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Destination Weddings

Okay, be honest: how many of us, when we thought about that 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

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 weddings… but they did not seem like real weddings. They did not seem like something I would do. Not because I had a problem with it (though certain family members certainly did!), but because, among people I knew, it just was not done that way. The biggest deviance from tradition was whether or not to have a flower girl and ring bearer.

Then this crazy thing happened. Okay, a lot of crazy things. I ended up meeting and falling for someone not from my hometown (gasp!). I ended up having my own life and developing as a person who loves her friends and family, but really is close with only a few people. I ended up falling for an introvert (hey, I am one too). And I remembered weddings of second and third cousins with hundreds of people. And I heard about brides who did not even know who did and did not make it to the wedding, couples who did not get to eat, and receiving lines that took hours to go through.

No thank you. That was not me, not him, not us. One day though this is, I did not want it to fly by in a blur. I wanted to be able to enjoy it, and enjoy time with a few people, and most, 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 knew we would have an intimate wedding.

Now, for us the easiest way to accomplish that was a destination wedding. We did not make the decisions as to who to invite or not to invite; if they want (and are able) to come, they come! Now, unfortunately, we did know that by having a destination wedding key people would not be able to attend, and that saddened us greatly. But no matter what, someone is going to be left unhappy in a wedding, and we are trying to ease hurt feelings as much as possible.

Now, my dream wedding is small. No more than 25 was my goal, and hopefully around 20. Well, including us and our videographer and photographer (not sure if I should count them, since they are going to be around the whole day… but I digress) we will have 16.  My dream wedding has changed completely, as I changed, because at the end of the day, even that little five-year-old girl with a doily on her head pretending to be a bride, thought more about the man that would be waiting at the end of the aisle, and what he would be like, than how many friends-of-friends and long-lost third cousins twice removed saw her walk towards him.

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

1. I will be more relaxed on my big day. It will still be special, but I will not feel like I have to “perform” or anything like that. I will feel less rushed, and more comfortable with a small group there.

2. I will get to spend significant time with everyone coming who is dear to me… including my (then!) husband. I will get to dance like a fool with my sister and chat for hours with my brothers if I so choose. And I will get to spend a lot of time enjoying the day with Brandon, instead of rushing off to make sure I greet everyone.

3. I save thousands of dollars! Having a small wedding is WAY cheaper than a big wedding. You can choose different venues if you like, have fewer members of your wedding party (re: less money on gifts), smaller budgets for food and drinks, and so on. We are having a small destination wedding – and it still costs less than the average wedding around here.

4. I have more freedom with my budget. I am not required to spend thousands on feeding and entertaining hundreds of people, so if I want to give them expensive gifts (they are travelling a long way for us, after all!), I can. If I want to go (albeit perhaps slightly) overboard on message-in-a-bottle invitations, plus send out save-the-dates and pre-travel information packets and print off passport welcome books… Well, I can do all that, because I am only doing it for a few people. I can give them large bags full of goodies, because there are only a few of them. I can spend more on photography and videography because I do not need to worry about feeding an entire side of an extended family I meant once when I was three, but dare not offend by not inviting.

5. I can DIY to my heart’s content! No matter the size of my wedding, I would do some DIY. But personalize almost every aspect for 200 people? No way. I would not be able to DIY all those details I am loving for everyone – seashell place-cards, stationary, tote bags, etc… for that many people. At least, not without causing myself serious stress.

intimate destination wedding
Now much more my kind of style! From:

So there you have it – my reasons to have a small, intimate wedding. Now, to be fair I am having an at-home reception party after our return, where we are having a small group for supper, then opening it up to a larger group for drinks and dancing celebration. But I still insisted on that small family group for supper – and for all the reasons I listed above.

What is your dream wedding size?

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About Krysta

Krysta is a 28-year-old teacher living in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. When she is not planning or marking essays and poetry, she loves reading, watching tv and movies, crafting, hanging out with her pets, and of course, her fiancé. She is planning a destination wedding for July 18, 2013 in the beautiful Dominican Republic.

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  • HeatherG

    We invited 120 and 75 showed up. It was the perfect size because I was able to visit and have actual meaningful conversations with every guest.

  • Charmaine// All in a Soiree

    I have yet to get married but I completely agree with the information in this post for when I do. For some people having a big wedding with countless amount of individuals is everything they hoped for but for me it’s unrealistic for my budget and I would want to invite really close friends and family. Great post!

  • Denise

    We had a smaller wedding with ~70 guests, with 12 of them being children. There is absolutely NOTHING I would change about the number of guests who ended up coming.

    Not only did my Favorite Gentleman & I have the luxury of being able to talk to all our guests, everyone who attended was telling me how much fun they had due to the smaller size! No one had to spend extra time waiting in line for food, and no one felt like they were at an impersonal event.

    All those things you mentioned were great, but another one is that the smaller a wedding, the LESS folks who were not invited will feel slighted since it’s clear that you’re NOT inviting everyone and their brother.

  • Kelsey Scarbrough

    Krysta, I completely agree! I was originally planning a 250 guest count, but now I am down to 75-85. I couldn’t be more relieved or any happier! So glad I made the decision to have an intimate wedding. It will be so worth it in the end.

  • Amy Swift


  • Jenn

    I could not agree more! I wrote a similar post about how our small and intimate wedding was not only how we were keeping the cost of the event down but was going to make the day mean that much more.

    No unfamiliar faces.

    And, believe it or not, there are immediate family members who we did not invite. 75 was our max. And we stuck to it. It includes our DJ and his wife who are friends, my hairdresser who is a good friend and our immediate family, bridal party and then, a few friends (my fiance is one of 7 children … hard to keep it any smaller than what it is considering he has 17 nieces and nephews!).

  • lealorali

    I had 116 and I have to say, it was a good amount. Maybe 20 less for the reasons you mentioned above…

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