Are you deep in the throes of wedding planning? And have you started to feel like everyone and their mother is coming? If so, it could be because you’ve actually let your mother take the reigns and start sending invites. If you feel like your wedding has gotten bigger than you expected, you’re not alone. Still, you might be craving the intimacy of a small wedding, so I have some tips for you on how to make a big wedding feel more intimate. Don’t worry — just because your aunt’s college roommate who you’ve never met is going to be there doesn’t mean it can’t still feel like a small community of your closest friends coming together to celebrate you.
Big weddings can be a lot of fun. After all, all these people have come out because of how much they love you and your partner, not because they want to stress you out. It’s difficult when you’re managing so many different people’s interests, sometimes your own have to take a back seat. The good news is that even if your partner has an enormous extended family and they’ve all got front-row tickets to the affair, you can still make it feel like the tiny, backyard wedding you’ve always dreamed of (if that was, in fact, your dream).
Read on to find nine ways to make a big wedding feel more intimate.
1. Keep Your Closest Friends Up Front
Maybe you just wanted a pack of your tightest crew. It ended up being 300 people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your closest pals right up front cheering you on. That way, when you look out as you’re saying your vows, it will feel intimate to you.
2. Limit The Pictures
It can be easy to do every possible permutation of people in the pictures. All your uncles on your dad’s side who never been married want to pose with your partner’s nephew’s soccer team — what’s wrong with that? Too many pictures can easily make a wedding feel out of control, and if you’d like to create a more intimate feel, consider limiting the photo session to a set amount of time.
3. Have A Small Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner is where the real action is (well, it’s where you can eat tomato sauce without fear of ruining your dress. So, consider planning a smaller rehearsal dinner, and have that be your closest group of confidantes.
4. Throw An Intimate Engagement Party
5. Don’t Stress Yourself Out By Trying To Talk To Everyone
Your guests know your wedding day is stressful, and they understand you’re under a lot of pressure to talk to a lot of different people. If you’d like to stay close to your inner circle, you’re allowed — it’s your wedding. As long as you make a point of thanking the entire room for coming out, you’re golden!
6. Have A Larger Bridal Party
While this may seem counter-intuitive, if you feel like you got roped into over-inviting to the wedding, you can make your bridal party your pseudo-wedding crew. Just invite those you’d want there if you were having the tiny, Gilmore Girls-esque wedding you’d always planned, and you can treat the bridal shower like it’s own little wedding.
7. Seat New People Together
If you have friends coming who might not know anyone, you may be feeling stressed about who they’re going to talk to. However, if you put a lot of new people at tables together, they’ll make fast friends, and you’ll no longer have to worry that the whole group has gotten too big to have a good time.
8. Plan Reception Events
Nothing makes a party feel too big like having a ton of people standing around idly. To make sure your wedding feels like an active, intimate affair, consider having events at the reception to engage everyone. It can be fun stuff like arcade games for the kids, or multiple dance floors for the adults. This way, everyone will find something for them, and the wedding will feel cozier.
9. Remember Why You’re Doing It
Wedding planning is insane, and you’re not alone if you find it stressful and scary. It can be hard when you feel like the invitations are out of your control, and you’re now having a massive wedding even though you always wanted a tiny one. But remember — you’re doing this as a celebration of the person you’re spending the rest of your life with, so keep that in mind. Everyone is here to support and love you as you embark on this journey, even if it’s slightly more people than you had in mind.
If you’re anything like me, you grew up planning a dream wedding, and you want the real day to match it exactly. But just because your wedding is bigger than you expected doesn’t mean it can’t feel intimate. After all, you get to decide how you handle it, so if you commit yourself to believing it’s going to be magical, then it will be. No matter how many guests are there or what factors you can’t control — it’s your wedding, and you deserve to enjoy it.