Planning A Small Wedding

The first question that would come to mind when planning a small wedding is - "What is considered a small wedding?"

For some people, "small" refers to the number of guests. That may mean, for some, under 200 people. For others, 100 people is the cut-off mark. But some people want less than 50 guests, or are just including family and their closest friends.

For others, "small" may refer to the bridal party, where only a few attendants (or no attendants) are included.

At any rate, in some way or another your "small" wedding is going to be different from the usual wedding you attend or read about. This may mean that some of the aspects of the ceremony and reception that occur in more typical weddings are not as appropriate. But it also means that you may be able to do some special things that other brides & grooms cannot do.

Since what constitutes a "small" wedding varies, and the formality may vary as well, some of the tips below may be more or less appropriate for the wedding you have in mind.

The Ceremony

Instead of a processional, allow guests to mix and mingle before the service over wine and cheese. Give a toast to start the event, and then have everyone proceed to their places.

Give each member of your families a flower, and have them line the aisle. As the bride proceeds towards the altar, she takes each one and assembles her bouquet as she goes, symbolizing the contributions the family makes to this union.

Consider having your families & guests stand up for the entire service, at your side just as attendants would be in a larger wedding.

Have members of your family do the readings.

Ask each of the guests to say a few words about the couple, or ask them to write a few things down ahead of time, and assemble them into a document for one person to read aloud.

Incorporate ethnic or family traditions that may have fallen by the wayside through the years. Contact older family members, or research wedding traditions via the web or the library.

Make your wedding program more substantial, more of a booklet and keepsake. Include messages to each of the guests and explanations of why you chose your flowers, readings, colors, music, etc. If your wedding is held in a unique place, give some information about it, too.

Be your own "ushers" when it comes to dismissing people after the service. Greet each guest as they leave the pew.

Encourage each guest to use an entire page of your guestbook to share comments, advice, or other messages. You'll have many more lines of space than you'll have guests, so put it to good use and get a nicer keepsake of your guests!

The Reception

Some of the more traditional reception activities may be less desirable with a smaller number of of guests, especially if they tend to do better with a "critical mass"of people (for example, dancing). Here are some ideas you might want to consider for your reception:

Instead of having a typical reception, have a "wedding supper" at a restaurant--as simple or as lavish as you prefer. Some restaurants will even print a special menu just for your event.

Consider renting a trolley or carriage or other interesting transportation for your guests.

Have your photographer take photos of all your guests, either in one large group photo or as couples, families, or other logical groups.

If the reception is in a historic home or museum, have a tour guide there to show guests the facility.

Instead of a band or DJ, hire a string quartet, a harpist, or other unique musical performer. Have you ever heard dulcimer music? Lovely!

Prepare a slide show of photos of each of you from childhood, adolescence, and on up through meeting one another. Include photos of each of you with your families and other special guests. Photo shops and copy centers can make slides out of standard photographs (this can be expensive, so shop around for the best price). Renting or borrowing the equipment (projector and screen) is possible. Then show the slides during the reception, either with music (you can created a mixed tape beforehand) or with some clever narration. Some videography companies offer a similar service for creating videos from your still photos.

Whatever you do, take advantage of the smaller size to do some serious mixing and mingling. Too many couples say that they didn't get to spend enough time with their guests on their wedding day. You won't have this problem!

Source: Small Wedding Advice

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