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Small weddings are experiencing a surge in popularity as more couples opt for a more personal ceremony where their commitment takes center stage. Planning a smaller wedding also leaves you with more freedom regarding your budget, choice of venue and the interaction you have with your guests. As you plan your wedding, use these tips to create an intimate celebration that will always be remembered.

Prepare Your Guest List

Although there is no specific number of guests that defines a small wedding, most couples choose to keep their guest list confined to only their closest family members and friends. In some instances, small wedding venues will limit your guest count such as if you are hosting the wedding in a community garden. As you prepare your guest list, also keep in mind potential roles that you may have each person play in your ceremony. Once you have determined who will be invited, go ahead and send out those save-the-dates or invitations depending upon how fast your wedding date is approaching.

Choose the Right Venue

One of the biggest advantages of a small wedding is the flexibility it provides for choosing a venue. Backyard weddings are a popular option, and botanical gardens can create a beautiful backdrop for your ceremony. You may also find that a destination wedding is more in line with your budget when you shorten your guest list. The beach, historical landmarks and even that little restaurant where you had your first date are all excellent small wedding venues when you opt for a simple ceremony. While your options are unlimited, keep in mind that a large venue could be overwhelming for a smaller wedding. If you do choose a large cathedral or wedding hall, then use your decorations to create an intimate atmosphere around the area that you say your vows.

Agree Upon Essentials

Planning a simpler wedding means that you will need to make important decisions regarding what matters the most for your ceremony since fitting everything in may not be possible. However, couples often discover that simplifying the ceremony opens up their budget to splurge on what matters most. For example, you can treat your guests to a fancy bottle of champagne for the toast, or you can hire a professional musician to play your favorite song. These little details can all add up to the picture perfect wedding.

Focus on the Details

During a small wedding, it is important to be aware that there is no way to hide simple mistakes. Since everyone will be able to focus their attention directly on the ceremony, be willing to splurge a little on your decorations, dress and accessories. It is important to note, however, that a little goes a long way in a simpler setting so keep to the classics. For example, you may need fewer flowers, but they should be artfully arranged.

Include Guests in the Ceremony

When you scale down your guest list, you have an opportunity to get your guests involved. One option you could consider is having a short toast before you say your vows instead of doing the traditional walk down the aisle. Having a guest recite a religious verse or romantic quote before you exchange rings is also a great way to add a personal sentiment to the ceremony. Is one of your close relatives a professional photographer or videographer? If so, then ask them to document the ceremony. Many couples also prefer having a loved one officiate their ceremony. After the vows, you can also seamlessly transition into the reception by mingling with the guests after your first kiss as husband and wife.

Consider Hosting a Separate Reception

Whether you are choosing a small wedding due to budget or venue restrictions, one of the most popular small wedding ideas is to host a separate reception where everyone can be invited. This can allow you the flexibility of having an intimate ceremony, yet still avoid hurting the feelings of your coworkers and extended friends. During your reception, play a highlight reel of the ceremony, or display photographs so that everyone feels as though they played a role in the experience.

Knowing how to plan a small wedding can relieve any concerns you may have about simplifying your special day. While it is true that you may have to scale down your guest list, you will discover that saying your vows in an intimate environment strengthens the importance of your day. As you prepare for your wedding, remember that what matters most is making sure that you and your partner get off to the right start for years of matrimonial bliss. So, get ready to profess your love in a ceremony that represents all that you hold dear, and embrace the opportunity to include your closest friends and family in a smaller ceremony that puts the emphasis on your love for each other.

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