Bigger doesn’t always equal better – even when it comes to a wedding. While the average wedding still hovers around 130, many couples are rejecting the extra-long guest list for a much smaller affair.

“You can have a much more personal experience with your guests,” says Luke Wilson, founder of Luke Wilson Events, about the advantages of a super small wedding. “You can actually connect with each of them on a personal level and get to spend time with each one of them throughout the festivities.”

Another big benefit: savings. In 2018, couples spent an average of almost $30,000 on their wedding according to the WeddingWire’s 2019 Newlywed Report. That’s $230 a person. By limiting the guest list to 50 or fewer, couples can lower costs dramatically.

Of course, deciding who makes the cut for your super-exclusive guest list can be challenging and, at times, uncomfortable. Wilson suggests limiting it to just people who you interact or speak with regularly.

“If you have ten cousins you haven’t seen in ten years, they don’t need to come. High school friends who you don’t see more than once a year don’t need to come,” he says. “Think of who you want to be surrounding you on such a special day.”

Since planning a super small wedding has its own challenges and advantages, here are a few other expert tips to ensure your little event is a big success.

1. Go for a unique venue

With a smaller guest count, you have a lot more flexibility with the venue. So, take advantage of it! 

“Having a small group helps you avoid the large ballroom spaces that you are confined to with a larger group. Make it an interesting space that your guests might not have ever visited,” says Wilson. 

He suggests looking at spaces at unique restaurants, historic homes or even art galleries to host your nuptials. Or, if you have the budget, consider taking your wedding on the road for a destination event. 

2. Make it personal

Since your guest list only consists of your nearest and dearest, you can make the entire experience hyper-personal. Add custom details, like curated welcome boxes or individualized place settings, to make your guests feel extra special. 

“We love to have our couples write personalized notes to each guest,” says Wilson. “It is such a nice touch that is impossible with a large guest list.”

3. Skip the dance party

Some wedding traditions, though, don’t work as well with a small group. “I don’t find that a big band and dancing is as appropriate at these events. Keep it small and more like a dinner party,” says Wilson. “Bring in some sort of lighter music that will keep them entertained but not feeling like they are at a concert.”

4. Upgrade the experience

With all the money you’re saving, consider splurging on a few enhancements. Consider opting for deluxe linens and china table settings, extra lush floral arrangements or a longer, more luxurious dinner,” suggests Wilson. “Provide rolling cheese and wine carts after dinner.”

©CTW Features