Intimate wedding – what is it? You’ve probably heard it from a friend or a work colleague recently and wondered what they meant. Is it just a scaled-down version of a regular wedding? Is it similar to an elopement?

Intimate Wedding

An intimate wedding is commonly referred to as a wedding that has a smaller number of attendees than a regular wedding. In some countries like the US, it is also sometimes called a micro wedding.

There really isn’t a strict definition and you can define it however you like. But in most cases, size is considered as the main factor for defining an intimate wedding. In the UK, an average wedding has around 80-150 guests so an intimate wedding is usually one with up to 30 attendees.

intimate wedding in the UK - bride wearing Marchesa high neck long sleeves a line lace wedding gown and groom wearing long black coat, top hat and pinstripe trousers at the front steps of Hedsor House wedding venue near London. Photo by Cristina Ilao www.cristinailao.com

Of course, this number is a relative estimate. Numbers could depend on several factors such as different wedding practices, cultures, and norms in various regions and countries around the world. For example, in a region or country where a regular wedding could have around 300-500 attendees, a wedding with 100 attendees could still be considered intimate.

Intimate Wedding vs Elopement

But what’s the difference between an intimate wedding and an elopement? Those two words are both quite popular buzz words these days. Are those two actually the same? Is there any difference at all?

Elopements and intimate weddings may have some similarities. Intimate weddings include elopements and elopements are understandably intimate. However, the main difference between these two lies in the number of attendees. You may notice that the wedding party size has a big role in defining both terms.

intimate wedding in the UK set at the English countryside flower farm near Thirsk. Bride is wearing a custom CHerry Wiliams London dress with off shoulder lace design and groom is wearing formal black suit. Photo by Cristina Ilao www.cristinailao.com

An elopement is one where the only attendees are the couple, the officiant, and very few wedding suppliers – usually just the photographer, hairstylist, and make-up artist. Sometimes, the bride just does her own hair & make-up to keep it even smaller and the whole wedding party is limited to three people – the bride, groom, and officiant.

And before you even ask – No, elopements are not what they used to be. Gone are the days when a couple elopes to hide from their families and fight for their forbidden love. (Of course, you can totally do this if you can imagine yourselves as the modern-day Romeo & Juliet. Don’t let me stop you!) In the modern world, couples choose to elope (or opt for an intimate wedding) to break away from tradition and have a celebration that is more personal to them. Or they probably just don’t fancy having a big wedding – it could be as simple as that 🙂

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I hope you found this useful! Send me an email if you did or comment below if you have any questions. If you’d like to be notified the next time I share wedding planning tips like this, then please join my email list, and let’s stay in touch. Speak soon!

Much love,
Cristina x

London wedding and editorial photographer

Meet cRiSTina

Born and raised in the Philippines, Cristina is an award-winning international wedding photographer currently based in London and Newcastle, UK. She is known for her fine art approach and light and airy photography style.

Throughout her career, Cristina has worked with distinguished television celebrities, leading UK fashion influencers and international brands, cementing her place in the UK and extending her reach to a global client base. Cristina has been featured by Nikon Europe,  Yahoo Style UK, and some of the most notable international wedding and photography magazines.

Her work has taken her to some of the most beautiful places in the world including the USA, France, Malta, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Greece, and the Caribbean just to name a few.

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