Smaller weddings don’t necessarily have to be simple affairs! While some couples who choose to host a wedding for just close friends and family do it because they love the idea of pared-down simplicity, an intimate wedding can also be as lavish and extravagant as you like. In fact, micro weddings are an ideal opportunity to pamper and spoil your guests, whether that means 5 or 30 people. It also means you can say yes to some of the more elaborate ideas that you may not be able to pull off on a larger scale. As a wedding planner, I love working with smaller celebrations, and we’ve pulled off some truly over the top events in the past! Whether it’s a bijoux destination wedding in Aspen or an elopement in some far-flung corner of the world, here are five ways you can turn an intimate wedding into an extraordinary one.
Choose an unexpected location. A small wedding is the perfect opportunity to have that dream destination wedding in an Italian villa or beneath an Icelandic waterfall. But you can also find an exciting and unexpected wedding location closer to home. Whatever the venue, when you aren’t limited by the size of your guest list, you can explore unique options like private homes, cliffs by the water, restaurants, galleries, historic properties, hotel suites, gardens, even stores! The world really is your oyster.
Get creative with the space. Even if you opt for a traditional wedding venue, a small guest list allows you to be creative about how you use the space. Look for areas that may be overlooked, like an orchard, library or greenhouse. Outdoors areas can be especially magical. For example, imagine eating dinner in a forest or among the vines!
Focus on the guest experience. An intimate wedding also allows you to really spoil your guests, and make the wedding a memorable experience for them from start to finish. And remember that the guest experience begins long before the wedding! Luxurious personalized invitations, special transportation, and group experiences in the days leading up to the wedding will all make them feel special. You could also present each guest with a personalized welcome gift or splash out on lavish wedding favors. In addition, don’t forget to write each of them an individual, handwritten thank you note!
Pay attention to the details. Setting an opulent table is another way to make your intimate wedding really stand out. Especially since guests are more likely to notice the smaller details. For example, treat your guests to deluxe monogrammed linens, the most beautiful china, and extra lush flowers. Have each place name hand calligraphed or present each guest with a handwritten menu. Style the space and not just the tables, including lighting, fabrics and furnishings. The only limit to the design is your imagination!
Make it an immersive experience. One of the best ways to elevate an intimate wedding is to splurge on things like entertainment and fine dining. Instead of the usual wedding menu, serve a seven-course gourmet meal, complete with expert pairings of fine wine. Or invest on live music and entertainment, like a jazz trio or a dance performance. Guests will love it, and so will you!
Here’s to bigger not necessarily meaning better when it comes to weddings, and small being just as special.
Top image by Ashley Sawtelle