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Micro Weddings - What Are They and How Do We Have One?

Micro weddings have surged in popularity following the pandemic, yet they present their own unique set of challenges. Perhaps you've envisioned your dream wedding in a grand venue but find yourself with a smaller guest list. Or maybe you're grappling with the daunting task of trimming down your invitees. Unsure of what a micro wedding entails? Fear not, as we're here to lend a helping hand. 

Greetings from Olio! We’re a large, open historical event space in Peabody, Massachusetts, north of Boston, and we’ve hosted tons of weddings. With the rise of micro weddings post-pandemic, we've witnessed couples get really creative with making their small, intimate weddings work beautifully for them. By now, we’ve had a lot of experience in navigating micro weddings, so we’d love to help you start off with your planning! 

And let's be clear: we love a giant soiree. Big, lavish, over-the-top... we can't get enough. BUT that's not a fit for every couple for a lot of reasons... and so we've created some resources for our micro wedding couples. Read on.

Micro Wedding, couple stands at their ceremony with small amount of guests watching
Photo by Jess Mahorn at Olio

Here are some reasons why you should consider a micro wedding over a huge, traditional wedding: 

Micro Weddings – What are they? 

Okay, so before we launch into the tips and tricks, we should start by explaining what exactly a micro wedding is. There are a lot of terms on the internet that may seem the same to you – micro wedding, minimony, elopement, etc. Each of these is slightly different, so let’s learn the difference! 

A minimony is a pandemic trend that started amid heavy event restrictions. Couples had to rethink their big wedding plans. Some postponed, wanting to have their big day, but they weren’t going to let some virus stop them from getting married! That’s where a minimony comes in – a small ceremony and reception with only a couple witnesses, sometimes live-streamed to the rest of the guests. The minimony is simply to have an actual ceremony before the bigger celebration that got postponed.  

COVID-era wedding, Officiant wearing a mask during the ceremony, small audience
Photo by Callan Photo at Olio

Elopements as a concept have changed throughout time. Eloping used to mean that a couple would run away and get married in secret with one or two witnesses, typically because the family disapproved of the union. In current times, if family doesn't approve of the marriage, that wouldn’t necessarily stop it from happening. Modern elopements, while not shrouded in secrecy, maintain a minimalist guest list, typically comprising of the couple and a select few VIPs. 

A married couple and their officiant getting married at their ceremony, small wedding
Photo by Namaste Photography at Olio

Now, onto our topic at hand. What is a micro wedding? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like! A typical wedding on a smaller scale. Micro weddings, unlike minimonies or elopements, have all the elements of a typical wedding – ceremony, cocktail hour, bouquets, cake, dancing, and anything else you want! The only difference is that, unlike the others, it's only the size of the wedding that's nontraditionalMicro weddings tend to have a guest list of fifty people or fewer, but they are similar otherwise to a standard wedding. So, you get to have everything you wanted for your wedding, just in a more personal and intimate way. 

Why Would I Want a Micro Wedding? 

Good question! When you picture a wedding, you may immediately think of a huge, lavish celebration with tons of people. Then you may wonder “Why would anyone want such a small event on their big day?”. Or maybe you think you do want a micro wedding, but you haven’t quite convinced yourself. So why would someone want a small wedding like this? 

It’s Cheaper 

Let’s not ignore the headline, here. One of the biggest reasons a micro wedding may be right for you is just that it’s budget-minded. Not only that, but it’s far less wasteful and more sustainable. Rather than having large amounts of food and decor that may just be thrown away afterward, you can put your money towards the flowers, meals, photographer, or venue you’ve always dreamed of!  

A More Intimate Gathering 

Another downside to larger weddings is that it can be hard to find the time to properly spend time with all the guests. It’s hard inviting so many people to celebrate your big day only to find you don’t have time to talk with many of them. Of course, this may be better for you than cutting your guest list altogether, but it may be easier on you to trim down to the essential people. Consider inviting only your closest friends and family members, allowing you to share meaningful moments with them. Remember, you can always arrange gatherings with other guests post-wedding to ensure everyone receives your undivided attention. 

A married couple kisses under a sign reading "all you need is love', simple and intimate moment
Photo by Esso Media at Olio

Easier to Plan 

When you downsize the number of guests you need to accommodate, you downsize everything. Planning a wedding with two hundred guests is a lot more complicated than planning one with twenty. You can easily coordinate meals that work for everyone’s dietary needs. You don’t need to worry about complex seating charts. You’ll have more venue options. Everyone in the wedding party will have a clearer role. Even just communicating with everyone will be easier.


Hosting a Micro Wedding in a Large Venue  

Our event space at Olio is large and open, and we know firsthand the worry that a venue may be too big for your small guest list. You definitely don’t want to make the room feel vast and cavernous, nor do you want to leave a huge unused space. No need to worry – we have some fabulous ideas on how to create your intimate wedding in our big space.

Small intimate wedding space, corner ceremony in larger room, small amount of chairs set out, micro wedding
Photo by Jessie Felix at Olio

The easiest way to start is with dividing the room: curtains or screens can easily create smaller rooms within the larger space. Olio has hosted weddings as small at 15 guests successfully.

If dividers aren't a fit for your wedding style, then arrange the decor in a way that commands room space. Having tall items or decor suspended from the ceiling is a great way to compress that upper space and make things feel cozier. This could be small trees, draped fabric, balloons – you name it! Make sure you check with your venue for what’s allowed to hang from the ceiling. Most of our small weddings include lounge furniture (ie couches) to enhance seating and provide cozy nooks. Tables, seating arrangements, and other thematic design elements can be spaced in a beautiful and comfortable way.

Micro-wedding with smaller amount of guests, large divider making large venue space smaller, lights overhead taking up space, table spacing using space, good interior design
Photo by Jessie Felix at Olio

Different lighting can help, too. Depending on your theme, making the room a bit darker will make it feel smaller. Use candles, fairy lights, or other low-energy light sources to control what the guests can and can’t see and make the room feel more condensed. Using black in your decor may also be helpful because black will make a room feel smaller than it is. 

Micro Wedding Tips and Tricks 

You may still have a few burning questions left over about your micro wedding. We’ll do our best to answer them here with some tips we’ve come up with in our years of experience.  

Micro Wedding Ceremony set for 25 guests in Massachusetts
Photo by Jessie Felix

  • Cutting the Guest List – That pesky guest list. This is the hardest part of a micro wedding. There will be people who you won’t be sure if you should invite. Our best advice is to figure out who you absolutely cannot imagine your wedding without. It could be your parents, your favorite cousin, or your best friend. If the wedding wouldn’t be the same without them, they’re a VIP. Once you have that list, it’s up to your discretion who else to invite. 

  • Make it Personal for Everyone – Micro weddings are very intimate by design. There are so few guests that it will be personal, so try to make it special. You could cater the meals and cocktails to your guests’ tastes, write them each a personal note, or maybe book some entertainment you know they’ll love. Of course, don’t forget yourself. The couple are the main guests, after all. A smaller wedding makes it easier for the vision to come to life. Make a vision board to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for and make it a reality.

  • Determine What You’re Keeping – There are a lot of events at a wedding. If you want to cut things that you consider less important, go ahead. Maybe you want to skip the cocktail hour. That’s fine! Just make sure you allow time between the ceremony and reception for pictures and maybe some light refreshments. You can skip the exit toss, cut some of the games during the reception, or shorten your allotted time for dancing. Whether it’s a small tradition or a bigger event, don’t feel bad about cutting it, especially since the wedding is focused on just you and your closest loved ones. 

  • Don’t Feel Guilty – You may feel guilty about hosting a micro wedding. There are pressures from family, complaints from those who weren’t invited, or maybe your own worries that you’re not doing it “right”. Forget about it. Seriously! This is your wedding and no one else’s. So be confident in your choice to spend the day with those you love dearest. We promise you that you won’t regret it. 

We hope these tips have helped you determine whether a micro wedding works for you. If you have other questions, or if you’d like a tour to see how you could make our space work for your wedding, feel free to contact us! We’d love to hear from you. 



Sarah Narcus   

Owner, Olio 



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