First of all – the fact that you are even asking this question is courageous. It means that you want to push past the status quo and craft a day that is authentically you. And that’s pretty badass. I’m HERE for it. You are amazing.
If you don’t want to read the full article and want to cut to the chase, then I have a shortcut for you. Just take my handy dandy quiz.
Table of Contents
First of all, let’s get some definitions straight.
An elopement is a celebration of marriage that includes you, your partner and up to 15 guests or so. Once you have about 15-50 guests, the celebration is typically called a micro or intimate wedding. 50+ guests is considered just a regular old wedding.
The number of guests typically dictates the type and structure of your celebration.
If you have 15 people you might hike up on a mountaintop to exchange vows or rent a really cool VRBO.
If you have 40, you’re probably going to need a small venue and the reception will likely be focused around food.
And with say, 75-150, you’re going to need to rent a space that can accommodate that many people.
The Inner Heart Work
Ask yourself: what kind of celebration gets you both super excited? Do you want to dance the night away with all your friends? Or does being the center of attention from a bunch of people make you want to jump off a cliff? If the former, then a big wedding might be for you! If the latter, then a small wedding is definitely the direction you are going to want to go in.
The Practical Work
Cost. The more people you invite, the more expensive your wedding is going to be. Period. So once you do the inner heart work, you need to sit down and make a wedding budget. Keep in mind that the average cost of a wedding in 2022 was about $30,000.
You and your love decided to get married. Everyone is excited. Your mom immediately calls all her friends to let them know. Your friends drop hints they want to be in the wedding party. You can already feel the day snowballing.
So first, pause.
Take a breath.
Go on a date.
And sit down with your person and start dreaming.
On the best day of your life:
Dream BIG. Write it all down. Let go of the word “wedding” as much as possible.
A wedding is, after all, simply a celebration of your marriage.
And that celebration can look like whatever you want it to.
Once you’ve gotten all that clear, you’re going to have a pretty good idea what kind of celebration you want to have. It’s going to feel you. Something you can truly get excited about.
Maybe that dream is the traditional wedding with allll the trappings. That’s beautiful. But don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else does if that feels inauthentic to you.
This is the second big piece of the puzzle.
The average cost of a wedding in 2022 was between 20-40,000. Many of my couples who are planning a big wedding budget a lot more.
And that’s totally fine. If you’re coming into this with a 100,000 budget, then that will take you really far, no matter what kind of celebration you are choosing. You have options.
But if you don’t want to spend that much, then you’re going to have to make choices. Weddings are way more expensive than you think they are going to be.
Need help making a budget?
But the biggest thing to keep in mind is the more people you invite, the more money you are going to have to spend.
You will need a bigger venue, more food, more chairs, more tables, more decorations, more transportation, more alcohol etc. etc. etc.
So if you want a luxury wedding, but only have 20,000 to spend, then keep it small! Have a micro wedding. Make all of your beautiful Pinterest dreams come true – for 25 people.
If having all friends and family is the most important puzzle piece for you then keep it SIMPLE. Feed everybody pizza. Or have a potluck. Splurge on things like photography and videography and DIY everything else.
It goes without saying, but looking for a photographer or videographer for your big day? I would LOVE to chat more with you to see if I might be a good fit for you.
You can reach out right here or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Ultimate Small Wedding Planning Guide and Checklist