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A Vote for Intimate Weddings

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A Vote for Intimate Weddings

Okay, be honest. How many of us, when we thought about our big day–walking down the aisle– the music, the dress, the flowers… How many pictured that day involving a hundred or more spectators?

intimate destination wedding
From: http://weddingtipster.wordpress.com/tag/st-catharines/

The smallest wedding I have ever been to was about 75 people. Small weddings are just not common among people I know. You either have a wedding in a church followed by a reception at a hall or community center with all the bells and whistles, or… you elope quietly. And I do not know anyone who has eloped quietly.

Of course, I knew about other types of weddings, the type that you see featured often here on B$B. But at first, they didn’t seem like real weddings to me. Not because I had a problem with a more casual, laid-back, or less traditional celebration, (though some family members certainly did!) but because, among people I knew it just wasn’t done that way. The biggest deviance from tradition was whether or not to include a flower girl and ring bearer in the ceremony! But soon I wised up to the ways that having an intimate wedding would be great– both in terms of logistics as well as the where the wedding budget was concerned.

Choosing to Plan an Intimate Wedding

Fast forward to real-life adulthood. I ended up meeting and falling for someone not from my hometown (gasp!) I had my own life, and had developed into a person who loves her friends and family, but really is only close with a few select people. That person I fell for is an introvert, and to be honest, I am, too! When it came time to start planning this wedding, I thought back on all the weddings I attended with second and third cousins tallying up to hundreds of people. I heard about brides who didn’t even know who actually made it to the wedding, couples who didn’t have time to eat at their receptions, and receiving lines that took hours to get through.

That’s when I finally snapped to my senses. No, thanks– this “traditional” wedding was not me, not him, not us. Even though the wedding day is just one day, I didn’t want it to fly by in a blur. I wanted to be able to enjoy it, and actually enjoy my time with our most important people, and of course, my groom. I wanted to actually remember the details of this one day that took so long to plan. I wanted to talk to people who came and remember as many moments as possible.

So, we decided to plan an intimate wedding.

Planning an intimate wedding

For us, the easiest way to accomplish a wedding with fewer guests was to have a destination wedding. We didn’t have to make decisions as to who to invite or not to invite. We invited all the expected folks in our immediate and extended families, but ultimately the choice was up to them. If they were able to come, they could! If not, they didn’t have to, and we didn’t have to feel bad about leaving them out.

Unfortunately, we knew that by having a destination wedding, key people would not be able to attend which saddened us greatly. But no matter what, you can’t please everyone. Someone is always going to be left unhappy and this was the best way we found to avoid hurt feelings while staying true to what we actually wanted.

My dream wedding is small– no more than 25 guests was the goal. Well, including us, our videographer and photographer, and guests we will have 16 people. My dream wedding has changed completely as I changed and grew throughout my life. Because at the end of the day, I hadn’t really been dreaming about how many friends-of-friends and long-lost third cousins twice removed saw me walk down the aisle. That little girl with a doily on her head pretending to be a bride dreamt about the man that would be waiting at the end of that aisle and how much we’d love each other. That part is coming true no matter what the wedding day looks like!

A Case for Intimate Weddings

So, here are my top five reasons to have an intimate wedding, in no particular order:

1. Intimate Weddings are Less Stressful

Having a smaller wedding means you will be more relaxed on your big day. It will still be special, but you won’t feel like you have to “perform” for anyone. You’ll feel less rushed, and likely more comfortable with a small group there.

2. More Quality Time with Your Loved Ones

Having an intimate wedding means you will get to spend significant time with everyone coming who is dear to you, including your new spouse! You will get to dance like a fool with your siblings and chat for hours with your besties if you so choose. And you will get to spend a lot of time enjoying the day with your new spouse, instead of rushing off to make sure you greet everyone.

3. Smaller Guest Counts Can Yield Big Savings

Having a smaller wedding will likely save you thousands of dollars! Having a small wedding can be WAY cheaper than a big wedding if you’re considering cost-per-guest pricing. You can choose different venues if you like, have fewer members of your wedding party (ie: less money on gifts), smaller budgets for food and drinks, and so on.

4. More Freedom in Your Budget for Splurges

Hosting a wedding with a smaller guest count will give you more freedom in your budget. You won’t be spending thousands on feeding and entertaining hundreds of people, so if you want to give them special gifts or enhancements to your celebration, you can! This is especially great for destination weddings as your guests are likely travelling a long way to celebrate with you. You could give them large bags full of goodies because there are only a few of them. You could spend more on your dream photographer or add a videographer because you don’t need to worry about feeding an entire side of an extended family you met once when you were three, but dare not offend by not inviting. Smaller weddings mean you can treat the guests who do attend to a nicer experience and make them feel treasured for being part of your special day.

5. More Bandwidth for Personalizations and DIYs

With a smaller guest list, you can DIY to your heart’s content! No matter the size of your wedding, you can obviously do some DIY. But do you really want to personalize almost every detail for 200+ people? That’s a large time commitment. You might not be able to DIY all the details you’d like to for that many people, at least, not without causing yourself serious stress in the process.

intimate destination wedding
Now much more my kind of style! Source

So there you have it – the top reasons to have a small, intimate wedding. To be fair, we plan to have an at-home reception party after we return from our destination wedding. We will be having a small group for supper, then opening it up to a larger group for drinks and dancing and celebration! But we still insisted on that small family group for supper first, and for all the reasons I listed above.

What is your dream wedding size? Would you consider planning an intimate wedding?


is a teacher living in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. She got married in 2013 - read her wedding planning posts here.