Post # 1
My fiance and I have been engaged for over a year and are planning on getting married May 9, 2020. We have been going back and forth about what kind of wedding and reception. We were going to have a small wedding for 45 guests and decided the people we had on the guest list aren’t really big parts of our lives. We live about an hour from friends and family and, with the exception of my parents and siblings, we rarely see them. My fiance’s father passed away two years ago and his grandmother three years ago. He doesn’t speak to his mother or sister or paternal grandmother because they’re crazy. His paternal aunt is the only relative he sees on the rare occassion and she’s not exactly a peach. Long story short, he doesn’t feel he has family he cares to invite nor friends really besides two guys he grew up with so it wouldn’t be a fun celebration for him because the people he loved the most wouldn’t be there. So we decided we would have a very small wedding of only 12-15 people. We want to have the ceremony on the same beach we met but now I don’t know if I want any kind of reception. I’ve read about people taking their guests to lunch or dinner or having a BBQ after the ceremony but that’s not what I imagined for myself so I don’t want that. It almost makes me sad to think that I’m settling for less than what I wanted and I’m at the point where I just don’t want to do anything anymore. I don’t feel like putting together a reception for 12 people I feel it’s not worth the money for catering or decorations or the hassle of planning. Has anyone been in this position before? Did you have a small reception? What alternatives do you recommend?
Post # 2
- Wedding: October 2019 - -
So sorry you feel this way right now, Bee! I totally get that situation, having a very small and not the most civil family myself – my side of my wedding is a very small percentage with my fiance’s side being the bulk of our guests. At the end of the day though, don’t worry about the number of people – quality over quantity! You will always feel better sharing the day with those who you know truly love you, and keep the drama and awkwardness out of it!
What about planning a trip with that group? Could be a destination nearby that is driveable, or hop on a plane if you can? Then you could plan a couple of fun memorable events like a vineyard or brewery tour, take a cool class of some kind, go to the beach, horseback riding, etc., and of course bring the photographer! You could even coordinate it with your honeymoon, for example have people gather in a location, then you and him can go away from there? It doesn’t necessarily have to be right after the ceremony either which can give you flexibility. I have friends who got married in January and are having their reception in November later this year. Use the small group size to your advantage to get creative and just focus on having a great time and making great memories!
Best wishes Bee!!!
Post # 3
We are having a small wedding with 18 guests, and I can’t imagine not having something after the ceremony, though we aren’t having a traditional “reception”. We are paying for food and drinks after the ceremony, and then we paid for an AirBnB for anyone who wants to stay with us for a laidback afterparty. This just seemed much more “us” than a traditional reception with dancing.
I think some sort of reception (be it just a meal afterwords or more) is a thank you to your family and friends for being part of your wedding day. If you don’t want to have any sort of reception it may be easiest to just elope, and then you wouldn’t have to worry about a reception at all.
Maybe you are just upset your idea of the perfect wedding day isn’t what your real day will look like? I was upset when I first started planning because I really didn’t want a traditional wedding and just wanted to elope, but a wedding with our immedaiate family was very important to my fiance. Through the planning and making our upcoming wedding about us as a couple I got over those feelings and I’m now looking forward to our day!
Post # 4
I’m very sorry that the original plan did not work out.
I’m having a very small ceremony too. 15 guests in total. I found a restaurant in my area which has different rooms for small parties and family dinners. They were able to reserve their prettiest room for our dinner. We are doing a pre-fixed menu, so it feels like a real reception. The person in charge of the reservation is setting a small table for the cake and a single table for us and all the guests.
As far as decorations, I only ordered a flower centerpiece for the dinner table, and it was not expensive. For the planning, it was not much of it. I called my side of the family, he called his. For the ceremony, we were having it on a park, with the officiant, his parents, and my mother. But decided it was easier to do the first look photoshoot in the park, read our vows there to make it very intimate: just us and the photographer. Then have the official ceremony at the courthouse with my mother and his parents.
I’m very happy with our desicions as it was absolutely no hassle involved. The wedding is happening in two weeks and I can’t wait!
Post # 5
With an intimate group of that size, you could easily do a more interactive style reception at a local restaurant, brewery or winery; for example, a Chef’s Table dinner at an upscale restaurant, if there’s one in your town that offers such an experience, or a private wine tasting dinner at a winery. You could also take your group for a dinner cruise. Check the local tour boat operators to see what’s available. If you choose a dining experience, it will speak for itself and won’t need a lot of decor or fuss, but will still be memorable and special, and a fitting way to celebrate your wedding.
If you post what city youre in, you might get some suggestions.
Post # 6
What do you mean by settling for less than what you wanted? What is it you would want if his family situation were different
Do you have a lot of people you want to invite? Remember “sides” don’t have to be equal because ideally everyone is there for both of you not for a side.
Personally I would much prefer to plan for 15 than for 150. You can have a reception but it has to be different than the typical wedding reception
Post # 7
I agree with the other Bees, there are some very pretty ideas and options for a samll group. And I was also wondering, if you wouldn’t want to invite more people from your side?
I can understand your frustration, but of course it is worth the hassle even for a small group. Try to focus on what really matters that day. And less guests mean you can splurge a bit more on other things too 🙂 your dress for example, veil, flowers…
Post # 8
A lot of restaurants have private dining rooms that would be perfect for an intimate and elegant celebration following a beach ceremony. Some flowers and a photographer, done. It sounds wonderful.
Post # 9
Don’t know why it’d be work? Call a restaurant and book their private room. Most provide it for free or with a minimum food order. Done.
i wouldn’t do decor personally unless my bouquet counted and I wanted a bouquet.
Post # 10
- Wedding: June 2019 - City, State
I do not think you have to necessarily put together a reception.
1. 12-15 people it sounds like you can reserve a private party room at a restaurant for a nice dinner after!
2. Some people will even book a nice Airbnb and host a little dinner party there (it could be party trays you order from somewhere)
3. It can be totally informal and just a potluck or bbq in a backyard
Good luck. Congrats.
Post # 11
- Wedding: November 2020 - North Carolina
I would love to plan for only 15 people! There’s so much more you can do because you won’t be paying for dozens of meals or a large venue. My wedding will be smaller than most. Less than 70 people for sure. My side of the family is small but my fiance’s side is bigger. We’re reserving the front rows for immediate family but everyone else will be seated in the order they arrive so that the sides will be more even in photos. Maybe you can invite more people on your side of the family and do it that way if you were only worrying about the sides being even. If not, there are usually tons of amazing restaurants near beaches that can host a small reception. Most will have private rooms that you can decorate beforehand. You have so many possibilites with all the money youd be saving.