Wedding Types

No-nonsense guide on the types of weddings for the 2020's

Couples plan their wedding day as per their preference and style (as they should!). It can be a traditional wedding, an elopement, or a micro-wedding, depending on how they visualize their big day. But, what are the differences between them exactly? If you’re planning your wedding at the moment, you might have found yourself getting confused by the type of wedding ceremonies there are. Given their definitions are often misinterpreted or not clearly stated, we’ve gathered a no-nonsense guide on 4 major types of wedding ceremonies. Once you know the stark distinctions, you’ll be able to make a better decision of what suits you well. We’ve also included the pros and cons of each; scroll to read it all.


The very thought of wedding planning, traditions surrounding the ceremony, and the hefty expenses scare you? Then an elopement wedding is your ideal option. Think running away to a gorgeous location with an officiant and a photographer (to capture the glorious union and also serve as a witness) and getting married in only the warmth and love you share. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Elopements are on the rise; given their minimalistic charm, we aren’t even surprised.

Elopements generally conjure up the thought that couples forgo all wedding traditions and don’t tell anyone about their plans. Not always the case!This is simply not true. This type of wedding ceremony can involve some wedding traditions like walking down the aisle, wearing white, and exchanging vows. Plus, you can even inform your friends & family about it. Most couples don’t opt for it though because of the judgment, but if you want to, you can.

The basic idea of an elopement is just that it involves only the two of you, there’s no extensive planning, and not a lot of people know about the ceremony. There’s also no big celebration afterward.

You can enjoy your wedding day, your way
There’s no extensive planning
They’re way cheaper
It’s good for the environment
You have more time together
You have flexibility with the details
There’s no spotlight
You really get to be together on the most special day of your life
More time for a private portrait session
You will miss out on the traditions
You won’t get to enjoy the day with your closest friends and family
There’s no bridal shower or any other pre-wedding traditions
You will receive fewer gifts
There can be judgment
You may have the feeling of being left out while witnessing any normal weddings


Micro Weddings can be considered the love child of normal weddings and elopements. They are much smaller than normal weddings – 50 or fewer guests and still give the intimacy of an elopement – whilst saving your guests from the dreadful pandemic. Micro-weddings have become a major trend since the Covid-19 onset since couples don’t want to postpone their union and yet want a safer option for all.

Most often, micro-wedding starts with a small ceremony, followed by a casual or relaxed reception. It has all the aspects of a normal wedding like the wedding party, a designated venue, seating, meals, decor, etc, just fewer guests and a relaxed approach. Having more people requires strategic coordination, careful planning, and there’s a likely chance of some ensuing drama.

Despite the term “micro”, it’s not necessary that a micro-wedding is cheaper or less expensive. They’re distinguished in terms of the smaller guest list and relaxed approach, but the couple can choose to splurge more on their nearest-and-dearest ones like a 5-course meal or a top-shelf bar. Or divert those expenses on their personal elements, like a luxe wedding dress or a celebrity photographer, etc.

Option to choose how much you want to spend
A relaxed, casual approach
Offers the best of elopement and traditional weddings
You only have your nearest-and-dearest around you
The dilemma of who to invite and who to leave out
There’s some possibility of a drama
Fewer gifts
You’ll have to get creative with entertainment

“Normal” Weddings

Normal weddings are the traditional big wedding soiree where around 50 to 200 guests are invited. It includes all pre-wedding festivities like bridal shower, stag parties, rehearsal dinner, etc., and also gives the couple a chance to include all wedding traditions on the wedding day. Although some are choosing to forgo or mold some of the long-standing traditions like garter toss to plan a ceremony they’re comfortable with and can enjoy completely.

Traditional weddings also include destination weddings. Destination weddings also include more than 50 people and are held in a place outside of the hometown of the couple. It requires travel for most (if not all) wedding guests and includes the traditional elements of a wedding followed by a reception.

You’ll never be left wondering “what-if”
You can enjoy all the pre-wedding traditions
There’s a chance of receiving everything included in the gift registry
You’ll have all your friends and family around
Traditional weddings are expensive
They take time and effort for planning
Family drama can be exhausting
There’s always the fear of something going wrong on the wedding day since so many people are involved
PS Traditional Weddings can be anything but “normal!”

Surprise Weddings

Your friends & family are invited for an engagement party, and surprise, they’re actually at your wedding. Surprise weddings have been around for a long time. Couples who plan this type of wedding ceremony can do it for a number of reasons, like a smaller budget, not wanting the attention and pressures of planning a wedding, or simply because they loved the idea and don’t believe in a traditional fête anyway. The element of surprise and excitement of this type of ceremony is unmatched and can build an atmosphere of exhilaration instantly.

However, a surprise wedding will require careful planning and organization. First, pick an event that will ensure the guests will show up. It can be a milestone birthday or an engagement party. Something your near & dear ones will know is important for you and shouldn’t be skipped. Second, let someone in on the big secret. It can be your friends, siblings, or closest friends. Keep the group small and the time between when you tell them and the actual event short so the secret isn’t spilled. Next, plan the vendors and make sure they’re hidden in the venue until the guests know what event they’re actually invited to!

Finally, plan the big reveal. Do it when most of the guests have arrived. You can announce the surprise yourself or have a family member/ close friend do it! You can also sneak away and change into your wedding gown/ suit when all this is happening. Some guests will be caught off-guard, but that’s the part of the fun. Our advice for your big day remains the same: don’t overanalyze any situation, live in the moment, and don’t worry too much about how picture-perfect everything should be.

Less hassle than planning a traditional wedding
You can make the schedule as flexible as you want
You can forgo the pressures and formalities of a traditional wedding planning
It’s a budget-option
You’ll have to give up the pre-wedding festivities
Some of the important people might not show up
There will be fewer gifts
It’s a unique idea, but there can be some judgment from your family and some friends who wanted to be a part of the wedding party.

These are the 5 major types of wedding ceremonies trending in the industry at the moment. With their definitions clear, we hope you’re able to make a better decision on which one’s perfect for your glorious union.

Photo credits:
Shawn + Mavis
Bulb Creative
Cassie Sullivan
Ed Noel Photography
Sophie Sullivan

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