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As a wedding photographer in Central Illinois, I have noticed a rise in popularity for smaller intimate weddings and elopements which I am ALL for. Intimate weddings are great for SO many reasons, some of the reasons that most people are aware of are the more general things like cost, less stress, and less planning time. BUT there are SO many other reasons why intimate wedding days hold such a special place in my heart, and in the hearts of so many couples who have hosted an intimate wedding for themselves.
Because I have such a passion for intimate weddings, and so much love for all my future clients, this blog is going to clue you in on why I’m such a sucker for intimate wedding days!
Before we take a look at my 10 favorite things that I love about intimate weddings we need to go over exactly what an intimate wedding is. Like the name suggests an intimate wedding is similar to a traditional wedding but with a more intimate setting. Intimate weddings or small weddings cap out at 50 guests or less which leads to a more personal wedding experience, with more time to converse with your guests, more options for venues, and more flexibility all around with their smaller scale! According to an article from the Knot, small weddings have risen in popularity within the past couple of years because they are more cost-effective and they are also eco-friendly in addition to the natural intimacy of the event.
Outside of the cost-effectiveness and eco-friendly qualities of an intimate weddings, there are SO many other amazing reasons to go small. Here are my top 10 favorite reasons to opt for an intimate guest list on your wedding day.
If you’re someone who loves one-on-one conversations, then inviting 100+ people to your wedding may sound a little stressful. Your wedding day is an intimate and vulnerable day. Cutting down the guest list to the people you feel most comfortable being yourself around, gives you the space mentally to really be vulnerable and then allows you to experience all of the emotions that come with your wedding day. Along with giving you space mentally, an intimate wedding also gives you the opportunity to have conversations and catch up with all of your guests.
Even with the smaller size of an intimate wedding you can still have a dance floor if you’d like and it can still be a blast! You can still hire a DJ if you want or if you’re really looking to keep things low key you can put together a Spotify playlist with all your favorites. Or would you rather skip the dance all together and end the festivities after dinner? That’s totally fine too! With an intimate wedding you have a lot more flexibility with what your day includes which I love and am all for.
There are so many different activities you can incorporate into your wedding day these days that are just as fun as a dance floor. Yard games, a fire pit, party games, really the skies the limit when it comes to planning events for your intimate reception.
As I mentioned earlier, having an intimate wedding instead of a more traditional sized wedding gives you a ton more options when it comes to unique venues. Having a guest list of 200 people really limits your options for your ceremony and reception, and if you’re wanting an outdoor wedding day finding a tent that can fit that large of a crowd is going to cost you. By comparison it’s much easier to find some cool and unique venues that can fit a guest list under 50. And for the outdoor lovers it’s much more doable to have a tent set up for 50 in a backyard or campground!
Some of my favorite weddings from the past couple of years in my career have had such unique wedding venues for their wedding days like Brittany and Patrick’s wedding day at a Boy Scout camp last year. Choosing a unique and memorable venue makes for such a fun wedding day and gives you the flexibility to put together a day that is completely unique to you.
With an intimate wedding guest list, it becomes easier to plan your wedding day all in one location. Traveling during a wedding day is never anyone’s highlight, so removing it completely or almost completely out of the equation is a dream come true for a lot of couples. With having all of the events for your wedding day in one space, you have so much more time to spend with your wedding party and family, and you also have so much more headspace to relax and be present throughout your wedding day.
With the smaller scale and size of an intimate wedding, more often than not couples usually end up with much more creative details for their wedding day. Without the need for mass quantities to fill your wedding day spaces it’s much more reasonable to thrift or create your own details for your wedding day. This will give your already intimate and personal wedding a feel that is totally unique to you and your day!
Some of my favorite details I’ve seen over the last couple of years include thrifted mugs as wedding gifts, hand made table numbers made from album covers, and even bringing your own record player and record collection to play music for your guests!
With larger scale weddings your timeline tends to be more restrictive when it comes to how your day plays out. With intimate weddings, first looks end up having more flexibility giving you time to really spend quality time with your loved ones. You can have a coffee with you dad during your first look, or adventure out to the place you met or your favorite bar to have a little quality time with your soon to be spouse on your wedding day.
One of THE best aspects of intimate weddings is how they allow couples to be flexible when it comes to their budget and allow them to use their money how they want to. You can go all out on your florals, have your food catered by your favorite restaurant rather than the affordable option for 100+ people, or book a gorgeous VRBO for the weekend as your venue rather than a banquet hall to fit everyone. There are SO many cool ways to make your wedding day your own and intimate weddings really give you the flexibility to let your creativity run wild!
Less guests on your wedding day means you’ll end up with more personal and meaningful photos from your wedding day. With an intimate wedding your photographer is able to get to know your guests, meaning guests are able to really get comfortable in front of the camera. You will also be able to get more candid photos of the people who are present, as the photographer won’t be spread so thin.
Quality time with your new partner is often hard to come by on a wedding day believe it or not! Hosting an intimate wedding gives you so many more opportunities to spend some quality time with the person you love the most. You can sneak away a couple of times throughout your wedding day to take a minute and be present with one another. You can catch up on what the other spouse might have missed, you can look around and soak everything in without interruptions, and you can get excited about everything that’s yet to come!
Intimate weddings are my favorites because my clients still get to experience most of the elements of a traditional wedding but with SO much less stress involved. Being able to really enjoy your wedding day, to take in all those little moments that make your day special, and actually be present when talking with your guests rather than just the quick “Hello, thank you so much for coming.” is something that just can’t be beat!
If you couldn’t tell that intimate weddings are kinda my thing before this blog post, I’m sure you can tell now. Intimate weddings are such a sweet and wonderful way to celebrate your marriage and start this new chapter of your life. If you’re on the fence on whether or not an intimate wedding might be for you, check out some of my most recent intimate wedding galleries for some inspiration and when you’re ready for the next steps you can reach out through my contact page to get the ball rolling!
December 15, 2022
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Rachael Marie Photography values inclusivity and will never discriminate against your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, body type, or abilities. You are wonderful, beautiful, and loved here.