The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread chaos, and couples planning their wedding are no exception to this. Whilst the government advice on COVID-19 and weddings keeps changing all the time, if you’re a couple planning to still get married in 2020, you need to seriously think about how to downsize your wedding.
We asked Jane Caterer from Petite Weddings for some tips on how to downsize your wedding – as it’s hard enough to decide on who to invite to your wedding, without having a tiny number enforced on you.
How to Downsize Your Wedding
“Smaller weddings are be their very nature more personal and heartfelt. Everyone invited has a high emotional investment in your day and this creates a really special atmosphere that money cannot buy,” explains Jane, sharing why it’s not a bad thing for your wedding to be smaller. “For Petite Weddings couples a small wedding or elopement is not a compromise, it’s an upgrade in the experience you create for a smaller number of people you really want to share your love with.”
Trim Down Your Guest List
The obvious place to start if you want to downsize your wedding is the size of your guest list. Some couples see that the COVID-19 situation has a silver lining which allows them to get married surrounded by just their nearest and dearest, rather than feeling they need to invite guests they may not feel so close to out of a sense of duty.
Your guests are a key part of your day, and that feeling of being surrounded and supported by those who truly love you and being able to spend time with all of them is quite frankly an upgrade on the experience many couples who have had larger weddings talk of.
Go for a Small Wedding Venue
Consider the size of your wedding venue. Many venues are jumping on the elopement and small wedding band wagon, yet not every venue was created for these super-special, smaller events. There is nothing worse than a small wedding rattling around in an oversized venue. Make sure your chosen venue has appropriate areas that offer that intimacy you are looking to create – preferably inside and outside.
Read more: Ideas for smaller wedding ceremonies
Reduce Your Photography
You may wish to reduce the number of hours of photography you have booked if you’re going to downsize your wedding. With a smaller group you will find that there are only so many shots the photographer can capture without repetition or annoying you and your guests!
You may be able to simply reduce hours, or if not ask you photographer if they can do a separate pre-wedding, one-year anniversary or maybe even a baby shoot in the future for you to use the additional hours you may have booked with them.
Read more: 13 things that really annoy wedding guests
Cut the Stress
Save yourself the stress of a big wedding! Having been arranging intimate weddings and elopements for five years we can vouch for some very relaxed and happy couples on the run up to and on their wedding day. Every aspect of the logistics of a smaller wedding makes it easier to manage, and it also allows you and your wedding team to be a little more creative without taking huge risks that keep anyone awake at night.
Streamline Your Bridal Party
You may want to consider streamlining your wedding parties. You can spend an awful lot of money kitting out bridesmaids and groomsmen. Often you also have the additional expense of having hair and make-up done on the day, not to mention the stress of finding a style/colour or outfit that you and eight friends all agree on!
A small wedding means that your closest friends know they are closest as they are part of the inner circle that’s been invited to your intimate wedding. Assign special responsibilities for each to help you prepare and enjoy your day to the full rather than necessarily having to have them all as bridesmaids or groomsmen.
Read more: The duties of the maid of honour
Extreme Downscaling Your Wedding
You could of course go nuclear, and cut everyone from your special day and make it all about just the two of you. This means you can focus 100% on what the two of you want to do, in terms of eating, location of your ceremony, styling and much more.
You have no one else to think about but each other, which an increasing number of couples are doing. There is certainly something to be said for the reduction in stress and increase in enjoyment that having this special time together during a few days away, then coming back to host a party for your larger group at a later point. It can also be kinder on your wallet.
Read more: 23 ways to boost your wedding budget
Do You Need a Car?
Transport is maybe something you can cut if you get married at the same venue as you stay in. There are a growing number of beautiful small wedding venues with accommodation on site that we work with that negate the need to this additional cost and carbon footprint.
Read more: How to make your wedding more eco-friendly
What About Favours?
Do you need wedding favours? US News Personal Finance reports that 70% of wedding favours are left behind at weddings. Our advice is that this gesture is no longer necessary – share your love and time to your guests on your wedding day instead.
What to Keep if You Downsize Your Wedding
There are some things you really should keep if you downsize your wedding or are planning for a smaller wedding day – don’t think that just because your wedding has to be smaller, that it will be less of a wedding!
The special little touches that make your wedding personal and meaningful to you. Keep your theme, keep the quirky night before cocktail making experience, keep the best man’s speech, your first dance and keep your dried rose petal confetti from your garden.
Read more: The ultimate guide to the best man’s speech
Keep The Catering
Don’t skimp on the food. This is the one thing people either rave about or moan about the most after a wedding. The beauty of having a smaller group is that your budget can go further and the caterer is able to offer a wider range of fantastic options for smaller numbers.
Celebrate with Cake
Your wedding cake should be the centrepiece of your reception. It’s a joy to look at and to eat, and of course you want those shots of cutting your wedding cake for prosperity.
You can still have a large cake but perhaps replace a layer with a dummy layer, or ask your caterer to package up slices to send by post to friends and family who were not able to be there with you.
Invest in Videography
You will want to share your special day with others in due course and a video is a wonderful way to include elderly relatives who couldn’t be with you and to share with future generations. A short movie of your wedding day is a treasure you will never regret.
Read more: Reasons to hire a wedding videographer
Beautiful Wedding Flowers
Your wedding day flowers not only provide a beautiful addition to your photography and videography, but they also make your wedding venue look and smell amazing.
If you are looking to have a smaller wedding but to retain the wow-factor we recommend you do not cut the flower order! They can provide a lovely memento of your wedding day if you have them dried or pressed. You can even have them made in to jewellery or a paperweight after your day!
Don’t Downgrade the Dress
A smaller wedding doesn’t mean downgrading your dress or your styling. This is the moment you have dreamed of, the princess moment when you marry your love in front of your chosen few and you will want to look your very best.
For many brides a smaller wedding gives them the confidence to break the rules a little and make sure that the look they choose is totally their choice and reflects their true selves rather than perhaps feeling they need to take a more traditional route.
Keep the tradition of getting ready separately from your partner, maybe with your trusted wing-men and women around you, so that you both get that first look moment where you take each other’s breath away.
It’s like the moment you fell in love all over again, and we thoroughly recommend retaining this and making sure your photographer is on hand to capture this special moment.
The Morning After the Day Before
With smaller numbers you can have a great send-off for your guests by providing a unique breakfast experience. Ask your chef to come back and create a breakfast picnic to enjoy communally on the lawns at your venue, a chef prepared breakfast BBQ on the beach or a more sedate morning over a lazy luxurious spread at your accommodation.
Considering have a smaller wedding? Make sure you read our 12 ways to have a stylish wedding on a smaller budget.