances with elopements and micro weddings, a minimony holds its own charm. With only a select few in attendance, a minimony grants you the freedom to handpick and elaborate on the elements that truly resonate with you.
You may still choose to hire a *rockstar* team of vendors with a photographer to capture every precious moment, a florist to bring the color, and a caterer or private chef to provide the treats. The choices are yours to tailor, reflecting your unique vision as a couple.
Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise—you can hold your minimony in a ‘venue’ or any other setting you fancy. The beauty is, you’ve got choices. Maybe it’s an upscale restaurant where the vibe matches your style or your own backyard transformed into a cozy haven. Your minimony is a chance to make your vision a reality, no matter the location.
Minimonies often involve a more hands-on planning approach, and some couples may plan for a larger reception or a subsequent “sequel wedding” down the road. Yet, a minimony can equally stand as a meaningful and complete celebration, capturing the essence of your love in an intimate setting.
If you’re curious to experience the magic of an intimate garden minimony, take a stroll over to my blog post featuring Zach and Claire’s special day at Denver’s Hudson Gardens, with a reception at Cart Driver LoHi.
Alright, so who are these cool little celebrations meant for? Minimonies are the perfect option for couples who want an intimate and heartfelt celebration without forfeiting a larger, subsequent event.
A minimony lets you simplify planning by reducing your guest list to your nearest and dearest. And honestly, they’re not just for a certain type of couple—they’re tailor-made for anyone looking to celebrate in an intimate, heartfelt way with a later opportunity to share the joy.
Imagine an elopement and a traditional wedding joining forces to create something extraordinary – that’s the magic of a micro wedding. These weddings are intentionally designed to be small yet packed with all the traditional delights.
Think of it as a “best of both worlds” scenario, where you get all the *pazazz* of a traditional wedding but on a more intimate scale. From the ceremony to dinner, dancing, flowers, and that oh-so-sweet cake, micro weddings capture the essence of a big day in a more focused and personal setting. Whether it’s about quality time with your closest circle or creating a stunning memory, micro weddings make every detail count.
A micro wedding is an intimate celebration with typically 50 or fewer guests, where every moment is infused with the love and connection that truly matters.
Micro weddings have the enchanting ability to capture the timeless elegance of traditional weddings while giving you the precious opportunity to focus on the people who mean the world to you. Gone are the days of feeling like you’re putting on a show for a sea of distant relatives or your second cousin twice removed who you’ve barely spoken to in years. With a micro wedding, it’s all about celebrating your love with those who hold a special place in your heart.
Micro weddings, while bearing some resemblance to elopements and minimonies, blaze their own trail in the realm of intimate wedding celebrations. These weddings offer a bridge between the intimacy of elopements and the structure of traditional weddings.
With micro weddings, elements of a conventional wedding are merged with a more intimate gathering. Unlike elopements, where the planning might involve a photographer’s assistance, micro weddings are often planned by the couple themselves or incorporate the expertise of a dedicated wedding planner. This planner guides couples through logistics, helping them work with local vendors to ensure a seamless event.
While micro weddings maintain some resemblance to traditional weddings, they focus on a more intimate guest list and place value on heartfelt moments. This enables couples to find vendors who resonate with their style and vision, allowing for a highly personalized and authentic exchange of vows surrounded by those who matter most.
Micro weddings cater perfectly to couples who want to dive deep into the smaller, significant details of their celebration. If you’re aiming to channel your budget towards intricate elements that might be challenging to replicate for a larger crowd, a micro wedding could be your ideal choice.
These weddings accommodate not only those seeking an intimate affair but also couples who wish to maximize their budget by focusing on quality over quantity. Your micro wedding can embody your unique vision, ensuring a truly personal exchange of vows without the need for a massive crowd.
I know, I know, with all the terminology floating around, it can be a bit bewildering. Let’s break it down.
While we’ve delved into elopements, minimonies, and micro weddings, there’s another dimension to this journey: intimate weddings. Technically, all the wedding styles we’ve discussed thus far fall under the umbrella of “intimate weddings.” However, if you want to get specific, an intimate wedding typically involves around 75 guests or less.
Intimate weddings share similarities with micro weddings as they often embrace the cherished elements of traditional weddings but in a more intimate atmosphere. Whether it’s the charm of an elopement, the balance of a minimony, the personalized touch of a micro wedding, or the refined essence of an intimate wedding, each offers a unique way to celebrate your love story.
One of the first questions that couples face after they get engaged is “Where am I going to get married?” Luckily, when it comes to finding the perfect venue for your intimate wedding, the possibilities are as diverse as your love story. From nature’s beauty to downtown city vibes, there’s a place that will feel authentic to you and your partner.
For those who cherish nature, Sunrise Amphitheater in Boulder or Sapphire Point Overlook nestled between Keystone and Breckenridge could be your dream come true. Alternatively, the tranquil charm of Loveland Pass Lake or the majestic expanse of Rocky Mountain National Park might provide the perfect setting for your vows. Seeking a touch of something unique? The striking rock formations at Garden of the Gods offer an incredible backdrop.
See for yourself what a Garden of the Gods wedding day looks like!
If you’re looking for something more private or accessible, consider the option of an Airbnb or VRBO – these spaces can effortlessly transform into your own wedding haven. Urban souls in search of modern sophistication might lean toward a stylish hotel or a trendy restaurant like Terrace on Main in Buena Vista or The Ramble Hotel in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood.
Further possibilities await in venues like Piney River Ranch in Vail and a personal favorite, River Bend in Lyons. If you’re eager to witness River Bend firsthand, explore my other blog post that features my own micro wedding at River Bend.
Remember, your intimate wedding deserves an exceptional setting, and Colorado’s varied landscapes and venues promise the ideal backdrop to craft enduring memories and a gallery that gives you #allthefeels.
Planning a wedding ceremony that doesn’t align with your genuine desires might leave you feeling uneasy. As you begin your wedding planning journey, remember that the most important thing is to create a wedding that feels authentic to you and your partner. After all, getting married marks a significant milestone in your journey as a couple, and it should be celebrated in a way that resonates with you and your love story.
Whether you’re envisioning a micro wedding with a close-knit group of 20, a cherished “minimony” surrounded by 10 loved ones, or an intimate elopement for just the two of you, your wedding day should be a reflection of your unique vision. Embrace the opportunity to step away from conventional norms and craft an experience that speaks to your hearts. Your love story is unlike any other, and your wedding should be a testament to that uniqueness.