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.

Brides Often Ask

What Is A Small Wedding Size?


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. But don´t forget that it isn´t necessarily better for the budget as there are vendors whose costs don´t vary depending on the number of guests. Thus it is important to find the best middle way for you, taking into consideration the budget, the people you must have around you, what moments you want to spend with them, and also the location you dream of. Hire a professional who can give you all the scenarios and help you decide on what´s best for you, considering all the variables.
Elisabeth Cardich Creative Director and Co-Owner at A Very Beloved Wedding
Expert answers

How To Have A Simple Wedding?

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


Have a pre-wedding photoshoot


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


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


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


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


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 natural and elements fostering intimacy.

Or celebrate at home


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 involves paying attention to the smallest details. See tips on how to plan a small wedding.

Who do you invite to a small wedding?
Up to approximately 50 guests I would consider it a small wedding, that feels very intimate. 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 it is important you 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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, create 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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 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 arrange chairs in a refreshing way.

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.

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. In this post, we’ve come up with simple and creative intimate wedding ideas for your small wedding. 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.