When it comes to weddings, there are a few different styles you can choose from. There are the “all out” big bashes, what would be considered average size celebrations, small and intimate weddings, and elopements. It seems that many people often overlook small scale weddings and either plan for 200+ guests or choose to say “I do” as just a couple (elopement). During the pandemic, many couples were forced to have smaller weddings due to various restrictions throughout the country but these more intimate style weddings should not be forgotten about now that things are seemingly “back to normal”. Now lets get into what you should know if you are planning a small wedding.
Lockdown Your Venue
We all know that the vast majority of wedding venues have a maximum number of people they can accommodate, but surprisingly enough, there are many venues that require a minimum amount of guests in order to secure their space. If you are planning a small wedding, it is important to make sure your dream venue will be okay with hosting a more intimate gathering.
If you are finding it difficult to lock down a compliant venue, you may want to consider planning your wedding on an off-day, like a Sunday-Thursday or during the off-season, like early spring or winter. You never want to settle when it comes to your fairy tale day, so this could be a good option if you have your heart set on a particular (and popular!) venue. Another perk of not having your big day during peak wedding season could be seen in the overall cost, you might score a deal you didn’t know was possible.
Hammer Out Guest List
No matter the size of your wedding, it seems that figuring how who will be in attendance is one of the most stressful parts of the planning process. You may want a small wedding due to the intimate nature of having fewer guests, you may be having a destination wedding, or you may be limiting you who invite due to your budget, whatever the reason, finalizing your guest list is what is going to make your small wedding a reality.
Everyone’s idea of what is considered to be big or small can vary, but this is the general guideline when it comes to wedding size and guest count:
Large wedding- 150+ guests
Medium wedding- 50-100 guests
Small wedding- Under 50 guests
Elopement- Typically just the couple to be married, and maybe a couple attendants
If you and your fiance are having a hard time narrowing down all the important people you have on your long list, fear not, there is still a few options to consider so that you are able to celebrate your nuptials with everyone near and dear to you. If a small wedding just isn’t small enough for your taste, you may want to consider an elopement.
Check out the differences between a wedding and an elopement here!
To keep all your loved ones happy, here are three examples of how everyone can be included, even if they aren’t on the guest list!
1. Host a pre-wedding party
Having a pre-wedding party can either be a couples wedding shower, or something more casual like a “Bubbles and Brews Before the I-Do’s”. The idea of getting people together before the wedding is simply to let them know they are important to you, but your plan for a small wedding just didn’t allow for lots of guests.
2. Throw a second wedding reception
Following your special day, it is completely acceptable to keep the party going and have a second wedding reception. This is a great way to gather with all the people that weren’t at your actual wedding. Having a second reception is also a great idea for those couples who had a destination wedding, and now you are wanting to celebrate with friends and family back home.
3. Plan for a nice dinner out with those who weren’t invited to the wedding
If you had a small wedding, you may not want to have a big reception and that is perfectly okay. If there are still people who are close to you that either weren’t invited, or couldn’t make it to your wedding, having an intimate dinner is a way to share the love and celebrate this monumental moment together.
Talk To Your Vendors
Much like with your venue, some vendors might require a minimum guest count before they will consider working with you. Here is a list of vendors where you should confirm their minimum guest count requirement.
- Bakery (wedding cake)
- Band/ DJ
- Invites and papergoods
- Rentals (chairs, linen, decor)
Small Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Affordable”
The words “small” and “affordable” are not synonymous when it comes to having a wedding. But, it can absolutely be more affordable. By default, the less people you have attending your big day means the less money you are spending per person when it comes to things like meals, drinks, table decor, favors, etc. Some couples may choose to have a small wedding solely based off preference, whereas some people might opt for a small ceremony due to financial reasons. As with any wedding (no matter the size), it all comes down to what you envision, meaning you can choose to spend as much or as little as you want! If you choose to go the more budget friendly route when planning, you can use the money saved for something else that might be important to you and your soon-to-be spouse.
Regardless of size you can always strive for the best wedding budget available to you, here are some tips to get started!
Plan For Your Prenup
No matter how big or small your wedding is going to be, securing your prenup prior to the big day is going to be a part of the planning process that you don’t want to overlook. Having a prenuptial agreement in place with your future spouse is going to protect both of you not only financially, but also emotionally should your marriage take an unexpected turn in the future. Of course, the hope is that once you say “I do”, this legal document is just tucked away and forgotten about, but it is definitely something you want to consider before you wish you had one later down the road. There are many factors to consider when it comes to prenups, if you aren’t yet convinced you and your spouse need one, go ahead and check out this quiz to get a better understanding of how a prenup can fit your needs!
When it comes time for you and the love of your life to get married, it truly is a day that is all about the two of you. Of course you want to celebrate with your friends and families, but you are not obligated to invite everyone you have ever spoken to your wedding! All weddings are beautiful and unique to the couple, but there is something special about saying your nuptials in front of a smaller group. Be sure to browse through all our engagement, wedding, and prenup resources here at HelloPrenup as you start to plan for your big (or small) day!
Bobb, B. (2016, October 14). Left out of your friend’s wedding? not inviting your cousin to your nuptials? how to handle guest list dilemmas. Vogue. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.vogue.com/article/weddings-invite-etiquette-not-inviting-a-guest
Samantha Kin, T. B. L. E. (2021, December 18). The benefits of hosting an off-season wedding. To Be Loved Events. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.tobelovedevents.com/blog/the-benefits-of-hosting-an-off-season-wedding
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected]