The COVID Small Wedding

January 20


By Carolyn

January 20, 2021

Last week, we talked about COVID elopements, which are definitely one way to do the small wedding. But many couples want a full wedding day experience, with a venue, ceremony, and family and friends. In these instances, a "small wedding" is a perfect fit for couples planning a COVID wedding in Seattle right now. And there are many ways to make it happen. This has led to some confusion about different types of small weddings, and what couples should expect with each (particularly if they are shopping for packages). So, today we will dig in to the "small wedding," different types of these weddings, and some of the benefits of going this route during COVID!

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Photo: Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography


There are all sorts of words being used to describe these weddings– minimony, microwedding, tiny wedding, small wedding – but are they all the same? The truth is that those terms may mean different things to different people. However, the definitions we are using here are based on what we see among other wedding professionals and venues in Seattle, and nationally.

  • A “minimony” is a small wedding from 10-30 guests that focuses on the ceremony, without a reception.
  • A “micro wedding” or “tiny wedding” could be anywhere from 10-30 guests, and would ideally include a reception.
  • Based on our current guidance, we would say a “small wedding” is one where the couple also has around 30 guests, and would also ideally include a reception. In previous years, a “small wedding” might be defined as one with fewer than 50 people.

Since our current guidance right now bans all receptions, basically none of these small weddings would be able to have a reception of any kind. This sort of blurs the lines between these terms. As a result, we made a little graphic to help you better understand the features of each of these types of Seattle COVID weddings.

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In addition, small weddings of all kinds have several benefits. Here are some of the biggest benefits we are seeing with small weddings right now:

  • Planning: You can invite the maximum number of people! So in Seattle right now, you can have up to 30 people at your wedding or ceremony. This might make culling your guest list a little less terrible. Minimonies have the added bonus of allowing your closest friends and family be a part of your big day, without ever planning a reception!
  • Location: Small weddings are still allowed at Seattle wedding venues, so you can get a fancy ceremony at a fraction of the cost. If you choose to wed at a venue, you will get the “full wedding” experience, just on a smaller scale. As a result, many venues are offering special packages for small ceremonies and receptions (when allowed).
  • Budget: Small weddings free up your budget and allow you to make your wedding a completely extravagant experience for your guests. For these small weddings, we are seeing quality over quantity. Couples are spending more on things like lush floral designs, stunning décor rentals, upscale table linens, and all kinds of bespoke personal touches. Small weddings often feel like elaborate, exclusive dinner parties, and we love how couples are cultivating intimacy and adding these special touches!

If you are stuck on what type of COVID wedding celebration to plan, you can boil it down to two main questions:

  • Do you want to hold your ceremony in a venue?
  • And is there a reception, ideally?

Those two questions should guide the type of COVID wedding you are planning. Again, small weddings of any kind may not be able to include a reception, based on the current COVID guidance. But on the flip side, some weddings in 2021 may be able to have more than 30 guests. Overall, we encourage you to plan for the wedding you want, but be flexible when new COVID wedding guidance emerges! And if that means you are planning your ideal wedding for 300 people, that’s okay too!

We hope this was a helpful guide to a confusing time in wedding planning. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Next week, we will be talking about some of the hidden advantages of COVID weddings. If you are ready to read more right now, you can head on over to the full COVID wedding guide for Seattle. You can also download a free PDF copy below.

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