During the weeks of COVID-19 we have found that an increasing number of engaged couples are looking toward the option of an intimate wedding versus the traditional 100+ guest event. This isn’t surprising seeing as large gatherings were the first events to be prohibited when the outbreak first began. And while we absolutely love the huge traditional weddings, there are definitely benefits to having a more intimate celebration.
Intimate weddings are just that: intimate. They allow for more time spent with close friends & family. Intimate events also tend to require much less planning and consequently run a lot lower in price. Intimate weddings and elopements seem to be a growing trend, so we decided to provide our top five tips when planning for yours.
Tip #1: Find the Perfect Ceremony Location
When planning your intimate weddings, your venue options are a bit more open. You won’t need to worry about guest count and size, which means you can find somewhere that really fits your style. To ease the planning process, you can also look for all-inclusive venues. Some venues even offer special intimate/elopement packages that include the essentials (ceremony site, officiant, florals, etc).
Another option for ceremony sites is to go off the beaten path a bit. Since you’ll have a less formal event with fewer guests, you can be more adventurous. Perhaps hike to a natural scenic area to say your “I Do’s.” Or get a short-term permit at one of your favorite parks. The options are truly limitless.
Tip #2: Narrow Down Your Guest List
Most vendors/venues qualify an “Intimate Wedding” as an event with less than 30 total people. You’ll want to keep your count within this range to secure the lower package pricing for intimate events. Over the years, we’ve found this to be the perfect number since it usually allows for immediate family and any close friends.
With the lower guest count, everyone present during your celebration will have a personal relationship with you. This makes the day so much more meaningful.
Tip #3: Plan a Unique Activity for Everyone
Some of our favorite intimate weddings have incorporated a fun, unique experience for the guests. This serves as a sort of inclusive way to celebrate after the ceremony. One couple we worked with had their ceremony on a hot air balloon, and then proceeded to take the guests on an hour-long balloon tour of the countryside. Another couple invited their guests to join them in rented cabins for a weekend-long stay in a national park. Other couples have followed their ceremonies with private wine tours or dining experiences.
Whatever you choose, find a reception activity that your guests will enjoy and remember forever. This will make the event more meaningful for everyone there. And it will turn your 30min-long ceremony into a full day (or weekend) of celebrating!
Tip #4: Don’t Stress Too Much About the Timeline
An awesome thing about smaller weddings is they are MUCH less hectic on the day-of. Larger weddings have a very strict timeline. Intimate weddings however, can be a lot more casual. Less people means it is usually much easier to organize and communicate plans to everyone. We’ve covered a lot of intimate weddings where a bus was hired to drive everyone around from one destination to the next. There is also a lot less pressure to try and keep everyone entertained since chances are they all know each other relatively well.
While it’s not vital to have a concrete timeline, it is a good idea to plan a loose one. Have a general itinerary for the day and be sure to communicate that itinerary to guests beforehand. Make sure to include addresses and contact info in any communications. One couple we worked with made a PDF package for each of their guests. They had their intimate celebrating at the Lake Crescent Lodge in the Olympic National Park. In the package they put together, they included the addresses for everyone’s lodging, nearby attractions/hikes, and a map of the park.
Tip #5: Hire a Videographer
Seeing as I am a wedding videographer myself, this Tip seems a bit biased. However, I assure you that the number one regret we’ve heard from couples who didn’t hire a videographer is that they wished they had. This is especially important for elopements & intimate weddings! Since only your closest friends and family will be present, you’ll need a way to share the experience with anyone who can’t make it. More distant relatives and friends would surely love to watch a 3-4min highlight video from the day.
A good videographer will capture the emotions from the day, so having a film to look back on will be everything. But don’t take my word for it. Watch some of our past intimate wedding films and see for yourself 🙂
For more info on planning the perfect intimate wedding, or for more info on our wedding film services, send us an email today!