Last Updated on 28/10/2020 by Brooke Potduang
Last Updated on 22/05/2020 by Brooke Potduang
How to Plan a Small Wedding on a Budget
Because planning a small family wedding or a small engagement party at home is becoming much more popular now than in the past. What about you? If you were to host a small wedding, how would you make it a night to remember for your valued guests whilst also keeping a tight leash on the budget?
In 2020, during the unstable COVID-19 situation, many may have noticed the change in our way of life. Social distancing is necessary even at a wedding, it could be said that weddings nowadays are not focused on the grandeur and an impressive amount of guests as they were in the past.
For some, their interests may be more in tune with a small wedding because of the declining economy. Some may see a small family wedding or a small home engagement makes more sense as a small wedding will help save the energy that is usually spent during the planning phase, as well as the money spent on the wedding budget. Not only do all these advantages come with no loss in how memorable the wedding is, it can also help strengthen the family bond and warmth.
But because a “wedding” is known as one of the most important days of our lives, you should still plan for a small wedding carefully. You should communicate with your beloved guests clearly and prepare as much as you can for the wedding. This goes without saying, a small wedding will still come with its own unique set of problems which may differ from a larger wedding.
And so, in this article, we will take you on a journey to explore the types of small weddings and the tricks for you to be able to host a spectacular small wedding in your own design which will be just as memorable as a larger wedding. What are the things you need to know, let us get started!
Types of ‘Small Weddings’
Even though by its definition, a small wedding is quite straightforward. It is a small wedding with a small number of guests, small in space and lower in the budget. However, a small wedding can still be categorized based on the number of guests attending the wedding.
Actually, small weddings that are called “Elopement” are still a topic of debate to this day. Can it actually be called a small wedding or not? This is because in a direct translation to the Thai language, the word means a secret wedding.
Elopements are small weddings that the bride and groom carry out the ceremony themselves without inviting any guests or close family members. There may only be one or two witnesses at the wedding.
This type of wedding is starting to become more popular in the West because many brides and grooms view a wedding ceremony as a ceremony of two people proclaiming their love for each other. Therefore, there is no need to spend an enormous amount of budget on the ceremony as well as taking unnecessary amounts of care of the guests.
As for the prospective brides and grooms who wish to plan a small wedding in the form of an elopement, this is completely fine. I respect your resolute decision because you may face the judgment of the society that may speculate to the reasons why you had to marry in secret – as well as the elders who see this as unfit to the traditions even though you both have understandable reasons of your own.
Many may picture this type of wedding as simplistic, however – you are able to plan a small wedding elopement to be memorable for both your partner as well as the guests who attend your wedding by selecting a sentimental or special location for your ceremony.
A “Minimony” small wedding is a new term which has been just established in 2020 during the COVID-19 situation. The situation is a great obstacle in preventing m
any partners from hosting their wedding as planned because of social distancing.
“The Knot” gave an explanation of the Minimony as a very small-sized wedding with only close friends and families attending. The total of guests may not even exceed 10 people, however, the ceremony is just like a regular wedding in all aspects whether it be the small engagement party at in home, the bride price, the exchanging of rings as well as a small after-party.
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If anyone chooses to host a small family wedding because of the COVID-19 situation, as well as the want to keep the same wedding date – you can still host a full-fledged version of your original wedding after the situation unwinds as well.
A “Microwedding” style of small weddings is gaining popularity in Thailand and is an upcoming trend. The total guests are around 40-50, only close friends and families are invited and so the amount of guests attending is not too much or too little. This enables you to host a small wedding that is still impressive and complete with every ceremony as well as the warmth and luxury on a smaller scale.
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At this point, you will probably have a better understanding of how small weddings are categorized. You will probably begin to see what your dream wedding looks like – now, let us continue to see what tips and tricks may help you to host your small wedding or your small engagement party at home as you intended.
4 Tips and Tricks To Host a Small Wedding to Your Heart’s Desire
1. Set a Budget
This is the first step many brides and grooms will have to go through, no matter the scale. Setting the budget for a wedding is considered one of the most important steps to planning how a wedding will turn out without completely exceeding the budget. As for a small wedding, we have the tips and tricks of setting the budget as follows:
1.1 Determine the Number of Guests
You can gauge an estimated budget easily from the number of guests attending the ceremony. You could think of the increasing costs per person such as the food, the gifts, and location – you can then add them up with the fixed costs such as the wedding gown, the makeup and hairdo, the flowers and the decorations as well as the photographer.
The fewer guests attending, the more it affects the budget because other than the decrease in per person costs – when the formality is decreased, the fixed costs could decrease in accordance with the smaller scale of the party as well. This makes a small wedding wonderful for your pockets because you can control the budget from getting out of hand much easier.
But an obstacle that many partners will face when hosting a small wedding is communicating that the invited guests are only close friends and families. Some may be disheartened that they were not invited, you and your partner must be firm yet polite in your communication even though they may be distant relatives who are still considered a part of your family.
If you want to compromise with the uninvited guests, you could promise them that you will meet them for dinner at a later date. We recommend you to share the photos of your wedding at a later date so that they may understand that the wedding was really a small scale for close friends and families only, and that is the only reason they were not invited. Not because of any other petty and hurtful reasons.
1.2 Make a List of Must-Haves
In planning a small wedding or engagement party, it may be difficult if you start from planning a bigger wedding then cutting out unnecessary aspects.
And actually, hosting a small wedding will give you an advantage because as the scale of the ceremony goes down – the more budget you will have for the things you truly want in your wedding.
So the recommendation we want to make to you if you want to host a small wedding is to start with making a list of “Must-Haves” or the truly important aspects of your wedding. This list could be made of the things you and your partner deem indispensable. Doing so will help you see a clearer overall picture of your wedding and will help you in truly realizing the small wedding of your dream.
For example, some may have enough budget to host a medium-sized wedding but are more comfortable with hosting a small wedding with only families and close friends invited – this is considered an advantage.
Because if you have a leftover budget, you will be able to spend it on the things you truly want. You could include these in your small wedding must-haves: a beautiful flower backdrop, or a designer grade wedding gown. Some may even look at the long-term and decide to spend the budget on a uniquely designed diamond ring with the most brilliant diamonds they can find.
A small wedding will give you the option to go all-out on the engagement rings and the wedding bands
Or for some partners, their must-haves could be a ceremony which strictly follows their family traditions, or an unmissable dinner partner, or even the invitation to all the members of the group of close friends of both the bride and the groom.
Once you both have listed your must-haves for your small wedding, you will start to see where the budget leans toward. As for the aspects outside of your list, they can be dismissed or decreased as you see fit.
However, in cutting out some aspects of your wedding, some may be unhappy with your decision. This could be your parents who wish to have additional ceremonies or a luxury hotel setting to accommodate their friends. It could also be distant friends or acquaintances who do not understand your decision.
We only ask you to be strong. Focus on the goals of your small wedding, focus on what you truly want. Communicate this to those around you so that they may understand you, then you will surely be able to host a small wedding of your dreams.
Read more: A wedding checklist every couple should have
1.3 Vendors Will Still Charge a Wedding Rate
It does not matter how small your wedding is, you should keep in mind that the vendors will still charge at a higher rate. For example, if you order a cake, even though small in size, but as it is a wedding rate – the bakery will still charge extra.
This wedding rate also applies to the flowers, the minimalist wedding gown, the photographer hired only for a few hours, and many other costs for a small wedding.
Because of this, you should be mindful and allocate extra budget for your small wedding without having it be too tight. But you should understand that, if you need to hire someone to help you organize your wedding, the costs will be charged at a higher rate. When you are creating the budget for your small wedding, you should ask different vendors to compare their prices in detail.
2. A “Small Wedding” Filled With Ideas
Hosting a small wedding does not always mean that the event needs to be boring or uneventful. Actually, having a smaller scale party will allow you more opportunities to easily set the wedding in the way you want it to be.
This is because in a smaller scale party, you will not need to constantly worry about what the people will think, as well as the reduced cost per person – you will be able to design the wedding to your wishes, allocating budgets for the things you want without needing them to be luxurious and impressive. This means that you can organize the wedding to be as close to your style as possible.
And so, if you are thinking about hosting a small wedding – you need not be shy. Whatever ideas you have, you can go all-in on them – whether it be the order of ceremonies which you are most comfortable with, or adding fun extra activities and games for the guests to enjoy. You could even change the bride and groom’s attire to whatever you want it to be without a single care in the world.
3. Take Good Care of Your Guests No Matter How Small the Wedding
Because the heart of a wedding is not the grand nor the splendor – but it is the joy of the bride and groom, and the guests to spend time together in such a wonderful occasion.
This essence can be reached even though you are hosting a small wedding in your own style or a small engagement party at home if you and your partner take good care of your guests. A tip is to create a shared experience that is as specifically meaning to each guest as possible, or as they are called – “Personal Meaningful Experiences”
An example of creating a shared experience in a wedding is; it does not matter the small the scale your wedding is, it does not matter if there are only 10 people attending – you should not miss out on setting up a reception table for your guests to receive gifts, sign their names and congratulate you and your partner onto the guest book.
Or if you want your guest book to appear as a work of art that can be framed for viewing at a later date, in the West, there is a trend of making a “Guest Book Tree” for every guest to sign their fingerprints onto the picture, or to write messages straight from their heart onto a piece of paper which will be stuck together into a shape of a tree. This can communicate to your guests how much you value their words of congratulations.
Or it could just be you and your partner taking the time to chat with every guest. You could ask them how they have been, so that they may know that you know – this is better than being too involved and focused on the perfectness of the ceremonies and overlooking the importance of the guests. You could also find fun and heart-warming activities for the guests such as playing games or a small prize drawing.
If the number of guests attending is between the 10-20 figure, you could find the time to write sincere thank you notes and include the stories you and your partner may have with that particular guest and give it to them after the ceremony has ended.
These small caring acts will make the guests feel happy with the wedding, ensuring that this wedding, albeit small, will be imprinted on their minds long after it has passed.
4. Be Prepared for the Uncertain
And it does not matter how well you and your partner plan a small wedding, when it comes to planning a “wedding” there will be obstacles and problems you must face and solve on your feet.
What is important is that, not only does worrying about these problems not help with anything – it will take the joy out of your day. The better way is to be as prepared as you can be for these uncertain things. We have listed a few recommendations to help you prepare for these unknown obstacles that may appear during your small wedding. And they are as follows.
4.1 Have a Coordinator on the Wedding Day
Because during the actual wedding day, the bride and groom will be busy with being the center of the event. They will not be able to leave so that they may manage and take care of the order of ceremonies by themselves, even though they have planned everything by themselves. It is better if you and your partner try to give this coordinator duty to someone else during the date of your small wedding – to ensure that everything runs smoothly and perfectly.
Even though you are hosting a small wedding, you can still hire a wedding coordinator that will help you take care of the order of events – the ceremonies, the preparation of food, and the preparation of location as you need it. You could try to set a budget you deem appropriate for this aspect of the wedding.
But if you think that hiring a wedding coordinator may exceed your budget, you could also ask your close friends that have had experiences with running a wedding or have planned their own weddings to help you on the wedding day as well.
It would be for the best if your wedding coordinators came as a team because the leader can act as a center of the operation who will assign individual responsibilities to each member of the team.
4.2 Be Flexible and Ready for Change
Because you are hosting a wedding, random obstacles and unpredictable problems may appear at any time. The most important thing to keep in mind is that, for you to successfully solve these problems – you must be flexible. Your wedding may not have to be perfect in every single detail, what is important is that you and your partner enjoy and have fun with it.
If it were to rain during your outdoor wedding and you have to unexpectedly change the venue, or if the florists sent you the wrong colored flowers – you and your team may have to find a solution that is flexible and calm-headed without getting too upset with the problem.
4.3 Enjoy the Wedding – It Truly Is Your Day
And if there are any unforeseen obstacles during your wedding, you should be content as you already tried your best. What is important for your self-designed small wedding is that you can truly be yourself and that you enjoy the day as much as you can.
This means that whatever happens, you need not worry – ultimately, when the day ends, what is left with you are the wedding vows and the diamond ring which acts as an eternal symbol of your and your beloved’s love – this, is what is most worth remembering in a wedding.
And so, the most important aspect of a wedding, no matter the size, is the joy of everyone attending the wedding as well as the happiness of the bride and groom that they may be the most like themselves on a date which is the most important to them. This makes it certain that the size of a wedding is not a guarantee of the quality of the wedding.
We only wish that you will pour into the wedding only what is truly valuable to you, stand by what you believe in, and communicate it to those around you what the purposes of your small wedding are. Plan for it as well as you can, then, have as much fun with it as you can. You can surely host a fabulous small wedding in your own design.
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