By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Engaged couples are learning they can still have their dream wedding during the pandemic but on a smaller scale. The perk: They could save tens of thousands of dollars by eloping or having what’s called a “micro-wedding.” The trend is helping brides and grooms along with a struggling industry.

After a two-year engagement, Alyssa Tabit Smith and her new husband Freddie decided pandemic or not, it was time to seal the deal.

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“The one thing that clicked crazy enough during this crazy pandemic, it was the elopement that it just, it felt so right. We’re just so happy,” she said.

The couple held their non-traditional nuptials at the Four Seasons Orlando on New Year’s Eve. Just the bride, the groom, and their dog. Family and friends watched online.

The resort’s “elopement package” included nearly everything and for a fraction of the price.

“If we would’ve had our original wedding compared to the elopement, I think we saved around $20,000. So that is huge,” he said. “It was unique. It wasn’t our first choice, but it was beautiful.”

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For hotels and wedding venues, offering discounted packages gives them the chance to use and sell space that would otherwise be empty.

Hotels like The Pierre in New York City say smaller doesn’t necessarily mean settling.

“Most [are] around 12 to 20ish people, but they’ve been quite beautiful, and I think even more romantic than a large wedding,” said Bill Spinner, the director of catering at The Pierre.

Industry experts say small weddings may still appeal to couples even after the pandemic.

“I do believe that people will continue to march through this trend, and it will become more of a mainstay,” said Jen Avey, vice president of marketing for Celebration Travel Group.

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As many states begin to loosen restrictions around crowd sizes, larger-scale wedding may return to many venues in the near future. Team