Microwedding vs. Elopement – What’s the Difference?

With the current state of the world, there has been a huge number of couples who skipping the traditional wedding and opting for an elopement or a microwedding. Many couples want to get married now, and others are using current events as the perfect ‘excuse’ to get married in the way they truly wanted to, void of the judgment of family and friends. 😉  

There is a lot of confusion about if an elopement and a microwedding are the same thing – I’m here to explain the difference between the two!

the definition of a microwedding

Let’s start by talking about the definitions of each:

What is an Elopement?

*I’ve got a whole blog dedicated to my definition of an elopement – check out What Does Eloping Mean?

I would consider any wedding with less than 25 guests to be an elopement. Anything more than that number makes it so your day starts to be planned around your friends and family rather than you two as a couple! If you’re adding on more people to the list than your immediate families and/or a couple of friends, you’re entering into a more traditional wedding.

Honestly, you can call an elopement with 10 or 15 guests a microwedding and a microwedding an elopement. I’ve heard many people use that term for that scenario and to me, it doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as the focus of your elopement day remains on you!

What is a Microwedding?

Microweddings (in the way a lot of people are using it) are complete weddings with all of the traditional elements, with a scaled-back guest list. I would consider any wedding that has between 10-25 guests to be a microwedding. You could consider a microwedding a cross between an elopement and a large, traditional wedding. 

how to plan a microwedding

What’s the difference between a Microwedding and an Elopement?

The biggest difference between an elopement and a Microwedding is the focus of the day along with the structure.

Elopements tend to be focused entirely on the couple who is getting married. Eloping allows for freedom for the couple to explore together and enjoy each other’s company together, without the distractions of outside guests. Elopements are truly an experience for the couple and has zero restrictions.

They don’t have to follow any particular structure or layout for your day. You can do literally whatever you want! You can go hiking, take a helicopter tour, go jeeping, kayaking, drive through a national forest, etc. For more ideas and inspiration check out 15 Unique Elopement Ideas!

Whereas a Microwedding follows a more traditional structure of a day, but with fewer restrictions than a traditional wedding. You still have lots of flexibility to make it your own and do what you want! However, because it has a more traditional structure the focus of the day isn’t completely on the couple. You’ll probably have to compromise location, activities, and a few other things.

If you want to learn more about Eloping with Family be sure to check out this in-depth guide I’ve written!

So how do you know if you’re planning an Elopement or a Microwedding?

Some signs you may be planning an elopement:

  1. You have not booked a formal venue, and are not planning a formal meal.
  2. You are not planning any ‘formalities’ like after-dinner speeches, first dances, etc. 
  3. You may hike to your ceremony location or go on a rad adventure.
  4. Your day of timeline is rather flexible.
  5. You want the focus of your wedding to remain on the two of you.

*This is a general list. Eloping allows for flexibility to do what YOU want! Want to plan a first dance because you and your new hubby love to dance together? GREAT! Want to let your friends and family know in advance you’re eloping? Wonderful! Do what’s important to you when planning your elopement!

Some signs you may be planning a microwedding:

  1. You plan to have more ‘traditional’ elements of a wedding – just with a smaller guest count.
  2. There is a formal timeline of your day. (Ceremony time, dinner time, etc.)
  3. You are considering family/friends feelings while making decisions about your wedding.
  4. You have an Airbnb or place booked for a more formal dinner afterward to celebrate

what is a microwedding

Both elopements and microweddings end in you and your future wife/husband getting married

Both Microweddings and elopements are so special! It totally just depends on how you want to celebrate your day and move forward with it!

Remember, there is no wrong way to get married! The important thing is to make sure your wedding is fully reflective of you two as a couple and to celebrate the beginning of your marriage. Whether that means an elopement or a microwedding, that’s totally up to you! In the end, they’re SUPER similar to each other.

Plus, you don’t even have to choose just one. You can elope, and have a reception later. Or have a microwedding now and plan a one-year elopement styled vow renewal adventure. Again, just make sure the day is authentic to what you both want!


Thinking you may want to elope but aren’t sure where to start? I’m happy you’ve ended up here! I have a ton of great blogs for you to get started planning. From location ideas to the Ultimate Guide On How to Elope – I’m here for you. Have more questions or want to talk about why having an Elopement Photographer is SO important? >>>> Contact Me Here! <<<<<

Check out My Related Blog Posts:

How To Avoid Crowds At Your Elopement

11 Most Common Questions About Eloping Answered

What To Do After Eloping

7 Signs You May Want to Elope

How To Make Your Elopement Special

What's the Difference Between a Microwedding and an Elopement? | Courtney Lynn

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Courtney made the process SO easy! She does more than just photograph your day. She cares about you having the BEST elopement experience possible! I'll never be able to thank Courtney enough for making our dream day happen!

Contact me about your Elopement!

You probably have a million thoughts running through your head making you a bit overwhelmed.

How does this work? What can I do during my elopement? How do I choose my location? Is the ceremony legal? Can I elope with family?

One of the reasons you're probably eloping is because you want to have a stress-free day, but with so much uncertainty on how to plan an elopement how is it even possible?!

No need to stress, you're in the right place! This is where I come in and do the heavy lifting for you.

I'm Courtney, and I specialize in documenting adventurous elopements for couples who love the outdoors, but role is so much more than just an elopement photographer.

I'm here to guide you through every single step of planning your elopement and to give you a clear path tossing that stress out the window!

So, if you're ready to have a unique elopement experience that's actually focused on you, then let's friggin' do this!!

You know you want to elope,

and you know you want it to be meaningful and adventurous, but where do you start?!

trusted by & seen in

Courtney has a very warm and bubbly personality that shows through her work! She made my husband and I feel SO comfortable throughout the whole day.

We were very confused on how to start planning our adventure and she was there to answer a lot of our questions in the beginning and honestly with a very short time frame! We planned and got married in 6 weeks, because we knew we really wanted her there for our day and that is what she had available! It was a challenge well accepted for all three of us.

Our day was perfect. She captured our true essence of love and laughter and each photo shows it. There weren't very many set up photos unless we asked for them. She just gets you in the moment!

You can absolutely tell that Courtney loves what she does and wants your day to be perfect. She listens to you and really tries to understand you as a couple first and then uses that within her photography skills.

If you are looking for an adventure/elopement photographer I would highly suggest Courtney Lynn. We will be looking at and reliving our elopement forever thanks to her amazing photos. You won't be disappointed!

Amber & Ryan

Courtney was so helpful during the whole process! She helped put together a wonderful day!  She really wanted to make sure our wedding was just right for us. She made our elopement perfectly formulated for us, and I can't think of a more beautiful day!

One of our concerns going into an elopement was wanting to have pictures that let us remember the entire day. Courtney was there from start to finish and captured the whole day! Because of her outstanding work, we can share it with our loved ones, and they can experience the event almost as if they were there. We also really appreciated that she captured genuine moments between us instead of making it a photoshoot.

It felt like we were hanging out with a friend, and we think that helped us enjoy our day to the fullest.
If your dream wedding is an adventurous elopement day, I couldn't recommend Courtney more. She went above and beyond and was such a joy to work with throughout this whole experience.

She made us feel at ease and relaxed. Some wedding photographers are all about capturing posed moments that can be really awkward; that's NOT Courtney's style at all. Not only was she down to do whatever we wanted and go on little side adventures, but she made us feel comfortable.

She captured our true personalities and who we are as a couple! When looking at our gallery, our love for each other and our personalities can be seen in each image! She is extremely talented and did a phenomenal job of capturing the beauty of our wedding location. If you hire her, you will not regret it!

Sadye & Matthew

We are SO happy we decided to go with Courtney for our wedding photos! Originally we were supposed to elope in Italy, and she helped a TON with planning things like travel and what our day was going to look like.

Then the pandemic hit and we realized we probably weren't going to be able to go to Italy. So, we decided to change locations to Glacier!

She made it super easy and stress free, and helped plan what our new day in Glacier was going to look like!

Courtney was super easy to spend the entire day with, very friendly and fun to talk to! Even though our day didn't go exactly how we planned due to the weather, we all just went with the flow of it and it still turned out to be an amazing day!

If you're in doubt, just hire her!! You won't regret it one bit and you will get so many incredible photos to look back on your day!!

robbie & Aryton

When my now husband and I started planning our elopement, we were confused to the max. We didn’t know where to start or how to go about planning anything. We knew we wanted to get married in Ireland, but had too many options on exactly where. After doing some research of elopements, I was scrolling on Pinterest and came across some BEAUTIFUL photos taken by Courtney!

Courtney  made the process so easy! She is organized, professional, sweet, and so so funny!! Courtney does more than just photograph your day, she cares about you having the BEST day! She helped us plan EVERYTHING! Even down to the little details, like what type of shoes to wear! She helped us narrow down where, giving us her informative opinions on each of our options! She gave us cool ideas that we could incorporate into our special day. No idea was too big! When the day came, we had the absolute best time exploring and getting married! After we exchanged our vows, we went to celebrate at a local pub (Courtney’s idea ;) ). It was a blast!!

Our elopement was an absolute DREAM COME TRUE! I will never be able to thank Courtney enough for making it happen. So for anyone on the fence, swaying back and forth about whether or not work with Courtney on your big day, SWAY NO MORE! You’ve found your person!! My day couldn’t have been any better and my pictures are beautiful and capture the fun we had!!! I can’t wait to work with her again!

Taylor & andrew

"Planning for our day and the day itself would have been completely different without Courtney. We only knew that we wanted to share our vows in the Tuscan countryside and have beautiful photos, and Courtney planned the perfect agenda for that to happen.

She coordinated our timing around sunset, and not only were the photos breathtaking, but the actual evening was too. I remember looking out over the vineyards as the sun set, the view becoming more and more stunning by the minute. There were no moments that felt forced or posed, every shot was comfortable and fun and full of love.

Courtney is such a sweet, kind, fun person and we truly enjoyed spending the day with her. Courtney helped us to turn our dreams into reality, and we hardly had to do a thing. She allowed us to be in control of our day but gently took all of our wants and needs into consideration while making everything happen. Lastly, our pictures are just magical. Courtney is an incredibly talented photographer, and I feel so lucky that we were able to work with her. I would recommend her over and over again to anyone eloping."

Ellie & Zac

"Let. Me. Tell. You. It's not the technical aspects of photography that are the most difficult. It's the human aspect. Remembering that as a Photographer, you may be behind the lens but you are still a human, in front of other humans, in some of the most raw and intimate of moments.

Courtney balances both of these necessities (but rarities) with poise, great direction, and an overall kind calmness that just makes you breathe a sigh of relief. If you've come across Courtney's page and see what you like already, BOOK HER NOW. Don't spend another second looking for another Photographer that doesn't bring anywhere near the amazing light and spirit that this girl brings right here. Thank you again Courtney for allowing my husband and I to marry each other all over again! The images are stunning and I can't wait to blow them up and hang them in our home."

Shannon & Brandon

"Working with Courtney was an extremely easy experience, seamless, positive and obviously fun. My wife and I went on our honeymoon and wanted to surprise her with a surprise honeymoon adventure session.

Courtney worked with me to make that dream gift for my wife a reality. Meeting and posing for a photographer for the first time can be intimidating, but with Courtney it was anything but that.

Courtney is extremely positive and helpful and made us feel very comfortable in front of the camera. She played some of our favorite songs and before we knew we were just having fun and she was catching them every second. Perhaps the best part of our session was that Courtney knew all the characteristic and peaceful places of where we were, which made our photos even more extraordinary.

She kept the focus on my wife and me. When we shared our images with friends and relatives, everyone complimented on Courtney's aesthetics and the emotion she was able to capture. I can't thank Courtney enough for exceeding all our expectations with this photo shoot!!"


"Pick her -- she's the best! Courtney is amazing! Seriously! If you're thinking about eloping you should snatch her up to capture your day. She makes the entire experience fun and relaxed plus the pictures just blew us away. I will never forget our magical time in Venice and I'm obsessed with the gorgeous photos Courtney took of us. She's so so good!"

Jami & Tim

Courtney is not only a talented photographer, but she makes you feel so comfortable even though being in front of the camera can be nerve-wracking! She did such an amazing job with our day and if I had to pick my favorite photo it would take FOREVER, because I love so many! Definitely consider her if you want adventurous and beautiful photos coupled with an amazing experience!

walker & mac

Don't take it from me,
Take it from my past couples!

You’re in the right place!

I’m here to guide you through EVERY. SINGLE. STEP.

Let’s toss that’s confusion out the window and focus on how you want to get married!

Let me relieve those feelings of being lost, save you time, tell the story of your day and let’s get started creating a day that you’ll never forget!

So, if you know you want to elope,
but feel unsure on where to start, 

contact me & let's get starting creating your dream elopement!

...and you want an amazing storyteller to document your day


Give me your thoughts on your elopement!*

Tell me about the best adventure you've been on!*

date & location*

Where do you currently live?*

Phone Number*

How'd you hear about me?!*


You & your fiance's full names*

Let's freaking do this!!