How Big Should Your Wedding Really Be?

March 18, 2020

One of the most important parts of planning your wedding is deciding just how big it should be. While some couples have had a general idea since before they were engaged (like knowing 100% they wanted to elope), others need to give the size of their wedding serious consideration, taking into account everything from budget and location to general vibe and travel coordination.

The best place to start if you’re still in the planning stages of your wedding is to understand the industry difference between a “wedding”, an “intimate wedding”, and an “elopement”.

Wedding Terms

For starters, elopements rarely have no more than ten people, including the bride, groom, and the officiant. Intimate weddings, on the other hand, usually have a small list of wedding guests, somewhere between thirty and fifty people. The ambiguous “wedding” term leaves things a little bit more open to interpretation, but generally mean more than fifty guests (and sometimes lots more than fifty guests).

Of course, that’s just the beginning.

What really matters when determining the size of your wedding is your budget and, even more importantly, how you want your special day to look and feel. It’s also important to remember that the size of your wedding doesn’t have to be a black-and-white answer. There are plenty of couples that decide to elope and then throw a big party when they return. Others choose to have an intimate ceremony guest list followed by a huge reception, or vice versa.

Plan Other Parts First

If you’re having a hard time deciding just how big (or small) your wedding should be, try making a few other decisions first. Once you know your venue and you’ve established a theme, it will definitely be easier to visualize what your big day will look like. Is there a lot of guests at your ceremony? Or is your venue more remote and intimate? Does your reception feel like a huge party? Or is the vibe of your day more laidback with just your closest family and friends?

If you choose to have a smaller wedding or elopement, narrowing down the guest list can feel daunting. But, remember, not trying to please everyone is the best way to make sure you love every moment of your wedding day. After all, your marriage isn’t about anyone else, which means the final decision about the size and type of wedding should absolutely be between you and your partner – no one else.

Needing to edit your guest list in order to create your perfect day but feeling stuck?

Here are a few tips that should help:

  1. Organize Your Guest List. Put your guests into categories so that it’s easier to look at. Try dividing everyone into groups like “immediate family”, “relatives”, “personal friends”, “family friends”, “coworkers”, etc. Doing this can help you see where have some wiggle room.

  2. Think About Photos. If you’re pretty certain that in five years there’s a good chance you won’t remember who someone in your wedding photo is, then that person, as much as you might like to have them at your wedding, might be someone to consider cutting from your guest list.

  3. Strategize Your Invites. We love the idea of creating invitations for everyone on your initial list and then sending them out in waves, starting with the most important guests. As your RSVPs come in, you can determine when and if you can send out more, which is helpful if you’re working with a tight budget or a strict venue.

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