Updated: Oct 6, 2020
2020 has been a year like no other, with the way we all live our lives changing so rapidly and comprehensively due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Everywhere you turn, the phrase "the new normal" seems to rear its head. Things have undoubtedly changed, and the post-2020 landscape is likely to look a little different from the pre-2020 landscape, even when things return to somewhere closer to what we know as normality. Many couples have had to change their wedding plans, with great numbers choosing to postpone their wedding day until 2021 or even further into the future. In recent months some couples have decided to still go ahead, albeit with their wedding looking a little different than they might have imagined and planned due to restrictions on numbers of guests that can attend. Some couples will know what they want their wedding day to look like, and won't be prepared to compromise. Some will be more willing to adapt. There is no right or wrong.
So for those of you that might be considering your options, what is the difference between an elopement and a micro-wedding? There is some discrepancy in the number of guests that make up a micro-wedding, but here is a rough idea.
Elopement = just the two of you
Micro-Wedding = a wedding with 50 guests or less
The history of elopements
Elopements are not a new thing, they date back to the 14th century - their origins coming from the word ‘aloper’ which meant ‘to leap’. Elopements enabled couples to ‘wed’ in a straightforward and timely manner and often took place at family homes.
Under the 1754 Marriage Act introduced in England and Wales you were forbidden to marry without your parents' permission if you were under 21 - many young lovers crossed the Scottish border to get wed, leading to the prominence of Gretna Green as a popular elopement location.
Eloping became very common during the great depression of the 1930s due to the fact both resources and money were scarce.
Today’s meaning of elopement is simply an alternative to a large, and often costly, wedding. Gone are the days of two people running away to get married in secret.
With the cost of living rising at a much greater rate than wages over the past couple of decades, elopements have been gradually rising in popularity.
So, why elope? Eloping could mean more money for a house deposit, your honeymoon, etc. After all, for some couples, these things might take higher priority than spending all your savings on a one-day party (magnificent and memorable as it may be).
Arranging a wedding can be a task. An elopement or micro-wedding allows you to minimise the stress and focus on what really matters. And elopements can be incredibly romantic. When you simplify your ceremony you allow space to remember what makes getting married so special; the love between you and your partner.
Why have a micro-wedding? For a lot of people, not having their close family and friends at their wedding would be a big no-no. So, instead of eloping, you could look at having a micro-wedding. It means you can have those that are nearest and dearest to you present - and spend more significant time sharing your big day with them, rather than making small talk with that Aunt that you've only met once in your entire life and probably won't see again until the next family wedding.
When you’re catering for such a small group of people, you can make your money go further, allow for more personalisation, and turn to smaller and more local businesses to provide for your special day.
A smaller ceremony means that you can be even more flexible with where you do it.
It could be somewhere meaningful to you, or more isolated. And there are some stunning smaller venues out there waiting to be discovered.
Both elopements and micro-weddings stand as a reminder that love and marriage do not require a more traditional lavish celebration.
Are elopements and micro-weddings the new normal?
For the rest of 2020? Yes. Couples that still want to get married will have to accept that Covid-19 restrictions on numbers will still be in place. And the straight-up fact is that nobody knows how Covid-19 might affect us next year - or if and when a vaccine might be available. And couples are still going to want to get married. So here's to elopements & micro-weddings, and to celebrating those love stories, and to those couples that decide to celebrate their love and tie the knot despite the circumstances. And to mention the elephant in the room, with the economic outlook some couples might find it prudent to scale back the size of their weddings.
Thinking of, or even planning on, having an elopement or micro-wedding? Get in touch to discuss how we can tailor a bespoke wedding photography package to suit your big day.