Prioritizing is key when planning a small wedding
Just like many others during the pandemic, I eloped! Instead of the 50-plus person wedding we had planned, we opted to tie the knot with just six people this summer: us and our respective parents. And guess what? It turned out to be the perfect day! We all got to spend much more quality time together than we would have if we invited our original guest list. A little less stress on the day went a long way to making it that much more fun for everyone, too.
Even though our wedding was small, we still chose to spend the extra money on some key aspects. Here are the three things we discovered were worth spending on for a small wedding:
Your wedding day is one of those days that goes by really quickly, no matter how much you try to hold on to every moment! But the one thing you can continue to enjoy after the day are the photos. It’s worth investing in a professional photographer for this. Maybe your dad or your best friend are pretty good at taking snaps, too, but it’s best not to burden one of your few wedding guests with capturing all the visual memories you’ll have of your special day. Let them enjoy the day together with you and leave the photos to a hired photographer.
Find a photographer who’s willing to give you a better deal than their wedding package rates. The package rates are often based on the assumption of a big guest list and a busy sequence of key moments to capture throughout a long day and into the night. Wedding packages also commonly include things like photo editing, printing, and the creation of mementos like a photo book and framed prints.
For us, we had just six guests, a brief ceremony, and a shortened timeline of key moments we wanted to capture. Instead of the pricey wedding packages we researched (ranging from $1,500-$5,000 in Cambridge, Ontario), we opted for a more flexible by-the-hour event package ($895). We also chose not to include any prints or photo books, but instead to receive all the photos on a USB drive so we could decide later which ones we might want to print.
Not only did we end up with a tonne of amazing magazine-quality photos from our wedding, we actually had a blast doing some creative photoshoots. With fewer guests we got more 1-on-1 time with our photographer and really made the most of the experience.
I was really hesitant to spend the kind of money demanded by florists for any flowers with the word “wedding” attached. I can confirm that when it comes to the so-called little touches, they add up alarmingly fast when the word “wedding” enters the discussion. Unfortunately, there’s not much way around this when it comes to flowers. There aren’t many other excuses for asking for a bouquet, some boutonnieres and a handful of corsages! It’s just a casual Tuesday, I swear.
But it was this collection of florals (~$350), one for each of our guests, that was one of the things I was most thankful for having spent money on. There’s just something about fresh flowers—in my case, a luscious spring-like bouquet of whites, creams and greens—that lends an air of celebration, a feeling of joyousness and the symbolism of new beginnings to the day. Not to mention a lovely aroma. It’s also the perfect finishing touch for those photos you’re going to cherish for years to come.
I contacted 5 different florists to get quotes before making my decision, and used differing prices to negotiate down on the final price. I also asked for delivery to be included, which can be up to $50 or more extra, depending on the distance.
Games, quizzes, and fun things for you and your guests to do once all the paperwork has been signed are the things that really set the tone for a good time for everyone at your wedding. While people will quickly forget how good or bad the food was, it’s the personal stories and moments you share together that everyone will remember most. Here’s where you can get creative and get a great return on investment for what you invest in the activities.
We created a fun 10-question quiz about the two of us with questions on everything from where we met to where we’ve travelled to the strangest foods we’ve eaten. This is a great way to pep up a formal dinner, break the ice, and inject some laughter into the evening. We designed and printed the quiz ourselves with our names and our wedding date at the top, so they also make a great memento to treasure alongside the photos. A little box of chocolates makes a good prize for the winner, and if you’ve only got a handful of guests why not get some chocolates for everyone else too? We spent a grand total of $10 on this super fun activity and everyone had a great time playing.
Outdoor games are another great way to keep things playful, especially with kids attending. Accessible and familiar options with a shallow learning curve like cornhole, horseshoes, lawn bowling or giant Jenga will get everyone 8 to 80 joining in and having fun with very little cost and effort on your part.
In the afterglow of our small wedding, we know that the things worth spending money on are the things that will last beyond the day. We’re most thankful for the beautiful collection of photos we have, and the blissful emotions and happy shared memories we’ve made together with our guests.