August 3, 2020
Make Your Intimate Wedding Day Unique
Hey guys! Today I’m excited to share with you about a topic that is becoming more and more common in the wedding world: intimate wedding celebrations. If you are engaged and planning your wedding right now, even if you are planning for a year in advance, you likely have had to start thinking about how your wedding day might be impacted by the corona virus pandemic.
Gosh, I was just thinking the other day about my thoughts when the pandemic really became national news in our country. I remember thinking, there’s no way this could go on forever. I’m sure it will all blow over quickly. Things escalated SO quickly. I even remember talking to my aunt on the phone and hearing her say something along the lines of, “Well, if this goes on for a year, that won’t be too bad” I remember thinking “WHAT!? A YEAR?!”
Now it’s hard to imagine life ever really being the same as it was before! Cody and I always tell our couples to communicate early about back up plans, and in this case it is so important to be thinking about what your wedding day might look like if you do end up having to deal with certain restrictions. We are telling all of our couples to think through their guest list first, and discuss what they value the most when it comes to their wedding day celebration. If you know that you have always dreamed of having a huge wedding party celebration, you might want to consider postponing your wedding day.
However, I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy, but after all we’ve been through thus far during this pandemic, I do have a hard time imagining that next year everything will be back to normal. So I wanted to spend some time today talking more in detail about intimate wedding days, and how you can make them unique, special, and just as joy-filled as your original wedding day plans!
What is an Intimate Wedding Day
First, let’s define what an intimate wedding day is. An intimate wedding day is one where you celebrate with a small group of your closest family and friends. That could be just your immediate families, or maybe it’s your family and your wedding party. Think any wedding celebration that involves less than 50 people. Intimate is referring to the size of the group you celebrate with!
Now that you understand what we are talking about, let me share my top suggestions for how to make your intimate wedding day unique to your love story!
Let Yourself Dream Big
If you are planning a wedding day for a smaller guest list, the chances are you will have some extra money on hand that you had originally planned on using to cover things like meals, drinks, flatware, etc. Additionally, you might be in the hard situation of having to find a new venue due to COVID restrictions. Trying to plan an entirely different wedding day at a new space with limited guests is a hard thing. Make sure you take some time to grieve and know that it is ok to feel sad that your wedding plans have to change.
Once you’ve started to come to terms with the facts, I want you to allow yourself to dream big!! Seriously, take time and actually visualize what your wedding day could look like if you didn’t have any money, travel, or guest limit restraints. Have you ever imagined having a destination wedding? Do you love veils but you didn’t purchase one before due to budget restraints? What about a vendor that you really wanted to be a part of your day but couldn’t afford before? Think about your wildest wedding dreams and see if you can make any of them a reality!
Why not take your closest family and friends to a gorgeous lake house cabin and make your wedding day a weekend long celebration! Get married in the backyard looking out onto the lake and enjoy a weekend of family fun together!
I understand some people may have restrictions on where they can travel right now, but with Air BnBs and take out food and grocery, this isn’t an impossible idea by any means! Give it a quick search and see what beautiful vacation homes are in your area or the states around you and you might just find the perfect fit for your intimate wedding day celebration!
Think not just about your venue but your vendors! What else can you splurge on that you couldn’t before? Maybe instead of cupcakes, you can have 2 or 3 cakes that are pieces of art! …..
Take a look at how much money you had allocated to additional guests or a certain venue and ask what you might use that money on to make your intimate day special.
Go All Out on Decor
If you end up having to limit your guest size or change your venue, my second tip is to find ways that you can go ALL out and create the most beautiful wedding space you can! One of the easiest ways you can truly transform a space is with florals. Contact your wedding florist and start brainstorming ways that you can add more floral work to your space. Instead of a small floral piece on an arbor, why not cover the entire arbor with greenery and beautiful flowers?
Remember in Episode #2 when I told you not to fall into the Pinterest trap because many wedding day images on pinterest are from styled shoots? Styled shoots are sessions that allow for vendors and photographers to take very curated photographs of work. Usually florists or stylists are creating one tablescape or one floral piece, which means they can go crazy and make it insanely gorgeous because they aren’t paying to set up 50 tables like you would on a regular wedding day. Well, now you actually can take direct inspiration from those photographs, because you likely will be creating a celebration that is very similar to a styled shoot! So why not have a gorgeous bouquet and have a eucalyptus runner on each and every table? Why not add a floral piece to your wedding day hairstyle? Why not have real flower petals for the guests to toss as you come down the aisle as husband and wife?
Another way you can elevate your wedding day celebration is by adding unique and curated pieces to your tablescapes. With a limited guest list, you’ll likely have much fewer tables than you planned on having for your full wedding day. So use some of the money allocated to centerpieces to make your few tables look like what is featured in wedding day magazines! Add candlesticks and real candles that match your colors. Personalize each table setting with a unique place card- there are some amazing ideas on pinterest for how you can make these unique! Get menus printed and use real cloth napkins. There are so many ways you can really elevate your tables and centerpieces and make it feel like a dream wedding day!
Make sure to check out the show notes where I have included photo examples and vendor suggestions for how you can truly create beautiful intimate wedding day decor!
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It feels SO good to be back shooting weddings! What a great way to kick things off again with Kirsten & Dylan! This image blows me away every time I look at it, making it the perfect sneak peek into their beautiful day 🥰 #katieschubertweddings #ksbride The amazing creating team: Venue: @oldhickorygolfclubbd Florals: Deanna Jacobs Floral Design Dress: @bridesnbellesbridal Hair & makeup: @lp_hairdesign_bymeredith DJ: @recordentertainment Cake: Edith’s Cakes & Catering Inc Bridesmaids dresses: @azazieofficial Groom & groomsmen attire: Nedrebo’s
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After months of postponing, waiting, and adapting — We are SO excited to host our first boutique wedding ceremony & reception in Murray Mansion next week! 🎉 Although it will be a smaller gathering than we are used to, we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it feels oh so good!! ✨💕💍 ⠀ Creative Direction & Floral: @bird_and_bumble⠀ Photography: @boothphotographics⠀ Venue: @thecovenantatmurraymansion⠀ Rentals: @relicsrentals⠀ Linens: @windycitylinen⠀ Ribbons, Napkins, and Table Runner: @nativeribbon_co⠀ Candles: @lucidcandle⠀ Planning: @etvoilaevents⠀ Models: @gabriela_ana & @karajeanm⠀ Beauty: @melodysopaartistry⠀ Hair: @lexileehair⠀ Bridal Gowns: @strikebridalbar @alenaleenabridal⠀ Bridesmaid Gown: @missrubyboutique @dessygroup⠀ Shoes: @bellabelleshoes⠀ Backdrop: @jrd_artshop⠀ Invitations: @coquipaperie⠀ Cake: @yieldbakehouse⠀ Print Lab: @photovisionprints #Wibride #wisconsinbride #wisconsinwedding #wisconsinweddings #theinstagramlab #darlingmovement #thatsdarling #pursuepretty #weddinginspiration #risingtidesociety #communityovercompetition #flashesofdelight #weddinginspo #thehappynow #milwaukeewedding #milwaukeeweddings #milwaukeeweddingvenue #boutiquewedding #elopement #intimateweddings #intimateweddingvenue #wisconsinweddingvenues #marriedinmke #chicagobride #petiteweddings
Focus On the People Present
I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to narrow down a list of people who are necessary to celebrate your wedding day. When Cody and I were planning our wedding day, it was difficult to stay in the 200 range when we were planning our guest lists. Some of our couples have found it difficult to stay under 500! So I know that this isn’t a decision to take lightly. However, if you do have to have a small ceremony with immediate family and friends, find ways to really focus on them and create a celebration that involves them in each step of the day!
My favorite ways to include your guests would be by having a family style dinner. Rent long wooden tables and push them together so you all can have a meal at one table! You and your partner can sit right in the middle, and be surrounded by the people who mean the most to you! Cody and I photographed an elopement where the couple had a family style dinner in the middle of a field that was the backyard of a cabin right next to a lake. I teared up while photographing it because it was just SO special to see them all sitting together at one table, ready to celebrate with a meal together. Don’t underestimate how impactful this can be!
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This is a perfect photo of how intimate and special a family style dinner can be! It was photographed by Maison Meredith Photography.
Even though you might forgo having a dj at your intimate ceremony, don’t let go of having first dances! Circle your guests up and have them surround you with sparklers to make this tradition even more special and unique. With a small group, all you need is a really good speaker and a phone to get the party music started! Before you spend hours creating a curated playlist, be sure to search music generators like Spotify and Pandora for their pre-made playlists. Ask a family member or friend to monitor the music so you don’t need to worry about it!
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I love this unique sparkler dance idea! It was captured by Jenelle Elise Photo
My last suggestion for how you can make your intimate wedding day special for those who are present is to gift your guests personalized favors at the end of the day. With a smaller guest list, it can be much easier to think of favors that would fit your guests and their own personalities. Have drinking glasses made with their names or gift each guest a potted plant, purchase something special from a small business in your hometown. Find a way to make your favor something fun and memorable!
Find Ways to Include Guests From Afar
We have made it to my last tips about creating a unique intimate wedding day! Like I said previously, narrowing down your guest list is no easy task. Especially if you have family members who are more at risk in terms of health, this can be a very difficult situation for your family. Let’s talk about how you can include guests who cannot be in attendance on your wedding day.
If you’d like your guests to be a part of the live celebration of your wedding day, consider setting up a camera or a computer where they can live stream the ceremony and reception. This could be as simple as using Facebook to live stream, or you could hire a videography company to set up a more high quality experience! That way guests can celebrate from afar in the comfort of their homes at the same moments when you are celebrating!
If the idea of live streaming doesn’t sound appealing to you, think about hiring a videographer. A videographer can offer you a highlight film that will capture all of the big moments of your wedding, as well as full coverage of your wedding day ceremony if that is something that is important to you. Then, once everything is safe, you can have a live viewing party with all your guests who were unable to attend the wedding in person!
Another unique idea to include guests from home would be to have them be a part of the speech portion of the reception. You could have special guests write a letter to you that you wait and have someone else read aloud during dinner. Or better yet, the guests who cannot attend could record a video with a short speech and you can watch it during your intimate reception.
After your wedding day, find ways to share the celebration with those who could not be there. Yes, post your photos and videos on social media, but why not go the extra mile? Print a photograph you love from your wedding day and send it to your guest in the mail. For really special guests who were not able to attend, consider making them a small album of photos from the day that they can keep and share with others! I just know grandparents would absolutely love to have those memories in a physical form!
You Can Do This!
I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to create a new vision for your wedding. I hope that as you plan your intimate wedding day, you allow yourself to dream big, decorate like crazy, and involve all of your guests: those in person and from afar. Don’t forget to check out the show notes for examples of all your intimate wedding day could be! I know many couples have found themselves making difficult decisions regarding their wedding day celebrations lately, and I can’t imagine how challenging this situation must be for engaged couples. However, if you find yourself planning an intimate wedding day, don’t be afraid to make it what dreams are made of! If you are planning your wedding day, be sure to check out our previous wedding planning episodes here!