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Getting Intimate (Hosting a Small-Scale Wedding Celebration)

getting intimate

With the holidays here, I’ve been thinking more and more about getting intimate… with family and friends! Like your family’s holiday party, a small dinner or luncheon can be the perfect way to celebrate your nuptials, offering so many benefits. Here are just a few:

Money, money, money, money!

Obviously, the most practical reason for hosting an intimate wedding is to keep costs down. With fewer people in the caterer’s head count, fewer party favors to get, or invitations to order and mail, you can really save a lot of money on the cost of a wedding by doing it small. 

Maybe times are tough, or maybe it just makes more sense for you and your fiance to keep the wedding budget to a minimum at this point in your lives (you want to buy a house or start a family right away), celebrating on a smaller scale with immediate family and very close friends might be your best choice.


A small, family gathering allows you to focus the money you do have in your budget on those things that are really key for you in having an awesome wedding. Maybe you have tons of ideas for your decorations (antique centerpieces, lounge-y, patterned furniture, even a special style of dance floor), or you want a really couture wedding look for you and your fiance, you can spend the bulk of your budget on those parts of the day that will really make it for you.

Plus, hosting a private affair might make it more possible for you to hold your nuptials in a venue that is fancier or somehow more meaningful to you. You can hold it in your favorite restaurant, or the place where your fiancé proposed. Or you can simply go somewhere that would otherwise be financially out of reach, a place where you’ve always wanted to go, and focus the bulk of your budget on feeding your friends and family the best meal of their lives!

The Luxury of Time


One of the nicest things about an intimate wedding setting is that it affords you more time. Fewer tables, or just one big table for everyone, allows you ample time to spend with every guest there. Visiting tables becomes an all-night activity with nice, long conversations rather than quick, great-to-see-you moments. And with fewer people to visit during dinner, you can really spend a long time yucking it up on the dance floor afterwards with friends.

In terms of photography, there’s often more time to do a longer couple portrait session while still cutting down on the photographer’s overall hours for the day. One couple I worked with coordinated things so that we had over an hour together before the party even began. And with less for the photographer to cover, you can have wedding photos that are more labored, artful and creative.

There are even fewer to thank-you notes to write afterwards, so you can just get on to the great things about getting married, like being married!

happy couple


With fewer numbers of everything, and very often, fewer numbers of vendors, a small wedding is more manageable to organize. DIY-ers can explore their ideas without a feeling of overwhelm. People who don’t like the spotlight can allow the focus of the day to fall upon those other important things like great food, good conversation and families being together.

The pace of a small wedding is less hectic, with less to do to entertain the guests or keep things on track. You can still have your grand entrance and your cake, too, but a simple affair allows everything to feel less rushed, less managed. It doesn’t fly by as much and becomes a richer event to remember.

Hillary Harvey

Hillary Harvey is a freelance photographer specializing in wedding photojournalism. Though born in Brooklyn to a long line of Brooklynites, she is a tried-and-true valley girl, having lived most of her life in the Hudson Valley. She also lives online, so catch up with her there!

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