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Elope With a Dreamy, Teeny-Tiny, Covid-Era Ceremony

Published Monday, Feb. 1st, 2021

Illustrations by Jessica Levey

You’re engaged! You found your person! Every bad date, doomed relationship, quiet night alone on the couch eating tater tots and ranch dressing has finally paid off! You’re going to get married! Your wedding is going to be amazing and memorable and… wait.


There’s just one big problem. The pandemic isn’t over (just because you’re over it). And money is tight. And no one can come visit you, let alone gather around in a densely-pack, dance-hit-fueled ceremony or reception. Ok, on recount, maybe there are a few problems?


Don’t worry! All is not lost! You were right the first time -- your wedding really is going to be amazing, even if you don’t postpone until 2022.


Yes, they look different, but Covid-era weddings are better than you can imagine, and everything you didn’t know you wanted. 


Read on for 6 tips on planning a dreamy, teeny-tiny, DIY, Covid-era ceremony created just for you. 



Tiny covid-era elopements are sweet and romantic and safer for couples, guests, and officiants, painting of elopement




1. Go ahead and elope

Yup, you heard us! The safest wedding during the pandemic is going to be short, sweet, and small. There’s no getting around it. So just embrace it, and elope!


Elopements are the smallest weddings around. In their pure, spontaneous (and sometimes clandestine) form, these ceremonies are attended only by the couple, their officiant, and one or two witnesses, if required


Elopements are intimate, personal, and beautiful. Better yet, they’re simple and safe. Find more inspiration by reading ELOPE: An illustrated guide to an eco-friendly & empowered alternative wedding Part 1 and Part 2


2. Ask a friend or family member to perform your teeny-tiny ceremony

When space on the guest list is at a premium, it’s extra meaningful to ask a close friend to marry you! Friends can be ordained online with AMM for free, and there are many, many resources available to help them figure out what the heck to say and do to make your ceremony all the more meaningful. 


Read Asking a Friend or Family Member to Officiate Your Wedding? Read This First… for more help on asking a loved one to officiate.


Or if this doesn’t appeal to you and it’s in the budget, hire a professional. Read Choosing a Wedding Officiant: What (or Who) Are Your Options? to learn more about who performs weddings.


3. Choose a meaningful location

Perhaps the best part of an itty-bitty ceremony? They can happen anywhere! 


Outdoor ceremonies are safest during the pandemic (and Mother Nature provides epic backdrops), so consider someplace breezy and scenic. Read Plan a Wedding Ceremony in a National or State Park During COVID-19, in 5 Steps for inspiration, or keep things simple and choose a favorite backyard or meaningful picnic spot to say your vows. 



Choose a meaningful location and outfit for your small pandemic wedding, painting of elopement

Choose a meaningful location.

4. Wear something that makes you feel wonderful

If ever there was a time to dress exactly how you want to, that time is NOW! Go lavish, go simple, go daring, go classic, go sporty… Whatever you wear, just go authentic. Dress for the location, mood, and for your own level of comfort. Wear whatever you want, whether it feels practical or traditional or not! 



5. Save the party (and stress) for a sequel ceremony. 

You get to celebrate twice! When things look brighter on the pandemic front and vaccines are widely distributed, you can hold a sequel ceremony with friends and family flying in from around the world to dance, and smooch, and eat, and laugh together safely. Sequel ceremonies are definitely trending for 2021, and it’s easy to see why. 


Learn more about sequel weddings and second ceremonies by reading Sequel Weddings: What to Expect From a Couple’s Second Ceremony.



6. Don’t forget the paperwork 

Tiny ceremonies can feel informal and impromptu, but they still need to follow the rules of your county or state to be legally binding. To make sure you end up actually, legally married, you’ll need to apply for a license, understand the length of any waiting periods in your state, have a qualified officiant and witnesses sign your wedding license, and submit it to the correct government office. 



We can help keep things simple: Head to our All About the Marriage License section of the Officiant Training Pages for all the details to get you started! 

Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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