The impact that COVID-19 has had on virtually every facet of life is truly sobering, and unfortunately, weddings are no exception. Couples are finding themselves in a predicament no one could have ever imagined. “Do we cancel our wedding? Postpone? Or soldier on?” The future is unknown, that much is true. So the best advice we can offer couples is to make the best decision for them and their celebration. Some will postpone and hope that things will feel “normal” again soon. And others will proceed with caution, hoping for the best. Regardless of your decision, we believe that love is not cancelled. To all of you, no matter what option you choose we say,
“We feel your pain. This sucks. And we’re sorry you had to make this hard decision while planning your wedding.”
We know weddings will probably look a little different now. There might not be an option to invite all the people on your original guest list. You might be limited to a smaller, more intimate number. Some people may not be able to come anymore even at all. In an effort to make lemonade out of lemons, we’re here to offer some creative ideas to make your now intimate wedding a thoughtful, personal, and memorable day for you and your guests–from near and far. If you feel lost on where to begin planning, or what to do in light of COVID-19 having other ideas on your existing plans, we can help! Please do not hesitate to reach out so us and ask us how we can make the planning easy & stress free for you.
To be honest, opting to have a smaller gathering is one of our favorite things couples do even when we’re not in a worldwide pandemic! It allows couples to provide a more elevated experience that otherwise would not be possible, due to budget constraints, capacity, guest counts, feasibility, etc. We’re here to offer up a few suggestions for you to consider as you deliberate why an Intimate Wedding might not be the worst thing to happen!
Note: The photos shared on this blog post are from Intimate Weddings. One of our favorites was Yue + Wei who got married at Chateau Lill with 16 guests – the ceremony setup pictures are from their Intimate Wedding!
4 Tips on Shifting to an Intimate Wedding
Tip #1: Spice Up Your Dining Experience!
With a smaller guest count, this sometimes means you can splurge a bit more and spoil your guests, because there just aren’t as many to accommodate. One of our favorite ways to make your wedding so much more memorable for guests is to amp up the food experience. If dancing the night away doesn’t make sense with a smaller guest count, turn your evening entertainment into a leisurely 5-course dinner. Add in wine pairings with each course, and you’ve got a night to remember!
Talk it through with your caterers and ask them to get creative with the menu, wine, and dining experience. Vendors love getting to stretch their creative muscles. This is where we shine!
Tip #2: Make it Personal!
You’ve heard the phrase: “It’s all in the details.” Smaller guest counts allow for all the details to come to life! Personal touches throughout your wedding make guests feel all the more special to be in attendance. Personalization lets someone know “We’re glad you’re here.” The options are limitless and with a smaller guest count the options are likely more achievable. One of our couples wrote individual notes to each guest that was incorporated into their place setting, it was a meaningful, thoughtful and memorable touch that made each guest feel special.
Here’s a few examples we like:
a) Personal Mini Cakes: Instead of a whole cake that feeds an army, elevate your guests’ experience by having a mini cake for each of them! This is a perfect opportunity to commission your baker who is no longer making 150 cupcakes to leverage their services to provide something unique and lavish! Normally, for a larger guest count, 150 mini cakes would be a very costly budget line-item. But if you have a small gathering of 20 people? That’s another story! Guests will love the novelty and it’s something that they’ve probably never experienced before!
b) Swanky Place Cards: Guests love knowing they’ve been thought of, particularly where exactly they’ll be seated. It’s as if you’re saying “We’ve reserved this spot just for you.” This can be done in lots of ways. Paper, wood, acrylic, stone, slate, leather. You name it! One of our favorite local vendors Pomp & Revel can make all of this happen! She was the one who made those cake topper place cards on those mini cakes! Those cakes served two purposes: Place cards, AND dessert!
Tip #3: Welcome Bag Game Strong!
Usually, if there’s any remaining money in the budget, a welcome bag of some sorts can be put together. But because you have so many guests coming, the amount or quality of items you can put in one can sometimes be underwhelming. However, when you only have a handful of families coming into town to celebrate, you can actually curate something that sets the tone for the rest of the weekend’s festivities. Looking for help with these? Check out Welcome Gifts by Pink Blossom Events where products are all sourced locally. We love when couples take the time to consider putting things that reflect them, their celebration, and the place they call home to their guests! Elevate the experience with customizable wine carriers from Pomp & Revel, a bottle of wine from your favorite winery or distillery, or a six-pack of your beer from your favorite local brewery, and so much more! The world is your PNW oyster.
Tip #4: Bring the Party to Them!
We’ve saved the best for last. We’ve given you lots of ideas for how to make your intimate wedding a memorable one. But this was for the folks that could see it in person! How about all the other loved ones who couldn’t be there? We’ve got a few ideas to make sure those that couldn’t be with you know that they were thought of and there in spirit.
Here’s a few of our favorite options:
a) Remember that bakery you hired to make those 150 cupcakes that you don’t need anymore? With your new, and much smaller guest count, commission your baker to make a scrumptious baked good, like your favorite kind of cookie, and have them mail the cookies to all of the guests that couldn’t be there. Be sure to include a note that lets them know “Hey, we’re thinking of you. And wishing we could celebrate with you! We saved a cookie from the dessert bar just for you!” Shout out to our friends over at Prive Events for this suggestion!
b) Live it up! So many platforms offer live coverage for folks to tune in from afar and experience the festivities virtually with you! This allows folks who are at-risk or just simply unable to be there enjoy the celebration from their sofa! Have someone set-up a phone or other recording device to capture the ceremony, and any other portions of the evening you’d like to share!
c) Last, but certainly not least, our friends over at Voast [That’s short for Video-toast] just launched a service they lovingly dubbed “Virtual Voast”. It allows people to leave video toasts or messages to the couple who couldn’t be there, and leave a message of love and best wishes from afar! Check out what Ben from Voast had to say about this new service:
Our product [is] for any guests who aren’t able to actually attend a wedding. We’re realizing it may also be helpful for [couples] who are getting their worlds rocked by COVID-19. We think this Virtual Voast tool may be a meaningful way for couples to personally connect with their guests. The added benefit is that just like with our typical Voast product, the guests would then be able to easily share back with the couples via video their reactions and support to the couples. The couple would then get video messages sent right to their mailbox to hopefully help ease the pain and frustration of what they’re going through.– Ben, Co-Founder of Voast
We know things in the wedding world may look different for the foreseeable future. Our hope is that these few tips will encourage you and inspire you to find the lemonade from this pile of lemons. If you’re interested in further guidance and direction on how to make a smashing intimate wedding, we would love to connect with you and talk about the different ways we can help! We’d like to thank the army of vendors who contributed to this blog, and are standing in solidarity with us, as we strive to create realistic– and fun options for couples to consider during this tumultuous time. We’re all in this together.
With love from the whole team,
Holly, Danae, Erin, and Katie