Having a Small Wedding

For some, small refers to the number of guests. In this article, 50 guests or less is considered a small wedding.

Consider Different Locations
The standard church or synagogue ceremony, followed by a banquet hall reception, isn't necessarily the answer.  This setting may be too large for your small gathering and you'd look and feel lost in such a large venue.

Hotels and some other venues will not agree to host receptions with fewer than 120 people or they have a limit to their food and beverage total. But don't think of this as a problem. Take advantage of the opportunities that come with having a smaller crowd.

Smaller weddings have been successfully carried off in restaurants, gardens, bed and breakfasts, chapels, museums, historic homes, galleries and parks. Some of these places may not advertise an availability for weddings.

Home Wedding
A small wedding may be possible in your own or a relative's home. This is wonderfully intimate, but do not make the assumption that an "at-home" gathering will be less expensive. Remember the chairs, tables, and other necessities you need for the gathering. Depending on the size of your wedding, you may need to rent chairs, tables, tablecloths, port-a-johns, dinnerware, and other items. This may add up more quickly than anticipated.

Small Wedding at Home

The Ceremony
Having a smaller wedding may cause you to look for some different things to incorporate into your service.  Here are some suggestions.

Carolyn Burke - Wedding Officiant performs short, sweet and simple ceremonies.

Instead of a processional, allow guests to mix and mingle before the service over wine and cheese.
Give a toast to start the event, and then have everyone proceed to their places.

Give each member of your families a flower, and have them line the aisle. As the bride proceeds towards the altar, she takes each one and assembles her bouquet as she goes, symbolizing the contributions the family makes to this union.

Consider having your families and guests stand up for the entire service, at your side just as attendants would be in a larger wedding.

Have members of your family do the readings.

Incorporate ethnic or family traditions that may have fallen by the wayside through the years. Contact older family members, or research wedding traditions.

Be your own "ushers" when it comes to dismissing people after the service.
Greet each guest as they leave their seat.

Encourage each guest to use an entire page of your guestbook to share comments, advice, or other messages.  You'll have many more lines of space than you'll have guests, so put it to good use and get a nicer keepsake of your guests!

The Reception
Some of the more traditional reception activities may be less desirable with a smaller number of of guests. Here are some ideas you might want to consider for your reception.

Instead of having a typical reception, have a "wedding supper" at a restaurant. Make it as simple or as lavish as you prefer. Some restaurants will even print a special menu just for your event.

Consider renting a trolley or carriage or other interesting transportation for your guests to arrive in.

Have your photographer take photos of all your guests, either in one large group photo or as couples, families, or other logical groups.

If the reception is in a historic home or museum, have a tour guide there to show guests the facility.

Instead of a band or DJ, hire a string quartet, a harpist, or other unique musical performer.
Let Carolyn Burke - Wedding Liaison help you find just the right instrument, theme or sound.

Prepare a slide show of photos of each of you from childhood, adolescence, and on up through meeting one
another. Include photos of each of you with your families and other special guests.

Whatever you do, take advantage of the smaller size to do some serious mixing and mingling. Too many couples say that they didn't get to spend enough time with their guests on their wedding day. You won't have this problem!

Wedding Liaison Blog

Carolyn Burke | Officiant | Coordinator
(314) 821-4844
Main Website : CarolynBurkeSTL.com
Sister Website : ElopeInStLouis.com