Post # 1
We are planning on getting married October 5th. It will be a small and intimate wedding and reception, without a lot of fanfare. We are both divorced and had the typical white dress/tux large wedding the first time around and don’t want that again. Financially we are on our own (my mom paid for part of mine and his Father-In-Law paid for his) so we’re doing it as cost effective as possible while still managing to have a good time.
Logistically I don’t know where to start. We’ve researched venues but because of the size it would be better to rent a private room in a restaurant. Then there is food, invitations (learning here than email invites are a faux pas, LOL), what we will wear, photography, etc. Sometimes eloping sounds much easier but we do want to celebrate with others somehow. The first time around I had a lot of help but my life is very different now. I’ve researched to see if there are any books or websites on planning very small weddings but I’ve come up short. Besides the topics on this site, are there other resources on planning a small wedding?
Post # 3
How small are you considering having your wedding?
If it’s really small, like 20 guests, I would definantly consider a restaraunt, or other eatery that you love
If you’re talking like 40+, I would consider looking at smaller venues, bed & breakfasts, or even town parks. Some parks offer buildings that you can rent for a small fee.
Post # 4
If you are really wanting a book or something to have for a checklist, get a wedding planning book. The details are going to be the same but smaller. Start with your venue and plan around that. If you are doing a private room at a restaurant then you don’t have to worry about catering. What about the ceremony? Are you getting married in a church? What kind of dress do you want? Short? Typical wedding dress?
Try not to stress yourself out. I would make a list of what you think you need to work on now and just start doing it. It won’t seem like so much once you have it written down.
Post # 5
@jenilynevette: We were thinking about 20 guests so the restaurant idea sounded like the best choice. A separate venue would mean ordering catering and most companies I’ve checked had a minimal that they serve/book for. That minimum is usually 50-100 guests. We’d also have to get a temporary liquor license, liability, etc. Doesn’t seem worth it for 20 or so people.
@Birdee106: A checklist sounds like a great idea. In terms of the ceremony, we haven’t a clue. We don’t belong to a church and are not religious so that’s out. I was hoping a restaurant would have a space large enough for the ceremony (no attendants, etc). I was hoping to do it all in one space.
Post # 6
@CARA1978: If you have your ceremony and reception in the same space you would probably need to have time to move some stuff around to make room for chairs/tables. We got married in a local park and it was only $45. We rented some chairs and that was that. Super easy. It was really cold but it was beautiful. Maybe you could do something like that or even, because you are doing such a small ceremony, someone’s backyard? You could decorate it super pretty and then move over to the restaurant for the reception.
Post # 7
Check out A Practical Wedding website and book.
Post # 8
Post # 9
@CARA1978: I would definately do a restaurant. They can probably either let people order off the menu and you get the final bill or work with you to offer only a limited menu. You can also get an officiant to come to the restaurant and marry you. If you want to save money on invites, you could always try Michaels or Joann’s and do your own, but there are also sites with cheap invites. If its just immediate family and close friends, you could maybe even just do word of mouth, but invites would be a nice keepsake. If your not into doing dancing and cake and all of the extra’s, you could save yourself time and money there. I would suggest trying to get a photographer for maybe one hour or asking someone in your family with a nice camera to take a lot of pictures. For your clothes, if there is a Davids bridal near you, they have many cheap, simple dresses that you could wear and have your fiance wear a dress shirt and dress pants (or rent a suit, but not really necessary). I would definatly get a planning book or a checklist and just modify it to your needs.
Post # 10
Aah yes, wouldn’t eloping just be the best?! Wedding stress is so ridiculous.
I know a couple. He had been married before and had kids. They had a tiny ceremony outside on pretty woodsey bridge with just them and their siblings and parents. The family stood, they didn’t take a lot of pictures DURING the ceremony but they took family pictures after of eachother with a nice camera. Looked perfect! I think they went out to eat after the wedding. A week or so later they had a big celebration by inviting all their friends and family to drop in at a nicer bar (I think where they had met) so they didn’t pay for any of it. They hung out with all their friends and had fun. I thought it was a fantastic idea. It looked classy, it didn’t look cheap. It looked like they wanted some intimate and simple and then they wanted to celebrate it without breaking bank on everyone.
Post # 11
If doing a restaurant is still too expensive I’d look in to a winery if you have one around your area. Usually they can do an hors d’oeuvres only reception if they have a private space and you can have the ceremony right there…and of course the wine!
Post # 12
@Birdee106: October in Portland can mean beautiful, fall weather or pouring down rain. The only time to get married outdoors would be late July to early September. Any other time would be too risky. I actually don’t know anyone with a yard large enough or private enough for a ceremony. No one has a house/apartment large enough…
Post # 13
You can try http://www.intimateweddings.com/ it is focused on wedding under 75 people. You could consider renting a house (take a look at homeaway.com) or maybe a small inn/b&B.
Just remember the day about the two of you. Good luck!
Post # 14
@CARA1978: You could alway elope! I know you want to celebrate with family and friends, so you could elope, and then when you return home you could have a nice dinner out somewhere or have people meet at an elegant bar like @sheep: suggested.
Post # 15
My husband and I got married with about 25 people present. Our wedding was at a local botanical garden with a glass dome. I think it was about $300 plus admission for our guests for a two hour window (only downside was that it wasn’t private…the gardens were still open). We also had looked at several museums in the area as well as some indoor park shelters. We found a restaurant that does only breakfast and lunch and rents out their space for special event dinners. We had the whole restaurant to ourself and for 27 people for dinner and drinks with the gratuity I think we paid about $1500. What you’re asking is very doable. You just need to do a little more legwork than you would for a location that is used to hosting weddings every weekend. Search for alternative venues like art galleries or museums that have small rooms they can rent online or see what restaurants in your area have large private rooms that would work for both the ceremony and reception. You have to have an open mind about the potential for a space if it’s not a traditional wedding venue, but I’m sure you can find something amazing in Portland!
Post # 16
I did an intimate wedding and was at a similar loss initially. What helped me ironically was to google things like “intimate weddings in City X” and “best rooftop wedding venues in City X” and “best intimate wedding venues in City X” – I found a luxe hotel that offered intimate wedding packages in the city where my parents live and everything fell into place after that…apracticalwedding.com is another good resource and place of encouragement for less traditonal brides.
We had fewer than 20 guests – just family and it was PERFECT and stress free. The hotel had a lovely rooftop garden space for the ceremony, folks went to their bar for the mini cocktail hour and then we had the reception in their wine room. THe nice thing about a hotel is that your guests can stay there and it’s a one stop shop.
No matter what you choose to do, just stay true to yourself and your gut instincts and I’m sure it will be an amazing day. As long as you and your honey are there – the rest is really just icing on the cake 😉 Good luck!