By Lavinia Steward-Brown
Planning a wedding can be hugely overwhelming and includes some tense conversations along the way. Planning a smaller and more intimate wedding can certainly make the journey a little easier.
Over the last few years, I have been involved in planning several beautiful and small weddings. This was not something I was used to, as previously my clients all wanted the grand Wedding celebration, however, there is something about having all the fixings of a Wedding, but on a much smaller scale, that makes it that touch more unique.
When my clients decide to scale down their special day, to a cosier more intimate size, they know that they can really create memories with every guest attending. Planning something smaller means they can really go for it with a proportionally larger budget!
Guest List & Location
I rarely come across clients who have not at some stage had a disagreement about the guest list or where they envisage getting married. For some couples, these decisions are made easier when it’s a smaller celebration, for others it’s made harder!
One of my couples last year were due to have a big wedding in Florence, Italy, however, due to the pandemic this had to be cancelled 6 weeks before. Speaking to the bride, she expressed how she has always loved her parents garden just outside London and would like to have a garden party theme. With that in mind, we scaled the wedding back to only 60 guests and hired the most beautiful glass structure to be placed in her garden. This really allowed the couple to feel at home with their nearest and dearest.
For other clients, we have explored weddings on boats down the Thames, hired a section of a Museum and rented a private villa overlooking the sea in Europe.
Should you decide to get married abroad, you have the time to make the trip that little more special for each guest. Something we always recommend is a welcome box which you leave in each guest’s accommodation for their arrival. It is such a nice and personal touch, and you can make each box bespoke to suit every guest as you know them so well. Within the welcome pack, include an information card with details and the schedule for the weekend and always include some local taxi numbers.
Styling and decor
The one thing I adore about my job is the styling and décor element, and smaller guest numbers gives you a great opportunity to go all out with an exquisite set-up. First, I would think about the space and how it should be setup to give the best flow. For dinner long tables or a U-Shaped table, work well and make everyone feel like family.
For your tablescape, I always recommend going big and bold with plenty of flowers and candles. Low flowers in abundance down a table with candles intertwined will create a stunning display. You could then hang flowers forming a floral installation overhead. I always say, lighting can make or break an event. Add some nice soft and warm lighting, and this can make a space feel even more intimate.
Go wild with your menu and drinks
Whether you are choosing to have a famous chef cook for you privately, a 3-course seated dinner with wine pairing, an elegant buffet, or more relaxed vibe with food trucks, you can really make the menu personal and detailed. Your options are endless with a smaller wedding, and you can really get creative.
Capturing your special day
We are true believers that a good Photographer is a fantastic investment. We always recommend that as a couple you meet your photographer before your wedding day. Get to know one another and don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you want out of your special day. This person will be capturing all the laughter, tears, and intimate moments, so make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed together. If your budget allows, a videographer is also a fantastic addition as you will want to watch your wedding for years to come.
Making the day more meaningful and personal
Whether you have decided that you would like your dog to walk you down the aisle, you would like to cycle away from the service on a tandem bike or that the bride would like to make a speech, make the day meaningful and personal.
Adding in special and memorable touches is much easier for 40 people than it is for 200 and a very good way to do this is with wedding favours. You could have fun bespoke hand painted placement cards, like the beautiful ones from Victoria Fitzroy, each painted to replicate the guest and are a lovely idea for the guests to take home.
As a couple, if you love to dance and it’s an important part of the night, you may want to have a live band. Be aware and keep the band’s line-up in mind. A large band, with a small number of guests will feel overpowering. You may also wish to use some of the musicians from the band to perform at the service or drinks reception acoustically. This can help you save a little as you won’t need to book two different entertainers.
To hire a planner or not
Wedding planners or on the day co-ordinators aren’t just for the larger weddings and are a fantastic investment. You and your families will want someone there to facilitate the flow of the day and make sure you can truly enjoy it to its fullest, without worrying about whether the guests transport has arrived, or the alcohol is running low! These small but important details should be left for your planner to manage so you are not even aware they are happening.
Related article: A Marquee Wedding: The Ultimate Guide