The world has changed and so have wedding ceremonies. Uncertain times compel us to adapt to a new reality and adjust some of our plans and priorities. But that doesn’t mean that we need to give up the notion of having a memorable marriage ceremony.
A small ceremony gives you the freedom to be more creative and spend more quality time with your super-special guests. Surround yourself with the people who are always there to laugh and cry with you. Be sure to share the joy of your special day with them. Check out our wedding ideas for small, intimate weddings, and find out how to organize a small wedding that you and your guests will love.
1. Trim the List
Even if you wanted a big, traditional wedding with hundreds of guests, look on the bright side. Fewer people mean more authenticity. So, the first step is to make a list of people you’d like to invite.
No matter how big or small your list is, you’ll most likely want to add more people to it. So, why don’t you include them all at the beginning? Put literally everyone on the list – family, relatives, old friends from school, college mates, and colleagues. Go through your friends on Facebook, and then think of people who aren’t on social media at all. Put all the names down on paper. That way, you’ll have something to start working with. Now, delete everyone you haven’t talked to in the last year. Cut out people who never invited you to their wedding, and those you wouldn’t invite to yours. If there are people who aren’t happy with your decision to get married in the first place – or who aren’t on good terms with your fiancé – you might wish to remove them from the list too. Now you’ve got a far more refined list. Always remember, the final number of guests is up to you.
2. Find or Create an Authentic Venue
If there’s a special place for you and your husband-to-be, like a park where you first kissed, a coffee shop where you had your first date, or even the backyard of your new home, you can get married there. All you need is goodwill, sufficient time to arrange everything, and perhaps a new canopy.
You can, of course, opt for a destination wedding, which might be more exciting – and considerably more expensive. In that case, keep all your guests well informed. This means arranging the trip and finding a perfect lodging for them all.
Or you can find a nice, romantic cottage nearby and rent it for a weekend. That would keep you all close and connected during your wedding day (and night, and the day after). What’s more, it just might cost you less than reserving a traditional wedding site for more guests.
Now that you’ve decided on the perfect site, you can move on to other small and simple wedding ideas.
3. Start Planning as Soon as Possible
Even though you’re planning a small, intimate ceremony, it’s still your wedding. Avoid any last-minute panic by planning and preparing things ahead – picking your wedding dress, booking the venue, making decorations. Arranging all these details might be easy but it still takes time and you don’t want to do anything in a rush – at least not on your wedding.
Also, you’ll most likely need to book your venue as soon as possible or find an alternative. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of ceremonies have been delayed, and all those couples will have to get married someday. Therefore, you could face a significant delay. Venues may be booked up months in advance. For that reason, it’s best to make booking that perfect place a priority.
4. Pay Attention to Details
Now that you’re done with the boring part, it’s time to focus on details and have fun with intimate wedding ceremony ideas. Make your guests feel welcome by personalizing all that you can. Make some special welcome gifts. Prepare coloring kits for the kids. Think of what your friends would like.
You can also organize some extra events, welcome parties, or photo sessions. Since the wedding will be small, it means you’re free to spend more on flowers, extravagant food and drinks. While it’s great to keep everything simple, if there’s something that you particularly wish for your wedding day, allow it to yourself – it’s your day after all.
5. You Choose What You’ll Wear
The dress you want to get married in is a great wedding dress, regardless of the color and material. You could wear a fancy dress, choose a traditional village or religious outfit, or grab a comfortable casual dress that you’ll want to wear again, on different occasions. You’re already breaking the tradition by having a small wedding, so, when it comes to the dress – all that matters is that you feel great in it.
If you’ve selected a non-conventional dress, let everyone know about it beforehand. You certainly don’t want your bridesmaids to outshine you – and the same goes for your guests. Set a dress code and be sure to make everyone fully aware of it.
Maybe you’d like the guests – the ladies, especially – to wear the same color. You don’t have to be in white at all. However, since you’ll be having a small ceremony, you can try to avoid anything extravagant and opt for a plain white dress that fits you perfectly and makes you look confident, down-to-earth, and beautiful.
6. Have Someone to Help You
When the day comes, you’ll be too busy to arrange the final preparations. Let a close friend or family member do it for you, or hire a wedding coordinator. Having someone to help is critical if you don’t want your happy day to descend into chaos.
In terms of duties, this person may need to organize transportation for some of the guests, deal with the lodgings, communicate with the catering service, and make sure everyone is entertained.
If there are going to be children at your wedding, it’s a good idea to have someone spend the day taking care of them, devising games (which should be prepared in advance), and coordinate the activities. This person will most likely miss all the fun for the grown-ups, so you might like to hire a professional.
7. Make Your Ceremony Special
Small marriage ceremony ideas don’t have to be complicated. If you’re getting married during summer and the reception is outdoors, you can arrange the schedule so that you say “Yes” during sunset. You can also make the ceremony deep and meaningful by writing your own vows.
Since you’ll be having a small wedding, make the atmosphere relaxed and intimate, just like it should be in a family. If you’re inviting less than, say, 20 people, perhaps you could gather them all around a large dining table. That way, everyone will have a chance to connect and actively take part in your happiness. As a bonus, you’ll get breathtaking group photos.
8. Get Creative
Why not take a boring old convention and make it fun? For example, instead of a typical wedding book, you can place blank pages at the table(s), and ask everyone to write a message – like advice or an anecdote – and put it in a special box. At some point during the celebration, you (or someone else) can even draw a random paper and read the message aloud to everyone present.
9. Keep What Matters and Skip the Rest
If you aren’t a fan of colorful flowers, you don’t have to have them at your wedding. The same goes for anything else that you find unimportant – especially if it’s super expensive. Just forget about it and focus on what matters the most for the two of you. No one will be disappointed if you intentionally forget some elements of decoration. Most probably, people won’t even notice the difference.
After all, it is all about you two getting married. The whole point of the ceremony is to celebrate your marriage with other people who mean a lot in your life.
10. Make It Frugal
Your wedding doesn’t have to be lavish to be remembered. There are a lot of small low key wedding ideas that may work for you. You can serve a simple yet delicious meal, prepared by a family member. The decorations can be inexpensive if you arrange it yourself. Opt for details that you can reuse, like potted flowers, or casual clothes.
If you’d like to have live music at your wedding, get in touch with amateur musicians rather than a professional band. One of the upsides of having a small wedding is that you can spend less on the wedding itself and use that money on something more important at the beginning of your life together.
11. Keep It Organic
Small weddings are perfect opportunities to be mindful about nature. You can avoid using plastic utilities and imported flowers, borrow your dress, and serve local food. You can also ask your guests to take care about the environment and share spare seats in their cars. Find more sustainable wedding ideas on our blog.
12. Enjoy the Process
Your wedding is the first day of your marriage, so avoid any unnecessary tension. Make sure to discuss and agree with your partner on every detail. If there’s something that one of you would like and the other not so much, do your best to find a compromise. That’s what this all this is about – your relationship. Prepare together, and remain connected throughout the day. There’s nothing more important than enjoying your wedding in harmony.
13. The Way You Invite People Matters Too
Since you’ll be having a limited number of guests, you can invite them in person – or at least give them a call. If you’d still like to send them invitations, make them unique. If you craft some lovely handwritten invitations, your guests will feel super special when they receive them. There are innumerable printable invitations that you can customize, download, print, add a personal touch, before you send them.
14. Don’t Compete
Don’t spend money, time and energy trying to have the coolest wedding ceremony ever. Trying to impress will just add unnecessary pressure. The goal is to be happy and relaxed, not annoyed or frustrated. If you think some of your guests will compare your wedding to someone else’s – so what? Your true friends will be happy because you’re happy. There’s no need to overspend or to try to make everything perfect. What is perfect, anyway? A perfect wedding – we hope you’ll agree – is a wedding of two people deeply in love. No money can buy this.
Accept that things will go wrong. Someone might unintentionally break something. You might forget a bracelet. A guest might get drunk and too emotional. No matter how much you plan every detail, there are some things you can’t do anything about it. Just don’t let it be a big deal. Stay calm, forget about it, and enjoy your wedding.
15. Or Just Elope
If these wedding ideas for small intimate weddings still seem overwhelming, there’s always the option to elope. Make the wedding ceremony the ultimate in intimate. Enjoy each other without having to worry about how anyone else is doing. Just think about it carefully and be certain that both of you are thrilled with the idea. It an important decision to make. You don’t get married every day.
Having a small wedding is a matter of choice for some, a necessity for others. Either way, an intimate ceremony can be a wonderful occasion. Having more guests or spending more money won’t necessarily make your marriage ceremony extra special, or your marriage any happier. Enjoy the day to the full and start your life together the best way you can.