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What Is a Microwedding? Here's Everything You Need to Know

Microweddings have recently grown in popularity. Here's what a microwedding is and why it's a great option for the planet.

Written by
Rachel Liu

Most weddings are hard to plan. You have to curate a guest list, a menu, pick a venue, and find the perfect wedding dress—all while making sure your big day goes according to plan. What's even harder? Keeping your wedding sustainable.

Many brides have opted for more sustainable wedding dresses from brands that upcycle materials, as well as gorgeous vintage or secondhand options. However, the wedding itself has a major negative impact on the environment, too. According to The Green Bride Guide by Kate Harrison, a typical wedding can produce 63 tons of carbon dioxide and 400 pounds of garbage.

If you're looking to go green on your wedding day, we have a solution for you: Opt for a microwedding. Not only is it more personal, but it's also better for the planet. 

What Is a Microwedding?

A microwedding is exactly what it sounds like: a small wedding, usually with less than 50 guests. This makes room for a more intimate, detail-oriented, and lower-cost event. Microweddings consist of a quick ceremony followed by a low-maintenance reception. 

"More is not always necessarily more," says event planner Stefanie Cove in an interview with The Knot. "A microwedding is for the couple who wants to spend the majority of their budget on the smaller details, whereas it might be difficult to replicate the same experience for, say, 200 guests."  

Now, you may be thinking—how exactly is a smaller guest list better for the environment?

How a Microwedding Reduces Waste

Weddings today have an average price tag of $19,000, with most wedding guest lists consisting of roughly 150 people.

Thankfully, smaller-scale ceremonies like minimonies, microweddings, elopements, and even virtual weddings are becoming increasingly popular while guest lists continue to shrink. Although this was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes are actually better for the environment.

Here, sustainability comes by size. Your microwedding doesn't necessarily need to have sustainable invitations, be planned by a sustainable wedding planner, or be located in a particularly sustainable venue. Because of how small it is, the smaller wedding you host may be more sustainable than a bigger wedding that hits sustainability in other areas. 

Other Ways to Host a Sustainable Wedding

1. Buy Your Wedding Food Locally

Providing for hundreds of your closest friends, family members, and parents' friends often means the resulting affair isn’t sustainable. Most large wedding caterers don't prioritize minimizing their carbon footprint. 

The use of fresh, out-of-season produce coming from long distances—all the best to serve with your filet mignon—can be detrimental to the environment. One study found that about a tenth of wedding food gets thrown away

Instead of compromising the menu, a smaller wedding can allow you to become more proactive in planning the reception's meal. Look for delicious in-season dishes that can be made with locally-sourced ingredients. You can also ask how your wedding caterer sources ingredients, or you can speak to the farmers that provide the produce.

Additionally, don’t overwhelm your guests with huge portions of each course that might go to waste. To avoid waste, consider giving 'doggy bags' as wedding favors so guests can take home the extra cake.

When accommodating certain diets, keep in mind that plant-based meals have a lower impact on the planet. Don't be afraid to add some vegetarian or vegan dishes into the mix. 

2. Reduce Your Guests’ Carbon Footprint

If you’re expecting your guests to travel to attend your wedding, consider ways to minimize your guests’ increased carbon footprint. After all—a single flight can emit as much carbon dioxide as some people do throughout the course of an entire year.

One thing that can help is Google's new feature that allows travelers to choose the flight with the lowest carbon emissions. They can also use Google's other new feature that makes it easy to book an eco-friendly hotel.

The Takeaway

Overall, a microwedding is a great compromise between sustainability and convenience. Plus, they're intimate and just as fun as any other wedding!

Sustainability also comes in different shapes and sizes, so be mindful when planning your big day and only do what works best for you and your loved ones. Most importantly, a wedding is about celebrating a milestone with your special someone. And if that milestone happens to be greener, well, that’s something to celebrate, too.