Planning a Small Wedding: Tips, Benefits, and Advice

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Every couple, brides especially have their dream wedding in their heads for a while. While some want the extravaganza, others want something very intimate. If you fall into the latter category, then you may need some help planning a small wedding.

small wedding

This post shows you everything you need for small wedding planning from start to finish. All your intimate wedding ideas from attire to décor, the destination to the venue all in one place.

This year, we are seeing an unprecedented boom of intimate weddings with fewer than 50 guests. This exciting new trend brings many positive side effects. From a focus on who is in attendance, gorgeous small intimate venues to the vibe of a personal and emotional event. Especially during such an uncertain time. – says Ilaire, destination wedding planner, founder of Wedding Boutique Phuket.

Brides Often Ask

What Is A Small Wedding Size?

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Main features of a small wedding, intimate wedding

wedding expert ilaire

Intimate weddings demand their own format and settings. With the total numbers downsized, we will see more guest-centered details. We predict the rise of “tiny toasts”. The speeches will become more casual in the easy and relaxed mood of a small simple dinner or “dinner with best friends” instead of a formal reception.

With the high appeal of destination weddings, planning a small wedding becomes a lot more manageable and affordable to set up travel details for a small group of guests to the destination of your best day ever! After a year with so much darkness, brides and grooms are ready to celebrate like never before.

And what a better way to do that than with the statement-making fashion moments to match the sentiment! Couples walk away from traditions and choose unconventional cuts, bold prints, and fashionable accessories for their wedding day fashion.

The shift to small weddings also allows for more control over the entire aesthetic of the event, even as it pertains to guests. Guests’ outfits are becoming part of the wedding décor, unpacking the meaning of a unique wedding. The wedding day is part of a ‘photoshoot,’ so they communicate with guests to coordinate color palettes and style. Statement in style, please.

Coordinated casual style is the result of the trend. The aim is to create an intimate atmosphere, the setting for nothing less but stunning imagery as memories. “Goodbye Black-Tie!” No more ceremonial gowns and tuxedos. It’s all about fun and relaxed and beautiful celebrations, for the couples and their guests.

And how about the wedding couple’s outfit? Well, minimal like never before. The current fashion trend has the underlying theme of adaptability. Clothing pieces are used for different looks and worn in many ways. This trend works magic for emotional small weddings. The brides plan on switching up looks for the reception, re-wear the dress for their sequel wedding, or even as a fancy gown for a special occasion.

Three Main Benefits Of Intimate And Small Wedding

Why choose an intimate wedding? It’s simple “LESS IS MORE” and the minimalism concept is now spreading all over the world with much success.

Personalization

#1

Small elegant wedding trend is simple. Quality over quantity — from food and beverage to design and the guest count. Couples are hosting their celebrations where no detail is spared, and a budget can be spent on higher-impact elements. It is a gift to have unlimited flexibility in planning, customizing, and choosing every element of a unique intimate wedding. Including but not limited to environments for guests, custom food experiences, curated cocktail menus, table décor, immersive elements, floral installations, and entertainment. Your imagination is the only limit.

Relax With Closest Friends And Family

#2

When you have a smaller wedding, you’re reducing the way you would with a sauce. It becomes tastier. It begins when you reduce the guest list, the need to please a large group disappears. You have the freedom to enjoy more and focus on the smaller details. Small intimate wedding ceremonies are much less formal and more spontaneous. Guests love spontaneity and real genuine displays of emotions, where they are an irreplaceable part. Smaller weddings give you more time to actually figure out what you want. They need less production too. You can create something delicious that is effortless and magical for everyone involved.

Unique Experiences

#3

Entertainment is yet another side effect that takes small weddings to another level. Being in complete control of entertainment solutions offers choices that can only work for small groups. How exciting is that! One of our favorite examples was having a baby elephant at a Phuket beach elopement ceremony. It is more and more common for couples to include their friends on the wedding day. Everyone has a role during the day. Not in the traditional ceremonial sense. Creative meaningful living theatre as a way to celebrate a small wedding. Uniqueness at its best. Not a single wedding arranged this way can be replicated.

How To Have A Simple Wedding?

Is it OK to have a small wedding?
It is great because you spend more time with each guest and can really enjoy the moments together. You also have the opportunity to knock yourself out with beautiful details, giveaways, and great food. It is important to find the best middle way for you, considering the budget, the people you must have around you, what moments you want to spend with them, and the location you dream of.
Elisabeth Cardich Creative Director and Co-Owner at A Very Beloved Wedding
Expert answers

From pre-wedding photoshoots to small wedding venue ideas, let’s show you the first steps to planning a wedding that’s simple.

Have a pre-wedding photoshoot

#1

Planning a small intimate wedding begins with the pre-wedding photoshoot. Scout for a photographer that’s invested and interested in your story. One who understands your chemistry and has the ability to capture it to perfection. Beach poses, romantic hand-in-hand walk, yoga poses are some of the most beautiful photoshoot styles.

Get ready together

#2

The essence of planning a very small wedding is for lots of privacy. Hence, getting ready together helps you take the wedding day jitters away. You also get to spend more quality time with each other. It’s also easier for the photographer to take formal photos before you step out.

Have an intimate vow ceremony

#3

Saying your vows in private is one of the most intimate wedding ideas. Whether you’ve chosen traditional or non-traditional vows, the ambiance matters. Use a beachside or garden venue to say your vows. You may also have your pet play a role as best “anything” or do it indoors.

Choose a buffet

#4

When the gathering is intimate, choose an interactive dinner. Instead of servers, create a buffet station for guests. It encourages mingling. Go with seasonal foods with garnishes such as green beans + filet mignon. Couscous salad + vegetable, seasonal salad, etc. You may also choose casual foods like barbeque specials.

Muss to Mrs Unboxing April

Have an outdoor reception

#5

A part of your small wedding plans is the reception. Take it outdoors and you’d be sure to get the most stunning backdrop. Nothing can beat am Alfresco wedding style. Let the outdoors influence your decor, cake, and theme. You’ll also be quite surrounded by nature and elements fostering intimacy.

Or celebrate at home

#6

Having your small wedding out of the comfort of your home is one of the best ways to get intimate. Set canopies or decorate your home with string lights, flowers, or greenery. You can have your dance floor set up on your lawn. Have guests socialize in a very comfortable environment.

Tips On Planning A Small Wedding

Planning a small wedding is definitely easier and much less stressful than a big wedding. A destination wedding with your closest family and friends is not just the ultimate trend. It is also highly recommended to enjoy a wedding, a honeymoon and a holiday at the same time.

Most of the couples who decided to have an intimate wedding have a very clear vision. The drive of cutting the guests list is not dictated by the number of seats. Instead, the idea is to share the day with the most important people in their life. Enjoy every little meaningful moment and have fun! From that vision to booking a destination wedding and sending out “Save The Date” notice is a very small step.

Who do you invite to a small wedding?
The must-have guests are definitely your closest and dearest family and friends, for both the bride and groom. These are the persons you want to have with you, while you take this lifelong commitment with a ceremony and then celebrate with you big time. Don´t forget, it is also about having fun, so you must invite also your friends that are great mood boosters and that love to celebrate with you.
Elisabeth Cardich Creative Director and Co-Owner at A Very Beloved Wedding
Expert answers

  1. Pick a date
    Despite big wedding planning, micro weddings allow couples to pick a date without a massive advance. It’s almost like turning a wedding into an elopement with few guests. Short notice is absolutely doable, and you can definitely consider it. Keep in mind, your guests are the most important people in your life, and they will quickly respond with ‘yes’ to travel with you to your destination wedding.
  2. Set a budget
    Do you want a full house with a basic wedding experience? Or a few numbers of people enjoying only the best you can offer? Decide on this and create a budget to suit.
    Tip: Determine the number of guests by the amount you’re willing to spend and not the other way round.
  3. Limit the guest list
    When you plan a small wedding, the guest list is quite controlled. Maintain a guest list that has only people who are directly important to you. Host a get-together for others much later.
    Tip: Go through your phone contact and invite only those you’ve talked to in the last three months.
  4. Make a checklist
    Attention to detail is one of the holy grails of planning a small simple wedding. Don’t leave anything for the last minute. Draw a spreadsheet for schedules, payments, trials, and all.
    Tip: Keep an airy and flexible checklist. Your checklist should accommodate spillover work to give you time to breathe.
  5. Cut out what isn’t important
    Having so much on your wedding checklist weighs it down. Cut out unnecessary things. For instance, a live orchestra may not be relevant to your wedding style, so cut it out. Allocate money to more important things.
    Tip: Make a list of your “must-haves” and “can do without.”
  6. Don’t buy attire
    You’re going to wear your dress for one day. Is it financially sound to chuck out thousands on it? Instead of buying, why not rent dresses from designer shops online? You may also opt for pre-loved wear.
    Tip: Invest in your shoes, pieces of jewelry, and clutch instead. You’ll always use them.
  7. Don’t use too many flowers
    Flowers are beautiful but lots of couples tend to go overboard with them. You’re working with a small intimate space, so do well not to overwhelm your guests with the smell of flowers.
    Tip: Replace flowers on tables with beautiful centerpieces and candles or leave natural. Lends a surreal beauty to the ambiance.
  8. Set up a casual wedding theme
    Use a simple bouquet of green, allow the bridesmaids to choose their own dresses. And if you will get on the dancefloor, creating a flip-flop station for guests. This keeps you and your guests comfortable.
    Tip: Take casual to the next level by incorporating geodes, tassels, and neon signs for some modernity.
  9. Ask for help
    Assign tasks to everyone at your wedding in your life. Don’t ask for money, rather base it around their talents. Is your cousin a skilled photographer or can your best friend bake? Ask them.
    Tip: Use a wedding planner app that helps keep track of everyone’s schedule and gives reminders.
  10. Get the marriage license first
    Pick a date and wedding venue first as you’ll need it to file. Some states will ask you to wait 72 days before the wedding while others expire 90 days after the issue.
    Tip: Apply for your marriage license three weeks before the wedding at the earliest and five days before the wedding latest.
  11. Plan a destination wedding
    The best way to enjoy an intimate destination wedding is to get accommodation with the onsite venue. You could rent out a private estate, boutique hotel, or villa for total intimacy.
    Tip: If you can afford it, plan a get-together for the people who weren’t invited to the wedding.

How do I make a small wedding special?

With a smaller guest list, comes the opportunity to have access to a larger number of incredible venues. That will give you the liberty to choose where to hold the ceremony or reception, offering all kinds of creative aspects.

What makes smaller weddings special is the focus on the couple and the people they love most, after all, that is what weddings are all about. Including your close people more actively in the ceremony or celebration can add so much charm and candid emotions. For example, you can have your guests read a line of prayer or stand in a circle as you say your vows.

Another positive aspect of a small guest list is endless options to personalize details and deliver a unique high-end experience. Focus on statement pieces to enchant your guests like artfully designed cakes, dreamy floral installations, authentic fine art stationery designs, etc. With small receptions, it is all about recreating the lavishness of a large-scale event into a small one by focusing on the details.

Sara Bartolini, wedding planner and coordinator for SposiamoVi

Small Wedding Venue Ideas

Intimate weddings allow for creativity. To pull off an intimate wedding, see some creative wedding venue ideas for small weddings.

Here we see another advantage. Choice of the wedding venue is much easier when you have a small group of guests. Besides, it is far more likely that a group of close family and friends shares the same interests, so setting up activities will be easy and fun. Take a destination wedding in Phuket for example. The most beautiful venues are suitable for no more than 50 guests, plus there are endless choices of ideas to do before or after the day. A smaller wedding allows you a better choice and control of your location! – says Ilaire, destination wedding planner, founder of Wedding Boutique Phuket.

Choose one venue instead of two

Pick a bigger venue located at the site you want to have your wedding. It could be indoors or outdoors.

Venue idea: Create a time gap between your wedding and reception. A time which is used to set up the venue for the reception.

Description: You may make the ceremony spot more secluded and leave the reception open to nature. Again, don’t buy so much decor as you’ll move it into the reception. A Villa, hotel, park, or garden is perfect.

Benefits and tips for using: You’ll save more money on logistics, transport, and venue. When you have to get just one place, you save. When the guests don’t have to take a trip from ceremony to reception, you save.

Sit down to a family-style dinner

Set up family-style dining by arranging chairs across a long table. You may also work it picnic style by giving blankets.

Venue idea: Your backyard, garden, beach, or woods is a perfect venue.

Description: Set up chairs or blankets for guests. Run string lights and give the venue a sparkly ambiance. Pass food for everyone to take their fill, family-style.

Benefits and tips of using: This dinner style encourages mingling and interactions. It also helps save money on diverse foods. Everyone eats almost the same thing.

Hire a food truck instead

Rather than hire over-the-top caterers, get you a food truck that will serve for the day. It could be your local roadside snack or fast food seller.

Venue idea: Food trucks are perfect for outdoor weddings at parks and the likes.

Description: Food trucks in place of fancy meals give the guests something to snack on and the day progresses.

Benefits and tips of using: You’ll save tons of money on foods as everyone loves to snack. Plate or food per head is about 30% – 50% lesser than hiring a caterer.

Give the guests a comfy lounge

Set up a comfortable lounge for guests at the wedding. Complete with couches, throw pillows, low dim lights, drinks, and snacks.

Venue idea: This works for both indoor and outdoor weddings. Set a lounge by the pool area, the lawn, or the garden.

Description: It’s beautiful if you can separate the ladies ‘ and gents’ lounge with essentials to keep them comfy.

Benefits and tips of using: Gives room for guests who want to get away from the noise to do so. The lounge is an area of relaxation and catch-ups.

Let everyone have a bird’s eye view

Ditch tradition and refreshingly arrange chairs.

Venue idea: This works for almost every kind of wedding, from farm to beach and halls.

Description: Arrange chairs around the altar, arch, or couple.

Benefits and tips of using: Everyone gets to have a very clear view of the couple and wedding proceedings.

Top Reasons To Plan A Small Wedding

  • Preserved intimacy
    A small wedding allows you to marinate every moment. There’s no dramatic over-the-top affair. Just you, your lover, the people that mean so much to you, and the beautiful ambiance.
  • Reduced stress
    Truth is that wedding planning is stressful no matter the size. But when you’re planning for people who are a close part of your life, the need to impress isn’t there. They love you just like that. So the stress reduces.
  • Lower cost and better quality
    Small weddings don’t mean cheap. But with the little number of guests, you spend way lesser and have so much to splurge on them.
  • More venue choices
    With big weddings, you want venues that can accommodate everyone with some space left. This doesn’t leave room for many choices. But when the wedding is small, you can use that museum or park.
  • Perfect customization
    A small wedding lets you get creative with personalizing and tailoring your wedding to your tastes. You have total control and freedom to leave your touch.
  • Cherished memories
    Memories from your small wedding will remain evergreen. This is because it was all about you and your needs, surrounded by only yours. There are no strange faces in pictures.

There we have it. A small intimate wedding concept. This trend results in reducing the guest count and the increased desire for epic photos of the day. For the wedding, couples dream about a styled photoshoot. Professional level of editorial guidance, gorgeous shots, and aerial visuals. Couples are spending more on a photographer and fashion than they would have in the past. They want their day and the memories of it to be meaningful and emotional.

Planning a small wedding is no easy fit because it’s small. But it isn’t so tough either if you have the right guide to tide you through. We’ve come up with simple and creative intimate wedding ideas for your small wedding in this post. Talk about wedding venue ideas, decor, attire, foods, budgeting, and down to the guest list. This post is well-tailored to help you pull off the most intimate small wedding plan.

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