Intimate Wedding vs. Large Reception: How To Choose

Intimate Wedding vs. Large Reception: How To Choose

One of the most significant decisions you need to make while planning your wedding is the size of the guest list. While big weddings are the most common and most traditional choice, there’s no rule saying you need to do this. It’s most important to weigh both options’ pros and cons so you can decide what works best for you. We’ve designed this article so you know how to choose between an intimate wedding and a large reception. 

Hosting a Small Wedding

Some of us love standing in the limelight, while others run and hide at the sheer thought. If you don’t like having a lot of attention on you, a small reception is the best way to ensure you are comfortable on the big day. So, let’s get into the pros and cons of small weddings!

Benefits of an Intimate Wedding

Intimate Wedding vs. Large Reception: How To Choose

Small, intimate weddings and receptions are lavish because you’ll have more flexibility with your budget, so you may not need to spend as much. Plus, with a shorter guest list, you spend more time with guests. Noting the benefits of a small wedding makes it easier to decide if this is the best option for your big day.

More Budget Flexibility

Smaller weddings and receptions cost less since you can get away with a less spacious venue. Plus, there’s less furniture to rent and food to purchase from caterers. You can splurge on your wedding attire, menu, or venue with that saved money. If you want to tie the knot in a breathtakingly beautiful yet expensive location, shrink the guest list.

You Can Talk to Everyone

With fewer guests, you can make sure only your closest friends and relatives attend the event. This helps you and your partner feel more relaxed. Everyone wants attention from the special couple, but when you have over 100 guests, most people only get a few minutes of your time. As a result, some relatives may feel snubbed. Small weddings have a maximum of 50 people, so you can spend plenty of time talking to and dancing with everyone.

Cons of an Intimate Wedding

Intimate Wedding vs. Large Reception: How To Choose

Having fewer guests may sound like the perfect option. However, there are a few cons you should consider. Weighing the pros and cons and what’s most important to you helps ease the decision-making process. After all, this is one of the biggest days of your life—each detail should align with your definition of perfection.

It May Be Even Smaller

While your goal may be to have a smaller guest list, remember that some people may not make it to the wedding. You could invite 50 people, but if 15 of those individuals can’t attend, it leaves you with 35 guests. If someone gets sick just before the wedding, your guest list could shrink even more.

Uninvited Guest Will Have Questions

You have to leave some people out, and these guests may have questions. “Why wasn’t I invited?” No one likes to feel put on the spot; these questions may make you uncomfortable, especially if you’re a people pleaser. If you can’t invite someone and they ask this question, make sure you know how to politely tell them they’re not invited and why. Going about this properly helps reduce hurt feelings.

While this certainly isn’t a reason to avoid having a small wedding, it is an important detail to note so you can prepare an appropriate answer to prevent hurt feelings.

Hosting a Big Wedding

While some of us like small gatherings, others love being the center of attention at a big bash. If this sounds like you, a long guest list may be the best way to achieve your picture-perfect wedding. Before sending out any invites, note the pros and cons listed below.

Benefits of a Big Wedding

Intimate Wedding vs. Large Reception: How To Choose

Many couples gravitate toward hosting big weddings and receptions so they don’t have to leave anyone out. Typically, any wedding with more than 150 guests is, by definition, “big.” Large weddings are popular because you don’t have to be picky with the guest list. That mix of personalities helps crank up the atmosphere as you crowd the dance floor.

You Leave No One Out

No one likes feeling left out, and cutting people from your wedding guest list is never easy. Of course, when you have a big party, you don’t have to deal with this challenge. You can invite everyone important to your life to enjoy the greatest party you’ll ever host. Inviting more people doesn’t always mean fewer feelings of intimacy, either. Love is in the air on a big day like your wedding, and you’ll feel it all around you as guests smile and celebrate your union.

You Can Crank Up the Party

The more people you have, the more likely you are to lock in that party atmosphere! There’s a bigger mix of personalities, and those loud extroverts have a way of lighting up the room. Plus, more guests means more tasty options for cocktail hour, the main course, and dessert. If you love sweets, there’s nothing stopping you from having a large dessert table without countless options. More guests mean more mouths to feed, and everyone loves options.

Cons of a Big Wedding

Intimate Wedding vs. Large Reception: How To Choose

Similar to a small wedding, there are a few cons of a big celebration that every couple should know. While having many people is fun to some of us, it comes at a cost—literally! Since they have more guests, big weddings have a higher price tag, which means making cuts in other areas of the budget. On top of monetary costs, planning big weddings is more stressful, and you have fewer venue options.

It’s Stressful

The more people you have, the more you have to juggle. For example, you’ll need to track down a larger location and spend extra time focused on the fine details. Plus, you’ll have a bigger seating chart to deal with as you decide who should sit where. If you’re a people pleaser, all this stress could build and cause the release of bridezilla or groomzilla.

There Are Fewer Affordable Venues

The bigger your guest list gets, the fewer venue options you have to choose from. If having everyone in your life is more important than the perfect spot, this isn’t a big deal.

Deciding on Your Wedding

So, are intimate or large weddings best? That’s a question only you can answer because every individual and couple has different values and personalities. One way to choose between an intimate wedding and a large reception is to write down the pros and cons of both and then weigh them with your partner.

As you list your options, listen to one another and respect differing opinions. If you want a big celebration while the other prefers intimacy, find a solution that works for both of you.

Getting Bits of Both

While you can’t have both a big reception and something small and intimate, you can benefit from both on your wedding day. Some couples have small, intimate ceremonies followed by a big reception to celebrate with everyone. This allows you to spend one-on-one time with your closest friends and relatives at the ceremony without leaving anyone out at the reception.  

Bridal Tip

You could also meet in the middle and have a medium-sized wedding. Invite 50 to 150 guests so you can remain less selective while maintaining an intimate atmosphere.

A Final Note

Intimate Wedding vs. Large Reception: How To Choose

Ultimately, what matters most is that you and your partner have your dream party and that the most important people receive an invitation. If big parties give you anxiety, one of the best ways to avoid becoming a bridezilla is to plan a smaller celebration so there’s less to consider. On the other hand, narrowing your guest list may be more trouble than it’s worth, especially if you want everyone at your side. Step back, take a deep breath, and consider what variables would create the perfect wedding day.

Leaf accent icon

Everyday Bride

Freelance Writer
March 16, 2023

Stay Connected

How To Pick Out the Members of Your Wedding Party

6 Reasons To Write Personalized Wedding Vows

5 Wedding Photography Trends & Why You Should Avoid Them