Bride and groom kiss during recessional of Tuscany-inspired micro wedding | PartySlate
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What is a Micro Wedding — and Why They’re Here to Stay

Bride and groom kiss during recessional of Tuscany-inspired micro wedding | PartySlate

“Micro wedding” is the new buzzword for couples looking to commit. While small weddings were always an option, they are officially a mainstay. COVID-19 has forced many couples to rethink their wedding plans. With travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines — not to mention, constantly-changing regulations — intimate weddings offer a safer way to celebrate.

Make no mistake, micro weddings are anything but the “lite” version of a grander celebration. Be prepared for unique venue spots, lavish décor, and personalized details. We sat down with the team at Jennifer Matteo Event Planning to learn more about this popular phenomenon. As it turns out, small weddings are the new big thing.

What is a Micro Wedding?

Intimate barn wedding with plum-colored linen and white seating | PartySlate
photographer: Heather Lauren Photography | planner: Jennifer Matteo Event Planning | floral: Victoria Blooms | venue: Mission Lago Estate | linen & chargers: BBJ Linen

While everyone agrees that micro weddings feature fewer guests than the average wedding, the actual guest count is up for debate. At PartySlate, we’ve heard of guest counts ranging from 10 to closer to 50.

According to Jennifer Matteo Event Planning, a micro wedding has 30 guests or fewer. “Once a reception starts including 50 people, it’s just a wedding,” the team jokes. 

Dip too low in guest count and you might find yourself hosting a minomony (10 guests or fewer) or experiencing an elopement.

Whatever the size, micro weddings are certainly intimate celebrations. Their scaled-back guest counts allow for creative designs, personalized details, and a more meaningful experience. As we learned from Matteo’s team, small weddings can result in some truly spectacular moments.

See Some of Our Favorite Micro Weddings on PartySlate

Bride and groom kiss during recessional of Tuscany-inspired micro wedding | PartySlate
photographer: Jillian Margret Photography | planner: Jennifer Matteo Event Planning | floral: Victoria Blooms | venue: Esplanade Golf & Country Club

Tuscany-Inspired Wedding in Sarasota

Sarasota, FL

Dreaming of a destination wedding? A talented wedding planner can bring your dream destination to you. We love how this Sarasota celebration captures the warmth of Tuscany with accents of lemon, rosemary, and wild greenery. Click to see how the tablescapes featured pop of lemon and blue for a romantic, yet fresh aesthetic.

Intimate ceremony site with two crescents of greenery leading to views of the Queensboro Bridge | PartySlate
photographer: We-Do Productions | planner: Pejy Kash Events | floral: Ivie Joy Floral Arts | venue: Penthouse808 Rooftop at Ravel Hotel

Intimate Wedding in Long Island

New York, NY

Think outside the ballroom with an outdoor ceremony in the heart of the city. We love how two crescents of greenery serve as both aisle and arch. Best of all, the neutral color scheme complements the Queensboro Bridge rising pale against the summer sky. Make sure to see the intimate reception table with lavish overhanging centerpieces — one of our favorite trending centerpiece styles.

Two brides during recessional at boho-style vineyard micro wedding | Partyslate
photographer: De Joy Photography | planner: Pocketful Of Plans | floral: Fleurs du Soleil | venue: Eden Rift

Vineyard Wedding With Boho Accents

Monterey, CA

This micro wedding inspires us with its mix of whimsical boho décor and elegant vineyard vibes. From string-light canopies to gold wreath chargers, every element of this celebration has us swooning. Click to see more.

Elegant backyard wedding ceremony with white petal aisle | PartySlate
photographer: Lilly Glass | planning & design: David Pressman Events | floral: Lilla Bello | venue: Private Residence | tabletop: Theoni Collection

Elegant Backyard Celebration

Los Angeles, CA

Lucite seating and an aisle of scattered white petals provide simple, yet elegant, touches to this natural backdrop. Discover how the wedding reception continued this understated elegance with a charcoal-grey velvet tablescape and fresh white blooms.


RELATED: 47 Ways to Make Your Micro Wedding Larger Than Life


How Do Micro Weddings Differ From Large-Scale Celebrations?

Tuscany-inspired wedding recessional of bride and groom | PartySlate
photographer: Jillian Margret Photography | planner: Jennifer Matteo Event Planning | floral: Victoria Blooms | venue: Esplanade Golf & Country Club

In many ways, micro weddings are similar to their larger counterparts. Matteo’s team uses the same timeline for planning any event, from mood board inspiration to vendor acquisition. Most likely, a couple will also use the same type of vendors: photographer, florist, caterer, etc. That being said, you can expect a greater emphasis on meaningful moments and personalized details.

More Intimate Moments

“Micro weddings are definitely more intimate for the guests as well as the couple,” Matteo’s team tells us. “We like to see everything personalized for guests.” This can include everything from inviting each guest to “speak” at the wedding or having some type of pre-wedding, immersive experience.

“We have had a lot of our couples, especially here in Sarasota, who want to do a pre-wedding activity like paddleboarding or a sunset cruise.” The team adds, “It gives guests more to talk about.”

See Some of our Favorite Ways Real Couples Created Intimate and Meaningful Moments at Their Micro Wedding

Couple poses on 17-Mile Drive including Pebble Beach between their micro wedding ceremony and private reception dinner | PartySlate
photographer: Next Exit Photography | venue: L’Auberge Carmel

An Extended Photo Session

Los Angeles, CA

After exchanging vows before close family and friends at Carmel Beach, the couple enjoyed an extended portrait session along 17-Mile Drive. Stops include Pebble Beach and Bixby Creek Bridge. The evening concluded with a private cake cutting and first dance, followed by a private chef’s dinner.

Bride, groom, and their pet dog walk down the aisle next to their backyard pool | PartySlate
photography: Cheers Babe Photo | floral, design & rentals: Events, Etc… | venue: Private Residence

A Pet-Friendly Celebration

Los Angeles, CA

A small backyard wedding allows for the whole family to come (including fur babies). We love how this pup was able to watch the ceremony, and even walk down the aisle, for a celebration that truly included the couple’s nearest and dearest. 

Beneath a whimsical floral arch, groom sings and play guitar for bride at micro wedding reception | PartySlate
photographer: Mary Costa Photo | planner: Heartthrob Weddings & Events | floral: Whit Hazen | venue: Ruby Street

A Sweet Serenade

Los Angeles, CA

Smaller guest lists require less time “working the room” or transitioning from ceremony to reception hour. Fill this extra time with meaningful moments that honor your love as a couple. We appreciate how this groom took a moment to serenade his bride during the cocktail hour. May we request an encore?

Elevated Details

Many couples who have been forced to narrow down their guest list are choosing to put a greater focus on wedding décor. Think about it: It’s easier to have 30 unique chargers or place settings than 150.

Hosts are also transforming lemons into lemonade — with picture-perfect results. One of  Matteo’s clients had to narrow down the original guest list due to the Delta variant. Because her cake was already ordered, “She decided to go with custom cake boxes, so now guests will have a plated slice of cake during the reception, as well as a slice of cake to take home with them.” As the team says, “People are getting really creative.”

See Some of our Favorite Ways Real Couples Upped the “Wow” Factor at Their Micro Wedding

String quartet plays under double arch of bright pink blooms for wedding cocktail hour | PartySlate
photographer: Brian Dorsey Studios | planner: Premini Events | floral, décor & design: Birch Event Design | venue: Private Residence

A New Kind of Staging

New York, NY

Cocktail hour gets an upgrade with staging that pops. Bright pink flooring crowned with intersecting arches of dramatic pink blooms drew all eyes (and ears) to this string quartet. Click to see the lavish king’s table encompassed in a cascade of twinkling lights — as well as the same mesmerizing blooms.

Individual mini shrimp cocktail, monogrammed ice sculpture on dinner plate at micro wedding | PartySlate
photographer: Muñoz Photography | planner: YSD Events | décor: Breakers Wedding | venue: The Breakers Palm Beach | live strings for ceremony: EastCoast Entertainment

Individual Ice Sculptures

Palm Beach, FL

Give guests the royal treatment with Instagram-worthy cuisine. We are obsessed with these monogrammed shrimp cocktail ice sculptures that graced every dinner plate. Make sure to also see the mouth-watering desserts. We’ll give you a hint: martini glass meets ice cream cone.

Elopement wedding ceremony in front of willow tree with colorful and eclectic vintage seating | PartySlate
photographer: Perry Vaile | planner: Pure Luxe Bride | floral: Flora | venue: Middleton Place | rentals: 428 Main & The French Eclectic

Extra-Cozy Ceremonial Seating

Charleston, SC

Guests won’t mind a longer wedding ceremony with seating this comfortable — and photo-worthy. We love how this vintage seating adds whimsical pops of color to the simple and all-natural backdrop. Afterall, who needs a wedding arch when the seating is this stunning? Click to see how the same vintage-style seating was used for an ultra-intimate sweetheart table.


RELATED: 12 Small Wedding Ideas [That Make a Big Impact]


What are the Benefits of Hosting a Micro Wedding?

Small wedding with lantern-lit trees, blue and pink velvet linen, and a black wedding cake with a colorful cascade of blooms | PartySlate
photographer: Arianna J Photography | planner: Jennifer Matteo Event Planning | floral: Victoria Blooms | venue: Historic Spanish Pointe

Micro weddings can be more convenient for the couple and their guests. “For a micro wedding, we can usually keep all your guests in the same place, especially resort-wise,” Matteo’s team tells us. “Here in Sarasota we have a lot of super cute beach resorts. When we do a micro wedding, usually all of the guests can stay in that area or property, versus being at a bigger hotel.”

Couples can also get creative with their venue choice. “Especially with destination weddings, it’s easier to get a smaller guest count to your location.” Couples can also choose to host their celebration closer to home — or even at home. “We’ve transformed some beautiful backyards.” Matteo’s team even took advantage of an inground pool to create an acrylic, floating wedding aisle.

See How Real Couples Chose Unique Venues for Their Small Wedding

Backyard wedding with white aisle running alongside inground pool and pink floral arch against small white building | PartySlate
photographer: Fred Marcus Studio | planner: Guerdy Design | floral: Birch Event Design | venue: Private Residence

Beautiful Backyard Wedding

Jersey City, NJ

It’s true: there’s no place like home. With the right planner and design team, your backyard can become a dream wedding venue. We love how this intimate ceremony creates featured a bright white aisle set between greenery and tranquil water. Make sure to see how the intimate reception continued the pink floral motif with whimsical centerpieces.

intimate micro wedding ceremony in woods with triangle arch with one side covered in flowers | PartySlate
photographer: Cheers Babe Photo | floral: Love & Lupines 

Where Love Began

South Lake Tahoe, CA

This couple went back to where it all began: a place in Truckee where they first met. We love how a small woven blanket became an intimate space for the couple to exchange vows. Make sure to also check out their stunning first look set amongst the forest greenery.

Small beach wedding ceremony at 23 North, Grand Isle Resort and Spa | PartySlate
photo courtesy of & planner: Chic Bahamas Weddings and Events | floral: Anna Floral Design | venue: 23 North, Grand Isle Resort and Spa

Destination Celebration

George Town, Exuma

Bring the best of an elopement and large-scale affair together with a destination micro wedding. We love how this tropical ceremony lets sea and sand steal the spotlight — after the bride and groom, of course. Click to see how the tropical vibes continued with an outdoor reception.


RELATED: 17 Small Backyard Weddings That Prove Home is Where the Heart


Wedding Budgets: What is Included in a Micro Wedding?

Micro wedding at home-like venue with decorated front steps and floral-covered bar panel | PartySlate
photographer: Ailyn La Torre Photography | planner: Jennifer Matteo Event Planning | floral: Ivy & Vine Floral Design | venue: The Orlo

Do micro weddings cost less than large-scale affairs? “It totally depends,” Matteo’s team tells us. “We can do a beautiful little ceremony on the beach with an arbor and small floral touches, which will be a large cost savings.” 

Matteo’s team also explains, “With a smaller group of people, we can do a quick cocktail hour, which can shorten their time with a videographer or photographer, so that’s another way people can save money.”

Rehearsal dinners may also be replaced with going out for cocktails or a more casual meet and greet. 

At the same time, many couples who have been forced to narrow down their guest list are choosing to put a greater focus on lavish décor or creative cuisine. 

With a smaller guest count, couples can also reallocate their budget to immersive activities throughout the wedding weekend, such as sunset cruises or renting a fishing charter. 

Work with your wedding planner to determine your priorities. While your guest list may be small, your wedding day is still a big event. Don’t be afraid to get creative. With a smaller guest list, anything is possible.


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