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6 Tips For Planning A Small Wedding

6 Tips For Planning A Small Wedding

Your wedding is likely one of the biggest days of your life, but rest assured, the size of the event doesn’t need to match the moment. While TV and movies often give us the visual of a huge event with plenty of fanfare, the truth is small weddings are quite common. It would seem that more and more, couples are choosing to skip the commotion that comes with a big wedding and opt for an intimate affair instead. If you find yourself considering the latter, here are 6 tips for planning a small wedding. 

Benefits of a small wedding

Small weddings are less expensive   

It should come as no surprise that when you’re planning a small wedding, you’re going to save money. All in, couples should budget for spending about $150 per guest (this includes the venue rental, the catering, decor, etc.). So when you’re inviting 45 guests instead of 145, the savings will be apparent; it’s really just simple math. 

You can spend more quality time with your guests

A pared-down event will likely afford you a bit more quality time with your guests as well.  

When you make the rounds after the “I-dos” are exchanged, you’ll have more time to sit, chat and enjoy the conversation instead of buzzing through the crowd. When you have the time to take in those moments, you’ll no doubt walk away with even more wonderful memories for years to come. 

Moreover, each person in attendance will be handpicked, if you will, and on your special day, you’ll be surrounded by your nearest and dearest, not your third cousin twice removed whom you’ve never met. 

The chances of things going wrong are greatly reduced

Whether it’s a golden anniversary, a sweet sixteen, or a small wedding, Murphy’s Law is almost a given when you’re planning any type of event. Anything that can wrong, will go wrong. However, with a small wedding, there are fewer balls in the air, so the chances of things going wrong are significantly reduced.  

Tips for planning a small wedding 

Decide on your venue 

Large weddings may limit you in terms of venue options. However, when planning a small, intimate wedding, you’ll likely have plenty of room to experiment with venues and settings. Essentially your wedding can be held anywhere with a great backdrop; from a beautiful backyard to your local botanical gardens, the possibilities are endless. Additionally, you’ll have a bit more flexibility with start times and themes. 

Pare down your guest list 

Obviously, when planning a small, intimate wedding, you’ll have to pare down your guest list. Remember to make mindful choices when creating your guest list and don’t feel like you need to give in to pressure — from anyone. If you’re finding it hard to choose, ask yourself, “ Will I feel sad if this person isn’t here to share this day with me?” Additionally, stick to inviting guests who are relevant to your life today (not your best friend from ten years ago), remember to think about your partner’s guest list, and avoid inviting guests who may not mesh well with others. 

Skip traditions that don’t make sense and try something new

The great thing about planning a small wedding is that it leaves plenty of room for some creativity. Feel free to skip traditions that don’t make sense, and don’t be afraid to go against the grain when trying something new. For example, with scaled-down nuptials (and guest list), you might want to nix the large bridal party. In this case, it just doesn’t make sense. Furthermore, a small wedding gives you the flexibility to shake things up. For example, unusual food choices or having your dog as a ring bearer may go over better with a small crowd.

Remember, too, that a novel approach to your wedding could also extend to unconventional seating arrangements and even wedding favors. A shorter guest list may leave a little wiggle room in the budget to do something extra special, particularly for the special guests that help you pull this off.

Decide where you want to splurge and where you want to save 

When planning a small, intimate wedding, give some thought to where you want to splurge and where you want to save. If you’re scaling back, ideally, that would mean you’re saving money. But if you just decide to reallocate portions of your budget — not so much. So, whether it’s a splurge on flowers, steak dinners, or an open bar, figure out ahead of time what’s really important to you. 

Decide on your menu

While a long guest list may affect your choice of venues, it can also affect your menu. With a large crowd, your options may have been limited to a hotel or restaurant staff with the resources and logistical know-how to accommodate your party. However, if you’re planning a small intimate wedding, the incredible chef at your favorite restaurant may be a new and exciting option. Keep in mind, too, that with a smaller crowd, there are fewer palates to cater to, so you might even be able to offer eclectic menu options, a buffet of your favorite foods, or a menu that consists entirely of desserts (hey, your day, your rules). 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Wedding planners aren’t always a part of small affairs (nor do they need to be); just remember that it’s ok to ask for help. This is a big day; no doubt you’ll be spinning a lot of plates in the air. Going it alone only adds to your stress level, and it may curb your enthusiasm for the day. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family to ensure that things go off without a hitch. 

When you have a few people on your side to keep things moving, keep things on schedule, and put out any fires, you’ll be free to enjoy your day — as it should be. 


The average wedding costs $33,900. Let us plan you a beautiful elopement, while saving you over $28,000

Article written by Janessa White
Article written by Janessa White
Janessa White is the co-founder of Simply Eloped and has helped thousands of couples plan elopements. As an expert in the field, she has been featured on Martha Stewart,, Vox, and HuffPost. Janessa thinks elopements are the ultimate way to tie the knot.
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