When it comes to planning your wedding, the first step is to decide what type of wedding you want to have. Odds are, you’ve been dreaming and planning this day for years anyway. But in case you haven’t (or even if you have), I’m going to help you determine what type of wedding is best for you!
Before you let the stress of planning a wedding get to you, selecting a wedding type will actually make the experience simpler, smoother, and more enjoyable. Taking that first step will help inform every following decision. Figuring out the type of wedding you want will help you settle on the perfect venue site, select the right attire, figure out how many drinks to order for your cocktail hour, and hire the right team of vendors.– Chanda Daniels, A Monique Affair
Today, there are so many options when it comes to types of weddings and wedding styles. The beauty of it is that weddings are as unique as human beings. There’s no “one-size-fits-all”, and even though I’m going to walk you through different kinds of weddings, you can certainly adapt yours to fit your vibe and preferences.
There are so many unique ways to express your relationship with your soon-to-be spouse. The type of wedding you host is one of those ways. Want to escape the busyness and run away together? Are you looking forward to having your entire family and all of your friends there? The possibilities are endless.
Keep in mind that ultimately, your wedding is for you and your fiancé, not anyone else. Plan a wedding that lights you up and makes you two happy, not one that’s for Mom or Dad, your sisters or cousins, or your best friend.
Types of Weddings
There are several ways to categorize wedding types. In my opinion, one of the most important factors influencing your wedding is how intimate you want it to be. With that in mind, I’m going to cover a few types of weddings based on size and intimacy.
The definition of an elopement has changed in the past few years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. An elopement used to be a somewhat scandalous affair, with the couple running away together without the approval of their parents. Often without even telling their parents.
Today, the meaning of elopement has become a term to describe a more intimate, simple, and intentional wedding day that focuses on the couple. Instead of hosting a large-scale, traditional wedding, an elopement includes a private ceremony and usually no more than 10 guests.
Elopements are great if you don’t want the pressure of meeting the expectations of friends and family, or who don’t want the stress of planning something elaborate. It’s also a great choice for introverted or reserved couples who don’t want to feel like the center of attention. Instead of being paraded down the isle, you can exchange your vows in private. If you are a spontaneous couple looking for adventure, this also might be the right option for you!
Eloping is a budget-friendly option since you won’t be worrying about paying for a large venue, catering, alcohol, decorations, or wedding favors. Get as creative as you want with it and cater it to you and your partner’s personal preferences. While you may still choose to splurge on things most important to you such as your outfits, travel, photography, or a musician, you can save a lot of money by not hosting a large reception for hundreds of guests.
For more reasons to have an epic adventure elopement, check out this blog!
Elopement weddings are:
- For <10 guests
- Less expensive overall
Intimate weddings are also becoming more and more popular. They are the epitome of “good things come in small packages”.
If you believe the beginning of your marriage should be celebrated with the people who matter the most to you, an intimate wedding might be the right call. With a guest size of about 10 – 25 guests, intimate weddings are all about the emotions of the day and spending time with your favorite people. You will feel more relaxed and will enjoy the day more if you’re surrounded by your loved ones who know you best.
With less time and money spent on wedding planning, you can place a larger emphasis on pre-wedding events, the after-party, or your honeymoon. Another great perk to an intimate wedding is your wedding photographer will be able to spend more time capturing the unforgettable moments between you and your partner and your friends, rather than busy gathering guests for large groups photos.
Intimate Weddings are:
- Intimate (obviously)
- For 10 – 25 guests
Micro weddings started gaining a lot of popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic when couples decided to minimize their guest list rather than postpone or cancel their wedding altogether.
These types of weddings typically include several traditions of a conventional wedding, just with a smaller guest list (around 25-50 people), usually immediate family and close friends). It’s a beautiful blend of a traditional wedding and an elopement, where intimacy and tradition meet.
Micro weddings allow you to still experience a beautiful wedding ceremony and a fun reception and/or after party to celebrate, but with a larger focus on closeness and being together with the ones you love.
One big bonus to holding a micro wedding is that it opens up possibilities for venues. Because of the size, micro weddings can be held in a backyard or in the lobby of a sophisticated museum.
Micro weddings are great for couples who still want to carry out the traditions of a conventional wedding but may get overwhelmed or socially drained in large groups of people. Or perhaps if you simply want to focus the day on connecting with loved ones and spend less energy on small talk with acquaintances or lots of people, this might be for you.
Hosting a micro wedding means you have a larger portion of your budget to spend on the venue or vendors because less is spent on the guests. You can put this extra budget toward more decorations, the after-party, or your honeymoon!
Micro weddings are:
- A mix of intimacy and tradition
- For 25 – 50 guests
- Good for parties!
Traditional weddings are formal events that include all the typical traditions and ceremonies of a wedding that you would normally think of: getting ready, big bridal party, the wedding ceremony itself, family formal photos, your first dance, toasts and speeches, dinner, cutting the cake, tossing the garter and the bouquet, and so on.
These customs can make getting married feel like the momentous occasion it is. It can also bond you with parents or grandparents who themselves may have had a wedding very similar in style. But remember, you should create a day that encapsulates your relationship with your partner and expresses your relationship’s personality.
For those couples who are very social and love big parties, a traditional wedding will be a better fit than a smaller size event. It allows you to invite not just immediate family and close friends, but all family members and acquaintances. Traditional weddings usually have 50+ guests, and sometimes as high as 200+.
Because of the size, traditional weddings will have a higher price tag. A standard wedding may cost around $28,000. Your venue is typically the most expensive cost, followed by your cocktail bar and catering costs. Other expenses include a professional wedding photographer, a wedding planner, a hair and make-up stylist, decorations, a DJ, wedding favors for guests, transportation, and more. Not to mention many little things that will add up along the way such as gifts for parents and your bridal party, or printing programs and mailing invitations.
Traditional weddings are:
- Busy, Social events
Many couples choose to host their wedding ceremonies in a completely different location and far away from their hometown. This could be as simple as a different city, or as spectacular as an entirely different country.
There are several reasons to plan a destination wedding. Maybe you just need to get away from the stress of planning a regular wedding. Destination weddings make that easier because the entire event can be taken care of by the host resort or location. Maybe you’re looking for a cheaper option, and only want to invite close friends and family who are able to travel to be with you. Or perhaps you want to have an amazing honeymoon somewhere warm and sunny, and holding your wedding ceremony there as well just makes sense.
Destination weddings are an excellent option if you’re looking for adventure. It’s the perfect opportunity to share a new travel experience with your soon-to-be spouse and mark the start of your marriage together. Whether you revisit a favorite destination or decide to try a new location together, there are ample opportunities for activities and relaxation. These weddings are laid-back and informal, as opposed to a meticulously planned traditional wedding.
One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering a destination wedding is that not everyone will be able to afford the logistics of traveling, such as buying plane tickets or taking time off of work. Maybe this is what you’re looking for! But if there are certain people you want in attendance, make sure to plan with them accordingly.
Destination weddings are:
- Hosted away from your hometown
How to Choose Your Type of Wedding
Choosing what type of wedding you want to have is more than hitting a number on the guest list. It’s about making sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who are important to you and who will continue to support you in your marriage. All while balancing the amount of stress and money you want to invest into your wedding day.
“When you have a major moment, who are the first people you call or text? The people you want to celebrate those moments with are the ones you put on the list first”– Ashley Mason, Wedding Planner
Choosing a wedding type is about finding a way to celebrate your union and creating memories you will cherish and hold onto forever. It’s about celebrating the uniqueness and personality of your relationship. What makes your relationship special? This is what sets your wedding day apart from everyone else’s.
The best way to capture the special moments of any type of wedding you choose is to hire a professional wedding photographer who can eternalize those intimate moments of your wedding day.