While weddings are generally believed to be big events, small weddings are quite common. They’re trending lately, as having a limited guest list is one safer way to get married in light of the coronavirus pandemic. But couples often gravitate towards small weddings because they’re typically more cost-effective and eco-friendly. If you’re hosting a petite party, we’ve rounded up our favorite intimate wedding ideas and planning tips to help get you started. Not only can intimate weddings save you money, carbon emissions, and stress, it’ll also allow you to socialize more with your guests. If that sounds good to you, read on to see our favorite intimate wedding ideas and our best planning tips.
What’s Considered an Intimate Wedding?
According to Jenn Johnson, CEO of EPIC Presentations, a small wedding consists of 50 people or less. However, she says the fewer people you invite, the more intimate the event can be. You can make it a hyper-personal event by inviting 20 to 40 people, or you can have a VIP-only guest list of 10 loved ones. Given the limited guest list, small weddings are often hosted at a destination. However, considering the current circumstances, most intimate celebrations are local.
Where can I host an Intimate Wedding?
Hosting an intimate wedding is all about finding the right space. Even with only a handful of guests, you want your wedding venue to feel full. To achieve this, seek out small and cozy environments versus large, spacious venues. Head over to The Knot to see venues in your area and filter your options based on guest capacity. Maybe you want a small garden affair or a ceremony at your favorite wine bar. A destination wedding is an option for when guests feel more comfortable traveling too.
How to Have an Intimate Wedding
Planning a small wedding may seem straightforward, but it can be difficult to pull off logistically. To help make the process easier, we rounded up tips for how to have a small wedding.
Be Selective About Your Guest List
This one seems obvious, but it can be challenging in practice. First, remember that there are certain people you don’t have to invite to your wedding. You may want to celebrate with 50 people, but some venues may only allow 20 to 30 people, so keep that in mind as you create your guest list. While it can be difficult to tell someone they won’t be invited to your wedding, it’s best, to be honest. You can always find other ways to include other people in your celebration too.
Choose a Venue With a Strict Guest Capacity
If you’re feeling guilty about limiting the number of guests yourselves, choosing a venue that has a strict capacity can take the pressure off of you. Plus, it’ll give you an incentive to continue to whittle down your guest list.
Skip the Wedding Party
While having a wedding party is a long-standing tradition, you don’t have to have one—especially if you’re trying to keep the guest list small. “Allow yourself to [forego] a wedding party,” Johnson says. “Include only your closest family and your tight group of besties [on the guest list].” Instead of a wedding party, focus on curating a list of the most important people in your life.
Be Strict About Plus Ones
If every guest brings a plus one, your headcount can grow quickly. Before sending out invitations, talk with your partner about your stance on plus ones. Typically, plus ones are reserved for significant partners (meaning the couple is engaged or married). Establishing this type of guideline is a surefire way to keep your guest list small.
Invite Others to Virtually Attend
Another idea is to turn to technology—especially in light of coronavirus. “Have your ceremony on Zoom if you want to include more people or if some family members don’t want to travel and/or [others] people don’t feel safe attending a social gathering,” Johnson says.
Couples can still implement the idea of a virtual wedding once gatherings become safe again too. If you’re trying to keep the headcount down, inviting people to dial in virtually is a wonderful solution. They still get to watch you exchange vows, and you get to keep your guest list small.