Small wedding inspiration for planning an intimate day

The trend for small, more intimate weddings is ever-growing! If you don’t fancy an elopement, you may well find yourself googling everything there is to know about planning a small wedding. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and also 6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding, stay tuned!

Is a small wedding for you?

While eloping is usually done in secret and with only the couple and their witnesses present, a small wedding offers you the chance of having a full-on wedding day, just on a smaller scale. Let’s say you want to experience the exciting process of planning a wedding. But you don’t have a massive budget. Or maybe a pandemic has introduced certain restrictions in terms of numbers (remember 2020!?). A small & intimate wedding day may just be right for you!

6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding
This was a fun back garden wedding! It taught me that South Africans LOVE to partyyyyyyyy!

Do you want a super relaxed intimate wedding day?

Some couples don’t relish the thought of being the centre of attention or would much rather just spend the day with their absolute nearest & dearest. Seating arrangements can easily turn into delicate acts of diplomacy and large numbers often mean less interaction with some of your lovely guests as there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to fit in time with every single one. Smaller weddings can create a charming and warm atmosphere and offer the chance of a more intimate & relaxed feel to the day while still maintaining some of the more traditional elements. So don’t worry – just because you’re planning a smaller wedding does not mean you can’t have a beautiful venue or nail your first dance!

6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding
Home Tipi Wedding with an epic first dance!

Is quality time with your guests important to you?

Maybe some of your guests have travelled halfway across the globe to share your special day with you. You really enjoy their company and want to spend quality time with them. You could hire a property in an outstanding location or a luxury self-catering farmhouse for the weekend to share your dream day with them. Enjoy a tea party with your guests or have a relaxed barbie after the ceremony. Book one of these super small & intimate wedding venues in the UK. If your budget is more on the small side – have a party in your own back garden, whatever the size! Don’t be put off by what other people say – this is YOUR day and if you want your day to be a small intimate affair in your own back garden – go for it!!!

6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding
Playing Mr & Mrs before the ceremony, HOW much fun!?

Do you want a weekend wedding?

The smaller your guest list the more flexibility you have with how and where you marry. Who says you can only get married on a weekend?! Weekday weddings allow for extra time to spend with your guests and may well be a cheaper option.

Opt for a celebrant (and do the legal part whenever suits you best beforehand) and you can open up even more opportunities for where to host your wedding. Think sunset ceremony on a beach, picnic in a park, hiking up a mountain, getting on a train or just spending a super adventurous and memorable long weekend with your besties.

With the above in mind, let’s look at the 6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding.

6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding
It’s a massive yes from me to train stations and tartan wedding dresses!!

1) Pick your venue

From bijou venues to cosy pubs, stunning country houses, and private rooms in restaurants, intimate farm barns, and even a treehouse – there are so many options out there now! What venue you choose will massively influence the vibe of your day so picking the right one is crucial. If your guest list is pretty small, you could even go for something totally outside the box like a cool museum, a boat, a marquee on your front lawn, or a relaxed beach barbeque. And don’t worry if you’ve got your heart set on a large venue – there’s no reason why you can’t hire a wedding planner to help you transform a large room into the small cosy setting you’re dreaming about.

Gwydir Castle
Gwydir Castle is beautiful! And super romantic!

2) Decide on the right time of day for your ceremony

Traditionally, the majority of wedding ceremonies in venues are conducted around 2pm. As you’re not having a super traditional wedding though – how about mixing things up a bit? Fancy a 10 am ceremony followed by a boozy lazy long brunch? Or how about a super romantic twilight ceremony? Marry as the sun sets followed by a barbeque on the beach and some crazy dancing! Small weddings give you the flexibility to create a dream day that’s totally YOU. Deciding your own ceremony time will also help you create the perfect mood for your wedding pics.

Intimate ceremony rooms can be the perfect setting for creative sign the register pics!

3) Food, glorious food

If formal sit down 3-course meals don’t flick your switch – get yourselves an incredible street food van, set up a barbie, turn it into a bit of a pot luck dinner and ask guests to make and bring one of their favourite dishes to share or just have Pizza, Fish’n Chips or Tacos – the possibilities are endless! As for those long lazy boozy brunches – how about green tortilla with smoked salmon, tex-mex baked avocados, ham, and cheese croissant traybake, homemade bagels, smoked salmon breakfast flatbread, bacon and egg crumpet melts, peanut butter drizzle pancakes or posh breakfast muffins?! Wash it all down with some cold Prosecco or Champagne, refreshing beers, and cocktails such as Margaritas, Mimosas, Bloody Marys, Bellinis, or Espresso Martinis and you got yourself a wedding feast your guests will be talking about forever!

6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding
Banquet style food in an intimate medieval castle

4) Let there be cake!

For an extra personal touch, and a smaller number of guests to cater to, how about attempting to bake your own wedding cake?! Or ask family members perhaps living nearby to bring their favourite home-baked cakes for a cake buffet. It’s a lovely way to involve your guests (if practical) and it never ceases to amaze me how many incredible bakers are out there! Go for alternatives to the traditional wedding cake by having hundreds of little cupcakes (I did!), stack doughnuts/brownies/biscuits, go for cheese or pies or set up a pretty Macaroon Tower. Gorgeous!

Jen even made the sugar craft roses on her own cake which mimicked her bouquet – talented!

5) Wear what you want!

The times when brides were expected to dress in traditional white wedding dresses are long gone. With the freedom of stepping away from mainstream wedding planning comes the excitement of being able to ditch all the traditions you don’t like and incorporate ALL the things you DO love! Picking the right wedding outfit for you has never been more convenient! Wear a short one, a ballgown, get the princess dress you’ve always dreamt of, go for a colourful option, a jumpsuit, wear a bespoke 2-piece or whatever else makes you feel good about yourself – there are no rules!

6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding
LOVED Alicia’s blue Needle & Thread dress

6) Pick the right photographer for your small wedding!

No. 6 on our list of things you need to know about planning a small wedding is all about photography. Start by doing some simple research to nail down the style of photography you’re after. Dedicated elopement photographers are used to working with small numbers of guests and won’t boss you around, ensuring you can have the relaxed small wedding day you’re dreaming of. Hop over to my top tips for choosing your perfect wedding photographer to read everything you need to know to find the one that’s perfect for you.

Just leaving a picture of me & my husband here because…..you know…..book me, ha!!

Oh hiiiii there!

So there you have it – 6 things you need to know about planning a small wedding. Do you have questions? Get in touch, I’ve obviously been to lots of weddings and am always happy to throw some pointers your way if you’re stuck on something while planning your wedding.

Babs x

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