Are you and your fiance planning a small wedding ceremony? Whether you’ve planned a small wedding from the beginning of your engagement or have found yourself changing your plans, there are several things you can consider to make the experience memorable.
Many couples opt for a small wedding for different reasons. Some choose to keep the budget and the guest list to a minimum because of how they’ve prioritized their spending. Others choose to elope. Still others may be faced with circumstances such as illness that prevent them from planning a large gathering.
During this unusual season of collectively facing a pandemic, for example, many engaged couples have been forced to downsize, change, or cancel their wedding plans. For the time being, large gatherings haven’t been allowed. Couples have shifted their plans and adapted to the ever-changing circumstances.
If you and your fiance are considering a small wedding, here are a few tips for creating a day to remember–both for yourselves and your loved ones.
1. Plan a “staycation” wedding.
Let’s say you’d like to plan a destination wedding, but for whatever reason, traveling far away isn’t in the cards. Why not plan a staycation wedding in or near your hometown instead?
Take stock of the local tourism attractions and special-occasion destinations near you, and consider which ones might work well for a small wedding. Do you live near a nature preserve with an outdoor chapel? A historic home that’s open for events? A notable site that means a lot to the two of you?
If you’re planning a small ceremony with few guests, you can maximize your budget by having a nice meal together or even staying in a local hotel or bed-and-breakfast with your guests. Or, if you’re not planning an overnight stay, you could have a small gathering at your new home after the ceremony.
2. Have a backyard ceremony.
A small wedding at home can be a wonderfully intimate experience for you, your friends, and your family. You don’t necessarily have to use your own home–it could be your parents’ home or even your grandparents’ (or your spouse’s). If there’s a location that holds nostalgic and happy memories for you, it’s something to consider.
Backyard ceremonies are very doable when you have a short guest list. They’re easy on the budget, and you can work the schedule around your own timetable, however you need. And if you have elderly or diabled family members who find it hard to get around, it will be easier to help them get comfortable and enjoy making memories with you.
3. Live stream your wedding.
Choosing a small wedding ceremony can be nerve-wracking–especially when you have to break it to friends and family that not everyone is invited to attend in person. Live streaming your small wedding ceremony is a great way to open this memorable experience to friends and family who can’t be there.
You can set up your livestream event on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, then invite your loved ones to attend virtually. It’s a good idea to stream over more than one service simultaneously, to avoid technical glitches. Be sure to download the video once you’ve posted it–that way, you can keep it for yourself and send it to family and friends later.
4. Have a friends-only event.
If there’s a specific limit on the number of guests who can attend, consider inviting only your closest friends to a small event. This option isn’t right for everyone, but in some cases it may be easier to narrow your list.
Perhaps your family members live out of town or out of state and can’t make it to your ceremony. Maybe you both have large families, and it would be difficult to choose some members over others. Or perhaps you have a stronger relationship with some of your friends, for whatever reason.
Rather than picking and choosing which family members to invite, you can loop them in via live stream, Zoom, or Skype if you wish.
5. Elope for epic destination photography.
If the idea of a small wedding with limited guests puts too much pressure on you and your spouse, consider eloping together. Depending on your budget, your destination, and your vision for this adventure, you might consider bringing your wedding photographer on the trip to capture some once-in-a-lifetime wedding portraits for you two.
6. Hold your reception at home.
Small weddings make for a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing how you want to organize the day. Once you’ve had your ceremony–wherever that may be–why not enjoy a reception at your new home?
Having your reception at home could be a great way to welcome guests for the first time as a married couple. Serve any meal you like, whether you choose to bring in a caterer, have a meal delivered, or cook for your guests yourselves. (Psst…don’t forget the cake!)
Share your ideas!
Did you have a small wedding ceremony, or are you planning one? What tips do you have to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!