Small weddings are not one size fits all because engaged people are not one size fits all

Nearlyweds arrive at the decision to have a small wedding for many reasons.  Carefully selecting the type of small wedding that is best for you is the first step to making your small wedding happen. 

From heading to the courthouse with mere hours’ notice to a full wedding celebration surrounded by 100 of your closest friends and family, small weddings allow any marriers to create the intentional and meaningful wedding that’s best for them. 

There are 5 common types of small weddings, with variations in each of these types, that allow those planning a wedding to build their experience based on the timelines, guest counts, traditions and experiences that are most important to them.

Small Weddings 101


Elopements are the most extreme way to scale back a wedding. A term that has been around since the 17th century, elopements are traditionally planned with very short notice and consist of just the marriers, the officiant, and (sometimes) a photographer. Elopements have been popularized amongst tourist destinations like Las Vegas or Hawaii, giving nearlyweds the opportunity for more of an experience than heading to their local courthouse but still absolving them of 99% of the planning a traditional wedding would require. 

Today elopements are more defined by their short guest lists than by the idea of running away to get married. While many people still elope by heading to their local courthouse at a moment’s notice or arranging a small ceremony with only the necessary witnesses, custom luxury elopements have also entered the market. These elopements are usually planned in six months or less and include a few select guests, more decor elements, a ceremony and possibly some food, like a dinner, a slice of cake or a few appetizers.

Here at The Un-Wedding Movement, we offer both custom elopement experiences that allow us to build an experience from the ground up for you, and minimony elopement packages, perfect if you’re looking to keep things as simple and effortless as possible.

An elopement may be right for you if:

  • You want as much flexibility as possible
  • You want to stay out of the spotlight
  • You who want to BE married more than you want to GET married


A term coined during the COVID-19 pandemic, a minimony was an opportunity for couples to get married within gathering guidelines and shelf their dream wedding plans until it is safe for them to play out in full.

Today in a post-pandemic world, here at the Un-Wedding Movement we have reclaimed this term to offer minimony elopement packages to nearlyweds looking to wed in the Edmonton area, perfect for those looking to get married with a celebration that’s easy on the eyes and the wallet while giving you the freedom to either plan a larger wedding at a later date, invest instead in an over-the-top honeymoon or save your money for the future.

With our minimony packages, we start with a base package that provides the photographer, officiant and planning support. We can then customize your package with ceremony decor, a cutting cake or a prosecco toast if that suits your fancy. The only thing you would be responsible for is providing your venue (which we can totally help you find) and making those plans to celebrate in style once you’ve tied the knot in your liberating celebration of love.

A minimony may be right for you if:

  • You have a limited budget and want to still have a beautiful celebration with your nearest and dearest
  • You’re ready to give the middle finger to the traditional wedding entirely and just celebrate your love in a beautiful ceremony without all the bells and whistles
  • You want to save your money for a kick-ass honeymoon, to buy a house or tuck it away for a rainy day

3. Pop-Up Wedding

Pop-up weddings are similar to pop-up restaurants and pop-up stores, as they temporarily take over and repurpose a space. Pop-up weddings take over a venue, arrange all the vendors necessary for a wedding, and then use that space and those resources to marry multiple nearlyweds before it is packed up (often 3-6 per day). This allows costs to be shared with one another and creates a very hands-off planning experience. 

Typical pop-ups are 60-90 minute experiences that include a ceremony for the marriers and a few guests, along with a few other elements like a small cake and champagne toast or photography. In these settings, everyone essentially shows up for their allotted time slot, gets married, and heads on their way. 

There are also more involved pop-up experiences, such as Intimate Wed Pop-Ups, that use the same model of traditional pop-ups to save couples money, time, and the complexity of planning, but allow for a more involved 4+ hour experience that feels more like a luxury elopement than a pop-up wedding.

With these experiences, nearlyweds get ready with a hairstylist, make-up artist, barber, and wedding dresser, have a 45-minute photography session, are married by an officiant followed by a mini-reception with drinks and appetizers, and can have 10 guests with them throughout their day. This pop-up model allows high-end venues and vendors to be used at a fraction of the price.

A Pop-Up Wedding may be right for you if:

  • You want a unique wedding experience
  • You want to skip all the planning, but not skip the wedding experience
  • You want an Instagram-worthy destination, but don’t want the daunting bills

4. Micro Wedding

A micro wedding, also known as a tiny wedding, is a simple, paired-back version of a traditional wedding. With 50 or fewer guests and a simple reception such as a cocktail hour, micro weddings allow couples to include more elements and celebrate with a larger crowd than elopements or minimonies. Micro weddings still place the focus on a personal and intentional experience by keeping the guest list short and the complexity of the day low.

The focus of the day is entirely placed on the couple being married and the support of their guests, and not on coordinating dozens of vendors, entertaining unwanted guests, hours-long ceremonies, or fitting in every imaginable tradition.

A Micro Wedding may be right for you if:

  • You want a simple wedding, but have more guests than an elopement allow for
  • You value simplicity and intimacy, over traditions and extravagance
  • You want a wedding that feels more traditional, without the stress and price tag

5. Intimate Wedding

Intimate weddings resemble traditional weddings most closely, allowing couples to take full-scale weddings and essentially boil them down to the traditions, guests, and elements that are most important to them.

With 100 or fewer guests, an intimate wedding allows for more than just immediate family and friends, while still keeping the guest list low enough to remain intentional and give the marriers a high degree of freedom while planning.

Planning an intimate wedding is an opportunity for marriers to have their dream wedding. They create more opportunities and possibilities,  by better utilizing their wedding budget because they are only sharing their day with those that matter most to them.

Intimate weddings also allow room to splurge on luxury in the areas that matter the most while cutting out the things that don’t. This means marriers are able to build a wedding that ticks off all the boxes on their wish lists and makes it an inclusive and intentional experience instead.

An Intimate Wedding may be right for you if:

  • You value intention and intimacy over a big, traditional wedding
  • You want to invest in the things that really matter to you, not on extra guests
  • You want you wedding to be focused on you, not on what everyone else wants

Still unsure what kind of small wedding might be right for you? Let us help!