(Closed) Those of you who had or are going to have a small ceremony/reception

posted 8 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 32
3315 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

We had only a dozen guests at the ceremony and luncheon following it, and 60 people at the at-home reception three days later.

What was your reasoning?

As a same-sex couple, the only state in which we could get married at the time we got engaged was Massachusetts.  We figured we’d have a small ceremony there, and then a bigger reception back home.

Do you regret it at all?

Not at all!  We got to spend real time with the people closest to us, instead of just saying a few words each before having to move on to the next person.  We rented a big house where we and all our guests could stay the night before the wedding and the wedding night, so we got to hang out with our guests for two days.

What did you tell friends/family members who weren’t invited?

We said we didn’t want to drag them 8 hours away for a midweek wedding, and would be sure to include them in the party back home.

How many people were in your wedding party?

Two, a maid of honor and a dude of honor.

What kind of food was served?

One of the advantages of having a really small wedding was that we could afford to serve really good food without breaking the bank.  People had a choice of lobster, salmon, filet mignon, or crab cakes for the entree.  We also served clam chowder, a caesar salad, rice pilaf, seasonal vegetables, and triple chocolate layer cake.

Was there dancing?

Not at the luncheon following the ceremony.  (We did have dancing at the at-home reception.)  But people had so much fun catching up with each other that we pretty much had to shovel them out the door when our time was up.

Post # 33
3139 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

 We had approximately 60-70 guests including all day vendors / performers and had planned our wedding to be 50-60 guests. Ceremony and reception were held at the same venue a heritage house with beautiful outdoor gardens 

What was your reasoning? we wanted a smaller more intimate wedding as we paid for it ourselves and were on a tight budget. Only wanted to spend $ 5000 for everything. We don’t know that many people and my wife’s family is in England. 

Do you regret it at all? Wouldn’t have it any other way !!! No regrets 

Was there dancing? Yes and no 🙂 we had First Nations performers and a round-dance as well  as our special ones father / daughter, mom /son , first dance. However our guests choose not to dance in the grass while the iPod played music for the reception. We were glad we didn’t hire a dj for that in the end 

How many people were in your wedding party? Bride, groomette, Maid/Matron of Honor, best man (dad), son, 2 nephews ring bearers , flower girl,  3 friends who stood up with us. And two other honour attendants 

What kind of food was served? Breakfast buffet bacon, homemade sausages, buttermilk biscuits, rosemary and cheese scones, fruit and veggie platters w dips, red velvet pancakes, baked French toast, yogurt parfaits, hash browns, steak sandwiches. Candy buffet and cupcakes. Apple and cranberry juice , sparkling and bottled water, coffe tea, pop. 

What did you tell friends/family members who weren’t invited? Only two people approached me after and mentioned they were disappointed they weren’t invited. one couple lives in Minnesota so I assumed it was way too far. And the other is a friend that I haven’t seen since my wife n I started dating 2 years before wedding. So I said we were on a budget and only invited people who were present in our lives that we had seen within the year. I didn’t realize either wanted to attend. Also mentioned that if we had to move indoors if it rained the venue only held 60

Post # 34
132 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Our original plan was to invite about 80 people (65/70 plus children). That’s because that’s the list of people who are important to us. It didn’t include aunts/uncles/cousins except for a couple who we are close to.

The new plan is to only have the church service and cake, no reception (OH is unwell). I expect we’ll invite the same people, but anyone can turn up because it’s an open church. Not sure how to calculate how much cake we’ll need! He’s still having a best man but I’m not sure that I’m going to bother with bridesmaids. New motto: keep it simple!

Post # 35
2 posts
  • Wedding: April 2013

We’re inviting 21, our originial long list was somewhere near 170.

What was your reasoning?

We went small because we have an under $8k budget in NYC and hosting everyone well was more important than having people we don’t really have relationships with there. I have a large family, my fiance’s parents have a large social circle, plus we were both in fraternity/sorority in college and have a huge number of friends. However out of all those people we only see or speak to a handful on a regular basis. Our cutoff was we need to talk to you monthly, so it’s going to be our parents plus our closest friends. 

Do you regret it at all?

 No, we weren’t willing to spend more on a wedding and weren’t willing to compromise the quality of the event. We didn’t want to move it out of the city since that meant more people needed to travel and our respective hometowns were just as expensive. 

What did you tell friends/family members who weren’t invited? 

We are keeping it small to save money. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, even from my fiance’s parents’ social circle where 300 person 6 figure country club events were the norm.  

How many people were in your wedding party?

2 bridesmaids, 1 groomsmen – would have had equal sides but our friend is officiating

What kind of food was served?

We’re having it in an Italian restaurant:

Duo of salads, duo of pasta, choice of entree from chicken, veal, filet mignon, 3 seafood dishes, and a vegetarian, choice of 5 different desserts, open bar 

Was there dancing?

We’ll probably bar hop afterward so maybe but we don’t really dance so I won’t miss it. 


We won’t have centerpieces or favors and skipped all the one use items like toasting flutes and we aren’t ordering a separate wedding cake. 

Post # 36
1447 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

We’re having a small wedding of 50-75 guests.  We don’t have large social circles and we want to spend our wedding actually socializing with the few people we truly care about.

I don’t think we’ll regret it at all; I think it’s going to be an awesome fun party!  We found a perfectly-sized venue for us that is exactly what we wanted (I would have still preferred a garden wedding, but having a wedding in a chapel is important to him and the one we found has a rose garden on the grounds so I think it’s a fair compromise).

If people ask I’m just going to say we wanted a small wedding.

We’ll have three attendants each (two girls and one guy from “my” side, two guys and one girl from “his” side).

I’m not sure what food will be served (catering is one of my FI’s tasks to figure out) but I’m certain the food will be good!

We’ll definitely have dancing.

Post # 37
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

We are planning on having only 15-20 guests at our wedding. It will be a beach wedding and instead of having a traditional reception, we plan on reserving a restuarant (or just a big room if they have one) and having our cake and ‘reception’ there, then afterwards, just staying at the beach for our honeymoon 🙂


What was your reasoning?we want a small more intimate wedding with only the people that are closest to us… and with less people, we can afford to put more into our cake or the invitations, or even our honeymoon.

Do you regret it at all? i dont think we will… if we wouldve gotten married a few yrs ago, i wouldve had a huge wedding with tons of guests and decor and i think it wouldve been more for everyone else to ohh and ahh over and not to mention the credit card debt we wouldve incurred! (90% of the wedding we will be paying for) 

Was there dancing? no, were not the dancing type and oddly most of my family could care less about that too lol

How many people were in your wedding party? Just me and my husband to be… no bridesmaids and groomsmans (yay for not having to deal with all that on top of everything else)

 What kind of food was served? whatever restuarant we decide on (havent gotten that far).. but i would prefer something that has all diff types of food, like chinese, mexican etc…a buffet sounds cheap, but i would rather let my guests eat whatever they want than to just have two meat choices and sides etc

What did you tell friends/family members who weren’t invited? well, we dont want kids in our wedding and since ALL my friends have at least one child, all under the age of 3, i didnt want to have to deal with all that, so just by telling them that, i think they’ll understand…. the rest is distant family or friends that probaly wouldnt have invited us to theirs anyway lol… i only want the people closest to us so a small beach wedding is perfect!!!

Post # 38
3038 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We’ll invite around 50 guests, but expect ~35. So it’s a smallish wedding.

What was your reasoning? We didn’t want a wedding where we didn’t know people, and we wanted time with the people we really care about. 

What did you tell friends/family members who weren’t invited? Well, it’s sort of a semi Destination Wedding as we’re getting married in Sweden where my parents live. So all our acquaintances understand why they are not invited.

How many people were in your wedding party? Two bridesmaids and one best man + a flower girl

What kind of food was served? North American snacks during the cocktail hour. For dinner, a starter (open faced sandwiches with reindeer), main course (arctic char) and dessert (traditional Swedish chocolate cake) + wedding cake.

Was there dancing? Not sure about this yet. I love dancing, but Fiance is not so much into it + we’re not sure where this would happen at the venue.

Post # 39
2375 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

64 people total, ourselves included. 

What was your reasoning? For the small wedding in general, it’s because we just wanted our closest friends and family there.  Neither of us want to be put on display.  And we’d both rather spend the money on an amazing small wedding than a mediocre large wedding where we’d have to step down significantly on quality.

Do you regret it at all? Hasn’t happened yet, but I didn’t have any doubts to begin with and I still don’t.

What did you tell friends/family members who weren’t invited? “We’re having a very small wedding, and as much as we would have loved to, we weren’t able to invite everyone.”

How many people were in your wedding party? 4 on each side. 

What kind of food was served? Still in the tastings process, so no specific dishes are confirmed yet, but it will be dinner, formal and plated.  Side note, the smaller guest list means we have money in the budget for extra servers – no one will be stuck with cold food!

Was there dancing? There will be a DJ and a dance floor. 

Post # 40
6112 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@pokie45:  The real weddings at IntimateWeddings.com is all about weddings with 75 people or less.  They ask the couples these same questions too.

Post # 41
275 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

We’ll have about 30 – 43 guests depending

What was your reasoning? honestly I had my heart set on eloping and then a party when we got home.   When the elopement moved home it started to make sense to combine.  I didn’t want the fuss though, and even a 30-43 ppl wedding is a lot of an undertaking as far as I’m concerned.

What did you tell friends/family members who weren’t invited? “We’re having a very small wedding, and as much as we would have loved to, we weren’t able to invite everyone.”

How many people were in your wedding party? MOH and Bridesmaid or Best Man only

What kind of food was served?  We’re going to have an afternoon tea.  tea sandwhiches, small bite trays, scones, petit fours, cupcakes and signature teas.

Was there dancing? No – as desired by us.

Post # 42
199 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Guests will likely consist of a few people from his side of the family, my dad and grandma if they are able to make it, my mom if her schedule allows it, and our infant son.

What was your reasoning?

Hadn’t really planned on it at first. However, last year, when it turned out that I was pregnant, we ended up waiting for the baby’s birth before getting married for insurance reasons. For reasons I’d rather not go into here, we can’t really wait past March to get legally married. However 1) Time constraints would make it next to impossible to get everything all ready between now and March and 2) Neither my sister nor my stepdad will be able to make it. My sister has a baby due that month, and my stepdad has to work on the day that was set. My mom can’t promise that she can come as she may be out of town helping my sister. My dad might not for medical reasons. Don’t know about extended family though.

With that being said, I think we’re going to have a big family gathering in the summer when more people are able to come.

 Do you regret it at all?

Mostly, I regret the wedding coming at a time that isn’t all that convenient for everyone, but changing the date is kind of out of the question right now again for reasons I don’t want to go into here.

 What did you tell friends/family members who weren’t invited?

Haven’t said anything yet.

How many people were in your wedding party?

1 gm (FI’s brother likely) and I may or may not have a bm

 What kind of food was served?

We’ll likely go to lunch somewhere afterwards. As for the family get together in a few months, I’m not sure yet.

 Was there dancing?


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