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Meaningful ideas to make a small wedding unforgettably intimate

The best day of your life shouldn’t have worry or stress attached to it. So if the idea of trying to please 100+ guests scares the life out of you then cut back, prioritise and consider our small wedding ideas.

Scaling back can reduce stress in many different ways. Your big day is just that: your decision to create the most incredible memories of a lifetime for you and your partner. Saving money on a smaller wedding doesn’t need to mean the day is any less special, it can in fact be quite the opposite; more intimate, thoughtful and personal.

We often talk about having the “nearest and dearest” with you to celebrate the big day. But do old workmates (or current ones), “friends” you haven’t seen in years, or fringe family members you only see at family gatherings really count?

Here are some small wedding ideas to make your big day less expensive and more personal and meaningful.

Streamline the guest list

A small wedding (10-20 guests max) is only small if you trim the guest list, removing all the people who “should” be invited but aren’t actually close to you. It may seem ruthless but the chances are a lot of these people might not actually want to come anyway.

It’s best to avoid the ridiculous situation of inviting people who you don’t want there but think you ought to invite, and these people only coming because they think it would be rude to turn down the invitation.

A good way of deciding who to invite is to think whether you would want someone to come to yours for a dinner party or as a weekend house guest. If the answer is “no way” then these people probably shouldn’t be at your small, intimate wedding.

If you feel guilty about streamlining, you can always post a special wedding announcement to those who didn’t make the cut. It will let people know the news and your reasons for keeping it small.

Make the venue memorable and unconventional

small wedding ideas

Many venues that don’t have the capacity to hold a large gaggle of guests are now a possibility for your small wedding party. You can be as non-traditional as you like without fear of guests disapproving.

Because no-one on your special streamlined list would be disapproving right?

How about your favourite restaurant that has a special meaning or memories? Consider hiring the whole restaurant for ultimate intimacy. Plus you need not worry about catering or a bar, it’s all there already.

Where else could feel more relaxing than the family home? A small guestlist makes this an option. Wonders can be done with a back garden to create a romantic space in which to get married in. And the party could continue there all day and night, saving fortunes which can then be spent on a luxury honeymoon instead.

Invitations can be a fun process

With a small list of guests to invite you can take care over invitations and personalise them, making them more meaningful.

It’s not just a case of “getting through” hundreds of invitations to make sure they get out on time.

You could hand-craft them, making each one personal, with the particular person or couple in mind. This will make guests feel special, and recognise the extra effort you have taken. This good feeling will help to create a closer bond on the big day itself.

You might even decide to dispense with formal invitations entirely. You could simply meet up or call your guests for a nice, heartfelt chat to invite them. Or send a handwritten letter explaining why you’ve chosen them and how you can’t wait to share the experience with them.

Mix and match which traditional elements you want

Now that you are freed from the constraints of worrying about what judgmental people may think, you can happily do whatever you please. The live music can be tailored exactly to you and your friends’ tastes.

Many people may think that a wedding wouldn’t be complete without a band or a DJ. However these can be expensive entertainment options and probably not suited to a small wedding party. Consider one or two acoustic musicians who might be able to play through the day at various stages.

A “house party” or “campfire” vibe might be more suited with everyone grouped together and singing laid back acoustic tunes into the night.

Since you are spending quality time with your guests you don’t need to do expensive extras to show you care. Money can be saved on things like, wedding favours, photo booths and printed ceremony programmes. The fact you have invited someone to a small gathering shows you care without being over the top on added extras.

Save elsewhere but don’t skimp on a photographer

Your big day couldn’t be more special. So with savings made elsewhere due to having a smaller guest list, invest in a top quality photographer.

These are moments that last a lifetime so do your research and make sure to meet the photographer beforehand. You need to know there’s a good vibe between you and they won’t impinge on the positive atmosphere.

Consider a photographer who captures ‘reportage’ style. This is a candid and unobtrusive form of photography. It tells the story of the day as it actually is rather than holding up proceedings at set time for staged photographs as normally happens in traditional weddings.

Have the dinner of a lifetime

Catering for hundreds can be a risky, and incredibly expensive.

Not everyone will be happy and it’s harder to cater for allergies and dietary requirements.

With such a small group you can afford to splurge on a banquet of epic proportions. Eat like a king or queen for a night with many courses and fine wines and spirits.

Fewer tables and a smaller space means you can personalise each set place with handwritten menus or personal notes. You could even have personal family heirlooms on display to give the dinner an ever greater meaningful and personal feel.

Most importantly, you can sit everyone together. With such a small group no-one has to be separated at different tables whilst they jealously eye up a better, more fun table. There will be no small talk at this dinner, just genuine conversation. Friends who eat together, stay together.

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