Before we get into it…. These are the reasons WE love small weddings – always do what’s right for your situation.
A Wedding is a very personal decision and everyone has their own preferences and circumstances that will be part of the decision making process. We are just big fans of small intimate simple beautiful Wedding celebrations.
We are sharing our top 10 reasons why we love small Weddings. Maybe these ideas will spark some inspiration, whether you end up deciding on a small or larger event, we hope you take something away from the ideas we share here.
As always – be happy, be you, be well.
1) You can surround yourself with LOVE
Weddings can be a sea of faces and suddenly the day just slips by and you’ve barely had a chance to connect with anyone. This is very difficult to avoid with larger Weddings – and whilst it’s nice to have one ginormous party, if you are the type of person who flourishes in a smaller setting, then you may find this is good enough reason to go for an intimate size.
You get to really BE with the people you love the dearest and it will be super special for them and you because you get to have quality time together – you can chat with them, smile at them, dance with them and just all round feel the closeness of a group you know so well.
And chances are, the people you know and love the best will be the happiest to be there to help you celebrate – they’ll get into the spirit of the event naturally and you won’t have to worry about them as much as people who may not know many other guests or have come along more from obligation than the joy to be there.
Ultimately this is an extremely meaningful day in your life and there is a real bond that ties your all together when sharing such special moments. It can be easier to feel the warmth together in an intimate environment.
You’ll spend less time worrying about everyone and everything and relax knowing that you can focus on the most important aspect to this day – LOVE – the love you share as a couple and the love you share with everyone at your Wedding.
And these are memories you can feel and treasure forever.
2) A smaller guest list is easier to choose
So this will almost seem a little opposite to what you might first think – because at first it may seem it’s easier to settle on a guest list when the number is higher and you can say yes to more people.
Have you ever heard the saying that ”if you don’t decide what you fill your time with, it will get filled for you”? This sentiment seems fitting here. If you decide that your guest limit is 30, you’ll make that work with the 30 people you really want to have at your Wedding and you’ll know why each and every person is on that list. On the other hand, most people can also find 80-100+ people to make up a guest list as well. The difference is you may just start start to fill the numbers as you get higher up, just because the spots are there. But you might not be as present or clear with the process.
Think about it this way. For most of us, there is only so many people, family and friends, that we are super close to. That we consistently share our lives with, the ups and downs, the laughter and the tears. That know us deeply.
So if you’ve made the decision that a small guest list is for you, then you get the benefit of focusing on these people. You instinctively know who those people are. With a bigger list, the lines can get blurred and it becomes tougher to make the hard calls and you possibly have to add more people than you even planned just to keep it fair. Otherwise, which school friend you haven’t seen for ages misses out when the rest of the group are invited but you’ve hit your max and just can’t fit anyone else in?
Sure in theory, having an endless guest list may seem enticing. But just like reason number 1, you get to choose the people with whom you have the closest bond. Creating your guest list becomes a joy rather than it being built on obligation – there is no guarantee that some people won’t be offended – but no matter how many people you invite, chances are someone always will be. You can make your choices count.
The advantage of a small guest list is that you can honestly let people not invited know that it is an extremely intimate wedding with just a small circle of people. The more open and honest you are about this, the more chance those in your wider community of family and friends will be understanding.
Think creatively in how you can honour them and the place they do hold in your life. Is there a beautiful card, photo or video message you can send to those you can’t invite? Do something different, be different – perhaps you can think up something special for the next family picnic that invites a wider group to share in your Marriage or a casual event or party for friends. Maybe there is a charity or cause you have always wanted to support – can you do this in honour of your union and all the people who have been a part of your lives along the way? Share this story with them and thank them for their contribution to your story – your childhood neighbour may live far away and you may not have seen them for years. But you probably shared some great times growing up and this actually opens the door to honouring their place in your life in a really special and unexpected way. Would you be touched by this genuine gesture?
Imagine your first project as husband and wife being something meaningful that makes a difference for others. Doing this in honour of your marriage and all the people that have made you who you are could be far more valuable than a seat at an overcrowded reception for someone you’ll have no time for.
Unless there are special or extreme circumstances, you are under no obligation to make it a huge affair, even though it’s hard to disappoint people.
There is a sweetness and richness to a small guest list and making sure you are happy is far easier than trying to please everybody else! Big or small, you cannot ensure you please all. So you must please yourself.
3) Less Expense leaves money for the rest of your life
Ok so having a smaller wedding can definitely lead to savings on the budget front. Or you have the option of having a more lavish wedding for less people, which may eat into some of the potential savings, but you still get all the other benefits of a small wedding. That’s a very personal choice.
But if a smaller budget appeals – we hear you. And not because we are advocating a boring cheap wedding – but because we know you can celebrate in the most lovely memorable way AND have money left for the big journey – the one that begins the day after your wedding – the rest of your life and the marriage that awaits.
You’ve got a lifetime of experiences to plan and create. Leave money and energy for what’s to come rather than putting everything you have and possibly more, into this one day. You and your husband or wife are so much more than this one day.
Yes this is a day to cherish.This is a magnificent day to remember. This moment is worth celebrating with joy and style. But it doesn’t require a mammoth budget to do so.
And then there is the day after. When it’s all over. Will you be left with a debt you now have to work off for a long time to come? Again, all of these decisions are so very personal, and only you can decide what means the most to you.
We just want to put it out there – consider leaving budget that can be spread over the course of your lives rather than debt that will do the same.
This thought leads us to reason number 5…
4) Reduce the chances of the Post Wedding Blues
Just put yourself in that moment post Wedding – it’s the day after your Wedding. It was a joy to marry the one you love and share that with more people you love. No matter what you spend or how many people you invite, this moment will come. The day will pass equally slow (as you wait in huge anticipation) at the same time as it will pass all too fast when the day finally arrives.
The big thing that can be different is how you feel in this moment as you reflect back on this momentous occasion. The day is a culmination of many factors – things like how the planning felt, how much stress it did or didn’t cause, how you reacted to things that didn’t go your way, what kind of high expectations you had and how much pressure you put on your budget.
It as this very moment that all these things can converge. And whilst there are no guarantees, chances are, having a smaller intimate Wedding that is beautiful in spite of and because of its simplicity, will bring less pressure to this critical moment.
It is this moment that perhaps we hardly put any thought to when planning a Wedding. All our focus is on the day – but your life actually happens equally before, during and after. If you have put so much expectation on how this day will make you feel, the day after could be a tough shock.
Everything exciting has its end point – just like a holiday, the last day must always come. But you also know there are more beautiful times ahead, more to look forward to, and you generally don’t spend everything on just one holiday that has to perform as your be all and end all. So as sad as you are to come home, you are already thinking and planning on the excitement of the next one. You don’t define yourself by this one event.
Yes the difference is a Wedding is hopefully a one-time thing. But if you make that the focus of all your budget, with high levels of stress and super high expectations, then the let-down can be as equally high.
If you pull back a little and keep the focus towards celebrating the love, as smaller weddings work so well to support, the next day our wish for you is that love is exuding from your heart, not regret or a debt you’ll have for years.
5) You get to keep the Honeymoon going!
This reason is SUPER exciting! And we hope that it may give you food for thought when deciding to go for a smaller wedding. As we mentioned in some of the other reasons, try as you might to take it all in, your actual Wedding Day will go by faster than most of us would like. And then you can also be left a little shocked the next day when it all seems to be over (even though it’s really just the beginning!).
But what if you put some of the time and money that you saved (and small weddings can = HUGE savings, quite possibly to the tune of over $25,000) to spreading the joy of the wedding across a number of events or ideas.
And what this goes to is really up to you and what would make your heart sing – as a couple and also individually.
Can you upgrade your honeymoon to make it longer or more in line with something you have dreamed of together? What about a range of events that you can have to spread the joy and spend time with a variety of people rather than having everyone at your Wedding – maybe you could do a monthly dinner with just a few people. Spread the love and the enjoyment over the whole year!
Is there something you would like in your first home as a married couple (or is it $ towards that first home??) that you can look forward to for a longtime. What about a hot tub for the back deck – so you can celebrate honeymoon style any day/night of the week for years to come! There must be something unique to you as a couple that would be something you can continue to look forward too rather than spending all of your budget in one go, on one day.
This viewpoint is not about penny pinching, but rather about planning for a marriage and how you can contribute your time and resources towards setting yourself up for a lifetime of joyous moments.
6) You can focus on something truly SPECIAL
A smaller wedding allows your to give your attention to where you really want it – rather than being stretched in a thousand different directions concerning yourself with pleasing everyone – which is a lovely intention, but ever so rarely possible, no matter what you do. The benefit an intimate wedding is that whilst you still can’t please all, there is definitely less to argue or nit pick over. And it is the endless ideas or options of a huge production that can cause the most overwhelm and arguments. Do it small and do it well…
Perhaps pick one item that reflects you as a couple, and give that your attention and a little extra dollars. Doing this keeps your focus clear and if it is something true to you both, it will be much more enjoyable to organise and take in on the actual day.
Maybe it’s live music that will set the scene? Maybe it’s 100 candles, for a truly magical impact. Or is it a talking piece like a serious chocolate fountain?!? In an intimate setting you can pick one stand out feature that will bring it all together without overrunning the day and yourself. Just dream up something that inspires you. Maybe it’s an activity that gets all your guests involved and is different and unique to any other Wedding they’ve been to. Start googling and thinking!
Can everyone sit together at one big round table, can each guest read a line from your favourite poem that sums up this beautiful day for you or perhaps each share one special memory of the two of you, can all your guests encircle you holding candles as you share your vows for a truly magical start to this precious day? You can set the scene anyway you like, and with less guests you can layer this into the whole experience in such a meaningful way.
Just picture a beautiful table with everyone laughing together after an intimate ceremony they all felt a part of (rather than just another guest that was obliged to be there) – just stop and think how beautifully this could set the ambience of your day – how it naturally creates the warmth and love that will be the defining factor of your Wedding. Choose a few statement moments, but create them so that you and your guests are at the source of these rather than bystanders at a cookie cutter event.
7) Smaller Weddings hand back the creative control to YOU!!
Your options can open up significantly when you choose a smaller style celebration. Anything special you would like to have or do (like the suggestions above) become that much more feasible.
Your venue choices open up to almost anything you can dream of without it necessarily having to cost the earth. Maybe a private garden you once found will set the scene, maybe your own backyard or your favourite art gallery feels right. Perhaps you can rent a sweet cottage by the sea and celebrate over a few days.
Rather than have no choice but to hire out an entire venue and pay for every item that is required to make it hum, you can pick a wonderful room within your favourite restaurant ever. Maybe you want a progressive dinner style wedding – with a small bus that takes guests from the ceremony at a stunning location (councils often charge only a few hundred dollars or less for you to guarantee a special spot, sometimes there is no fee), to cocktails at your favourite bar, and then onto dinner at your favourite restaurant and then somewhere fun for dancing. These options can be highly cost effective in comparison to the unique and full experience they create.
All your options open up – you have the choice to steer away from traditional wedding venues and opt for something that resonates with you as a couple – keep your eyes open for all sorts of places – maybe even the cafe where you first met holds a special place in your heart. Don’t rule anything out – being this open is quite thrilling because you just don’t know what exquisite yet simple idea awaits.
Best of all – your heart and soul will naturally be infused into the day with the freedom a smaller wedding brings. It will feel like you – and that can naturally bring more calm and presence into the day.
8) Less stress and less fighting with the ones you love the most
What is a wedding meant to celebrate?
The greatest thing a Wedding can do is bond friends and families together in pursuit of life’s greatest gift. Again, it’s…. LOVE!
Rather than go on too much about reason number 8, let’s just agree that that no-one sets out to fight or frustrate each other throughout the Wedding process and in doing so, be the opposite of love. And yet it appears that this happens far too often. Between family, friends and you and your husband or wife to be. The people that mean the most and the person you are about to spend the rest of your life with. This is not the way you want to start, and it’s worth looking at all the ways in which to reduce this.
We can’t offer a guarantee that any planning or budget choices can 100% alleviate this – but it is our hope and belief that a smaller Wedding does one awesome thing – REDUCE PRESSURE ON ALL FRONTS.
If you concentrate on all the ideas shared here, then your focus becomes on keeping things personal and intimate. It’s not about ticking every box or creating financial burden.
What you focus on grows. Focus on the love.
9) Small Weddings help you be a BrideZen instead of a BrideZilla
We all start with the intention of being a happy, calm and present Bride. Unfortunately if we lose sight of these intentions, mostly without realising, we have to live with that memory always.
In addition to everything we are sharing in our top 10 reasons to have a small wedding, we have one favourite way of steering towards being more BrideZen.
Look after yourself as the first priority.
Everything we have shared here feeds into this. When you are not overwhelmed and over-invested, you have time for you. Your wellbeing, your self care. You want to feel amazing, rested and relaxed. It’s the best path towards enjoying the day and what’s to come, to its fullest.
The alternative is that you get to your day focusing on everything else and going into it haggard, frustrated and even possibly over it. This is the opposite of what you want!
The idea is for you take the ideas we have shared and make them suit you and your style. Then leave time and money to take care of yourself – a lifetime habit that you want to cultivate now. If you are unsure where to start – we’ve written a book that covers this in detail – and you’ll find more about it here. (LINK)
Don’t underestimate the power of this. It could actually be the most important thing you do. Feel and be your best self – go into a marriage with that as your goal.
10) You can focus on the JOY almost no matter what…
This one wraps it all together. Reasons 1-9 converge for our final reason for why small weddings can be better for you, your guests and your memories.
The love, the warmth and the joy that you most want can be lost in an overly scripted large wedding. But with less guests, more personal touches and genuine personality, you can feel more at ease and so can everyone else. Less drama, more being in the moment. Less over stretching yourself and your budget. More focus on the things that matter most. Love. Wellbeing. Peace. Simple pleasures. Letting joy unfold in the moment. Choosing happiness above all else.
Too much of every bell and whistle can distract you from these important things. Trying to be “perfect” and bigger and better than any wedding before can get in the way of going with the flow. A smaller wedding lends itself to this. Less distractions, less scripting, less guests you don’t know that well or don’t feel as comfortable with. Think lovely heartfelt celebrations v’s an overly produced event that leaves no room for spontaneity.
We also believe a small relaxed Wedding with your focus firmly planted on where it matters most, can reduce the pressure of expectation. You know, expecting it to be the dream day to end all dream days (which is where we put far too much stress on this one moment). We’ve all had a day or event where we pouted for too long because things didn’t go as expected, before realising things could have still turned out beautifully if we were willing enough to be open to other possibilities.
Think of all the lovely romantic movies where the Wedding takes a similar turn. It doesn’t just rain, it practically hails and howls, so much so the marquee collapses and the cake falls over as guests run for cover. In true romance comedy style, the couple laughs it off and finds the next best alternative, because it was always about the love in the first place, the rest shall we say, was just icing on the cake. And it’s this love that lights up the room or marquee or park or backyard.
If you have picked some wonderful personal ideas that can work no matter where the wedding ends up being, and you’ve included a small group of people who are willing and happy to roll with it, you can be happy almost no matter what.
Same goes for the planning. Keep it simple and there is simply less to argue about. When you stick to an intimate small event, you are far less likely to exhaust yourself and others in the process. You’ll also potentially feel less guilt about the pressure and spending that the day is causing.
Simple small heartfelt Weddings inspire love and allow the joy to flourish. Pursue this goal with all your heart.
The Zen Bride xx