Post # 1
HELP! Can’t decide…small intimate immediate family only (~15 people)—OR the usual (~80-100) ?
I can envision both, and like the idea of each, and for different reasons. One of my main concerns with even considering the immediate family wedding is, what exactly do you do after the ceremony? It seems like it would be very anti-climactic to just have a family dinner with those few people, and/or dancing for that matter. I can’t imagine a way to make it "feel" like a day that IS actually different from any other. I am tortured by this decision, and it is holding up the process.
Has anyone else had one of these VERY small weddings? What is your story? THANKS!
Post # 3
Hey starbells, I had the same dilemma at the beginning of my engagement. We ended up opting for the larger wedding with 80-90 guests, but the decision was made because of who was paying and how much was contributed. It was strictly a money decision. If we’d been paying ourselves, it would have been a no-brainer for us to go super small and have immediate family and best friends only.
What we would have done afterwards for the reception: Rent out an entire small restaurant or a private room at a larger restaurant, get a catered meal, have the cake, do the speeches, do a first dance, have a slideshow. And then change out of wedding attire, and go out for an after-party dancing with our closest friends (maybe 7 or 8 people?) later but let the parents go home – that way we would still get the party. Then the new hubby and I would have enjoyed a very fancy wedding night hotel room, and brunch the next morning.
Or, just do the ceremony and go celebrate with your hubby afterwards, and throw a big reception party when you return from your honeymoon. Either would work well.
Post # 4
Our wedding involved 95 people, but i went to my cousin’s wedding last weekend and there were 25 people (including the bride and groom). They rented out a room (that included a bar) at their favorite restaurant and still did the cake/first dance/toasts. 25 people was enough to include about 4 friends for each of them, though (plus a couple of spouses) and the last hour or so all of the friends were dancing together. for me, i wanted all of my family (since both DH and I are close to our extended families) and closest friends there. however, my bf wanted only the immediate family and 2 or 3 friends each and no dancing at all, mostly because they didn’t feel comfortable exchanging vows in front of anyone (literally) and just wanted to celebrate with their very nearest and dearest.
what i loved most about our 95 people is that every person there was so incredibly happy for us and supported us. there was so much joy and and love and music and celebration that was amplified by having more than a handful of people– it’s the ‘mob mentality’ and that kind of energy carries everyone along with it. which is not to say that a small celebration would not have that kind of joy and love, but i think more people can amplify the feeling.
mostly, though, i think you just have to decide if you will regret not having people that you love and have a history with but are not as close to because of distance/new job, etc. to share in your wedding day. you can always celebrate with them later, but it is a nice way to bring people together.
Post # 5
I have been looking for posts on this topic. I really want a small (family only) wedding for myself and we are still in such early planning stages that it could go either way. In my case, even if 50 people is "small", it is double what the other option would be – 20-25.
I think, though, that getting all the family together for a joyous occasion is enough of a special day for me, but I can see your concern if you typically see all your family at once.
I’m sure by this point your day is planned, if not already taken place, but I would say it’s more important to consider what you’d be missing, if anything, if you go the smaller route. To me, the choice seems clear that I would be not quite myself to include so many people rather than limiting my day to keep it small or simple.
Post # 6
I would love to share how we dealt with this at our wedding. His family is tiny (11), my family is huge (>100). I couldn’t get married and not invite my family (it would be scandalous!) but we wanted an intimate affair. So our solution was to split the ceremony and reception into 2 days.
We got married in a tiny room in a museum with only our immediate family (20 people) on Friday night. Our officiant went all the way up until "I now pronounce you husband and wife"- she saved that for the next day at the reception. So after the ceremony, we all visited for awhile, then went to a great restaurant where we had a mini-reception. After the dinner, the parents went home and the rest of us young people went to a bar where all of our friends were invited to celebrate with us. This was our "pre-reception".
The next day, we headed to teh reception site (a farm) where ALL of our friends and relatives were invited. We had a "grand entrance" with the "wedding party", then the officiant welcomed our guests and filled them in on the ceremony of the night before. She repeated a key poem and our vows for our guests, then she pronounced us husband and wife! Then on with the fabulous reception.
I HIGHLY recommend splitting the wedding into 2 days. We were able to fully absorb the gravity of the ceremony over the course of the evening and overnight together, before hitting the whirlwind of the reception. Planning and preparation (especially day of) was much simpler because we weren’t rushed. Photos had time without making guests wait or happening before the ceremony. Guests didn’t have to sit through a ceremony when they were just there to party:), we were able to have a private ceremony without alienating close friends and family. The ceremony site was cheaper (friday night). And it lasted 2 days!
Post # 7
My best friend had a small wedding (16 guests) and besides my own wedding it was the best wedding I have ever attended.
After the lovely ceremony, there were pictures, and then a reception in the private dining room at an amazing restaurant in Chicago (TRU). The private room had a separate sound system so they were able to play their song selections. First we had champagne and hors d’oeuvres, then came the toasts, and then we all sat down for dinner. It was a 7 course dinner with wine pairings (one of the best meals ever!)…and the head server would announce each course and describe the wine…we were really spoiled by all the good food and wine! Dinner took a long time and because we were in the private dining room we all exchanged stories and laughed the whole night. Afterwards they did their cake cutting and there were more pictures. The next day they had a brunch for all of their coworkers and friends.
I would have had a small wedding, but I have a huge family.