If you’re contemplating a minimony, micro-wedding, eloping in New Hampshire, or other type of intimate wedding, this is a must read post with tips from seasoned wedding planners and photographers.
Small Weddings in NH – Getting Started
This piece began as a post about eloping in New Hampshire, because the Horse & Hound recently came back online as a wedding venue, and it’s perfect for an intimate NH wedding. We discovered though that there are many terms besides elopements to describe a small wedding. And some of the same words can mean different things depending on who you ask in the wedding industry.
So, we’ve done some research, talked to the experts and below is a comprehensive discussion on small weddings in New Hampshire!
What is a minimony, elopement and micro-wedding?
First, let’s cover the definitions. Elopements, micro-weddings, and minimonies all describe a wedding with a limited guest list. They have all become more prevalent during COVID because state rules and safety precautions have kept couples from having larger weddings.
Typically, micro-weddings are small weddings under 50 guests (that number can change depending on the source). Minimonies are usually smaller than a micro-wedding and used by couples planning to postpone their big bash. Elopements were traditionally meant to describe a wedding that needed to happen quickly and in a clandestine manner. Today, eloping in New Hampshire can mean just the couple and officiant on a secluded mountain top. Or others describe an elopement as between a micro-wedding and minimony in size, with around 25 guests.
Although folks may disagree on what each definition means exactly, there’s consensus that small weddings still takes planning. And that an intimate wedding of any type is still special!
As Sara Williams at Mindful Weddings explains: “Elopements hold a special place in my heart. With such an intimate wedding experience, a couple can focus on what really matters — their shared love. Without the external distractions of a large event, couples can truly be present and celebrate their love.” More from Mindful Weddings here.
Why Elope (insert term of your choice)?
Here we’ll lay out all the reasons to have a tiny wedding and later we’ll cover why specifically to do it in New Hampshire. As we note above, the smaller weddings have become popular in large part because of COVID. But many couples are embracing them. And many in the industry think that elopements, micro-weddings, etc. are a trend that will continue after COVID.
First off, couples can be more present during a smaller wedding and have the headspace to enjoy the day. They don’t need to be rushing around the reception trying to give everyone 5 minutes of face time. Also, couples get to spend more quality time with each guest.
Second, the couple can save money with a lower guest count. For example, the venue rental price increases when there are more than 75 guests for weddings at the Horse & Hound. Or if you’re eloping in New Hampshire, use the extra funds to increase the quality of your wedding celebration.
Jenny Richard, Owner of All Aboard Event Planning, tells couples: “Micro-Weddings simply allow for your dreams to go farther. Your wedding celebration becomes an intimate and pure reflection of your love story on a grander scale. Having less guests usually equates to more flexibility in your budget which provides the options to bring in an abundance of divine, creative food, craft cocktails, lush floral installs and more thoughtful touches. Less guests doesn’t mean less fun, it means more intimacy and time with those closest to you. Quite often there are more speeches and more laughter. Don’t trim your budget when you trim your guest list, use that as an opportunity to bring in unique and personalized elements to create an event that feels far from ‘micro.'” More from All Aboard Event Planning here.
Bethany at Something Pretty Events shares some more thoughtful advice on intimate weddings. “I love elopements because with a larger scale wedding many of the most intimate moments in your day are lost in a flurry of guests and details. By curating a day focused just on the two of you and your love story I find that couples get to maintain the intimacy and authenticity of the experience of committing to each other.” More from Something Pretty Events.
Carissa of Carissa Corsi Events add similar sentiment about intimate weddings. “Micro weddings are truly magical as they include all of the key parts of a traditional wedding, just on a much smaller scale. For couples moving forth with limiting the number of guests, a micro wedding is the perfect option. It allows couples to focus more on the details and celebrate with the people closest to them. As a couple, you’ll have a much more intimate experience overall and most importantly with one another. Also, these intimate-like weddings reduce stress and overwhelm as for some couples, larger weddings can be difficult to manage, especially if they’re planning on their own. A micro wedding wholeheartedly presents couples with the opportunity to get creative and think even bigger!” More from Carissa Corse Events here.
Finally, a small wedding is generally less stressful than planning a massive wedding. Fewer guests can also feel less intimidating to couples who don’t like to be the center of attention.
Why Elope (insert term of your choice) in New Hampshire?
It’s especially great to elope in New Hampshire (or have a micro-wedding, minimony, etc). For many who live in the northeast area, New Hampshire is easy-ish to get to. But it still feels like a destination. Especially Franconia Notch in the White Mountains where the Horse & Hound is located.
For better or worse, New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die motto also applies to COVID rules. So there are fewer COVID wedding restrictions in New Hampshire than in other New England states.
Things to Consider When Having a Minimony, Micro-Wedding or Eloping in New Hampshire
You’ll need to consider how to limit your guest list. You may want include just your immediate family and /or your closest friends. Just remember that deciding on a smaller wedding guest list may be more difficult than you think!
Even though eloping in New Hampshire, for example, is not as involved as a massive wedding, give your guests sufficient notice. Your guests still need to plan ahead for your elopement. Especially if their home state has quarantine requirements.
You should also plan ahead to get your top wedding vendor picks. After a COVID hiatus, weddings are picking back up. Plus there is spillover from the weddings cancelled in 2020. So, venues, wedding photographers, caterers, etc. are booking up quickly.
Consider how you will share your smaller wedding plans. For example, will anyone be disappointed if they learn about your elopement on social media? Will you still do a paper announcement after the elopement? There is no right or wrong way, just something to think about!
Even though you’re having fewer guests, you still need to follow the marriage license rules in New Hampshire. For example, you’ll need to visit a city or town clerks’ office to get a marriage license within 90 days of the wedding.
More Advice From a Elopement Photographer on Small Weddings in NH
Kels Converse, an elopement photographer, advises:
“When planning your elopement, it can feel a bit overwhelming. With all traditions and expectations thrown out the window, your day could literally look any way you want it. I always tell my couples to daydream a bit. Think about how they’d want their favorite day to look from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep. Because everything they want is 100% feasible. Sometimes it may look like waking up and taking their time to sip their coffees together. Or it could look like waking up and heading off to watch the sun come up on the mountain. Or maybe it’s even renting a helicopter and going somewhere secluded.
There is no dream that cannot come true, in my opinion! So as soon as you know an elopement or small wedding is what you want, take some time to write down your favorite things to do together, and come up with your perfect day. Then all that’s left is making that a reality – and your elopement photographer or planner can help make that happen!” More from Kels here.
More Advice From a Wedding Planner on Small Weddings in NH
Kawinthi, at Events by Kawinthi, has more thoughtful advice on small weddings. She says “In today’s world, intimate weddings, “micro-weddings”, “mini-monies”, and all of the buzz-words in between have become the new trend. What some may not realize is that smaller, more intimate weddings were on the rise prior to COVID disrupting life as we knew it! Yes, that’s right – there was a time when couples were planning celebrations with 20 people or less, as their Plan A. As a wedding planner, I love couples who come to me with a smaller guest count, and here’s why:
With intimate celebrations, the opportunities to personalize and curate an event that is uniquely yours become endless. Remember those 200 people you had initially budgeted for? What if you took that per-head cost on catering, and instead, put it towards that band you’ve always wanted, or a jaw-dropping floral design, or custom stationery to greet the 20 guests you’re now choosing to celebrate with? Have you ever dreamt of individual place-cards for your guests, shaped like your dog Maggie, and tied with a perfect silk ribbon? Well, guess what – you may be able to afford such creative luxuries now, that you may not have been able to pull together with a 200-person guest-list.
However, it’s not just about the budgeting upside (though that is a major upside!). With a smaller guest-list, you’re now able to really enjoy your evening with every person in attendance. Maybe you get a few extra minutes to spend with your best friend, who otherwise would’ve been assigned to manage some rogue groomsman the whole night. Maybe you add a few more special people to your toast list, and now you’re wondering why your grandmother’s heartfelt words weren’t on your toast list to begin with! These incredibly special moments on your wedding day are fleeting, you should be able to sit and savor each one of them. Instead of feeling obligated to greet each of your 200 guests at every table, you now have the luxury to sit back and take it all in with the people who matter most.
Lastly, although all of the various parts and pieces of your wedding day may look different, they all still require thoughtful, intentional planning. For example, you now have a wider variety of settings to choose from. In New Hampshire specifically, your intimate wedding could be hosted on a mountaintop, or a dock by the lake, maybe even on a boat. You could opt for a restaurant that hosts small gatherings, or your own backyard… and these options only add to the list of amazing venues that call New Hampshire home. The options are endless, and that’s exciting enough to make anyone reconsider their guest list!” More from Events by Kawinthi here.
Should you Choose an Elopement Package?
Elopement packages can vary. But typically, venues provide a set price for some or all the vendors a couple would need to elope. This is a great choice for couples who want an easy, time saving option. A package is not best for a couple who wants everything personalized and wants all the options available to them.
What Venues are Best for Eloping in New Hampshire
A few characteristics make certain venues ideal for eloping in New Hampshire. First, you want the venue to be the right size. If you’re doing an outside tent rental, you should have flexibility to choose the appropriate size tent. For inside venues, you don’t want it to feel too big if you only have a few guests.
Next, you may prefer a venue with accommodations on-site that way you can maximize the time with your guests. At some venues depending on your wedding size, like the Horse & Hound, you can sleep all the guests on-site.
Consider whether you want a venue that provides guest count flexibility. If you decide it’s too hard to keep your guest list “intimate”, you’ll still be able to keep your venue.
We hope this helps in planning your intimate wedding in New Hampshire, whatever you decide to call it! For more tips on getting married in New Hampshire, head here.