How to Plan a Small Intimate Wedding

Written by louise balle
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Smart, cost-conscious couples will see the value in planning a small intimate wedding rather than paying tens of thousands of dollars for elaborate affairs. In fact, while low in cost, a small intimate wedding can be even more entertaining and special for guests and the bride and groom because everyone can talk, laugh and share memories. Here are a few tips to help you plan a small intimate wedding that will bring your family together and give you more "bang" for your buck. Think outside of the box when you're planning a small wedding---there are so many exciting possibilities.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Keep your guest list to a maximum of 20 to 35 people. Anything over 50 and you are moving beyond an intimate affair and into a big wedding.

  2. 2

    Combine the wedding ceremony and reception into the same hall. Book two rooms at one of the following locations to keep things small and intimate: a local college hall, a restaurant (preferably where the couple had their first date), an amusement park, a rooftop, a hotel, the Knights of Columbus, or another small banquet hall. You may also go with a small community church that has a separate reception hall. The key is to keep the venue small so that your guests won't feel swallowed or intimidated by the size of the location. You can also plan the intimate wedding in a far-off location, like a tropical resort, since the number of guests will be minimal. Offer to pay half of the guests' travel and lodging costs---most will be ecstatic at the chance to enjoy a half-priced vacation.

  3. 3

    Think of a general theme for your wedding and then narrow it down to a more specific idea. You don't always have to go with a traditional theme, like white flowing gowns and flowers. Find a theme that fits with your goal of an intimate affair and makes your event more interactive and inclusive for all attendees. For example, maybe you want an Indian themed wedding. Take that a step further to turn it into a Bollywood theme where the bride and groom are the stars, and the groomsmen, bridesmaids and guests are supporting cast. Organise a fun classical Indian dance routine, like the Kathakali Dance (represents truth), to teach the guests.

  4. 4

    Instead of hiring a caterer, buy groceries and have the best cooks among your family and friends gather together in one kitchen to prepare a sumptuous wedding meal. Be sure to give them plenty of credit at the event so that everyone can rave about their delicious food and feel as if they are at one big Sunday family dinner.

  5. 5

    Consider holding a small, intimate wedding outdoors near the water in your town, such as at a picnic area. Afterward you can have a barbecue picnic reception. There's nothing like a picnic on a sunny day to bring families and friends together.

Tips and warnings

  • If at all possible, book your wedding for a weeknight instead of a weekend to save money on the venue rental.

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