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Pros and Cons of a Small Wedding

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Considering an intimate wedding celebration? We’re breaking down the pros and cons of having a small wedding!


One of the first things to consider when you start planning your wedding is a rough estimate of how many guests you’d like to invite. Everyone should make their choice depending on what is right for them and their families, but we’re here to put in our two cents on the Pros and Cons of a Small Wedding, ie 50 or fewer guests!

The Pros and Cons of Having a Small Wedding

PRO: Budget stretching

This seems like the obvious first and biggest reason for choosing a smaller wedding, and you’re here, so we know you’re a budget savvy bride. With a smaller guest list, you’re open to smaller and even non-traditional venues, which are sometimes cheaper. With fewer guests, your budget will stretch further for catering, dessert, alcohol, invitations, and favors. There will need to be fewer tables, so that’s fewer tablecloths, chairs, chair covers, and centerpieces.

If you only have a certain amount of money to spend, you can either have a larger guest list and feed everyone cheaper food or you can feed fewer people a nicer meal on real dishes.

PRO: A more “Relaxed” vibe

We say “relaxed” in quotes because this is the idea in theory, but it can be pretty difficult to stay totally relaxed on your wedding day, regardless of the number of guests. However, at weddings with the guest count at 100+ the couple can end up feeling frenzied, never being able to sit still and have a full conversation, a full drink, a full meal. With a small guest list, you have more time to spend with your core group of people, and the receiving line is a non-issue.

You might opt for a small wedding because you both live far from all of your families, and so the opportunities to see them are rare. The opportunity to see them all at once may have never even happened before. If you want to be able to focus your love and energy on your loved ones who truly matter the most, not obligation guests like coworkers or friends of your parents and their dates who you’re meeting for the first time.

PRO: Intimacy

Every wedding is special and ripe with emotion, regardless of how many people are there. However, weddings with a larger guest list feel more like a “wedding + event” type feel, whereas a smaller guest list makes for a more “wedding + dinner party” type feel.

If you want to feel free to cry during your ceremony, to be completely present while you say your vows, a small wedding might be for you. If you have a large guest list, your shyness could make everything feel like it was more like a performance, and less like a ceremony.


When there are fewer guests to DIY favors and invitations for, and fewer tables to decorate, you can tackle bigger projects. Or, you can be a bit more assured that you can finish those projects. 4 centerpieces? No problem! 20 centerpieces? Possibly doable, but you may lose your sanity along the way.

If you’re a crafty sort of person and it’s within your wheelhouse, have at it. If you’re excited about and want a hands-on experience with as much of your wedding as possible, more power to you. A smaller guest list will make it possible to personalize more special details like nametag holders, cloth napkins, and centerpieces, among other DIY projects.

CON: People will probably be upset

There are so many people in your life that are happy and excited about your upcoming marriage/wedding. Not being invited to share in your celebration may hurt some feelings. The planning of any wedding will involve stress, and the stress of being asked the “Why am I not invited?” question is going to be more common with a small wedding, naturally.

Hopefully, the majority of your friends and family will understand and respect your decision to have a small wedding guest list. An ideal response from them might be along the lines of “I’m sad I can’t come, but I understand your choice. Just send me photos!”

CON: Convincing your financiers

If your parents are paying for your wedding, it will take a lot more difficult to convince them that they can’t invite their own guest list. This is especially true and difficult in the case of a very small or intimate wedding. However, they may be fine with it due to the significant cost savings by having a smaller celebration. It truly depends on your specific set of circumstances in this case.

CON: You can’t invite everyone you want

If, at first you thought, “Small guest list, we’ll only invite the people we actually want to invite!” Unfortunately, it’s usually not quite that simple. It may turn out that there are dozens more people you’d like to invite but have to cut due to space or budget constraints. It might make you a little sad when friends assume they’d be invited but you have to inform them that they aren’t. If you’re a very social person with lots of friend groups, a small wedding may not be for you.

CON: What if no one shows up?!

Wedding planning is a big bag of emotions and anxieties, and small weddings are not immune. A special one that is not unique to a small wedding, but feels more possible, is the “what if no one shows up?!” fear. When you’re only invited 40 people, especially if many of them are from out of town, the possibility of even a few empty seats is terrifying. If 10 people are no-shows at a wedding with 100+ people, they may not even be noticed. If 10 people are no-shows at a wedding with 30 people, that impact is felt heavily.

Are you planning a small wedding? What do you see as the pros and cons?

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Considering an intimate wedding celebration? We're breaking down the pros and cons of having a small wedding!
Considering an intimate wedding celebration? We're breaking down the pros and cons of having a small wedding!
Considering an intimate wedding celebration? We're breaking down the pros and cons of having a small wedding!


The Budget Savvy Bride is the #1 Online Wedding Planning Resource for couples who want to plan a beautiful wedding on a budget they can actually afford. Check out our best-selling book on Amazon, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer!