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  • Writer's pictureEmily Gustafson

Do I want a big wedding or a small wedding? #wednesdaywisdom

Photo courtesy of Brittany Conner Photography

Our #wednesdaywisdom today covers an small question with ramifications for planning your wedding. It's a question that effects every single aspect of your wedding from your budget to your big send off. The question we are discussing is do you want a big wedding or a small wedding?

There are, of course, benefits to both kinds of wedding celebrations. One is not better than the other. And what size of wedding you have really depends on what kind of wedding you are envisioning. Do you want a big wedding surrounded by lots of friends and family, a rocking reception that could be the biggest party you ever host, and a room packed to the brim with people offering loving encouragement? Or do you want a small wedding with plenty of intimacy, lavish details that would be difficult to achieve with a larger wedding, and the feeling like each of your guests got plenty of your time and attention? It's a tough decision for some!

Photo courtesy of Winx Photo

So, here are few questions to help you decide if a big todo or a small gathering fit your vision and style.

1. What is your budget? By now y'all know that I love keeping people on budget. It's so important that weddings stay on budget so everyone is happy at the end of the long journey of wedding planning. If keeping your budget in check is a pricinipal concern, it's often best to lean towards a smaller wedding. If you keep your guest list numbers lower you can choose options that are more luxurious and personalized without the stress of going over budget. Just remember, the larger the wedding the more expensive nearly every wedding service will be (venue, food and beverage, favors, transportation, hotels).

Smaller weddings and elopements have seen a surge of popularity in the last few years and I think it's a lovely option. Don't count it out!

Photo courtesy of Winx Photo

2. Where will you get married? If you are a couple who wants to be wed in your home church that seats 500, you have more liberty in terms of number of guests. But remember, your wedding guest list does not have to include everyone that you have ever met. Creating the guestlist for a large wedding and can be a stressful job. The larger the wedding, the more of that you'll need to work through in perfecting the guestlist to make everyone happy. For more info on guest list creation see my previous post on this topic (link at the bottom of this post).

If you are wanting to jet away to Fiji your wedding will naturally be smaller. Destination weddings mean smaller guest lists as it can be difficult for people to travel for the wedding, especially if the location is more exotic. But, location also matters locally. If you want to be married in a little chapel tucked away in the mountains that seats twenty-five, then do not invite more people than can fit into the space. I know that this sounds obvious but I see it all the time. My personal belief is that everyone who is invited to be present for your wedding should have a seat. No matter what you do, if you invite more people than will comfortably fit in your wedding space, someone will be unhappy.

What do you do if you want an intimate ceremony but also feel like you need to invite your extended family? There are options! If you want the best of both worlds, consider having the tiny little wedding or a beach wedding in Fiji with your closest friends and family and then have a relaxed reception in a more convenient, larger location where you invite the expanded guest list to share in the celebration.

The bottom line is don't invite 250 people to Fiji or to a chapel that seats fifteen. Make the size of your wedding fit your venue/desination.

Photo courtesy of Leah Nicole Photography

3. Ok, now the fun part of this exercise. Close your eyes and just imagine your wedding day. What do you see? Set aside all the expectations of your family members and relatives. Set aside everything that you think you "should" do to make other people happy and just picture it. Now, who is there with you? Are you looking out into a large crowd of friends and family gathered to celebrate with you? Or are you seeing only a few important faces that are giving you all the support you need? Hopefully, putting others' needs and expectations aside can help you to see what you really want. Wedding planning is a family affair and often couples get input on what to do from many sources (sometimes unsolicited) that can make things feel really complicated. Just try to remember that when the wedding is over you and your fiancé will be the only people who got married that day. Your wishes do matter.

Like I said, both large weddings and small weddings have their benefits. Both are wonderful ways to begin a new chapter. But, this choice effects so many things that it needs be carefully considered. The last thing I want is for you to feel like your wedding wasn't really what you wanted. The next step is to have some honest conversations with your fiancé about what you both envision, decide on what is most important to you, and then discuss your wishes with your family.

If you need a third party to help bring things into perspective, consider a wedding planner. I love helping clients bring to life the special day that they imagine together.

Happy planning,

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