There are thousands of ways to plan a wedding, and I’ve always been strongly in favor of people getting married the way that they want to. Hate favors? Don’t get them. Love Pinterest? Get your DIY on. Always dreamed of getting married in a treehouse in the rainforest? Do it. There are very few boxes you have to tick to be legally married, and the rest of it is just deciding how you want to join your lives, and then how you want to celebrate it. Big ballroom weddings aren’t for everyone, and maybe that feels like a bit much to you. An intimate wedding or elopement may be more up your alley.

Intimate weddings are what we in the biz call small weddings (you might also see vendors listing them as elopements). Some folks view “small” as a judgey term, but small weddings can be just as amazing, and beautiful, and meaningful as any other wedding. An intimate wedding can be a great way to keep your wedding from feeling like a production. And inviting only a tight knit group of friends and family allows you to enjoy your day without the stress that can come from entertaining hundreds of guests.

When planning your wedding, you have all kinds of opportunities to express your personal tastes and your values. But with an intimate wedding, you can also explore some unique and unusual venues. For many couples, the freedom that comes with planning a small wedding is its biggest appeal. If you’re thinking of planning an intimate ceremony yourself, here are some things to consider:

spoil your guests

One of the best parts of an intimate wedding is that instead of spreading your resources across hundreds of guests (time is a resource, folks), you can concentrate them on a smaller group of people. Having a smaller wedding lets you splurge on a top-notch venue or vendor, incredible food, or an amazing honeymoon. (Okay, so the honeymoon isn’t really for your guests, but it’s still something to consider.)

pay attention to details

A small wedding doesn’t necessarily have to be a simple wedding. Details are an opportunity to really infuse your personalities and preferences into your big day. The bride’s father found these beautiful glass bottles on his hikes out in the woods.

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choose an intimate venue for your intimate wedding

Forget giant ballrooms and event halls. With an intimate wedding and small guest list, your venue options are limitless. Consider creative places to get married like unique restaurants, historicsites, and museums and art galleries. I have a few suggestions in my intimate wedding e-zine!

keep your wedding party small

Choosing a small wedding party means less stress for you when it comes to coordinating. It also gives you the freedom to plan unique, intimate gatherings and events leading up to your big day, and won’t overwhelm the space you’ve chosen. An 18 person wedding party might look beautiful at the front of a huge cathedral, but it’ll be a tight fit in front of a waterfall.

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make it a destination wedding

Your guest list will shrink to your closest friends and family who are willing to travel. Plus, a destination wedding offers couples an opportunity to travel together and spend an exotic weekend away.

share the spotlight

The friends and family you invite will have shared memories of you and your person to retell with one another. At a close-knit event like an intimate wedding, your guests will have the opportunity to make speeches, tell stories, and be an active part of the celebration.

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Wedding planning guideWedding planning guide for intimate weddings, adventure weddings, and elopements

wedding planning guide

Want more great planning tips? Click the wedding guide, or the adventure and intimate weddings guide, to get instant access to planning advice, full pricing information, and vendor recommendations.

You can also view more wedding posts or schedule a consultation about your very own wedding