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Thread: Small Wedding Ideas

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Small Wedding Ideas

    I recently got engaged a couple weeks ago.

    We don’t plan on having the wedding for 13 to 16months(when she is done with grad school), but we want to have a small wedding with only 25-35 people.

    We may do a destination wedding or may just elope with a few of our closest friends in Vegas..

    Any ideas for small weddings? How big and Where was your wedding?

    {Both our parents have moved, we no longer live in our home towns, so the hometown church is out of the Picture)

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    We had our wedding at the Aquarena Center in San Marcos, TX. It is a river/aquifer research institute associated with Texas State University, our alma mater. 100 people, under $5,000 (incl. dress, suit, groom/maid gifts, rehearsal dinner, etc., but not honeymoon).

    The great thing about a small wedding like you describe is that it opens up possibilities in small, intimate locations/buildings that otherwise wouldn't be able to accommodate. My one comment on destination weddings is that some people that might have been able to attend a normal wedding could find your destination cost-prohibitive.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    My Fiancee and I are planning a beach wedding on the coast (about 30 minutes from our house) with about 20-30 people on a Friday afternoon. We've rented a house on the Gulf for the following day and are going to have an old-fashioned beach barbeque which my relatives from Wisconsin will love in February. Complete with beach toys, sandals, hot dogs, burgers, salads, n drinks....it's gonna be the best time ever and the house is the most expensive part.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Congratulations!!!

    The question you should be asking is how much do you and the soon-to-be Mrs. WV06 want to spend. Once you have a budget then figuring out where becomes simplier. Vegas has a wide choices of wedding options that do not involve a drive through. A friend just got married in Maui with just family and a few close friends.

    When I got married it was 150 person affair, I was hoping for a small destination wedding but my wife wanted something more traditional.
    "You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it,..." -Bane

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for the replies

    Brocktoon,
    We aren’t positive on the price we want to spend yet, maybe we should make a budget before even thinking about it.. hmm....

    AirGarcia,
    We don’t live close to a beach but my parents retired to the beach and we are considering some places down that way.. Palmetto Bluff around Bluffton, SC to be exact

    Suburb Repairman,
    I’ve thought about the cost, im hoping I can get a rate somewhere with discounted or included rooms.. Never thought about my alma mater, Maybe I can talk her into Marrying me on the WVU football field next year??

    My grandparents were married at the "Hitching Post" in Vegas and we have thought about a small wedding there then a large reception closer to home or a very formal large rehearsal dinner in Vegas before..

    So much to learn.. we are beginning to plan this all on our own between our busy schedules.. so I haven’t gave it enough time yet, but again thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    One idea my wife and I kicked around was going to Sandals in Negril one one of their wedding packages. Didn't do it and used a small wedding chapel (a former church built in the late 1800s) in the mountains with just family. With were able to have a dinner reception for just that crowd and it was very economical.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  7. #7
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    I'd be remiss if I didn't promote a famous Iowa wedding location.

    http://www.littlebrownchurch.org/

    I got married there the first time. (The location wasn't the problem)
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    We went the "small wedding" route, and we wouldn't have had it any other way! Neither one of us is big on formalities or huge catered affairs, nor are we religious.

    We invited 25-30 of our closest friends and relatives to join us at the small denominational chapel in the "camping resort" where my in-laws spent their summers. We had a justice of the peace conduct the ceremony, and two friends who are accomplished musicians played songs prior to and after we said our vows.

    Oh yeah, I wore sneakers with my dress. We invited all our guests to wear whatever they were most comfortable in, including shorts (the wedding was in July). I literally had to twist people's arms to get them to do this, as they didn't initially believe me!

    Afterwards we moved to a small pavillion at the campground where we had brunch (with mimosas... mmm ).

    Needless to say it was extremely low-budget... and while it's not for everyone, it was perfect for us!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    I got married in a state park, in one of the lodges due to the rain. It was natural and beautiful. (and cheap!)
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Congrats!

    BEK and I had a traditional Saturday afternoon wedding in our church with 200 people in attendance. It was small compared to the number of people that we had to exclude from the final list. It could have gone up to 300, but we didn't have the funds to cover that many people and I didn't want it any larger than what it already was.

    I would prefer a destination wedding in the Caribbean or somewhere tropical or park-like as opposed to a Vegas wedding. Both have that "been there done that" or "not too original" appeal, but I think Vegas is somewhat tacky.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  11. #11
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    It might not indicate small numbers of people, and it sounds like money might not be an issue for you two, but I'm getting married in May on a very limited budget and found a picturesque public park with a small amphitheater that's great for our budget. Public parks = easy on the wallet, yet still pretty.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Veloise's avatar
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    As a wedding reception and special event performer, I've seen a gamut:

    --local metropark pavillion, the couple arrived by canoe, we ran my PA system off a car battery and power inverter, they enjoyed their contra dance

    --similar venue, wild ceremony by a U-U minister with music by a singing bowl, mail-order Ukraine bride did not care for the contra dance but the guests and groom loved it

    --Depot freighthouse/farmer's market (Ypsilanti) with a big crowd (rental fee was about $200 and they used wildfowers from the market vendors). Contra dance a big hit

    --Summer camp, Jewish but not Orthodox; happy couple met there as teens. He's from the UK and wanted "ceili" dancing; the liked the contra dance (although her sisters wanted me to keep playing CDs with Y.M.C.A. and The Hustle).

    --Same camp, in their more elegant facility rather than the huge summer camp pavillion place. The guests stayed for the weekend in the provided housing. Contra dance.

    --City-owned rec center building (rental fee about $75). Guess what they did for entertainment.

    --Civil War re-enactment military ball, hijacked by the event organizers who were getting hitched anyway. Victorian-style contra dance.

    --Small rural Grange hall (rental fee $150?) with potluck/local friends-provided food in the basement. Betcha can't guess what we did upstairs.

    I am trying to recall if I've ever done an afternoon event with punch & cookies rather than a full-blown meal. (Short-term memory is the first thing to go.) I've heard that it's tacky to not provide an open bar (rather than a cash bar which limits the drinking) and the way around that expense is to have a smaller event with punch and sparkling cider.

    Also look into historic venues, particularly the smaller ones that don't have a huge advertising budget (or evict a long-running educational program of 23-1/2 years on four days' notice). In other words, Greenfield Village/Lovett Hall venues are pricey; the Greenmeads are not. (These are two historic building villages in the Detroit area.)

    Beaches and parks and backyards can be lovely, but think through the weather, portapots, running water and electricity issues. (One of my metropark gigs had a basket of packaged hand wipes sitting on the ground outside of the outhouses. It might have been more efficient to run a hose with a handle faucet rather than a mess of wipes and packaging.)

    HTH

  13. #13
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    We had a very small and intimate wedding. We invited about 40 friends and relatives to meet us on the top of a cliff overlooking Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island (a state park). We said our vows with a JP and headed to the reception on my parents' boat/home, catered by my mother and sister. We provided excellent finger foods and lots of booze. Later on, we brought all of our closest friends to a restaurant/bar down the street after everyone left. That was one of the most fun parts of the day! I will remember that day until the day I die.

  14. #14
    If I recall correctly, there were nine people at our wedding in the County Museum -- a former Carnegie Library building -- and that included two docents of the museum. We left there for dinner in a five star restaurant and our wedding night in one of the most historic hotels in Louisville. (F. Scott Fitzgerald modeled the hotel in Gatsby after the Seelbach. If you ever get out this way, stop in to see the Rookwood Room in the basement. Awesome!)

    We had a picnic reception later in the summer that was a blast!

    (As I've mentioned before, our wedding was the day OJ tried to make his getaway in the white Bronco. Priceless)
    Je suis Charlie Hebdo. Je suis Bataclan. Je suis Bruxelles. Je suis Nice.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    Decided to get married a week after we met.
    First marriage and only marriage for both of us.
    Looked at our funds and got married in Mrs Katt's parents living room on her parents farm. (we are both farm kids) Only her parents and her brothers and sisters that lived at home were invited.
    My family was over a thousand miles away and since it was winter and the roads were bad and flights were canceled they could not make it.
    We are both religous and decided that we would get married later in a Church, We started out without furniture and wanted to pay cash for everything, which we did, except for our first house,
    We did that at 30 years and went on a cruise.
    We have a wonderful marriage and wonderful children and grandchildren with more on the way (another son got married last year)
    One of our sons did like we did, they wanted a house and so they bought a house and got married in the front yard. I have 12 brother in laws, so we pressed them in to service and everyone brought food
    Another son had a big wedding and a big reception
    So it is what each couple wants.
    I hope your marriage is as wonderful and as happy as mine is.
    Best Wishes

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wv06 View post
    ....[snip]....Any ideas for small weddings? How big and Where was your wedding?....[snip]....)
    How about a small wedding on the Florida panhandle? Our pool deck can be rented for a very nominal fee...(owners drink red wine courtesy of the bride and groom).

    http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/show...y.php?cat=6456
    Annoyingly insensitive

  17. #17
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    It might not indicate small numbers of people, and it sounds like money might not be an issue for you two, but I'm getting married in May on a very limited budget and found a picturesque public park with a small amphitheater that's great for our budget. Public parks = easy on the wallet, yet still pretty.

    Didn't realize you were gettin' hitched... congratulations! If you're talking Austin area, which park did you choose (I promise not to crash it)?

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus Veloise's avatar
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    Another idea for the OP

    http://www.hell2u.com/wedding_chapel.htm

    Saw this in a Sunday paper article; apparently they are doing brisk business for Feb 29.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I too am currently in the wedding planning mode and think that I would enjoy a smaller wedding than we are currently planning, but since my fiancé’s parents are footing the bill, and she is an only child and they want a traditional formal church wedding, that is the route that we are going.

    Right now, we are up to about 250 invited guests (invitations go out in the mail in a week!). Without making it a true destination wedding, we could have kept it down to about 50 guests and been able to use some of the smaller more historic venues in Detroit (e.g. lobby of the Guardian Building in Detroit, Casino on Belle Isle, friend's historic home in Grosse Pointe, art museum, etc.); once you get above a certain number of guests you really put a limit on some of the less-expensive but more creative places that you can use.

    As for going away for a destination wedding, the last thing I want on a vacation is my family to be there!


    I also like to suggest to her each week that we could still make it out to Vegas and elope but I know that I am a softie and get teary-eyed just looking at my parents' wedding photos and I think in the long run I would always regret not being able to have as many of our friends and families there with us on our day. I just keep reminding myself that this is probably the only time that all of each of our extended families will ever be together somewhere (and thankfully, it will only be for one day!).
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    Hubby and I got married in Lake Tahoe in the summertime. Cheap, small (15 people present, including the photographer), and in a fun location. We did an inside wedding, but the weather and location was so great that we did a lot of photos in the garden.

    We splurged on the lodgings (a cabin on the lake) but the wedding itself was cheap. I'll have to look up the specific chapel - they were extremely helpful and very coordinated. We got everything we wanted.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  21. #21
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    My husband and I got married at Diamond Head Beach Park, on Oahu, just the two of us. Later we had a reception back home, with about 50 guests.

    I would recommend the hawaiian route to anybody. It is easy finding coordinators online. We just had to have $50 and a photo ID to get our license at the health department on that friday, and then wait for the limo to pick us up at our hotel on saturday. Our coordinator guy did the photos, the video, had our flowers and the officiant there waiting for us. It was at a public park, so a free venue (but people sort of scattered away when they saw us there), and it was really wonderful, and stress-free.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian jmac's avatar
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    We had a not-so-distant destination wedding, with 25 guests at a B&B in Stowe, VT. It was pretty much immediate family only, and was small enough that almost everyone was able to stay right there. We had our little ceremony in front of the fireplace, the innkeepers made our meal, and we went sledding in the yard. I would recommend this route.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    My cousin and her husband "eloped" in Vegas but invited parents, siblings, and close friends (those who would have been in the bridal party in a bigger wedding). They all got dressed up and went to the chapel and then took pictures at a few locations around the city. People paid for their own flights and lodging...but that can be tricky, dealing with the cost to the guests involved in a destination wedding. I've seen pictures, it was really nice. They're blessed with small families, a few friends, and none of them have small children, so that option was perfect.

    Another cousin and his wife did a destination wedding at/on St. Lucia, the officiant was a resort person. They invited immediates, about 13 people, if I'm adding right. This was really lovely, too...I don't know the cost.

    I'm not having a small wedding, although the reception is going to be early afternoon, light refreshments, no alcohol...I'm very happy with that.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus Veloise's avatar
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    Remembered another nice scheme.

    Older couple (40-somethings) met contra dancing. They wanted to have a small family ceremony and meal, followed by a public dance. (It's hard to send a personal invitation to everyone in a dance community; for one thing, you might not ever learn surnames, let alone addresses. And what's the point of feeding all those folks?)

    Ceremony in a city park (beautiful DT Plymouth) in the gazebo next to the fountain. Reception in the Masonic hall across the street (large open space, wood floor, adjacent kitchen with service window, rents for $200). I think they had 25 people for the dinner.

    Seque to public contra dance in the same space. Probably 75-100 at the dance.

    Total cost: I'm guessing $1000 including the band and caller (my mentor, so I got to attend a nice dance).

    If memory serves, someone set up a donation basket at the entrance. (Contra events typically charge $6-10 admission and the fees go to pay for the rented hall, band, caller, and refreshments.) Charging admission to your own wedding deserves its own page in etiquettehell.com, but this effort was performed by dancer guests, not the happy couple.

    HTH

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wv06 View post
    We may do a destination wedding or may just elope with a few of our closest friends in Vegas..

    Any ideas for small weddings? How big and Where was your wedding?
    I eloped. I think my wedding was between $200 and $300. That included blood tests, marriage license, wedding rings, dinner and a movie, and cab fare. I wore something along the line of sweats. My marriage lasted 22 years.

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