Top 10 Tips for Planning a Small Wedding

Planning a small wedding isn’t the affair it used to be. It could range from you and two witnesses to a group of fifteen. Either way, small weddings are on the rise.

Why go small? Because the average couple spends $35,329 on their wedding day.

Chances are, you don’t have that kind of cash to drop. Here are 10 tips to get the wedding of your dreams without divorcing your bank account.

1. Choose Your Must-Haves

We’re talking a small wedding with a smaller budget. And like all budget planning, that means narrowing down to the necessities.

The necessities depend on what your priorities are.

Let’s say you have a favorite bakery. A custom cake might be right up your alley. On the other hand, maybe you just want your grandma to be there.

Make a list, and narrow down. If you can’t live without it, make sure it happens for your wedding. Everything else is extraneous.

2. Hire a Pro (for Only the Necessities)

Decision burn out is real. Especially for the day that’s supposed to be perfect (no pressure).

In this case, hiring a pro for the necessities will make your life about a hundred miles easier.

A wedding planner, for example, can be a lifesaver. And if you hire them on a limited basis, you can keep planning a small wedding on a budget.

Hiring them only in the beginning to help book vendors, for example, is a great way to make the most of your investment. They know how to negotiate discounts that you can’t and suggest budget-friendly places that won’t occur to you.

3. Don’t Hire Family and Friends

It seems like a good idea at the time. It’s really not.

Here’s the thing about hiring family and friends. You know them and you like them, which means you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

Which is kind of a problem when you’re planning your big day. It’s hard enough to tell a random stranger that you don’t like something and want it another way. With friends and family, you have to worry about offending them.

And soon enough you’ll end up with a wedding you don’t like because you didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.

Save yourself the trouble. Bring in the pros and don’t hire friends and family.

4. Book the Space First

As in, before you even set the date.

Let’s have some real talk about a vendor: they aren’t going to reserve anything for you unless you’ve made the deposit.

So unless you’ve paid them money to make your reservation, don’t send out save the date cards. Specifically, make a deposit to get the space reserved before you do anything else. Don’t do flowers, don’t do cake, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Vendors will flake out, mess reservations up or any number of creatively irritating things other than what you hired them for. Having the space reservation confirmed will at least ensure that you know where the wedding will take place.

5. Keep Organized

When it comes to planning a small wedding, you’re going to need all the help you can get to keep your sanity intact.

Especially if you’re organizing your own wedding without help.

We’re talking invoices, contracts, reservations, and any number of details that you’re totally going to remember until you get stressed out and totally don’t.

If you’re old school, there are wedding plan journals. Web-sharing services like Google Drive are also magical lifesavers.

Some things you can even have ready to go before you start — like a wedding program template.

6. Create a Registry

Yes, even if your wedding will consist solely you, your significant other and your dog.

Especially if your wedding consists of only enough the people you need to make it official. Your friends and family members will want to celebrate before or after, and many of them will want to get gifts.

Plus, if you’re wedding planning on a budget, you can wind up with a lot of items you’ll actually use.

7. Small Receptions for the Win

It’s a stereotype that the bride will spend the whole reception running from person to person.

Know what solves that problem? A small reception.

Besides letting you, you know, actually spend quality time with your guests, a small reception is way more cost effective. Some couples will forego a reception altogether and go celebrate with far-flung friends and family.

8. Any Outfit is a Wedding Outfit

If you can physically capable of walking down the aisle to get married in it, it qualifies as a wedding outfit.

Seriously though – some brides drop thousands of dollars on a gorgeous dress, others get married dressed as Stars Wars characters.

If you feel amazing in it, you can get married in it. Even if it’s not a fancy dress.

But if you’re all about a fancy, beautiful wedding dress, wear your fancy beautiful wedding dress (and if you need ideas, check out these fabulous dresses and shop now).

9. Know Your DIY Limits

In theory, DIY-ing it up will make your wedding planning easier.

In practice…well, there are limits to DIY skills.

For example: if you have a friend who does calligraphy, this is an awesome opportunity to ask for a hand. If, however, neither you nor your significant other have any artistic ability to speak of, maybe leave it to the pros.

10. Keep the Bridal Party Small

Remember your friend’s wedding when you were part of the bridal party? And coordinating all of them was a huge stressor and massive pain?

Avoid that. Stick with a small bridal party of the people you actually want to be there for you.

Making Sense of Planning a Small Wedding

Planning a small wedding is an adventure. That doesn’t mean you have to go into it without any help.

Check out our blog for all kinds of tips to make the whole process of planning your wedding that much easier, like our post on how using a wedding podcast for advice can help your wedding go forward smoothly.