Intimate weddings are becoming more popular because couples can focus on what’s important: each other, their vows, and their guests. It doesn’t mean anything wrong with an extravagant wedding, though- sometimes simpler means more meaningful.
There are benefits to both types of celebrations in different ways. This blog post offers some ideas for brides & grooms who want a smaller celebration without compromising too much.
Small weddings are not just for the couple; they can be a joyous occasion for guests. They offer an intimate celebration with fewer people to worry about and less stress on the bride and groom.
If you’re thinking of having a small wedding, it’s important to know your options and how to make sure that day is perfect for both you and your guests. With these tips, couples will find their intimate experience memorable in every way possible!
The more you consider, the more your head starts spinning with questions about how and where to do it. For some, deciding whether or not they should have a wedding at all can be tough enough, but for those who are set on getting married, there’s still the question of what kind of wedding they want.
Large, extravagant affair with family and friends? An intimate ceremony with only close loved ones? With so many options out there that seem best suited to your needs, choosing one can be difficult.
This blog post will give you a list of benefits and tips for having an intimate small wedding. The idea behind an intimate small wedding is that it’s more low key than a large one, which can be perfect if you’re looking to keep your day simple and not have too much fuss.
They often still include some form of the ceremony, but there are usually fewer guests invited. Intimate weddings can also be less expensive since they don’t require as much food, decorations, etc. If you’re considering this type of event or want to know more about the benefits and tips, continue reading!
The benefits of an intimate small wedding include a smaller guest list, less planning time; reduced costs on food and decorations (as well as other items); more attention on each guest during the reception; and a more personal feel if any of these sounds like something you would want on your big day, read on!
Benefits of an Intimate Wedding
1. Spending quality time with your friends and family
One of the challenges couples face when choosing a large wedding is that they never seem to get enough one on one time with all of their guests. If you’ve invited up to 200 people, it’s almost a battle to try and make your way around to everyone and feel like you’ve spent enough time with them. With a smaller wedding, this is far less challenging.
Picture a room with 20 tables of 10 people each and how long it takes to get a moment or two with everyone. Now, picture a room with five tables and six guests per table, and you’ll start to get an idea of how much more manageable it is to spend time with your guests at a more intimate wedding.
There are many reasons to opt for a smaller wedding, but we repeatedly hear that people want quality time with their guests. A venue that can accommodate smaller groups, we can tell you that it creates an intimacy that’s difficult to replicate in larger spaces.
2. A smaller venue can help to lower stress levels
There are so many moving parts to a wedding that it follows that the larger the wedding, the more things there are to worry about potentially.
Picture the difference between dressing five tables vs dressing 20, setting up 200 individual wedding favours vs 50 and the associated time it takes to do both. You’ll get an idea of some of the more time-consuming items that can take over in the run-up to your wedding.
As well as the above practicalities, there’s also the personal touch you can expect from your venue’s wedding team. When you choose a smaller venue with a one wedding per day policy, you’ll have the team’s full attention in the planning phase and on your big day.
We’ve found that couples form stronger relationships with their venues when consistently liaising with the same wedding coordinator.
It shouldn’t be underestimated how important this relationship is when it comes to helping couples feel relaxed and calm with the planning and running of their wedding.
3. Cost benefits of an intimate wedding
With many couples needing to change their plans at short notice this year, the financial aspect of planning a wedding has never been more important to consider.
From making sure you have wedding insurance to knowing where you stand in relation to deposits with venues and vendors, choosing to have a smaller wedding can reduce the potential for a financial headache.
If you’ve always planned on having a smaller wedding, you’ll be well aware that even with a smaller wedding, costs can add up faster than you think, so it pays to do some planning.
Our wedding planning guide has some great tips and advice on choosing the most important things to incorporate into your wedding. Once you have a clear idea of the type of wedding you want and your budget, you can start moving things forward.
When you work with a smaller budget, you might initially feel like your choices are restricted, but for lots of couples, this can be helpful.
Limited options can make it easier to come to your final decisions without having to explore every possibility and face wedding fatigue before you’re anywhere close to the big day.
From a practical point of view, the difference in costs of food and beverages between 200 guests vs 50 guests is substantial. When you’re looking at how much your budget is allocated for wining and dining your guests, you might be surprised at how much further that section of your budget will go when working with a smaller venue.
A lot of smaller venues will work with their favourite smaller suppliers, so you’ll get the benefit of those relationships on your plate too.
4. Go bespoke without worrying about large numbers
One of the nicest parts of planning a wedding for couples is that it’s an opportunity for them to show their friends and family who they are and bring their personalities to the fore.
Whether they go for a wedding full of DIY projects sourced from the pages of Pinterest, a themed wedding around their favourite books, movies or places, or a wedding that reflects the importance of the guests they’re sharing the day with, all the little touches that bring their vision to life can add up.
If you want to create an individualised experience for your guests, there can be a much longer lead time to create all of the moving parts you’ll need.
5. DIY is more manageable for smaller numbers
If you’ve ever helped a friend or family member with planning their wedding, you’ll most likely have been called on to help with wedding preparations. You might have found yourself folding programs, creating centrepieces, writing invitations and place cards, or sourcing lights, lanterns, candles, or any number of essential items, so you’ll know just how time-consuming it can be to pull everything together.
When you’re having a more intimate wedding, there’s the bonus of not needing to do quite so much preparation when it comes to sourcing materials and putting everything together.
With less to take care of ahead of the big day, you’ll have more time to focus on getting yourself and your wedding party ready instead of spending the day before your wedding bringing car-loads of items to your venue.
6. Managing your invites and RSVPs
As you take the time to write your invites, use this as a moment to think about the person you are writing to, how much they mean to you, how important it is to you that they’re one of the chosen few you want to celebrate with, and why their presence is so important to you on your special day.
While this is a really lovely exercise, it’s also time-consuming, so a smaller guest list can be a positive if you’re short on time.
Sentimentality aside, invites and RSVPs can also become a source of frustration as there are the inevitable guests who are slower to reply than you’d like. With a smaller guest list, you’ll have less chasing to do and can keep a close eye on what your final list will look like.
Small Wedding Ideas And Tips
There are so many perks to having a small wedding. Not solely does having a fewer range of companies reduce wedding ceremony costs. However, it additionally approves you and your company to have greater intimate social interactions.
Having a small wedding ceremony offers you the capability to get innovative with topics and seating charts, permitting you to depart with a greater private contact that genuinely displays you and your love. In addition, you’ll be capable of creating enjoyable and fun surroundings for everyone.
If you are thinking about having a small wedding ceremony and want some inspiration, consider these little wedding ceremony thoughts for the ideal intimate occasion. Once you locate the concept that works for you, you’ll be itching to begin planning and ship out some lovable store dates.
Skip the fuss and spend the day with your love. Then, whether you select to run away collectively or make a spur of the second selection to elope, you have absolute freedom to do anything you want.
Not solely is a small wedding ceremony budget-friendly. However, it also offers you the freedom to make this exceptional match branded an ideal reflection of you and your partner.
After all, marriage is about celebrating the love between you and your widespread difference with the human beings you certainly care about. So once the massive day is over, create a personalised wedding ceremony album that you and your partner will seem to be thru for years to come.
2. Throw A Post-Reception After Party
Not equipped to give up the celebration? Invite some friends over for an after birthday party and some drinks after the reception is over.
3. Be Sure To Take Group Photos
Photographers can, without difficulty, take team and wedding ceremony celebration images with smaller weddings. For example, have friends stand collectively outside of the venue, or ask your photographer to get an aerial shot of you and your visitors standing in a heart formation.
4. Shrink The Bridal Party
Having a small bridal birthday party or none at all is very financially pleasant and makes it simpler to preserve anyone organised. If you can’t think about getting married except your best friend by your side, think about simply having a maid of honour and exceptional man for your bridal party.
5. Create An Intimate Seating Arrangement
Having fewer friends lets in for a plenty greater intimate reception, the place all of us can get to be aware of one another. Choose to have one massive round desk so all and sundry can conversate greater easily.
6. Get Creative With Your Seating Plan
Fewer seats make it less difficult to get innovative with your seating arrangement. For example, play with extraordinary shapes or structures a spiral aisle to stroll down with the officiating in the centre.
7. Backyard Wedding
Having an outdoor wedding ceremony is an easy way to have fun with you and your partner’s love out of the alleviation of your very own home. Place tables and chairs beneath a cover adorned with string lights and greenery for your company to devour and socialise. You can even make a dance floor in the garden with recycled wooden pallets.
8. Camping Celebration
Do you and your accomplice love the outstanding outdoors? Go on a tenting outing with a few households and pals and get married amongst the timber and tents. Supplement a wedding ceremony cake with some yummy s’mores and have fun around the campfire.
9. Destination Wedding
Destination weddings are smaller because many friends won’t be in a position to attend a wedding ceremony that’s a ways away.
Perhaps you and your honey have an area you’re each loss of life to journey to. If so, this would be the best chance to pass it off your bucket lists. Plus, you won’t want to go some distance for your honeymoon.
10. Replace Formal Caterer With Food Truck
Want to bypass the caterer and choose something a bit greater and unique? Hire a meals truck for your outside reception. Consider vans that serve dishes such as clean woodfired pizza, falafel, avenue tacos and even ice cream trucks.
Just be certain to achieve the acceptable licenses and felony forms from your seller beforehand of time.
11. City Hall Wedding
Avoid the prices of an ordinary wedding ceremony venue by way of getting married at City Hall. Instead, be positive to test the most quantity of visitors when you are placing your date so you can decide who to invite (and make a positive impression of your photographer!).
12. Choose A Small, Non-Traditional Venue
Not having healthy lots of friends underneath one roof enables you to be free to get innovative with your venue. For example, consider getting married where you and your associate first met, like an espresso store or library. This will make your day even greater sentimental and meaningful.
13. Make Welcome Gifts Or Wedding Favors
Inviting simply a few human beings free up your finances to get innovative with wedding ceremony favours. Treat friends to self-made pastries, preserves or granola or their very own mug crammed with espresso and tea.
How to Upgrade an Intimate Small Wedding
Whether you’re downsizing for budget reasons, a limited extended family, or because COVID-19 forced you to change your plans, hosting an intimate wedding doesn’t necessarily mean skimping on the details or staying modest with your celebration.
In reality, having a more exclusive guest list can open an entire realm of possibilities, including several small wedding ideas that might not otherwise be practical with larger groups.
From unique venue options to super-luxe decor, there are so many ways to personalise and upgrade your small, intimate wedding so that it feels like the celebration you’ve always dreamed of. But, of course, cutting back on your guest list doesn’t mean you can’t have the whole shebang—the only difference is that you’ll be sharing it with those who you hold nearest and dearest.
Use these small wedding ideas to personalise your intimate ceremony, elopement, or micro wedding.
1. Host a destination wedding (however near or far)
“Destination” doesn’t have to mean going abroad—there are so many incredible places where you can elope or host a small wedding.
Once it’s safe to travel freely again, you can consider having a destination wedding, whether that means getting married at a luxury estate a few hours away by car or hopping on a flight with your crew to a sunny beachfront venue (be sure to check health regulations and quarantine guidelines first).
With fewer guests on your invite list, it will be easier to coordinate travel plans, spend time relaxing once you arrive, and genuinely enjoy being together as a group.
If COVID-19 has forced you to cut your guest list, try looking at it as a blessing in disguise—not only will you have more freedom and flexibility by celebrating with a smaller group, but it will make following safety precautions easier as a whole for everyone involved.
2. Stay together as a group
Here’s another popular small wedding idea you can consider (keeping safety precautions top of mind, of course) if your original plans were impacted or if you’re looking for an extra-personal celebration.
For very small groups—we’d recommend five or six people at most—you can rent a vacation home and hunker down for a weekend-long wedding bash. Choose a location that’s easily accessible by car, and consider asking everyone to get tested first if you aren’t already in the same quarantine group.
Having your loved ones stay with you will make your celebration feel like a vacation, and a wedding rolled into one!
Suppose you’re planning a wedding further out (for example, a year or more away). In that case, you can consider including more people in your weekend group or travelling a longer distance, as long as everyone feels comfortable.
Depending on exactly how small your guest list is, you might be able to accommodate everyone in one rental home or a few adjoining rooms at a nice resort for guests who don’t already know each other, such as those on opposite sides of the family.
By the end of the wedding, everyone will be one giant family! Our tip: Be sure to factor in some privacy for you and your spouse—for example, if you want to stay separately from the group on your wedding night, they’ll surely understand.
3. Send elaborate invitations
But if you’re only inviting a handful of people to join you on the big day, you might have a little more wiggle room for at least one splurge item in your budget. Individually handwritten invitations might be out of the question for a wedding with 100+ guests, but for 20 people, it’s totally doable (and worth it).
Some of our favourite small wedding ideas include stationery upgrades like high-end paper, wax seals, and custom watercolour designs.
4. Surprise guests with curated welcome boxes
Wedding favours are a nice way to thank your guests for joining you on the big day, no matter the size of your guest list. But if you’re hosting a small wedding, you can consider skipping the traditional favours and curating welcome boxes or gift boxes instead.
This is an especially great idea if you’re having a wedding weekend or destination wedding. Include items that are specific to your wedding location and personal interests for the most thoughtful effect.
This is also a great opportunity to remind guests of any COVID-19 safety measures you’ve put in place for your wedding—use the gift boxes to equip everyone with a mask, hand sanitiser, and most importantly, a thank-you note to show your appreciation for their attendance.
5. Choose an unusual venue
With a small guest list, the world practically becomes your oyster when choosing a wedding venue. For a memorable experience, consider unexpected options that wouldn’t be able to accommodate a large group of people, such as public landmarks, scenic hilltops, your favourite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or places that require special transportation.
6. Upgrade your menu
Your wedding meal is one of the most important parts of the day, but not surprisingly, it can also account for a big portion of your budget.
Depending on how much you’re spending, a smaller guest list might allow you to add a few “upgrades” to your wedding menu that wouldn’t necessarily be practical for larger groups, such as extra appetisers, special wine pairings, personalised dessert selections, or creative food presentations. Include a menu card at each place setting to give your guests the ultimate VIP treatment.
7. Design a fancy wedding bar
Whether you’re serving booze or mocktails, the bar tends to be a gathering place at every wedding, so why not make yours stand out? Personalise your reception by creating a custom wedding bar using rental furniture and other decorative accents.
This is one of our favourite small wedding ideas if you’re looking for ways to add ambience and flair to an intimate wedding or if you have a lot of space in your venue to fill. Better yet, surprise your guests with a cute mobile bar for an unexpected small wedding reception idea.
With social distancing measures still in place, we expect bars and bartenders to play an even bigger role than they already do, especially as single-serve drinks are favoured over self-serve refreshment stations or pitchers.
8. Make the decor extra-detailed
Fewer guests on the invite list mean more opportunities to go above and beyond with your wedding decor, especially for personalised pieces like escort cards and place cards that might be overlooked at larger weddings.
Highly styled place settings are among the best intimate wedding ideas and are easy to amp up the decor. You might not have the time (or resources) to source antique china sets and vintage stemware for hundreds of guests, but if you’re only inviting a few dozen people, it could seem more practical.
Other small wedding reception ideas include handwritten thank-you notes, individual wedding menu cards, or miniature cakes for each guest.
9. Get creative with your seating layout
One major perk of hosting a small, intimate wedding is that you’ll have more flexibility with your reception seating arrangements because fewer guests mean more opportunity to break away from the cookie-cutter table layouts that are designed to fit as many people as possible.
A long banquet table is one of the most popular small wedding ideas because it’s more informal and inclusive than spacing guests out at different tables in various corners of a venue.
With social distancing recommended until further notice in most parts of the country, a long banquet table might not be the safest choice—but the good news is that you can still get creative when arranging your tables.
We recommend seating guests by quarantine group/household, even if that means two people at one table and four at another. Consider unique table layouts, such as U-shaped, staggered, or circular arrangements, depending on how much floor space you have at your venue.
10. Include an entertainment element
But if you’re worried about keeping the energy going among a smaller group, we’d recommend incorporating some interactive elements into your reception.
That way, you don’t have to stress about whether or not you should skip the bouquet toss or if the dance floor will be full all night long. Interactive activities, like cigar bars, mixology stations, build-your-own perfume bars, and DIY candle stations, are all excellent small wedding ideas because they’ll encourage people to get out of their seats.
Bonus: guests will walk away with a unique favour or experience that will make your wedding memorable for years to come.