Like so many things in 2020, weddings — and pretty much everything about the $55 billion wedding industry — have been turned on their heads this year.
These gatherings, so sacred and beloved as a rite of passage, have been put on hold in most cases due to social distancing protocols and the need to keep each other safe.
Nevertheless, couples still want and need to tie the knot formally, so these strange times have given rise to a now-popular trend: the “minimony.”
Though not entirely new, these small weddings that were once a niche custom are now happening all the time.
Of course, it makes perfect sense. When hosting a minimony, only a few people gather in person, while others can “attend” virtually to see the couple recite their vows.
For brides-to-be who always dreamed of a giant gathering with hundreds of loved ones, this may sound a little defeating.
But it can certainly be a fun and worthwhile celebration and offers a much more intimate way to start a marriage. Looking for the best Wedding Photographer in Melbourne? Check out our ultimate list here.
Whether you’re planning a minimony, we break down exactly what you need to do to prepare a minimony, including explaining precisely what a minimony is and sharing some of our favourite celebrity minimonies to inspire you!
What Is a Minimony?
A minimony is a sweet word to describe a smaller, more intimate wedding that takes place on your planned wedding date. It’s a mini wedding ceremony.
Most couples plan a minimony when they can no longer stage their grand wedding day on the same date.
This is often due to situations outside our control, like the social distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic or unexpected budget reasons.
Hosting this mini ceremony is a lovely way to mark your planned wedding date with legally binding or ceremonial nuptials. It’s a small-scale wedding celebration, often with an unusual twist or a fun take on saying “I do.”
It’s right there in the name: a mini ceremony. Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule about exactly how small it has to be to qualify, but something around a dozen or so people is a good baseline.
These are the guests you will host in person to witness and celebrate, although a Zoom call or other video feed is often set up so that loved ones from all over can be part of the festivities.
What Does ‘minimony’ Mean?
A minimony is a super-intimate wedding ceremony attended by a small number of your loved ones.
Minimonies became popular during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic when wedding numbers were very restricted.
They are ideal if you want to get married without the large wedding celebration – which can always come later!
You also have the option of making your minimony a commitment ceremony to celebrate your original wedding date before actually marrying on your rescheduled date – it’s entirely up to you!
It’s a lovely way to still work with a selection of your suppliers (who may welcome the support) and to give a handful of your guests a preview of what’s to come if you choose to follow up with a more significant wedding celebration at a later date.
Why Have a Minimony?
Due to COVID-19, safety factors and restrictions on the size of gatherings are the main factors driving the minimony trend.
Put, if you want to get married responsibly and don’t want to delay things, this is a great option.
Beyond that, it’s relatively easy to host. That’s one reason why minimonies were a trend before 2020.
Not to mention, these types of celebrations tend to be relatively inexpensive and can be held in a backyard, garden, or nearby park.
This allows newlyweds to put their money toward a new home or another goal, rather than spending tens of thousands on a one-day event.
Lastly, some people love intimacy. But, unfortunately, having so many people at a wedding can, for some couples, take away from the true purpose of forging a lifelong bond and beginning their lives together.
Minimony Vs. Micro Wedding Vs. Elopement
You might be wondering how a minimony is different from a micro wedding or elopement. While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are a few subtle differences.
A minimony is typically a mini version of a wedding hosted on your original wedding date. There’s then a more significant “sequel” wedding planned for the future. The sequel wedding will have a more extensive guest list and look like the traditional wedding ceremony you originally planned.
Micro weddings are intentionally small weddings. With the micro wedding, there’s no follow-up wedding date. Instead, it’s simply an intimate, cozy gathering of people to witness the marriage of a couple.
Traditionally, elopements are when a couple takes off somewhere and weds in secret. These days, couples often invite a handful of witnesses to join them in eloping — like young children or their parents. As a result, elopements feel more spontaneous, intimate, and laid back than a minimony.
How to Plan a Minimony
If you’ve chosen to throw a minimony because you’ve postponed your wedding, you might still decide that a small wedding on or close to your original date sounds right for you – which is where the minimony comes in.
It’s entirely up to you whether you choose to make this your legal ceremony with a vicar or registrar or go ahead with a celebrant.
Later in the year or next year, you can have your ‘sequel wedding’ – a follow-up wedding with all the people and celebrations you originally planned.
It may not be the day you originally planned, but for plenty of couples, it’s about the promises they are making more than the wedding.
Then you’ll have two special days: the day of your minimony and the day of your ‘sequel wedding’ ceremony and reception with your loved ones.
Here’s how to throw a wonderful minimony:
Wear Your Wedding Outfits:
This is your wedding ceremony so wear what you planned to wear on the day.
If you haven’t been able to collect it yet, then wear some of what you have, like shoes and accessories for wedding day lipstick.
You’re more than able to wear it all again at your postponed reception – you feel amazing and look beautiful in it, so why not wear it twice?
But if you want to keep it a secret, that’s more than ok too!
Or Go for a Different Look:
If you want to save your wedding outfits for the last celebration, you can have fun with your minimony look!
Always fancied a wedding jumpsuit as well as the traditional dress? Or perhaps a super cool bridal suite?
Now is your chance to be a bit more experimental, as you’ll get the best of both worlds!
Be Creative With Your Location:
Depending on whether you make your minimony legally binding, you can be creative with your venue.
Can you always have a civil wedding ceremony as your minimony in an unusual wedding venue – is your favourite restaurant licensed for weddings?
If your minimony isn’t going to be legally binding, you could always have it in your garden! Just make sure you check the latest coronavirus wedding guidance before you make plans.
Hire a Celebrant:
Celebrants add a whole new level of personality to your wedding ceremony – make your minimony entirely about you as a couple by hiring a celebrant for the occasion.
Write Your Vows:
With a smaller guest list, you might feel more comfortable personalising your minimony, and writing your wedding vows is a lovely way to do this.
Limit Yourself to Close Friends and Family:
The idea of a minimony isn’t to have your whole original guest list there.
While that might be possible on Zoom, a minimony should be small and intimate, with just your absolute closest loved ones. Looking for a Wedding Photo Location? Look no further. Brighton Savoy has compiled an ultimate list of wedding photo locations to help you choose.
Everyone else will be happy to wait for the ceremony and party in a few months.
Save Your Original Vows for Later:
Vows, speeches, and readings don’t all need to be said at your minimony.
You can save these for your ceremony and reception at a later date, especially if the best man’s speech will be better in front of a crowd.
Instead, pick something shorter and more personal to say or read for the minimony.
How Do You Host a Minimony?
Compared to a traditional wedding, a minimony is relatively seamless to pull off.
It doesn’t take much beyond setting the date, inviting the right people, picking a location, serving quality food, and putting on some nice clothes.
Truthfully, it’s almost more like throwing a dinner party rather than a wedding.
Still, one factor to consider is ensuring everyone who can’t attend understands what’s taking place.
Typically, this isn’t a huge problem. However, if someone isn’t invited to a 300-person affair, they may feel a bit disappointed.
However, when it’s just the immediate family and inner circle, there are usually not many hurt feelings.
However, you still want to send out a save-the-date to invited in-person guests and virtual attendees.
This is a great compromise that allows more people — including close relatives who may be out of town — to enjoy the experience.
Great Reasons to Host a Minimony
If you can’t go ahead with your original plans, a minimony is the perfect alternative. Here are a few reasons why a minimony is such a lovely idea.
Celebrate on Your Original Wedding Date
Sometimes life throws us a curveball, and we can’t host our wedding on the date that we’d planned.
With save-the-dates already sent to friends and family, many couples now opt to host a minimony instead of sending out a postponement notice.
A minimony gives you the chance to tie the knot — legally or ceremonially — on a date that holds significance for you.
You can host a small-scale version of a wedding with only a handful of guests, then celebrate on a bigger scale at a later date.
Get the Best of Both Worlds
Most couples who opt for a minimony bring everyone together later in the year or on their anniversary for a “sequel” wedding.
This celebration will look like the planned wedding, with a bigger venue, larger guest count, and plenty of entertainment.
Minimonies works excellent for couples who want intimacy as well as a party atmosphere.
You can get married in front of a handful of your closest friends and family members, then host a second, larger wedding where you can focus more on mingling with guests than remembering your vows.
Do Something a Little Unusual
A minimony is often the result of an unexpected change in plans.
People don’t go into wedding planning with a minimony in mind — even if they originally planned a small wedding.
Since it’s unexpected, a minimony is the perfect opportunity to have fun and do something different than a traditional wedding.
Instead of hosting your ceremony at a courthouse or local vineyard, why not opt for your favourite bookstore or arcade instead?
You could keep things casual with a small garden party ceremony in your parents’ backyard, with homemade lemonade, ice cream, and cupcakes instead of a catered meal.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can go extravagant and whisk just a few loved ones away to a luxury home rental for a sophisticated ceremony and afterparty.
Minimony Wedding Ideas
Want to make your minimony more of a tribute to the wedding day that’s still to come with these minimony wedding ideas – they’re also a great way to include your original suppliers in your minimony celebration:
Hire Your Photographer for a Few Hours
You will cherish these photos forever, so it’s best to get a professional in.
As long as you’re maintaining social distancing, it’s okay for your photographer to join you and get some beautiful snaps.
You can then email these to guests or put them on your wedding website to give them a taste of what’s to come at your later wedding.
Get a Mini Wedding Cake
Ask your cake maker to bake you a miniature version of your wedding cake for you to cut and all enjoy. But, of course, you can never have too much cake!
Ask Your Florist to Create a Small Bouquet
You aren’t changing any of your themes, so you still want the look and feel of the original wedding.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to ask your florist to make you some more miniature versions of your wedding flowers: just a bouquet, buttonhole and some centrepiece flowers in your chosen colours and blooms will look gorgeous in photos and transform the feel of the day.
Have Your First Dance
Whether you’re moving your living room furniture to make way for a dance floor or having a twirl outdoors, no wedding is complete without a first dance. So play your song on speakers and dance like no one’s watching.
Eat Your Wedding Breakfast
It’s possible your caterers will be happy to make you a smaller version of your wedding breakfast and deliver it to you.
If that’s not possible, arrange a nice treat as a wedding breakfast for your guests, but remember that buffets aren’t good for social distancing.
It’s entirely up to you whether you let your guests know about your minimony or not.
Just like some couples have a secret legal registry office ceremony and then treat their wedding day with their celebrant as their “real wedding”, you can choose to keep this one private and celebrate your last wedding as the real thing.
Alternatively, you might be more than happy to tell guests you’re having an intimate ceremony and send them some photos. It’ll build up excitement for when they can finally join you to celebrate.
Minimony Planning Tips and Ideas
Planning a minimony doesn’t have to be complicated.
Your plans might have changed, but with a few minor tweaks, you can bring the magic of your planned ceremony to a smaller audience. Here are a handful of our best minimony planning tips and ideas.
Keep it Simple
With things up in the air, switching to a minimony can feel like a big task — especially if you had your heart set on celebrating with a grand celebration on your wedding date.
Stay calm, focus on your love story, and keep it simple.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to create a magical event for everyone. Instead, pick out a handful of details that’ll make your minimony feel unique to you.
Maybe you splurge on more gorgeous blooms from a local florist or work with a local chocolatier to create fantastic party favours.
You could even make your wedding dress or suit the show star by wearing something unexpected or switching into something fun for your first dance.
Invite a Handful of Guests
Minimonies are small by nature, with most couples keeping the guest list around 20 or fewer. As such, you’ll need to pare your guest list down considerably, but there’s still space for your immediate family.
Having close friends and family members there on the day will help your minimony feel more like your planned big wedding ceremony.
Plus, with only your closest loved ones there, it’ll feel all the more special.
Find the Perfect Officiant
With so few people at your minimony, the ones who are there really count. And that includes the officiant you choose if you’re opting for a legally binding ceremony.
Spend some time scouting out the perfect officiant for your minimony. Then, if you can’t meet them for coffee, you can speak online for a virtual meeting to get a feel for their personality.
Or, how about choosing a friend or relative to serve as the officiant? Having a personal connection to the person presiding over the ceremony is yet another way to make your day more magical.
Book a Talented Photographer
Your wedding ceremony might be smaller than planned, but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful or memorable.
Make sure you capture every moment of your special day on camera by booking a talented wedding photographer.
Choose a photographer who specialises in photographing smaller ceremonies, elopements, and micro weddings.
They’ll know how to capture images full of atmosphere and energy, even with a small audience. If there’s room in your budget, book a wedding videographer too. It’s a lovely way to capture your day in motion so that you can look back on it forever.
Share Your Minimony With Loved Ones
A minimony is a small ceremony with an even smaller guest list, which means you can’t send out wedding invitations to your entire guest list.
But the great news is that you can still involve everyone by sharing the day with them in a handful of different ways.
If you’re feeling up for it and have a techy friend around to help with setup, create a Livestream for your event.
Send out online invitations to loved ones who can’t make your minimony with a link to watch the stream on the big day.
If live-streaming isn’t your thing, capture the day as it happens and encourage guests to share on social media with a hashtag.
After the event, you can create a gallery and share it with friends and family members.
Is a Minimony Right for You?
A minimony isn’t for everyone. Many couples right now are simply choosing to delay things by a year or so, and that may be a better option for some people.
Others, however, are discovering a minimony is even better than “the real thing.”
It’s cheaper, it’s easier, it’s smaller, and it’s more intimate. So if that sounds like something that fits you and your partner, why not give it a try?
Plan a Minimony You’ll Remember Forever.
A minimony might not have been part of your original wedding plans, but it could be the perfect way to celebrate on a date that’s close to your heart. At Brighton Savoy, we have compiled a list of the Best Photobooth Hires in Melbourne to help you choose who captures your magical day.
With our planning tips and ideas, you’ll be able to take your pictures and recreate them on a smaller scale to create a special day you’ll always treasure.