How to Plan for a Small Wedding

It can be a real challenge to plan a successful small wedding. With creative thinking and good planning, even a small wedding can be turned into the highlight of the social calendar.

How should we define a small wedding? Usually the size of wedding relates to the number of wedding guests. There’s no universal agreement of how many people constitute a small number of guests. Some would clearly consider anything less than a couple of hundred small, others think less than a round hundred makes for a small wedding. Of course most of us would agree that a truly small wedding is when you choose to simply ask family and very close friends.

Whatever cut off you choose, a small wedding should be an intimate wedding, so here are some tips:

The Place

Where is best to celebrate a small wedding? More often than not weddings take place in a synagogue, a church or similar place of religious worship. Later the wedding party might go to a reception in a banqueting hall. There are plenty of other options however. In fact, for a genuinely small wedding you might find any of the above settings overpoweringly grand. Your guests might rattle around and look lost. Some reception venues will only take booking for upwards of 120 people in any case so you might not be able to use such places even if you wanted to. This isn’t a problem however – it’s an opportunity!

Small weddings fit beautifully in gardens or restaurants, can be charming in historic inns, historic homes or in a nice bed and breakfasts. Wedding chapels and meditation chapels are often fitting locations for a small wedding. You can also be quite innovative using a museum or a boat or trains. Small, unusual places may not go out of their way to publicize themselves as wedding locations, so do some background work. What’s the harm in asking? Given how many locations may hold a small wedding, why not search out one that reflects who you are as a couple?

What Kind of Ceremony?

It’s easier to make a break from tradition with a small wedding. Throw some ideas about and see what you come up with… here are some ideas to kick off with:

  1. Instead of the formality of the wedding march, why not have a some drinks and snacks. Make a toast to signal the beginning and everyone can go to their seats.
  2. Give members of the family an aisle seat and have them hold a flower. As the bride makes her way to the alter each flower goes to make up the bouquet. What a lovely metaphor for the way a family makes the wedding.
  3. The wedding can feel special, and the guest close to the bridal couple, if everyone stands during the proceedings.
  4. Have readings given by the family.
  5. You could ask some of the guests to say something about the bride and groom. A precious memory or a funny tale to keep things nice and light.
  6. Give some space to an old (or new) tradition in your family that perhaps doesn’t always get included in family weddings. It’s a way adding and extra dimension of history to the service.
  7. Give all the guests a little booklet about the wedding that you have prepared yourself. Include in it an explication of what the wedding signifies for you and include nice, personal messages to the guests.
  8. Be you own usher – After the ceremony take the ushers job so you can speak to everyone and give them your thanks in person.
  9. Leave an entire page of the guest book for each guest – with a small wedding you don’t need to worry about running out of space in the book!