6 Tips for Planning an Intimate Wedding

by Jack Kurosaki

While microweddings were already trending before the pandemic, intimate weddings were more normalized than ever this past year. And just as telehealth visits are putting down roots, minimonies may be here to stay. But just because the scale of the wedding is smaller, it doesn’t mean that the execution is any less thoughtful. Here are some tips for planning an intimate wedding.

1. Be Deliberate About the Guest List

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You might think that because you are inviting less people, assembling the guest list is going to be easier. But the opposite might be true. Social circles can be complicated, which means that there can be issues with inviting your cousin Pam but not your cousin Bob. Think through the roles each invitee plays in your life. Have you talked to them in the last couple of months? Are you likely to see them again in a couple of years? Don’t feel obligated to invite anyone you don’t want to at the expense of somebody who is important to you to be there, but keep in mind that consistency is helpful. Remember that with small weddings, the group dynamic is more noticeable, and everybody who comes is likely to interact with each other. That can really be a gift, so give it wisely.

2. Be Deliberate About Spending

Having a smaller wedding can be a great way to save money. Figure out how much money you will need in total to accomplish your wedding vision, even for your intimate wedding party you and your partner agreed on. That doesn’t mean that you have to be cheap. Feel empowered to shift the money previously allocated to a meal for your high school debate captain’s date to something special for your significant other, such as a gift to the bride on the wedding day from the groom. Don’t get it twisted. You aren’t required to blow all the money you would have spent on a five hundred person extravaganza. You have permission to make prudent choices beyond limiting the number of guests. Enjoy the satisfaction of tracking down affordable wedding rings from Modern Gents and the thrill of maximizing venue value.

3. Be Deliberate About the Spotlight

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Some people choose smaller weddings because they want the focus of a quieter ceremony in the company of their 10-50 closest friends and family members. For them, reducing the amount of noise might mean a more secluded location or striving to reduce the amount of social media activity surrounding the event. Other couples may take the opposite approach to a smaller wedding – having a more intimate, budget-friendly ceremony, but then finding all sorts of non-traditional ways to include a larger circle of friends in the celebration. That might look like engaging with an older generation who is suddenly more tech savvy by setting up remote viewing parties (with party favors). Or it could be as simple as going out on the town as a newly-married couple after an afternoon reception.

4. Take Advantage of Location Flexibility

If you are planning a dinner for several hundred people, your options are often limited to traditional venues like reception halls and hotel ballrooms that have room for all those dinner tables. If it’s just the 12 of you, the reception can be a treehouse or a pontoon boat. Shoot, it can be your favorite restaurant or even your own home. If it’s your own home, the wedding registry can actually prop up the wedding supplies. And instead of throwing away a bunch of expensive flowers, you could just plop them down in your garden.

5. Take Advantage of Timing Flexibility

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A small wedding can bounce to an exotic locale just as easily as it can grab home court advantage because the logistics of moving the wedding crew around can be a lot easier. That logic applies to movement on the day itself. Rather than rendezvousing at different locations, the whole group can travel together. It’s like inviting the whole wedding on the mysterious bus that whisks all the bridesmaids and groomsmen away to undisclosed locations for a photoshoot while the rest of the guests watch the hors d’oeuvres door like a boil of hawks. Don’t force your guests to entertain themselves by perusing hawk group names (kettle and knot are also applicable, for the record) while they wait for the bar to open. Hike to that treehouse together or throw in some extra activities. You don’t have to play whirly ball between bites of wedding cake, but if there was ever a time that you wanted to do something special with your nearest and dearest, you’ve got them right where you want them.

6. Give Yourself a Break

Just because you have a smaller wedding doesn’t mean that there won’t be drama. Sending fewer invitations doesn’t mean that everybody receives the memo to be chill or signal that you don’t care deeply enough about the details of your wedding to suffer disappointment when something goes wrong. To add more fun and have stress-free planning, try to include your guests. Select a few of them, whom you think would be best at planning and you will forget about the stress it comes before the big day. If it is a smaller wedding party, include them all and see how wonderful the whole wedding experience will become.

Think of some interesting parts where they can be involved directly in the wedding, as special readings. Be patient with yourself and others. If you have more free time, throw a wedding weekend for the guests. Having a wedding is not just about the bride and groom, but their guest as well. This is a great way to thank them for their involvement in the planning, their help can save you time and stress, on the other hand making the whole wedding wonderful. Cherish learning more about the most important people in your life, especially the one you are marrying.

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