At Studio Lumen, we have photographed everything from elopements, intimate affairs with 17 people, up to extravaganzas of more than 400 guests. All of these weddings were great in their own way, but how you do yours is entirely up to you. What really matters is what’s important to you! When we are planning photography for our clients, we always try to make sure we put the coverage time in the right places so we can capture the memories that are most important to them.
Gillian and I (Jean-Marc) are married, but not to each other, and we both preferred small weddings. Gillian eloped with her husband in Nova Scotia, while Jean-Marc’s wedding had 40 guests, including 7 kids, on the side of a mountain in the Rockies. While we both chose small (or non-existent) weddings, we also really enjoy big traditional ones with all the trappings.
To help you decide what type of wedding is best for you, we’ve prepared a couple of blog posts on the benefits of large or small weddings. We’ll start with the benefits of small weddings, so stay tuned to learn the benefits of a large wedding!
The Benefits of a Small Wedding or Elopement
Of course, budget is a primary consideration when planning your wedding. What can you afford, and what should you spend? It’s all very confusing (actually I have a friend who’s a financial planner who has written a guest blog for us on how to manage your finances as a new family…but that’s a post for another day!). But there is no doubt that the costs are lower when planning a small wedding.
We have seen this so many times: a couple has a fantastic wedding, beautiful and full of excitement and buzz, with hundreds of guests, and end up spending between 0 and 2 minutes with any of them. Sometimes all the guests get is a group visit to their table. If the excitement and the buzz is what you’re after, that is awesome. But at a small wedding, you will be able to have meaningful and intimate conversations with most of your guests.
Easier to Plan
A small wedding has far fewer moving parts. Fewer centrepieces, fewer guests, fewer tables to plan, less accommodation to find, etc. etc. If you are someone that is stressed by planning large events, then perhaps a small wedding is for you. Or, if you are short on time, say planning a wedding in three weeks like my sister did many years ago, a small wedding would help with that. On the other hand, if you still want a fantastic large wedding, and you are also stressed by planning large events, then we highly recommend hiring a wedding planner!
More options for venues and thus dates and costs
Because many venues are limited by their capacity, having a small wedding means you can consider spaces that are designed for a smaller number of people. And that means, you’ll be opening up options for dates, because you’ll not be competing with other couples having large weddings at the limited number of places that can accommodate them. As photographers, we are often 2nd, or maybe 3rd, on the list of services couples book. Everyone including us plays second fiddle to Number ONE: The venue. So having more options can be helpful.
There are many people who are nervous being the centre of attention, and for whom saying incredibly important life-changing things in front of a large number of people would be absolutely nerve-wracking. This was actually one of the primary reasons that we both had small weddings! We think weddings are better when people are enjoying them, so if that is something that would make you uncomfortable, consider saying those important things in front of a fewer people at a small wedding!
Questions or Comments?
We would love to hear about your experience with small weddings. Are there any tips that you would give to couples planning their wedding? We’d love to hear them, leave a comment below.
If you have any questions on your own small (or large!) wedding plans, please do email us. We're happy to help you organize your event, and get a sense of the timing of things. If you're hoping to book a photographer soon, we invite you to fill out this fun Customer Values Form to start the process of finding out what great wedding photography looks like for you.