Splurge On Your Priority Items
The huge benefit to having a small wedding is that you have more budget per head to spend on your guests. As a couple, write down a list of what your priority items are: it could be having Michelin star food, gorgeous flowers on every surface, an open bar, splashing out on live music, hiring a unique venue you didnt think you could afford before, or going all out on your styling. Focus on two to three priorities and then make those the stars of the show when it comes to designing the look of your reception.
Pick Your Wedding Party
Maid of honor. Best man. Groomsmen and women. Bridesmaids and bridesmen. Decide who among your close friends and family you want to be with you throughout your wedding. Choose wisely, because theyll be the folks on hand from the rehearsal dinner until you drive off into the sunset.
Pro tip: Your choice for wedding party members should be based on what you want and how you feel. There will be egos involved, however, all you have to do to mitigate sore feelings is have an honest conversation with anyone who wasnt chosen that may have been expecting it. If youre really stuck, use this handy to help pick. Additionally, consider inviting the people who didnt make the cut to some special wedding activities, such as the bachelor/bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, etc.
Wedding Dresses For A Micro
With less than 50 people on the guest list and chic, intimate city venues being a popular choice for smaller-scale ceremonies, theres plenty of opportunity to break away from tradition when it comes your micro-wedding wedding dress. From statement two-pieces to short, vintage styles weve curated an edit of the best wedding dresses for a minimony as the new trend continues to take hold this year.
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Dont Skimp On Entertainment Space
Kristen Kilpatrick Photography
Keep in mind the importance of a dance floor when allocating space in your home, or on-site, for your reception. If space indoors is an issue, creating a dance floor in an outdoor tent is a great way to ensure theres plenty of space for dancing as well as your entertainment, suggests Jeremy Davis, bandleader for the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra.
Invest In Your Photographer
Giving Tree Photography
A fantastic photographer is a great investment, no matter how many guests will be in attendance, but a smaller guest list may mean more opportunities to capture intimate moments. With fewer people at the table, your guests will really relax, creating an intimate atmosphere, Dorman explains. Hire a trusted photographer who will capture the laughter, the tears, and the clinking glasses, since those are the moments youll treasure most.
Figure Out What Youre Going To Wear
Its your wedding, so the best ensemble is the one you feel best in. Theres no right or wrong option. Perhaps youll wear jeans and a casual jacket. You might go with a bow-tie. Maybe youre going to honor your cultural heritage with a traditional look colorfully-patterned clothes, a Saukele, a kilt, a kimono. Just make your selection early so you have time to get everything altered if you need to.
Pro tip: Schedule enough time for multiple alteration appointments if needed just in case something changes between the first fitting and the last. Anything from weight to shoe choice to personal preference can change in a matter of months, so its good to leave some buffer.
Shop Second Hand Or Vintage For Attire And Decor
Lets face it most people wear their wedding attire once, and the decorations they spend hundreds on collect cobwebs in storage. Creating a backyard wedding on a budget is the perfect time to shop for unique vintage and second-hand items.
Try sites like eBay and Etsy, as well as your favorite thrift stores!
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How To Pull Off A Small Intimate Wedding Ceremony
Your wedding day is a day that you have looked forward to for years. A day to celebrate and begin your new journey with your mate. Weddings are an occasion that come along with great celebration, family and friends and a large price tag!
Small weddings are not the most favored, but they are the most cost efficient choice. Expect to have mixed emotions from family and friends when you share the news. They’re excited about your special day too. Listen to their opinions, but since you chose to have a small wedding, stick to your guns and explain to them that on a later date you will hold an informal reception to include everyone who isn’t invited to the ceremony.
Once you have an attainable budget you can start planning and purchasing your wedding necessities.
Chose your location. Smaller weddings give you more options when it comes to finding a wedding location, look for local halls, churches, wineries, beaches, parks or private gardens. Depending on how small your guest list is, you can hold the ceremony at your home or a family member’s home.
Destination weddings are a great option when you have a small guest list too. It costs more. However, you can ask your family to pitch in to help cover the traveling costs instead of gifts. After all, they will be coming along on the trip too!
Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 6Step 7
Make Time For Guests Ahead Of The Main Celebration
A small wedding means more opportunities for quality time. In lieu of one big welcome party, aim to schedule outings or activities with specific subsets of guests. Youll both appreciate the bonding time, and itll give you the chance to catch up on whats going on in their livessomething thats harder to do when your wedding day arrives.
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Consider A Registry Office Wedding
Plenty of registry offices or town halls have inexpensive and architecturally cool small ceremony rooms you can hire out. The Old Marylebone Town Hall in London hosted Sir Paul McCartneys wedding, and has an impressive backdrop of columns out the front for photos and beautifully renovated rooms inside. Dont dismiss a registry office wedding out of hand as your local registry office could surprise you.
The benefit to a small registry office wedding now is that you can still have a full-sized sequel wedding later. For the second wedding, hire a celebrant to lead the service and do it again with a more relaxed vibe and a bigger party.
Outdoor Spaces Remain A Priority
The popularity of outdoor ceremonies, cocktail hours, and dinner receptions has grown exponentially as the pandemic has forced us to embrace the open air of the great outdoors. Fresh flowers, soft breezes, green grass, the sound of birds, and flowing waterall of these sensory elements bring excitement, joy, and comfort. I predict that venue spaces with gardens, patios, and lawns for tent installations will continue to be the choice du jour for couples planning to host wedding celebrations long after the pandemic is history.Becca Atchison, founding partner and creative director, Rebecca Rose Events, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
We’re seeing clients prioritizing venues with outdoor spaceswhether that means balconies, terraces, gardens, rooftops, or just spaces that have roll-gates or big windows that can swing open for the best possible air circulation.Erica Taylor Haskins, founding partner, Tinsel Experiential Design, Brooklyn, New York
Well continue to see more elevated backyard weddings. Couples discovered hosting an event at home has many advantages during the pandemic and saw how guests who attended these small, intimate affairs thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed and very personal space. Darci Greenwood, owner and creative director, Greenwood Events, Whitefish, Montana
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Be Strategic With Your Date
Weekday weddings are increasing in popularity and can be a good excuse to keep the celebration on the smaller side.
Though not ideal for large-scale celebrations, holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving can also make sense if youre limiting the guest list to close family. Just be sure to account for everyone that would typically be around the table, because its only fair that anyone regularly included in holidayeven that one aunt that always gets on your nerveswould also be included in a wedding scheduled for that holiday.
Buy The Wedding Dress Off The Rack And On Sale Or Borrow And Modify
The Knot reports that the average wedding dress costs $1,600, which is a tremendous cost for an item youll likely wear once. A much better idea? See if anyone in your family or among your close friends has their old dress and, if possible, see if you can borrow it. It may need some modifications to make it work well, but spending $200 on adjustments is better than $1,600 on a dress. If this isnt an option, look for a used dress and modify it similarly this will still be cheaper than buying a new one.
Strategy: Borrow or buy a wedding dress Savings: $600-$1,400
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Be Strict About Plus Onesmatt + Jess
If every invited 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 . Establishing this type of guideline is a surefire way to keep your guest list small.
How To Plan Your Own Microwedding
The Budget / Guest CountDeciding your budget and guest count are you first steps. Are you planning a simple mountaintop elopement, and trying to create the cheapest wedding possible? Or you planning on feeding your three dozen closest friends caviar? Once you have these numbers estimated, youre ready to dive into the other details.
WhereA major bonus of microweddings is that youre not limited by the travel-plans of 300 guests. There are exciting and unique places across the United Statesand around the worldthat are perfect for intimate weddings. From beaches to mountain-tops, let your imagination run!
WhenIn the wedding world, there are: seasons, days, and times. Wedding season , weekends, and evenings are the highest demand. The higher the demand, the higher the price, and the more limited the venue/vendor availability. If youre flexible with your scheduling, consider working with off-season dates, weekdays, or mornings/afternoons. Its a great way to save money and opens up a lot more options.
If youre having an outdoor ceremony, dont forget to factor in
Temperaturewhich may affect makeup, outfits, comfort, etc.
Time of daywhich will impact your lighting for photos
Once your ceremony is pinned down, plan the rest of the day accordingly. You dont want to leave your guests in limbo for five hours between the ceremony and the reception.
My favorite spots: Where to Have Your Microwedding
Tips on finding the right officiant: here
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Choose Your Wedding Ceremony Location
Deciding where youre going to hold the ceremony has an impact on where the reception, and the rest of the wedding events, will be held. Some venues offer both ceremony and reception space, while others, like many places of worship, may be ceremony-centric. Use a wedding venue search tool like Wedding Spot to sort venues by services offered, distance to other venues, and more.
Pro tip: If youre planning on having live music for your ceremony, make sure your venue isnt located in an area with a strict noise ordinance in place, and consider the needs of neighboring homes and businesses. Youll also want to consider any sound issues your venue has that may interrupt your ceremony, such as nearby roads, gun ranges, etc.
Find the perfect wedding venue!
Ps: A Promise Is A Promise
Okay, heres the story I promised you: When Amalia was a little girl, her oldest brother, Matthew, married his love, Rachel. Amalia got busy and a made a present: a scrap of wood from her dads shop, with the blessing Have a Nice Marriage on it. Somehow she also pounded a hole in the top of the board for hanging.
Matthew and Rachel have had this little gift displayed in every home theyve lived in so far, and Matthew decided long ago to make a gift for Amalia on her wedding day, a twin of the plaque that she made him. So. There you go.
Thanks for popping in to see whats going on in my little corner of the world, gentle reader. I do hope you are doing well, and are finding many things to be grateful for, even during difficult and confusing times.
I love you, I really do. Take care.
I couldnt resist including this one!
All photos used with permission by
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Consider A Restaurant Venue
Fewer people on the guest list means the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing a nontraditional venue, and a restaurant may be the perfect fit. They’re unique spaces that have everything you need in one place, Meyer says. Consider a spot that you and your partner love to frequent. Just be sure you love everything about it, from the style and the menu to the existing décor, as restaurants often have restrictions on decorations.
Take Advantage Of Scenic Vantage Points
Nina Sutherland Photography
If your homes location is as special as the home itself, make sure to embrace any one-of-a-kind views throughout your ceremony or reception. Danielle Dworkowitz, owner and event designer of Creative Touch Party Design, evaluates a homeboth inside and outprior to the big day, to maximize space and pinpoint picturesque hotspots. Share these spots with your photographers and guests so they, too, can take stunning photographs.
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Sanitary Measures Remain In Place
You cant minimize the importance of food and beverage sanitary precautions and the pandemic has taught everyone to take extra care. Holding events with enhanced safety measures will remain in effect going forward.Marina Serret, director of catering at W South Beach, Miami
We predict food servers and attendants will still be required to wear masks going forward, which will make all events safer.Patty Phillippy, wedding events manager, La Mer Beachfront Resort, Cape May, New Jersey
The Basic Courthouse Elopement
If your budget is $100, you could spend your money like this:
$25 to $100 Here in Nashville, the fee for a marriage license clocks in at $99.50. And $60 of that can be waived if the couple completes a premarital counseling course within the last yearhello savings!
If your budget is $3,500, you could spend your money like this:
Venue: $0 for your future in-laws backyardFood and beverages: $750 for drinks and a buffet prepared by friends and familyAttire: $200 for a dress $200 for a suit rentalFlowers: $0 for wildflowers you picked for a bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, and boutonnieres $1,500 for a tent, dance floor, table and chair rentals, lighting, and DIY centerpiecesWedding Planning: $0 for an aunt willing to chip in and coordinate the day-of details $500 for a talented friend or amateur via CraigslistEntertainment: $75 for a speaker rental $0 for a great playlistDessert: $50 to $200 for a cutting cake, cupcakes, or pies from a bakeryInvitations: $50, DIY
If your budget is $7,000, you could spend your money like this:
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