Tips for Downsizing Your Wedding

Guest Blog by Real Bride, Becca Parsons

Things to consider when downsizing your wedding

Are you thinking about downsizing your wedding? Downsizing was a reality for me and my (now!) husband in 2020, this blog is for you if you’re due to get married but aren’t sure whether to postpone (again!) or need some advice on how to go about downsizing your wedding day, from big to small to have a perfect small intimate wedding

Before I give you my 7 top tips for downsizing your wedding, or maybe you’re replanning, I just want to address a very common concern. A lot of brides I speak to in my role as a Shropshire wedding planner, are worried that if they have a small intimate wedding their day will somehow feel less special or less magical. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that is absolutely NOT the case. I coordinated two small intimate weddings last year and also got married myself in December with 15 guests and I could not have imagined a more perfect day. Yes, it was drastically different from what I originally planned (different venues, different time of year, different colour scheme, different style of food etc) but I have zero regrets about downsizing my wedding and going ahead with a micro wedding. 

Having a small intimate wedding will not be the right choice for everyone, and that is ok! Hopefully this blog post helps you make an informed decision which is right for you. 

1. Don’t worry about what everyone will think about you downsizing 

When my partner first broached the idea of downsizing our wedding and having a small intimate wedding, I rejected it out of hand. Then I realised I’d only done this because I was worrying about what everyone else wanted, not what I wanted! If you’re worrying you’ll offend friends or family members by downsizing your wedding, then take a deep breath and remember your wedding is about you and your partner celebrating your love for each other and committing to each other. In my own experience everyone was incredibly supportive of our decision to go ahead with a small intimate wedding but if you are experiencing pushback from friends or family members then just remind them this is your wedding

2. Don’t be afraid to rethink your whole wedding 

When we decided to downsize our wedding and go ahead with a small intimate wedding, we changed dates (from August to December), venues, and type of ceremony (from civil to church). Our original venue was a beautiful rustic barn and we had planned to have a big wedding with a festival vibes – food trucks, live music, dancing, guests camping overnight. Downsizing our wedding was a lot more than just reducing our guest list so we went back to the drawing board and completely rethought almost every aspect of our wedding. 

Moving from a summer to a winter date, I wanted something that felt luxurious and intimate rather than rustic and boho, so we opted to get married in our local parish church (the STUNNING Shrewsbury Abbey), and have our reception at local hotel The Lion + Pheasant Shrewsbury. We are still planning to have the big festival wedding, just at a later date, so we haven’t cancelled any of our original suppliers, just postponed.

3. Communicate with your wedding suppliers before making any decisions

This is key to successfully downsizing your wedding! Quite a lot of couples have had to move the date of their wedding to accommodate social distancing rules/lockdowns, so if your new wedding plans involve changing the date of your big day then you need make sure your suppliers are available before you make that decision. 

Your wedding suppliers want you to have the best day possible, and I guarantee they will be 100% supportive of whatever you decide, but they need to be kept in the loop so they can support you. 

Laura was our wedding photographer (the pictures on this blog is my wedding!) and she was such a help throughout the rollercoaster months leading up to our wedding, providing reassurance when I needed it. 

4. Be ruthless with your wedding guest list

Maybe you’re thinking, “ok, I’m with you so far, but HOW ON EARTH do I cut my guest list to 15 people?”.

Start by inviting the people who mean the most to you and do not allow anyone to pressure you into inviting people just because they ‘should’ be there. In our case, we only invited immediate family (parents and siblings) plus a best man. Remember some of your guests might not feel comfortable attending a wedding at the moment, so it’s also a good idea to call around and speak to people directly before making a decision. 

Your guests are such an important part of your day and with a more intimate wedding you are able to spend much more time with each of your guests. I absolutely loved how intimate our wedding felt, I didn’t have to worry whether I had remembered to speak to all my guests or make small talk with distant relatives I hadn’t spoken to in years. Being surrounded by our closest family and friends was such a special feeling. 

5. Treat yourself & your wedding guests

If you are drastically reducing your guest list, then it is very probable you will make some savings when downsizing your wedding. If you’re planning to have a second, larger celebration then you might want to keep that money aside, but if you’re not (or even if you are), consider using some of it to really enhance your guests experience. Upgrade your drinks package, have the tasting menu instead of the standard 3-courses, go all out with a floral installation, buy yourself the Louboutins…lots of things that might have been out of budget previously will now be achievable. 

Again, just make sure you communicate clearly with your suppliers about what your new wedding plans are and see what alternatives they suggest. I had a few moments during wedding planning where I was like “I shouldn’t be spending so much money on my dress/shoes/flowers because we have so few guests”, and if that sounds like you, then I’m here to tell you having fewer guests at your wedding does not mean you cannot or should not have your dream dress or dream shoes! 

6. Document your wedding day

This is especially important if lots of people you care about are not able to attend your wedding in person. We live streamed & recorded our wedding ceremony via zoom so all of our family and friends could join us virtually. My brother recorded it on his iPhone and it worked fine, but if your budget will stretch to a videographer, then go for it! We continued to stream for about 15 minutes after the ceremony while we were outside having photos, and one of my favourite moments of the whole day was saying hello to all my extended family and friends on Zoom! Your friends and family are also going to be even more excited to see your wedding pictures if they couldn’t be there in person, so make sure you hire a wedding photographer you love.

In my opinion it is always worth splurging on your wedding photographer, they play such an important role in your wedding day. 

7. Consider eloping

If you just can’t quite get used to the idea of a smaller wedding, or you just really want or need to be legally married (for whatever reason), then why not considering eloping? No one can be offended they weren’t invited, you can go somewhere beautiful and get stunning photos, and you’ll officially be married. You can always Marry Now and Party Later! 

Whether you’re planning to downsize your wedding to a small intimate wedding, planning an elopement, or just want someone to talk to, I’d love to hear from you.  

About Becca

Becca is a Shropshire Wedding Planner, who lives in Shrewsbury with her husband, Josh, and their dog Monty. You can follow Becca on Instagram and/or contact her via her website.  

Downsizing your wedding to a small intimate wedding day

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