What Wedding Size is Right for You?

Image of large wedding party at outdoor wedding ceremony

Big venue or microwedding? Or, something in-between?

Recognizing the pros and cons of different size weddings helps couples decide how they should proceed with their ceremony plan. It’s a balance. Many couples today want to move forward with their lives as a married couple as soon as possible. However, they also wish to have a wedding where they can celebrate their marriage with their loved ones. As a couple, they need to figure out what wedding size is best for them.

Medium and Large Weddings

Having a medium or large wedding creates opportunities for families to come together to strengthen their bond and build a supportive community around the couple. Wedding celebrations are a wonderful way to show love and the importance of family. This is a big reason that many parents and grandparents, if they have the financial ability, contribute funds to the wedding celebration.

The challenge of these big, beautiful weddings is that they usually require many hours of planning and coordination. They also cost a significant amount of money. Therefore, they are becoming less common. A guest list of 100 people can easily cost $30,000. This includes the venue, catering, DJ, wedding dress, hair and makeup, photography, flowers, officiant, cake… Of course, there are many ways to reduce this cost. For instance, picking a day besides Saturday and trimming the guest list helps.


Inviting only family and close friends keeps the cost down. Generally, fewer than 40 people is called a microwedding. Planning a microwedding can be done in a couple months since there are more venues that can accommodate the smaller crowd. The reception dinner can be held in a private room at a restaurant. A wedding with 20 guests starts at around $2,500.

Microweddings have gained in popularity. Couples tend to feel more comfortable because they aren’t in front of a large audience. In addition, couples today are often paying off college debt, raising children or buying a house. So, a less expensive wedding is more financially manageable. Microweddings are also very popular with people marrying for the second time.


For those who don’t want to wait, or deal with guests, an elopement is the way to go. While it can be a secret, it doesn’t need to be. Elopements range from $500 – $1,500. They can be simple-sweet and casual, or elaborate and unique. They can be planned in a few weeks, or even a couple days.

Going away to a beautiful location let’s couples enjoy a relaxing and private time together. Quick and easy has lots of perks. And, it has logistical benefits too. Especially if there is an impactful life change. For instance, when being deployed, couples often want to formalize their union before the departure.

Elopement/Wedding Combination

For some people, the thought of marrying without their family and those closest to them is unthinkable. They can choose to have two separate ceremonies. This is the perfect solution for couples who want the best of an elopement and wedding party. The couple elopes and does all the legal marriage paperwork, then has a bigger wedding, typically about a year later.

An experienced justice of the peace can provide guidance and serve as a neutral advisor, assisting couples in selecting the best ceremony size and type for their needs and wants.

Find your perfect JP at findaJP.com

Justice of the Peace Carmen GeorgeJustice of the Peace Carmen George has officiated weddings for over 15 years. She is also a wedding photographer and florist. Based in Burlington, Vermont, she lives with her husband and daughter. As a member of the Justice of the Peace Association, she has a profile on findaJP.com.

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