Knowing what a small size wedding is, should help you narrow down venues and realise a realistic budget
Every couple has a different idea of how many guests constitutes a small size wedding. For some, it's 20 people; for others, they’d struggled to cut down to 200! Therefore, what makes an average-sized wedding is subjective and often culturally specific.
A recent Hitched survey found the average number of guests at a UK wedding was 82 guests for the day, and 103 evening guests. But if you’re looking at the average African or Asian wedding, you can expect 350-500 guests, and up to 1,000 guests for a larger wedding.
Having a small wedding became the norm in 2020, and will likely continue well into 2022. This is because many couples are finding the unexpected silver linings that can be found with a smaller gathering. The authenticity, the heartfelt connections with guests and the greater control you can have over the budget are all common feelings towards small weddings.
The upsides of a smaller wedding will become clear almost as soon as you start planning, but going down in guest count will not always be a positive for everyone. Read on to find out just what a small wedding size really means, and get some tips for how to whittle down your list and make the soirée still feel meaningful.
What Is Considered a Small Wedding Size?
There is a difference between a small wedding and a micro wedding.
A micro wedding is a wedding with less than 20 guests. It’s incredibly intimate and sometimes just include the couple, their officiant and two witnesses. Note that there is a difference between a micro wedding and elopement, as a micro wedding will still usually feature all the components of a ‘normal’ wedding, but on a smaller scale. If this appeals to you, you’ll want to look for a venue that caters specifically for micro weddings.
On the other hand, a small wedding size will have between 30-60 guests. Again, whether 60 people feels like a small wedding to you will depend on what you’re used to. When venues say that they have a space that’s perfect for a small wedding, they’ll generally be talking about somewhere that can comfortably hold up to 50-60 guests.
How to Determine Your Wedding Size
Deciding who will be present when you get hitched isn’t about just plucking a number out of the air. It’s about ensuring that the people you surround yourself with on this day, are the ones who have been important in your past, and will continue to be important in your future.
A good way to approach a guest list for a small size wedding, is to think of who you’d invite to a restaurant. If you wouldn’t take 200 people out to dinner one-on-one, rethink the pressure of feeling like you have to invite 200 people to your wedding. Because a wedding, is essentially like taking everyone out to dinner! And dessert, and drinks, and dancing! So if you couldn't or wouldn't spend that time with them at a restaurant individually, then maybe reconsider where you’d place them on the importance scale when it comes to inviting them to your wedding.
How Does Wedding Budget Affect Group Size?
As you choose the right size wedding for you, think about what you can realistically afford. For example, if your budget is £35,000, a wedding with 50 people invited, versus one with 200 people invited would be two completely different things. Your budget has a huge impact on the type of wedding you'll be able to have, and how many people you can or should invite.
If you have a larger budget and a smaller guest list, you'll have more flexibility in terms of spending more on the suppliers you really want and personalising your day with unique details. But if it's important for you to celebrate with everyone you know, you can make that happen by cutting back on certain decorative elements.
How to Make a Small Wedding Feel Special
Show your gratitude with personalization
Be it notes on each guest’s dinner seat, or letters added to a welcome bag. Handwritten cards are a wonderful way of expressing your gratitude to each guest for their attendance. And it will go a long way in reminding them just how big of a deal this day really is, and how special they are in your life.
Make time for each of your guests
A small wedding means more opportunities for quality time with loved ones. In lieu of one big welcome party, aim to schedule outings or activities with specific groups of guests.
Beers with your uni friends, pedicures with your family, and dinner with forever friends. You’ll all appreciate the bonding time, and it’ll give you the chance to catch up on what’s been going on in their lives, something that’s harder to do when your wedding day arrives.
Splash your wedding budget.
With a smaller wedding, there is often a smaller budget. And in-turn, more flexibility in how you spend. With this greater control of funds, you'll be able to book what you’ve always wanted!
— You can book the band or DJ you have always loved, but felt unreachable financially when your guest count was in the triple digits…
— If your perfect destination wedding in Ibiza is now happening in your parents’ garden, opt for a beautiful floral-covered ceremony arch, and some Balearic inspired decor. That way, your original locale will still be part of the memories.