Jess Levin Conroy began her career at Burch Creative Capital, where she helped manage investments and brand development for a portfolio that included C. Wonder and Tory Burch LLC. After earning her MBA at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Jess saw an opportunity in the wedding space to help empower the businesses at the top end of the market. She founded Carats & Cake in 2013 in New York City. To date, the company works with over 25,000 businesses across the U.S. and has become the go-to resource for couples looking for the best the wedding industry has to offer.
Typically, when you think of the ultimate wedding, soaring guest counts, full weekend agendas, and over-the-top elements come to mind. Whether it’s a full weekend in Aspen or somewhere more tropical, generally the thought process is bigger is better. While it can be fun to invite every single person you know, there is something to be said for hosting an intimate affair. Small weddings are the perfect opportunity to make your guests feel extra special, and the smaller head count provides the opportunity to do things that you couldn’t at a larger scale, from unique entertaining ideas to more customized cuisine.
For those of you thinking that a small wedding, whether that means inviting 100 or 10 people, might be the way to go, we reached out to some of the wedding industry’s best to get the inside scoop on throwing the ultimate intimate wedding. Read on below to get ideas and tips to throw the perfect intimate wedding.
Make It a Destination
“When hosting a boutique wedding, couples have more agility to go somewhere exciting to make memories, be it the Napa wine country or somewhere beachy.” — Stephanie Cole and Sarah Drake, founders, Cole Drake Events
Make Welcome Gifts More Personal
“Make your guests feel special. Possibly drop off brunch boxes the night of the wedding for the next morning, or leave special messages in their guest rooms each evening with small gifts of what’s to come all the way until they depart.” — Renny Pedersen, owner and wedding director, Bliss Weddings & Events
Get Creative With Your Ceremony
“With a smaller guest count, clients can throw out traditional ceremony norms! The trend now for smaller weddings is to create an intimate ceremony in the round so everyone can get a bird’s-eye view.” — Danielle Elder, owner and principal Planner, Classic Events
Make Your Entertainment Over the Top
“If you want more of a party atmosphere rather than simply a dinner reception, go over the top with the entertainment to keep your guest's attention. This can be a dance performance, a photo booth, or even a themed entertainer like a murder mystery game.” — Wendy Kay, owner and creative Director, Birds of a Feather Events
Ditch the Microphone
“Consider forgoing a microphone during the ceremony if your officiant is happy to project into the crowd. Sometimes the lack of a microphone can lend to the intimate atmosphere.” — Alex Chalk, senior planner, Taylor’d Events Group
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Splurge on Lush Place Settings
“When you only have a small group to entertain, you can treat them to the most beautiful china, special surprises at their seats, and monogrammed linens.” — Chelsey Morrison, owner and principal Designer, Gather Together
Plan Events Around the Wedding
“Whether you whisk guests off to Tuscany and rent a villa with a private chef for everyone to enjoy, or head to Provence where you plan wine and cheese tastings to experience the culture, think about more than just the wedding itself. A small guest count gives you the opportunity to create events surrounding the main affair to entertain and spend intimate time with your friends and family.” — Cristina Verger, founder/principal, Cristina Verger Event Planning & Production
Indulge in the Cuisine
“If you’re a foodie, splurge on a five-course, gourmet meal, complete with tableside preparations or carvings.” — Courtney Wolf, wedding planner, Invision Events
Create One Big Table
“If you can, host everyone at one big table for your dinner. It makes the event feel like a truly intimate gathering rather than a ‘wedding banquet.’” — Jenna Lam, founder and creative director, Jenna Lam Events
Share your own small-wedding ideas and tips in the comment section below.