We Loved Our Tiny Wedding. Here’s Why A Small Wedding Might Be Right For You Too

The blessings of the early years of Covid are few and far between, but if you look closely, they are there. One of these for us was the excuse (and necessity) to have a tiny wedding.

By Greta Waldon4 min read
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Shutterstock/Darya Chacheva

Our tiny wedding was just that – tiny. At the ceremony, it was just our parents and three friends who took our photos and shot our wedding video plus our officiant, and then just our parents and my husband’s sisters at our reception dinner. 

Granted, neither of us love being the center of attention, so this very tiny gathering might not be right for all personality types, including those who always pictured all of their friends and family dancing into the wee hours of their wedding night. It’s also true that sometimes the size of your wedding may not be just your decision, so it’s important to point out that there are many benefits of big celebrations, as well. However, if the idea of a small wedding sounds appealing to you, here are a few things to consider that might make you want to shrink your guest list while expanding your creativity, celebrating your love, and minimizing your stress. 

Smaller Is More Intimate

I have heard from friends that it can be hard to have a minute alone with your new husband on your wedding day because you’re so busy socializing with all of your guests. When you limit how many guests there are, you’re maximizing the time you will actually get to spend with the love of your life on the day you commit yourself to him. Plus, all of your guests will get ample quality time together, as well as with you and the groom. Everyone will feel like they’re an important part of the ceremony, even if they aren’t officially in the wedding party. 

In addition, all of the little details that you’re able to customize or do yourself due to the smaller scale will really add personal touches to your day. My husband loves to cook, so he was excited to plan and cook the picnic lunch for us and our guests. Not only did we know everything was going to be delicious, but the food had a cooked-with-love charm that made it even more special. That wouldn’t have been possible if we’d had 100 or more people on our guest list. 

You Can Use the Saved Money for Other Endeavors

Although this is a less romantic point to consider, having a smaller wedding is all around financially smart. When you have a large wedding, plus bachelor and bachelorette parties, a groom’s dinner, a welcome cocktail hour the night before, and so on, you are spending and spending and spending! Even if it’s not your personal dime, the money is coming from somewhere, and money is fungible. Maybe whoever was willing to cover costs of your celebrations would be equally as delighted to fund your honeymoon, contribute to a down payment on a home, set up an education fund for your future children, or something else that you and your fiancé will appreciate for years to come. Rather than paying for fancy invitations, flowers to cover dozens of tables, and catering for hundreds of people, you can focus on making your favorite details for your (little) big day super special while saving the big bucks for something that might make a bigger difference for your family in the long run. 

You Will Experience Less Stress

With less overall to plan, you can enjoy the planning process a bit more. For us, I knew I wanted some simple special touches, like a bouquet of beautiful flowers grown by my farmer friend and a necklace to symbolize our love. I knew I wanted to feel like a cross between a woodland elf and someone from a Gustav Klimt painting, so I found an affordable dress in my dream style that my mom helped customize for me, plus gold fabric leaves from a craft store to have my stylist weave into my hair. Since our location was outside, the natural beauty of the Midwest on a sunny fall day was essentially the only decoration we needed. With that backdrop, just a plain white altar, four chairs, and a picnic lunch set the scene for our ceremony. 

I think at the end of the day there is no way to avoid all stress when planning a wedding – even, I’m sure, an elopement – but I loved how keeping everything low-key kept me feeling generally relaxed leading up to the big day. You’ll take stress off for anyone helping you plan your wedding as well. 

You Will Experience Less Drama

Similar to stress, there seems to be no way to squeeze drama entirely out of the equation. However, I can pretty much guarantee you there will be less of it if you keep your wedding small. The fewer people you are trying to please, the fewer things will go awry emotionally for everyone involved. Not excited about dealing with an entire wedding party’s thoughts and feelings about a day that’s supposed to be about you and your groom? Just don’t have a wedding party. Worried that someone else is going to want to take over planning the details of your special moments? Eliminate details, and let them know you’ve got the rest covered. 

If you feel like the only way to avoid drama is to limit your wedding guests to just immediate family like we did, then hey, it’s your moment! Consider this your permission to entertain that option. Everyone else will understand in the end. 

You Can Get Married Sooner

Planning a big wedding takes time, which is one reason why most couples stay engaged for a year or more before getting married. My husband and I, on the other hand, were engaged for less than two months before our wedding. To us, a long engagement felt unnecessary – if you know someone is right for you, you know. We were ready to jump from “he’s my boyfriend” to “he’s my husband,” and didn’t need a long “fiancé” stage. If you’re ready to make other big changes, like buying a house, starting a family, or moving somewhere new together, you might like the benefits, both legal and otherwise, of tying the knot a little bit sooner. 

You Can Get More Creative and Be More Flexible 

Limitations are often the foundation of creativity. If you’re working within a super fixed budget, you’ll be surprised by the fun things you think up to cut costs while still creating an unforgettable day for you and your fiancé. One of the ways you can do this is by picking a more flexible location. We had our ceremony on a little island park in the middle of Wisconsin, midway between our two hometowns. The pandemic restrictions at the time limited us to just 10 guests total, including the bride and groom. Think of all the locations that become options when you have just 10 people to accommodate! You can also be more flexible with details, from the decorations down to the dishware. I know my mother-in-law loved contributing fall print cloth napkins and gold-rimmed plates from her collection for our picnic, which definitely would not have stretched to cover more than a few guests! 

The Focus Is on the Ritual and Your Love

This one is probably the most important reason to consider a smaller wedding: It puts the focus back where it should be, on the ritual of commitment and on your love for one another as a couple. With all the trimmings and trappings of a big wedding, it can be hard to enjoy the day and keep your mind on what’s really going on – that you are joining yourself to the person you chose to honor and love for life. Keeping things small brings back the romance and the ritual, where the extras are left behind and your vows are put back on center stage. If you’re interested in prioritizing one another, this sacred moment doesn’t have to be extravagant. When you put your heart and soul into this celebratory moment, you won’t miss all of those trendy add-ons one bit. 

Closing Thoughts

Even though there is no way to completely eliminate stress, drama, and some expenses, choosing a smaller wedding might help you tip the balance toward romance, ritual, intimacy, and creativity instead. You can make details special by giving them a more personal touch, and can get married without an extended engagement. If all of this sounds good to you, you might want to consider having a small, or even tiny, wedding. 

No matter what you choose for your big day, remember to enjoy it. It’s true what they say – it goes fast! Remember also that marriage is more than a wedding, so whatever does or doesn’t go right the day you tie the knot, you’ll have other chances to make more special memories. Hopefully, a very full lifetime of chances. 

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