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The Official Guide to COVID-19 Wedding Types in 2020 

by Renee Roberts, Team Wedding Marketing

The entire wedding industry has been severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. In some parts of the country, weddings are at a complete standstill due to size considerations for events and gatherings.  With the sizes of events severely limited and federal, state and local guidelines changing regularly, engaged couples are unsure on whether to continue, postpone or cancel their wedding plans.

Couples are realizing it’s not as simple as finding out what dates are available at the venue and reprinting new invitations.  Other considerations include making sure key guests (family and wedding party) and contracted vendors can attend the new date, while most likely trying to trim the guest list in light of COVID-19 to line up with event restrictions imposed by CDC’s social distancing guidelines.

Couples are scratching their heads in confusion and many are at least considering altering the type of wedding they will have while trying to maintain the same wedding style and vision they have dreamt about for years throughout the wedding planning process. This unprecedented sliver in time in history is shaking up the wedding industry and giving birth to new wedding types, new wedding day protocol, and new language to describe them. Although, at the end of the big day, all that really matters is that couples have tied the knot to begin new lives together, and correct labelling helps wedding vendors get on board with the scope of the planning process more quickly.

What’s a minimony?

This one takes some explaining, because minimony cannot yet be found in the dictionary.   These “mini ceremonies”, with a guest list of 50 or less, joins the couple in a legally binding ceremony that is not immediately followed by a wedding reception.  A minimony is usually the option chosen when couples want to keep their original wedding date but are forced to change the wedding size because of state gathering mandates.  The plan is to follow up with a reception with the full guest count in the future.  This also occurs with destination weddings, when couples and only a few friends join them for the vows and will throw a grand party or reception later.  Although the couple is already legally married, some repeat the ceremony in conjunction with the future reception, and this later date full wedding, reception, or party is a sequel wedding.

What is a mini wedding?

Don’t get a minimony and a mini wedding confused.  Mini weddings have all the elements of a traditional wedding, and will last several hours.  By definition this is a small wedding, which is a traditional wedding with fewer than 50 guests and lasts several hours as do larger traditional weddings.

What is a micro wedding?

Micro weddings have always been around, but this year they are occurring more frequently because of their very small size that works well with the COVID-19 initiated restrictions put on weddings and large gatherings.  They are usually quite intimate with less than 30 guests but do not include all the elements of a traditional wedding.  This wedding type has increased in popularity because couples have found only small windows of time that they can squeeze into the busy wedding venues on the weekends or weeknights. Micro weddings usually last less than two hours.

How is this different than an elopement?

Elopements are usually pop-up, or spur of the moment and done with little planning.  Elopements may occur locally or at a destination, and they are often done totally in secret.  If they include a few friends and family, they may join them after the vows for a casual dinner to celebrate, or the couple may just escape to be alone.

What is a shift wedding?

If your wedding size is larger than allowed by local guidelines, but you still want to come as close as possible to a traditional larger wedding, a new type of wedding is becoming increasingly popular. In a shift wedding, the guest list is divided into two or more groups that would attend the wedding celebration at different times with the venue cleaning appropriately between groups.  For example, the ceremony would be attended by the family and close friends.  The reception is then divided into shifts, with the first half being attended by one third of your guests, and the last part of the reception attended by your younger friends and “partiers”.

What is a multi wedding?

Working with the same concept of shift weddings, multi weddings also allow couples to keep their guest lists on the larger side but each with their own respective twist to the wedding day format.  Multi-weddings will invite similar groups of guests to the separate events in the entire wedding weekend. The rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, after party, and day after brunch create multiple opportunities for the couple to enjoy more guests, in smaller groups, without having to reduce the guest list.

In this helpful flowchart (click here), a series of easy “Yes” or “No” questions guides couples through the process to decide if their wedding type is either an elopement, a minimony, a micro wedding, a mini wedding, a sequel wedding, a traditional, a shift wedding, or a multi wedding.