Getting married brings thoughts and visions of grand venues, large family gatherings, and scenes from movies like Father of the Bride or maybe the Wedding Planner. But putting grand wedding scenes aside for a minute, do weddings have to be large, or can you have a splendidly small wedding instead?
We’ve been to weddings for 300+ and some for just the close family. Although we’d never say one is better than the other (as it’s down to personal choice) we must say that the smaller weddings can be, and often are, beautifully simple, more personal, and in many senses – a more intimate experience than the 500-strong weddings.
It really is down to personal choice, and so it should be, but for what it’s worth, here’s our take on the big benefits to going small when you say, “I do!”.
Budgets go Further
Let’s begin, as we all do, at the start. The most sensible place to begin a wedding plan is with your budget, so let’s talk money for a second. The ‘cost per head’ of a large wedding will have a huge impact on your wedding budget. The venue, food, and even location can be dramatically affected by the amount of people you invite to your wedding.
In contrast, a smaller wedding will give you more options and a better menu with your budget.
A smaller wedding can be the difference between a VW Beatle as your wedding car and a Rolls Royce. Unless, of course you like Beatles, and quite fancy the idea of being driven to your wedding in an air-cooled hipster!
A smaller wedding can mean the choice of a honeymoon in the Seychelles or trip to Skegness. (No offence to our Skegness blog readers.)
A smaller wedding gives your budget more chance of a dream wedding over one that’s limited in certain choices. It’s a big plus point right away.
Small and Intimate
Size matters in many things, but with weddings you may find that small is the new black. Celebrating the love of two people with the most important people rather than second cousins they’ve never met before does seem a little more… authentic.
So often we see and hear about family grievances over family members who don’t make the list; an intimate wedding makes that so much simpler and in many cases a better day.
Small weddings with just those close family and choice friends may well be more like your version of a dream wedding than one where even your dog gets a +1. Maybe it’s not; maybe you like a big audience. It’s your choice after all.
Barn weddings are more and more popular, and many are large enough for 100+ guests. But not all. Some barns are limited on the number of guests you can invite and that might limit your choice if your guest list resembles a roll call from the Golden Globes!
Having a small but perfectly selected list of wedding guests gives you more choice of venues and as barns – not all, but some – are limited in the numbers that they can accommodate, this means you might just get that dream venue secured after all.
Gone to the Beach
Beach weddings are a lovely prospect, and again we’re taken to memories of the idyllic setting at the end of a love story in Hollywood where two young people thrown together by an out of this world plot, and get married in the wistful wind on the sandy shores.
It’s not quite the same in Bournemouth though, and as seen in a rather amusing episode of “Don’t Tell the Bride”, where the rain pours down and drenches everyone, the weather isn’t always on your side in the UK either.
Unless you’re an Earl or got into the internet before the dot com boom it’s unlikely that you have a garden large enough to host 200 people, without having to remove the fence and take over a few of your neighbours’ planted boarders.
So, the garden ceremony and reception might not be an option unless you trim the guest list a little. Having a small wedding? Hurrah – now you can get married and dance the night away in Mum and Dad’s bowling green lawn with a marquee and hired catering equipment!
Greater Wedding venue Choice
As mentioned above, you’ll soon find that with fewer people to cater for and to entertain, you can widen your ‘must have list’ for venues. You can also raise the bar on the food, drink, and entertainment too.
Many intimate venues simply aren’t cut out for big weddings, but they offer an experience that the big grand hotel doesn’t. For many, the boutique wedding is favoured over the wedding with a line up bigger than the Olympic opening ceremony. For some couples, small is their big dream.
Small Wedding Budget, Grand Designs?
Budgets are a big factor with weddings, and it’s pretty obvious that more people means a smaller budget per head. Each guest gets less spent on them; unless the budget increases of course.
If you’re playing with a budget smaller than an oil baron’s loose change then maybe a small and intimate wedding is the way to go. With smaller numbers you can still have that dream honeymoon, fine wine at the wedding breakfast, and the string quartet you always dreamed of. Your budget doesn’t need to set you back into the next lifetime, or spend your parents’ retirement fund; leaving some for that extension you so desperately need!
Small weddings give the wedding budget more clout.
Small Doesn’t Mean Compromised
Small weddings can be grand. Small weddings can still be expensive, too. A small wedding in a boutique hotel in Mayfair might still cost more than a package wedding in Warwickshire for example. It just means that your spend goes further if you want it to.
This really does – as it should do – come down to your personal choice.
Other benefits to smaller weddings could also be the simpler organisation, savings on bridal party and groomsmen attire, and of course fewer bookings with rooms, cars, flowers, favours and more.
If that sounds more attractive than a wedding with more staff than you have friends on Facebook, then a small wedding could well be the best choice for you.
Of course, if you love the big occasions and need 100s of witnesses as you say “I love you and I do” to the person who’s the ying to your yang then that’s what you should do.
Big or small, we’re here for you…
We hire everything from catering equipment to sashes and champagne flutes. If you’re looking to get married in Birmingham, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire or the Cotswolds and need to hire plates, crockery or need some expert advice on hiring for your event then give us a call now.
In 20+ years we’ve seen it all, and our experience is anything but small.