When I began photographing weddings 12 years ago they were completely different. Wedding magazines had been around for a while, but wedding blogs were a newer thing. Pinterest wasn’t a thing. You would cut out photographs and tips from magazines and put them into a folder. Now, we have the internet and social media at our fingertips. This is a wonderful thing, but it can also be overwhelming and make some couples obsessive. Thanks to wedding blogs, it almost feels like a competition to have your wedding featured or to have the prettiest details. While details are an important part of your wedding day, they are certainly not what it’s about or what your guests will take away from the day.
Grand weddings can be a beautiful thing. I’ve photographed huge tented weddings on mountain tops that end with a personal fireworks show. 500+ guests, why not? A team of 4 photographers and 3 videographers…yep, been there. These things are great if they are important to you or you have an unlimited budget (I can’t tell you what should be important or what to do with your money). But, if you are leaning toward a large wedding because you feel pressured by family and friends or to meet the status quo, step away and reassess.
Your wedding should be about making the two of you happy. What will that look like? Are you someone who loves a lot of attention and a party full of hundreds of people? Are you someone who is introverted and the thought of 300 people staring at you walk down the isle makes you sweat? Would you rather use those thousands of dollars to buy a home, take that incredible trip, or give to those in need? Maybe you live your life to host and the thought of entertaining and celebrating with hundreds of people will bring you the most joy. This post is not to say one is better than the other, it is simply to bring some points to light and, possibly, help you make a decision on whether or not an intimate wedding is right for you.
What I will always stand by is the fact that a large part of your investment should be toward the photography. It is the only tangible thing you will have after the guests have eaten all of the food, the signature cocktails have been consumed, and your dress bottom is covered in dirt. Photographs will let you relive that day year after year and anniversary after anniversary. If you’re going to have an intimate wedding you should still invest in a quality and professional photographer.
Now, let’s get into the pros of an intimate wedding.
1. Let’s start with the most obvious, you can spend less money on the things that don’t matter to you and more on the things that do. Believe it or not, this isn’t the main reason my couple’s have an intimate wedding. A lot of them are just in love with the idea of keeping the day simple and all about them and the ones they love most.
2. You can hire your dream photographer, florist, stylists, have your dream dress, etc. I’ve had plenty of people who’s budget for photography is 20% or more of their budget. They value having vendors that are in line with their vision.
3. You can spend time with each guest. With a limited guest list you will actually have time to talk to everyone AND dance at your reception!
4. You can still have your family with you, just the ones that are actually in your life. You don’t have to invite every distant aunt, uncle, or long-lost friend of your mom’s. The important people in your life that you want to be witness to your love will be there.
5. Less goes into the planning. I always recommend a wedding planner, but if you have a simple wedding it is definitely less of a “must-have”.
6. You can have your wedding at a dream location. Since your cost and guest list will be less, you can pick a dream destination or venue.
7. Less waste. If you’re someone who cares about the environment and your impact, you will definitely have less waste with a smaller wedding.
8. No wedding party to worry about. A lot of couple’s that opt for a small wedding also end up opting out of having a wedding party. It’s all about simplicity and focusing on each other. Your closest friends can still get ready with you, but they won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on dresses, be away from their significant others all day, or be put to work.
9. Feel more relaxed with less people. Everyone there will be your closest friends and family so you won’t feel “on”.
10. The money you could be spending on your wedding can go toward what you were going to register for. Your guests will already be spending money on travel, attire, etc. Now they can just focus on coming to your wedding and you can handle your own dishes and towels.
11. All guests can stay in one location. If you’re having a small wedding you might be able have your guests accommodations in one place. This means that you can be around your guests all weekend instead of just a few hours on your wedding day.
12. Money for your honeymoon!