"There was a time when all and sundry were invited to a wedding; extended families, family friends, old friends and everyone you work with. But in recent years, that’s shifted in favour of intimate weddings. Recent research suggests that couples are choosing to marry later and with fewer guests than before. We’ve even seen the advent of ‘micro weddings’ – these are small weddings of up to 50 guests in total."
Dream Events & Weddings
HOW TO PLAN A SMALL INTIMATE WEDDING
That’s not to say that small wedding are cheaper. Although they may be kinder to your wedding budget, if you are planning a luxe wedding, it simply means that you have more budget per head, which allows you to go all-out with your celebrations.
If you’re one of the many couples looking to plan a small wedding, here are a few key points for your wedding planning:
1. WHY HAVE A SMALL WEDDING?
Before you even get to ‘I do’, understand what appeals to you in an intimate wedding. Is it the privacy and exclusivity it offers? Maybe it’s the preference of a more meaningful wedding that can be personalised? Or perhaps is it to do with your wedding budget, or because you want to marry abroad?
- Reduces your overall wedding cost and budget
- A more perusal and intimate feel \sLess guests mean you have more food and drink
- Less guests mean you can spend more time with the ones that are there
- Fewer people, less stress, can enjoy every moment
- More relaxed
- Once you have established your motivation, prioritise this as your inspiration for the big day.
2. THE GUEST LIST
Possibly the most important part of wedding planning is who to invite. With an intimate wedding, this means your nearest and dearest, which in some ways may be easier to decide.
As a couple, agree a number that you feel comfortable with, and work towards this. Typically, a small wedding lends itself to about 50 people – that’s 25 people on each side. Think about whether you want to include ‘plus one’s’ or just individuals, and whether this extends to your close work colleagues, or none at all. Consistency on both sides will prevent arguments!
Consider if you want to extend guests to the evening reception, or if you prefer to keep your wedding party small and exclusive, without the distraction of new guests later in the day.
Finally, give some thought as to how you will manage friends and family not invited. One of the challenges of a small wedding, is how to manage other’s expectations.
3. PLAN YOUR WEDDING BUDGET
When it comes to your wedding budget, figure out how much you have to spend in total, and where will these funds come from (savings, family, etc) (savings, family, etc). Once you understand your finances, you are able to work within its constraints.
Couple this with your guests list, and you should be able to know the cost per head. This will come in useful when thinking about wedding venues.
4. EMPLOY THE RIGHT SPACE
One of the most important aspects of planning a small wedding is ensuring that the wedding venue complements the size of your party. If it is too large, it may appear that some people did not attend; if it is too small, it may appear that you have cut corners.
The key to this is to research venues in advance, both online and in person, to ensure they can accommodate your party size.
First and foremost, where will you exchange your vows? Whether it’s a church, a beach, a registry office, a barn, or somewhere else, make sure the venue is appropriate for the number of guests attending.
When it comes to wedding reception venues, there are many creative options for intimate settings. From boats to barns, boutique hotels to restaurant private rooms.
Smaller groups are less constrained; the only venues it excludes are large ballrooms and venues that can accommodate larger groups. However, most wedding venues have their own wedding coordinator who can advise you on how to make the most of their space, so take advantage of them.
This is where you will spend the majority of your day, so make it a priority.
5. THE VISITOR EXPERIENCE
Smaller parties often provide a richer guest experience because the couple can spend quality time with everyone.
However, because there is a greater emphasis on guests, their experience must also be prioritised.
Consider how the day will unfold and all the details that can be added to make it feel exclusive and special, which a larger wedding party may not be able to achieve. This could include hiring a boat to transport guests from the church or registry to the wedding venue, or hiring a private chef and sommelier to provide private tastings as part of the day.
6. INCLUDE PERSONALITY
One of the many reasons that couples choose an intimate wedding is the ability to deviate from tradition and inject some personality into the proceedings.
With a smaller wedding party, you have the opportunity to personalise the day. With fewer than 50 guests to consider, it is possible to create bespoke touches while staying within your wedding budget. This could include a designer wedding cake, your own gin club bar, or pictures of everyone attending strewn about the venue. It could be as simple as changing your colour scheme to having a film made that is shown on the big day.
7. ESTABLISH YOUR OWN RULES
The ability to plan a small wedding on your own terms is a huge benefit. Because you want to keep the day intimate, you should avoid ‘unnecessary’ traditions. It would not be out of place to have one or no bridesmaids, as well as to forego a large group of groomsmen. The beauty of an intimate wedding is that anything can happen.
8. THINK ABOUT PRIVACY
The desire for privacy is a major reason why many couples choose small wedding parties. Not everyone desires a large wedding and all of the attention that comes with it. If this is the case, consider how you can celebrate your special day while remaining discreet. You might want to include a social media ban, for example.
9. ARRANGEMENTS FOR ACCOMMODATION
Finally, small wedding parties have the advantage of transporting their guests abroad or to exclusive venues as part of their big day. Depending on the wedding venue, this often means that guests can stay on-site. This can be a huge help in keeping your big day exciting and special for a select group of guests.