Due to the recent restrictions placed on large groups due to COVID-19, many couples are making the switch to having a more intimate wedding. Making the switch to a smaller wedding comes with its own set of challenges but intimate weddings can be just as spectacular if you know how to plan them. La Bella Planners is here to help! We have created this guide as a resource for you to follow while you navigate through this process.
It may seem easy to find a wedding venue to accommodate a smaller guest count, but many venues have a guest minimum which requires you to pay for a certain number of guests no matter what. This means you can be forced to pay for meals that no one will eat and they will go to waste. However, this can be a good thing because you can use venues that are a better fit for your personality and wedding style that may not be an option for a larger wedding party. A perfect example of this is to use a local restaurant as your wedding venue. With this option, you have more control over the cuisine that is served at your wedding and the ambiance of the space around you. Many local restaurants can offer you a buyout as long as you meet their food and beverage minimum, or they may have an event space that you can rent out. Either way, this is a wonderful way to support local businesses while creating a unique event.
Now that you have decided on where you would like your wedding to be, you can now decide what you would like your wedding to look like. With a smaller guest count, you have more freedom to play with the design of a space and truly get creative. Intimate weddings give you the opportunity to bring your guests together and allow everyone to enjoy each other’s company without any disconnect.
There are a few key points to think about while planning the design of your wedding. The first is what will the venue allow us to do? If your venue will not allow you to rearrange tables or bring in furniture rentals, that is very important to know before you design a concept that your venue will not allow. The second key point is how do you want the space to flow? A smaller wedding gives you the opportunity to have all of your guests able to interact with each other at the same time, but this may not always be what you are looking for. If you want all of your guests to be able to see and interact with each other, you can design a layout with everyone facing one another and low floral arrangements in the center. However, if you would like the guests to be able to interact with a few of their closest family or friends more easily, you can create a more traditional layout for a reception but with smaller tables and smaller floral arrangements. Either way, you can control how your guests will interact with each other and how your reception space will flow.
Since intimate weddings can be very different from large weddings, you want to make sure you find vendors who have experience with smaller luxury events. Well-rounded vendors can make an intimate wedding feel just as magical as a large wedding in a grand ballroom.
Photographs are a key aspect of any wedding day since they are the main resource you will have to look back on all of the amazing memories. It is so important to find a photographer who is able to capture the important moments while still incorporating the overall atmosphere of your wedding day.
Smaller weddings do not mean your floral design has to have less of an impact. Find a florist who is able to create a design that fits your venue and theme well rather than just creating smaller versions of standard floral arrangements.
Intimate weddings can allow you to have a bit more freedom when planning out your entertainment as well. You still have the option to dance the night away with a DJ or a band and having fewer guests allows them to connect with you and your guests more so they will play the music you want to hear. You can also have an acoustic musician play in the background if you want a cocktail party atmosphere.
Planning After COVID-19
While this is not an enjoyable topic to discuss while planning your wedding, it is important to keep in mind for the safety of your guests. It is going to be a long time before weddings go back to “normal” after the pandemic and there are some necessary precautions that you and your guests can take to make sure everyone feels safe and can focus on what your wedding day is truly about, love.
The first precaution is inviting a safe number of guests. Less than 50 people is the ideal size for a gathering, as long as the restrictions in your area allow you to host an event of this size. However, if you are inviting people who are high-risk, this will change your guest count. The CDC recommends keeping gatherings below ten people if you are inviting many high-risk guests. This includes people who have underlying medical conditions as well as older adults who are more susceptible to being infected and requiring hospitalization.
The second precaution is providing your guests with the resources for preventative actions. Hand sanitizing stations are a great safety precaution and they give you an opportunity to get creative with a design! Just because sanitizing stations are there for safety does not mean they cannot go along with your wedding theme. You can also provide custom gloves and masks for your guests to keep. This is a practical favor which your guests which they will get a lot of use out of even after your wedding day.
The third precaution is encouraging your guests to stay home from the event if they are sick. We are very fortunate to live in a time when technology can bring people together so easily. Plan to live stream your wedding ceremony and reception which will make your guests who are unable to attend feel like they are still included in your special day.
For more information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, check out the CDC guidelines here