(Closed) How did you do a “small wedding”?

posted 6 years ago in Rings
Post # 3
Member
2450 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

when we were planning on a small local wedding, our plan was to have it at my aunt’s house (huge yard, lots of land). we were going to have a small ceremony around the fire pit and have a fun, casual, BBQ/bonfire party for a reception. 

after we changed our minds to disney, the wedding got even smaller (14 people) because it’s a destination wedding now. after the ceremony and picture time, we are having a fun reception dinner at House of Blues. 

If, by some chance, we or someone comes into some money and we have another couple thousand to spend… we might add on a fireworks dessert party.

Post # 4
Member
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Maybe try putting this in the ceremony or receptions boards. I look forward to hearing people’s replies as well because I’m trying to do the same thing! 

Post # 5
Member
3583 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I don’t know but when you find out, please let me know.  I wanted 30 and suddenly have 70.  So I would say your GUEST LIST will be the hardest part….and making sure your parents don’t think that they own your guest list. 

Post # 6
Member
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2010

We hosted approximately 130 people, which in my town is considered small. My MIL got mad because we wanted it to be so small. (If it had been up to her, we would have had at least 500+ people, haha.) Anyway, the wedding was at my beautiful childhood Catholic church, and then we had a nice reception at a golf course club that had fantastic food. We had fish, a vegetarian pasta, stuffed shells, chicken parmesan, salad, veggies…well, just a TON of food! The reception can get pricey when you start adding up all of the little details. Try to make sure you make a deal with your venue about drinks, too. We paid for everybody’s drinks, but were able to do it on a per glass charge instead of their flat rate, which was kind of insanely high priced. It turned out to be cheaper for us to pay per drink for our guests, but if you know big drinkers, be cautious about what you’re doing with the bar issue, if you will have alcohol there. Our wedding was small but still got really expensive, like buying a BMW and a half expensive. When I think about that, I get confused because it was a small wedding, haha!!! Good luck with your planning! It goes really fast so enjoy it. 🙂 

Post # 7
Member
5096 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

We had a small wedding! (At least by most people’s standards – 55 guests) It was WONDERFUL. Every single person who was there was someone incredibly important to one or both of us. It was close and intimate and felt really filled with love.

We held it at my mom and stepdad’s house. The ceremony was in the backyard. We had a friend officiate, and we wrote a very short ceremony – from start to finish, it was about 5 minutes long. The reception followed immediately. It was catered (our biggest expense, but totally worth it). It wasn’t really a sit-down dinner – there was stationary and passed apps and three entree stations, and there were high and low cocktail tables where people could eat, talk, and then move around and mingle.  The whole thing was basically a catered cocktail party. Very relaxed, very fun.

We didn’t have dancing, both because of hte space and because neither we nor our parents are dancers. I think a few people missed this aspect, but most just enjoyed being able to walk around, catch up with old friends and family, eat and drink good food and wine (or beer or champagne), and have a good time.

Post # 8
Member
3618 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@WillyNilly:  you beat me to it!

I was going to say that since your parents are generously offering to pay for the wedding they might not agree with your small wedding plans so definitely talk it over with them.

Post # 9
Member
5096 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

FH & I agreed if we got engaged, the first thing we wanted to do was book a venue. PLEASE tell me this is the hardest part haha It’s overwhelming!

Unfortunately, if do go the small wedding route, the hardest part is the guest list. We originally said we’d invite 50-60; we ended up inviting 75, of whom 55 attended. It is not easy to cut people, esp. if you have big families. Nothing caused me more stress in the wedding planning than determining who was invited.

Post # 10
Member
4714 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 1998

My hubby woke me up on a Monday and said we are getting married this Saturday and we did… 24 ppl in our living room and it was the best…close fam and a couple friends made it super special….best to have a small one less money and more intimate. Not knocking the bigger weddings cause I love to dance and I didnt have that at my wedding but it was still good LOLOL

Post # 11
Member
1755 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Finding a venue for a small wedding can be a real challenge.  I found that very often the large ballrooms in places were pretty and the small ones were plain and sort of an afterthought decorwise.  However, it’s not impossible to find something fabulous for a small number of people!

First, decide on how many guests you want so that you know what size space you’ll need.  Some people view small as less than 100, others under 50.  So estimate the number of people you’ll invite.

Next, think a bit about your style.  Are you attracted to sleek and modern?  Vintage?  Rustic?  There were a lot of places that were nice, but I didn’t even bother considering because they weren’t remotely my style.  Just having a rough idea of your style can save you a lot of needless footwork.

Consider some of your favorite restaurants, they may have private dining and be a great reception location.  If you’re into vintage style, you may find a historic inn would offer the right atmosphere.  One thing that may be helpful is http://www.intimateweddings.com/  It has lots of great smaller places you may search by location.

Post # 12
Member
1340 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

If your wish is a small wedding and you don’t want to make excuses as to why xyz person wasn’t invited–you might consider a DW. FI and I wanted a intimate wedding (<50), but as we both come from large families that wouldn’t have been possible in either of our hometowns. We are having a DW because we want a vacation with our favorite people (honeymooon after the cruise) and so that we didn’t offend anyone by leaving them off the guestlist. We invited 75, but are only expecting 20 to attend. We spoke to the important ones (parents, sibs, grandma) ahead of time to make sure they could attend.

Post # 13
Member
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

We chose to have a small wedding (75 people) and are so happy we did. We live about 8 hours from most of our friends and family but we had the wedding where we live so the wedding weekend was semi-destination for everyone else. We rented a big house that slept 26 people and had all of our immediate families, bridal party and some cousins stay at the house with us. It was seriously the best decision we ever made because instead of just a 4 hour reception where we got to hang out, we were hanging out all weekend with those family members that we don’t get to see very often. The reception was also held at the house, on the first floor and in the courtyard, so there were no limits to what we could do for food/ alcohol, and no specific time we had to be out of there. We partied with our families until 1:00 a.m., loved every minute of it, and just had to walk upstairs to go to sleep. I would highly recommend this route for anyone wanting a small, intimate wedding where the focus is on hanging out with your nearest and dearest.

Post # 14
Member
405 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

We had about 100 people and I don’t really consider that small.  But we looked at some gardens that looked really pretty for a ceremony and reception that were perfect for like 75 people or a little less.  I think a garden wedding would be really gorgeous for a small non-traditional wedding.

Post # 15
Member
7312 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

First, congrats on your engagement!!!!! This is such an exciting time for  both of you and I wish you the best.

Second. STOP. Take a deeeeeep breath or 5, and give yourselves a chance to savor this moment. Do not rush into making any decisions just yet. Now is the perfect time to have chats with your FI about what kind of wedding you both want. Start by asking yourselves how you want your day to feel. Then ask yourselves how you can create a wedding that helps you achieve that feel? Are you  the kind of person that thrives on stress and has the best time when you are surrounded by tons of people? If so, a big bash may be your style? Or do you get hives at the thought of standing in front of 150 people and having to make sure they are all entertained? If so, maybe you are a small wedding person. Then, go talk to both sets of parents about their expectations, hopes, and dreams for your wedding. Since they are paying, you are going to have to take their thoughts and feelings (and guest list) into accountg. And then you need to figure our a budget. How much $$ is each side willing to commit to this shindig? Do their financial contributions match up to their expectations/hopes/dreams? This is all part of laying the groundwork for a smoother planning process. You need to do all of this BEFORE you book a single thing, especially a venue!

Third, small weddings are awesome!!!! IMHO, they are much more flexible, personal, and fun than large weddings. I say this because I am a small wedding person and a 150+ crowd in a social situation makes me feel physically ill. Anxiety… I has it. :/ We had 32 people, including us, at our wedding. We hosted our wedding weekend at a gorgeous bed and breakfast that was about 90 minutes from our home. It was a mini destination for all but 2 guests, and it was absolutely perfect. We served wine and beer pairings with each course of the meal, it was a local and organic menu, all of our guests enjoyed themselves, we got tons of time to talk to everyone, and it felt as intimate and elegant as we had hoped for. If you are really considering a small wedding, you should check out intimateweddings.com/blog for tons of real intimate weddings. Here are my teaser photos, too: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/our-intimate-elegant-lovely-affair-teaser-pics

Post # 16
Member
5668 posts
Bee Keeper

FI and I are planning a small wedding. It was originally only going to be 12 people, we bumped it up to 30, here in Las Vegas (we’re locals). We’re doing the ceremony at the volcano at the Mirage and then taking everyone to a restaurant afterwards for the reception.

The hardest part was family wanting to increase the guestlist. We did compromise on it (hence why we upped it to 30 people) but luckily the venue that we had already booked has a 30 person maximum. It made it easier to say no to futher guest list demands.

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