The pandemic’s limitations on gatherings brought about a wave of small, intimate weddings as a solution for couples who wanted to tie the knot among their loved ones. Yet, even as we look ahead past the era of COVID weddings, we’re seeing that these micro-weddings are here to stay for the long haul. Couples have rediscovered the beauty of celebrating their love with their nearest and dearest, appreciating the intention and closeness that comes with a tight-knit circle.
That’s not to say some couples aren’t eager for the return of large gatherings to host their dream nuptial bash. There is no right or wrong answer to your preferred wedding size — that’s up to you! But, if you’re wondering whether an intimate wedding is the right choice for you, these wedding pros are here to help you make the perfect decision for you and your partner.
Consider your energy capacity for social situations.
From taking pictures all over the place and greeting every guest who pulls them aside, the average wedding puts a lot of pressure on newlyweds. For some, it can be downright overwhelming. Sarah Blessinger, owner and lead planner of Kindred Weddings and Events, urges couples that burn out easily to consider an intimate wedding: “Intimate weddings are perfect for ANY couple that wants to lean into less is more.”
“As an intimate wedding planner, I often find that most of my clients either identify as introverts or are empaths,” Blessinger reveals. “Both of these personality types still love engaging with people and spending time with those they love. Still, they are aware of how their energy wanes during intense periods of social interactions. They often become drained quicker and find they can only recharge when they are alone or in a safe space where they don’t have multiple points of social interaction.”
It’s your day — do what makes you happy.
Ultimately, the choice belongs to you. Whether you thrive in large gatherings or you prefer to mingle in small groups, it’s your wedding day and you’ll want to look back on it fondly for many years to come.
Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, encourages couples to stay true to their own feelings: “A lesson that should be learned and learned early in the wedding planning process is that you cannot make everyone happy! Discuss with your partner the right decision for the two of you and some of your VIPs like parents, and move forward from there. If someone is upset, you are welcome to explain why you’ve made your decision and remind them it is your wedding and you are doing it your way.”
Don’t be shy to communicate your plans with loved ones.
While you may realistically get some pushback from some folks, most will understand your choice to downsize your wedding — particularly given the current situation. “People should communicate the situation with family and friends that they will be hosting a smaller wedding to keep family safe,” suggests JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli. “Communication is key to letting people know why you are planning a small intimate gathering, so they do not get offended.”
Consider offering a livestream of the wedding.
Luckily, a smaller guest list doesn’t have to mean leaving out the rest of your friends and family entirely! Bri Marbais, bridal stylist at The Bridal Finery, recommends livestreaming the ceremony to include everyone who couldn’t make it: “Couples should definitely consider a live stream option for friends or family members who are not invited to the intimate ceremony.”
Marbais adds that it doesn’t have to be a high-pressure addition: “It doesn’t have to be on a public forum and can still be a private situation, even with the live stream option. This will allow those who are not invited to attend the ceremony in person to still be a part of such a monumental time for the couple. Because live streaming is so extremely popular for weddings today, there is an abundance of price points and packages readily available.”
Go all in on the experience.
Smaller weddings allow couples to invest more in their guest experience, since they’ll have more room in their budget to play with elements they may not have considered otherwise. “Experience will be the buzz word for 2021,” assures Gretchen Culver, owner of Rocket Science Events and Minne Weddings. “No matter the size of the wedding couples will prioritize the guest experience. Expect to see more of the budget allocated to food, beverage, and decor for a truly transformative wedding.”
That’s not all, though. Culver also sees creative entertainment options on the rise: “Weddings often rely on music and dancing as the main entertainment but a dance doesn’t make sense for a handful of people. Couples are thinking outside the box when it comes to entertainment for their guests. Interactive entertainment will be the star of the show. Guests making floral crowns or having their portrait sketched by an artist. It goes back to creating that original experience.”
Whatever you choose, make it happen!
Don’t be afraid to fully commit to your choice and lean into it! Laura Maddox, owner of Magnolia Celebrates says as much with a timely reminder: “There are no rules here! Anyone that wants a smaller, more intimate wedding should do this. However, if you want a larger celebration, I suggest moving forward with a plan for that. I’ve found that most clients who got married and are now having celebrations later are no longer as enthused by the process. Some of the sparkle has come off the jewel, if you will.”
So, is an intimate wedding the perfect way to tie the knot for you and your partner? Only you can answer that question — but rest assured that many couples are finding that their dream wedding is smaller than they expected!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.