One would think planning a small, intimate wedding is much easier than a larger wedding. Right? Not so much. Less expensive? Maybe. Most businesses in the wedding industry cater to medium and large sized weddings for many different reasons so it is sometimes hard to find vendors that will work with a couple planning an intimate wedding. Some companies will have a minimum amount of hours or guests they will require you to book for, especially on weekends. This can become an issue especially if you’re planning an intimate destination wedding from out of town.

The intimacy of small weddings is so enticing: less expensive, with only the ones you love, more time to spend with family and friends, more time to focus on details, etc. I absolutely adore intimate weddings and will create custom photography packages for this type of occasion. One thing I know you need to look for while scouring the internet for vendors (and getting googly eyes while you’re at it) is when you look at their pricing see if they say anything about providing custom packages or a la carte pricing. If you see this, it is likely (even if they have a minimum amount of hours listed) they will work with you.

I asked my friend and wedding coordinator, Ashley Packett, for some input on the subject of small weddings.

[flo_box box_bg_color=”#fff” box_text_color=”#000″ content_width=”1140px” padding=”disabled” ]”Take food and beverage for example. Choose foods that you both love and tell a story that is uniquely yours. A carefully selected menu can give reference to your favorite vacation spots, your upcoming honeymoon, or a mix of memories that you hold dear. Tiny crème brûlées for dessert that you had on your first date or a version of his grandmothers popovers that he has loved since childhood can help set the tone.”[/flo_box]

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You also need to find local caterers that will accommodate very small gatherings. In the photo is food catered by Cafe Ponte.

Speaking of having only your closest loved ones present, this alone could be your most difficult task. You really need to think and talk with each other on this subject. Ashley says,

[flo_box box_bg_color=”#fff” box_text_color=”#000″ content_width=”1140px” padding=”disabled” ]Minimize the guest list to those that you will truly miss if they are unable to attend. This is a difficult task with family and work obligations but do the best you can. Surround yourself with those that love you and vendors that you trust. There are no rules. Make your day amazing.[/flo_box]

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Now, the most fun and stressful part of planning, details and decor! This can become so unique for any sized wedding, however, I personally feel you have much more freedom when it comes to a planning a small wedding. You can really focus on just the two of you and get really personal. Ashley is definitely more of an expert on this. She says,

[flo_box box_bg_color=”#fff” box_text_color=”#000″ content_width=”1140px” padding=”disabled” ]Wedding color selection an also be of significance. Perhaps the leading color is a hue in close match to the first bouquet of flowers he brought you. I think you are starting to get the idea. Thoughtful choices can easily outdo expensive ones. The beauty about intimacy is that there’s no price tag. You can create an intimate high budget or low budget wedding. It’s simply about connection. Connection to your guests, connection to your fiancé and connection to the loved ones around you. The small touches & attention to detail make a guest feel connected to you as a couple. Make the day about your story, the love you share and the life you’re beginning together.[/flo_box]

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You could have one or two family style tables set up for dinner. This is a great way to make sure everyone sees each other and can interact.

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Finding a really good officiant is super important, someone that takes the time to get to know you as a couple and can speak on it easily and naturally. It could even be someone you know well! Weddings have evolved so much and ceremonies seemed to have become shorter and shorter. Remember, it will be the ceremony and vows that really solidify you as a couple that day. Your officiant should be able to speak of you and your family so that their words elicit emotions, whether laughter or crying (or both hopefully).

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Finally, stay grounded and focus on the fact that it’s your day and having 15-30 of your favorite people around during one of your most important moments is a huge plus. Have fun and really spend quality time together.

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If you’re planning an intimate wedding in the Tampa Bay area, please feel free to contact me for help or local vendors that will work with you: (813) 610-5240 or regina@asthephotographer.com.

All images by Regina as The Photographer and all from intimate Tampa weddings.