We started with this idea, but then it evolved slightly. We’re having about 16 guests consisting of immediate family, and our wedding party will be comprised of his sister and mine.
Originally we were going to do a courthouse wedding and then a private supper, but then we found a really gorgeous old yoga/meditation/art studio downtown that we rented really cheap so we’re paying the courthouse officiant to come marry us there. We also were originally looking at doing our supper at a restaurant, but then realized that we could rent out a small, independent art gallery downtown for a reasonable fee and hire a caterer. Especially because the owner is allowing us to handle our own alcohol, even with an awesome caterer we’re pulling this off for much less money than we’d be able to in a restaurant. This way we have ultimate menu freedom and it’s really going to feel like an event and not just like we’re going out to eat on a Friday night. (this was an issue for us because unfortunately we eat out all the time so that in itself wasn’t really going to be special)
As I said we’ll have a really small wedding party but will still have someone there to stand for us, and I will be getting a “real” wedding dress, maybe not a ballgown, butsomething simple. We’ll have our guests seated as well, since we’re going to do readings and a touches to make it last longer than 5 minutes.
So, you have options! You said you were in the planning stages so I feel like it wouldn’t hurt to figure out exactly what you want. I was satisfied with the courthouse/restaurant route and it would still be great, but I was very pleased to find out what kinds of venues you can get into on the cheap with such a small group! Definately one of the huge perks of an intimate wedding.
Also we are hiring a pro photographer and she’s working it out with us so we can be charged by the hour and not have to do a big package with prints and all the built in extras- we can simply decide how much time we want and go from there to cover family portraits, ceremony shots, and some candids of us. Paying only for what we want is nice- you can definately find great photogs that will do this for the opportunity at an out of the ordinary wedding event for their portfolio.
Also with our small group we were able to lay plans to host a brunch the next morning in the private upstairs room of a coffee shop where we can do all our own catering to save $$. This might not be a big deal for other people, but all of our guests aside from my sister will have traveled 3 hours and gotten hotel rooms for this.
I love that with so few people the diy projects are so much less intimidating (not 200 of something to make) and I can really add all the extra little touches that I couldn’t if I was trying to do 150 people on the same budget.
(Also since we have a photog for family portraits before the ceremony and the yoga studio doubles as an art gallery we’re serving champagne for our guests so they can sip and wander around to check out the art while pictures are being taken until the ceremony)
Best of luck in your planning!