Intimate weddings are on the rise, perhaps spurred on by COVID and the current government limitation of 30 guests. I have a sneaking suspicion though that more and more couples are leaning towards small celebrations for other, more wholesome reasons. There are plenty of reasons to have an intimate wedding but here’s the 5 that sealed the deal for us.
We started planning a large wedding. A guest list of a hundred, an overnight affair and a five-figure price tag. We even picked a date and put down a deposit. We got excited about all the things we could plan, from the food to the band and the beautiful outdoor ceremony. But something just didn’t sit right. It wasn’t one thing to blame, though when we started questioning elements the tiny seeds of doubt grew into a ‘why are we actually doing this?‘ Because we love each other. Because we want to commit our lives together. Does that have to cost £20,000+ with a hundred pairs of eyes watching?
We discussed a few different options, including eloping (which we’d have probably gone ahead with had it not been for the pandemic) before settling on our reasons to have an intimate wedding.
1. You’re more likely to be able to do everything you want, when doing it on a smaller scale
Weddings almost always involve compromise. Whether dictated by budget, expectation or differences between what you and your fiancé want. In any wedding, you’ve got to decide what’s most important to you and prioritise that, but a reason to have an intimate wedding is that you’ll likely be able to opt for a lot more of the ‘nice to have’s. For example, we love great food. Serving a brilliant, memorable meal was always a priority for us, but feeding 100 gave us a significantly lower cost-per-head budget. Now that our wedding party totals 25 we’re able to spend double on an amazing lunch, and we’re still only at half of our would’ve-been spend.
2. You have total control of the guest list
I was adamant we wouldn’t fall victim to any obligation invites or pressure when it came to writing our guest list, but when you’re inviting a hundred people that’s a challenge. Whether it’s deciding which plus ones to allow, or whether to invite someone to keep the peace, it’s unlikely every single name is one you’re close to. I heard from so many people who said that 10 years on, they didn’t see half their guest list. A good rule of thumb became: who would we happily take out for a £100 meal? Who would we invite to an intimate dinner party in our home? Who have we seen or spoken to regularly in the last 6 months?
In the end, it was easy. We listed our closest family, and a few very close friends. There are a few others we’d have liked there, but pandemic-related restrictions gave us a strict capacity. In a way, it made it easier! We can honestly say every single person invited is someone who we are close to and cannot wait to share the memory with.
3. You will save a lot of money
Money doesn’t have to factor in the reasons to have an intimate wedding, but it’s okay if it does. We had initially agreed on a budget of £20,000 (less than the national average!). The basis of this figure was largely that I couldn’t imagine spending more than that, but even that figure made me uncomfortable. When we began to actually plot each item on to a spreadsheet, then a honeymoon on top, it became apparent just how easy it would be blow it.
Money is a very personal thing and there is no right or wrong amount to spend on your wedding day. For some, a big wedding is worth every penny. For me, it was an amount that I couldn’t fathom spending on one single day of my entire life. It wasn’t the main reason to have an intimate wedding, but I do feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with our new budget.
I won’t detail exactly what we’re spending, other than it’s four-figures, not five, and within that we’re having absolutely everything we want, with some leftover for the honeymoon too.
4. It’s way more relaxed – for you and your guests
Weddings can be really stressful. The planning process often takes up so much time, money and emotional energy that there’s a hell of a lot of expectation riding on the big day. One reason to have an intimate wedding is a virtually stress-free planning process, but also a more relaxed day for both you and your guests.
I’ve heard from a lot of brides that they spent a lot of their day worrying about whether everyone else was having a good time, and that everything was running smoothly. I feel more relaxed about my expectations of our intimate wedding: whereas rain would’ve spoilt our big summer festival style day, I have zero expectations of the weather in late October. All the ‘big’ things are planned and so far it’s been a stress-free process; there just isn’t the same scope to worry about or fuss over and conversations with suppliers are much simpler on a small scale.
5. A more intimate experience with those you love the most
Ultimately it comes down to this. Why are you getting married? Not for the big do but for the rest of your life with the person you love. To me, this is the main reason to have an intimate wedding: intimate memories to cherish with those that are closest to you. I worried that with a hundred guests, we wouldn’t even get 2 minutes with each one. That so much of the day would pass in a blur and that it would just be physically impossible to be ‘present’ for all of it. I’m so confident in our reasons to have an intimate wedding and that it will allow us to focus on all the small, precious moments and everything that matters most about saying “I do.”
I’d love to hear from others and your reasons for having an intimate wedding. Did you have a large one and wish you’d gone smaller, or vice versa? Or are you currently planning with your own reasons for an intimate wedding?
My wedding planner: The Inspired Stories Journal (discount code: BETH10)
Velvet ring box: this one from Etsy
Wedding invites: Papier (discount code: get £10 off here)