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Elopements, Minimonies & Micro Weddings

Your Guide to Temecula Elopements, Minimonies & Micro Weddings

Your Guide to Temecula Elopements, Minimonies & Micro Weddings.jpg

Lindsey + Torin had a big wedding planned in summer 2020. When COVID hit, they knew they’d have to alter their wedding plans. But, they didn’t want to give up their actual wedding date, nor did they want to wait to get married!

In Lindsey + Torin’s case, they downsized their event to a micro wedding at an Airbnb in Temecula, California, with a large reception planned later in the year. Many couples are now changing their wedding plans as well, as none of us knows what the next year will look like, and how state regulations for events will evolve.

As a Temecula wedding photographer, I've now worked with lots of couples on altering their wedding plans, or couples who simply want to downsize their wedding day into a more intimate event! A micro wedding isn’t the only option - couples are looking at a few alternatives depending on their desires if they don’t want to entirely move their wedding date. Among those options are elopements, minimonies and micro weddings.


Elopements have evolved for these modern times! A decade or so ago, couples went to the county courthouse or Vegas and got married, and came back and let their friends and family know!

Now, elopements tend to involve more than just the couple and are often planned. Modern elopements may have anywhere from 2-10 guests. They could take place at a beautiful city hall to be followed by downtown portraits, or maybe the ceremony takes place on a mountaintop overlooking a lake.

Benefits to an Elopement


You’ll definitely spend less on an elopement, since one of the single biggest wedding costs is food and alcohol for your guests! You won’t need nearly the amount of vendors or elements like floral bouquets and boutonnieres for your wedding party.

Flexibility on Your Date

Wedding venues and preferred vendors often book up well in advance. You’ll have a lot more choices, and in fact, can plan your wedding date a few months or a few weeks out if you prefer!

Less Stress

When I was a bride, I ADORED wedding planning. But it was still stressful, and it’s not for everyone! With less vendors and guests, your stress levels will be way down when planning an elopement.

Custom Experience

Every type of wedding is about the couple getting married, but for an elopement, every part of the experience can really echo your personalities. Gorgeous, epic locations are one of the biggest factors at play in elopements. Maybe because you’re spending so much less on what would be reception costs, you can spring for those Badgley Mischka shoes, or a bottle of Dom Perrignon to toast each other as newlyweds. It doesn’t have to be about a budget, either - simply that your day should be a reflection of who you are and the commitment you’re making.


Many elopements take place outdoors because, well, nature is really awesome! You’ll want to make sure you have permission at your location, or if you’re getting married in a national park, to see if there are permits required. Many state parks and beaches require permits, and the last thing you want to deal with on your wedding day is a park ranger kicking you off the beach!

Hours of Photography Needed

The minimum amount of hours you should consider would be 2 hours. This would likely cover some getting ready photos, your ceremony, and portraits with any of your guests, followed by newlywed couple portraits. Some elopements have a longer timeline. If you’ve gone out of your way to get married in a beautiful location, you’ll want to add more coverage to your day. I also recommend planning your day so you get the last hour before sunset for portraits (or plan a longer first look so your ceremony is during sunset). Many couples don’t have this option when getting married in a wedding venue, so make sure to take advantage of having the flexibility so you get those romantic sunset portraits on your wedding day!


A minimony is very similar to an elopement in that you will be getting married either by yourselves, or with a small guest list. This term has picked up recent popularity during this time. What it really means is that you either keep your original wedding day, or choose another day to get married, and you’ll plan to have a large reception celebration at some point in the future. In the words of Phoebe, “You’ve found your lobster!” And sometimes when you find your lobster, there’s no reason to wait!

Benefits to a Minimony

Many couples don’t want to wait in lieu of uncertainty, but they still want to have a celebration with friends and family down the road. This is the perfect compromise. Additionally, if you’re a little nervous about the stress of a wedding day, this will definitely take the pressure off! Depending on the photos you want taken at your reception, you’ll also likely be able to spend more time with your family and friends.


Much like an elopement, the world is your oyster. You can look to a public outdoor setting, or you can get married in your backyard, City Hall, or an Airbnb.

Hours of Photography Needed

This will depend on what you want out of your day. One bride I worked with on a minimony treated it the same way as her wedding day and wore her wedding dress, so she and her groom opted to have getting ready photos like a typical wedding day. If you’re keeping it a bit more simple and spending more on your reception, you may want to hire someone for an hour or two, or forego professional photography altogether.

Micro Wedding

A micro wedding is just what it sounds like - a scaled-down, intimate wedding experience. Often times a micro wedding has many of the elements of a wedding day - getting ready photos, a first look, ceremony, dinner, toasts and more. As far as number of guests, micro weddings are typically 30 guests or less.

Benefits to a Micro Wedding

For couples who still want a traditional wedding experience with a smaller guest list, a micro wedding is the answer! You can plan this day much like a regular wedding day. With a smaller guest list, you’ll have more flexibility in your wedding day timeline. Your budget will also be smaller. It’s still a more intimate experience, but absolutely feels like a traditional wedding day.


You’ll also have flexibility with locations. Many couples are looking to Airbnbs for these types of events - although make sure to clear your event with your host and understand any guest limits or local regulations! Venues are also now coming up with custom micro wedding packages - see my article on Temecula Micro Weddings for more information on local venues hosting micro weddings!

Hours of Photography Needed

If you’re having a lot of traditional wedding elements (getting ready, first look, ceremony, family portraits, toasts, etc) I would plan on at least 4 hours of photography. You can see my Micro Wedding Photography Packages here.

Temecula Wedding Planning Resources

Temecula Wedding Vendors
How to Get Married in Temecula
Photoshoot Locations in the Inland Empire
Pros and Cons to a Wedding Day First Look
Wedding Timelines for Every Season
Best Temecula Wedding Venues

Temecula Wedding Photographer Courtney McManaway
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