Small Wedding Checklist: Everything You Need for an Intimate Ceremony

There are two schools of thought when it comes to wedding planning. Those who want a large-scale, glamorous event and those who crave something a bit more intimate.

If you fall into the latter, this article is for you. 

Here we’ve compiled a small wedding checklist to guarantee that regardless of the size of the venue or your guest list, your special day has all the elements a successful wedding needs.

So grab your planning book and your bridesmaids and let’s get started!

Plan Your Guest List Minus the Guilt

Writing your wedding guest list can sometimes feel like a slippery slope.

“If I invite Aunt Edith, I have to invite Uncle John.” Before you know it, your guest list is filled with neighbors of cousins of friends you haven’t seen in 20 years.


If you’re planning an intimate gathering, make it exactly that – intimate. Invite only the people you and your future spouse want there. And do it guilt-free.

This is your special day. Fill it only with the people who matter most.

Keep Your Bridal Party Small

This is another wedding headache that often results in someones’ feelings getting hurt. 

The average wedding has between 4 and 5 bridesmaids and groomsmen. But we’ve all been to an event where it seems like an endless train of dresses trailing down the aisle before the bride. 

Save yourself the aggravation (and a few hundred dollars) by keeping your bridal party small. Choose one or two of your very best friends or family members, or do what I did and ask your bridesmaids to pay towards their own yellow bridesmaid dresses.

Yellow bridesmaid dress

This adds to the intimate feel of a small wedding while also preventing social acquaintances from feeling excluded.

Choose an Unconventional Venue

While grand ballrooms and large venues are great for big weddings, more untraditional locations make the ideal backdrop for a small wedding.

Barns, industrial buildings, gardens, and backyards offer an intimate feel that guests won’t soon forget. There’s something magical about the contrast between formal wear and rustic or outdoor surroundings. 

Choose a venue that holds under 100 people. This will help you keep your guest list (and budget) in check.


Select a Special Officiant

Weddings are about gathering loved ones to share in your special day. Why not take things one step further and allow someone you care about most officiate your wedding?

These days, the entire process can easily be done online. The hardest part might be choosing who you want to perform the act.

Think of someone who’s comfortable speaking in front of others. They should be charismatic, humourous, and perform well under pressure. 

When someone you know performs your wedding ceremony, they can add in specific details and anecdotes about you and your future spouse that no one else knows. 

This makes for a personal, memorable, and intimate wedding. 

Take Creative Photos

All too often your wedding day is just a blur. Greeting guests, mingling, and cutting the cake. When the day is done you wonder what you missed.

And that’s where your wedding photos and videos come into play. These are treasured moments that you can look back on for years to come and reminisce about the day.

The first step is to come up with your vision. Do you want your wedding photos to be playful and unconventional? Or do you prefer something more traditional?

Next, find local wedding photographers who can bring your vision to life. Ask to see their portfolio and examples of their work before committing. 

Most photographers will be happy to experiment and work with your unique ideas on the day of the wedding. 

Trying to keep your wedding budget as small as your guest list?

Ask the photographer if they also work closely with a videographer. You may get a discount if you book both services through the same vendor. 

Wedding Dress

Make It Budget-Friendly…

Speaking of budget, one of the major benefits of creating a small wedding checklist and seeing it through is that your wedding won’t cost you as much as the national average

Take a look at what most traditional weddings have and then cut out what’s not important to you. 

Many modern brides are trading oversized floral centerpieces for small, subtle decorations like floating candles.

How often do guests really use wedding favors anyway? Why not ask guests to make a donation to a charity of your choice instead?

While most weddings offer an open-bar, choosing a limited menu can really save you some cash. Offer guests beer, wine, and three or four specially designed cocktails. 

You can even create signature cocktail names that compliment you and your spouse – Cosmo “Paul” Itan or something more simplistic like “The Main Squeeze” or a “Marry Me Sangria”. 

…But Indulge On the Important Things

Most can agree that it’s not practical to spend a small fortune for one day. But on the other hand, your wedding day is a once in a lifetime experience for most.

That means you should be budget-conscious without sacrificing the important things. 

Do you enjoy high-end champagne? Then be sure to indulge in your favourite type for the toasts. 

Have you always wanted to get married on the beach? Maybe a destination wedding is right for you and your partner.

This will definitely help keep your guest list small as only those who can afford to travel will attend. 

Remember that it’s okay to indulge in some things when planning a small, intimate gathering. Add your personal touch wherever you can.

Wedding Photographer

Your Small Wedding Checklist Should Include Your Needs and Wants

Even when creating a small wedding checklist, there are some items every wedding needs.

Food, tables and chairs, entertainment, rentals, and transportation just to name a few. Make a list of the things you need at your intimate wedding and then the things that you want.

By balancing these two elements, you can create an intimate wedding that creates an unforgettable day for both you and your guests.

Check our blog regularly for more tips on travel, family, and life!

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