What Is Considered a Small Wedding?

For many couples, their wedding day is one of the most special occasions they want to share with as many loved ones as possible. However, small weddings have become normalized since 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Though people still plan lavish weddings with an extensive guest list, the small wedding trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

What is considered a small wedding? Whether planning a city hall wedding in San Francisco or another modest venue, you can use our guide to learn more about small weddings and how to make your nuptials unforgettable.

A bride and groom toasting at a wedding reception.

What’s the Difference Between Different Wedding Sizes?

A small wedding is ideal if you plan to get married in San Francisco but don’t want a huge wedding and reception. But what is considered a small wedding precisely?

A small wedding is a ceremony with 30 to 60 guests. Medium weddings can reach up to 150 people but usually average around 80 to 100 attendees. Any ceremony with over 150 guests is considered a large wedding, but most events fall within the medium range.

Still, small wedding guest counts have tiers. For instance, a small event with 50 to 75 people is usually deemed an intimate wedding, but a tiny or micro wedding is with 20 people or less.

How to Cultivate a Small Wedding Guest List

Having a large wedding with many guests isn’t the important aspect of your big day with your partner. The important thing is to have those you love in attendance to witness your milestone. If a small wedding is something you prefer to ensure your closest friends and family are present, you’ll need to choose your guest list carefully.

Here are several ways to keep your guest list small while keeping your friends and extended family in mind.

Choose Venues with Guest Limits

When exploring different locations for a small or intimate wedding, steer clear of large venues. You’ll feel the need to fill the space with people, which means your guest list has the potential to overflow with names.

Instead, aim for smaller venues like boutique hotels and charming B&Bs. Even San Francisco city hall is an option for mico weddings.

Pick Your Wedding Date Carefully

Friday and Saturday are popular days for weddings because they present the most opportunities for guest availability. In other words, more people are free to attend weddings on weekends.

However, planning a weekday wedding will allow you to plan your guest list strategically according to availability. Due to previous obligations with work and school and the hassle of finding mid-week childcare, some people can’t attend weekday weddings. Though this wedding idea isn’t suitable for large-scale ceremonies, it’s perfect for intimate ones.

Consider Ways to Share Your Day Without Padding the Guest List

If you want your extended family, colleagues, and associates to participate in your big day but don’t want a large wedding, there are alternatives to a big guest list. For instance, you can livestream the event on Zoom so that people who can’t make it or aren’t on the guest list can still witness your special day.

You and your partner can also ask a videographer or a friend who’s handy with a smartphone and video editing software to create a lovely video you can share with your loved ones not in attendance.

4 Tips to Make Your Small Wedding More Special

Here are some ways to enhance your big day now that you know the answer to “What is considered a small wedding?”

1. Pick a Meaningful Location

An excellent way to make your small wedding memorable is to choose a location that means something to you and your partner. For example, you can marry near where you and your partner first met or got engaged.

Another option is to marry in a loved one’s spacious backyard. You, your partner, and your guests will feel comfortable in a familiar location. Also, you can create whatever ambiance you want for your big day in the backyard, which is perfect if you want to take the DIY route for your ceremony and reception.

2. Personalize the Decor

Speaking of DIY weddings, without a costly venue to accommodate a big guest list, you can spend more of your wedding budget on the decor. Personalize your small wedding with your favorite color scheme, customized flower arrangements, a ceremony arch adorned with fabric and flowers, or special lighting to create the perfect ambiance for your big day.

3. Plan Events with Guests Before the Big Day

With a small wedding, you’ll have more opportunities to connect with your favorite people on your big day. Unlike large weddings that often have a large welcome party, you can do something more subdued yet intimate with your small group of attendees.

For example, you can spend time practicing self-care while bonding with your siblings, best friends, and cousins during a mani/pedi session or take your best friends out for drinks before the ceremony. Making time for your closest loved ones can strengthen your bonds, catch up, and increase everyone’s excitement for the ceremony.

4. Take a Non-Traditional Route for Your Wedding Cake

One of the biggest expenses for a wedding besides the venue is the cake. Though you can certainly have a small cake for your reception and have the “cutting the cake” photo op with your new spouse, you could also take an alternative route for the celebration’s dessert.

For example, you could allot some of the budget for your ceremony to invest in something spectacular like an ice cream truck rental with a variety of options. Pies, doughnuts, and cupcakes are other options to consider. The dessert change can help your wedding stand out from others.

Learn More Wedding Day Tips with City Hall Wedding

If you discover that you and your soon-to-be spouse would prefer a small wedding after learning the answer to “What is considered a small wedding?” turn to City Hall Wedding for more tips! We cover everything from bridal shower ideas to San Francisco city wedding advice. Read our blog today or contact us online for more information or contributions.