What are some unique ways couples are spending their wedding dollars saved due to smaller guest lists?

What are some unique ways couples are spending their wedding dollars saved due to smaller guest lists?
Weddings have been looking a bit different for the past year. Many have postponed until they can safely hold the wedding of their dreams, but others have gone ahead with more intimate and lavish weddings. Wedding pros shared with us how some of their couples reallocated their budgets.

Couples are each deciding what is best for them and their friends and family, and going smaller can be a beautiful way to celebrate with your significant other in a more special way!

We had one mini digital wedding this year and it was FAB! The couple had originally planned a large 150ish wedding in New York City, but once they changed the date once and realized what was ahead they decided to go small, but fabulous! One of the brides is a doctor, who has been on the frontline of Covid, so she only had a couple of days she could take off and it made it all the more urgent to happen.

To make their digital wedding special and personal for them they invested in the venue, flowers and gifts for guests! Cedar Lakes Estate is typically for large weekend weddings, but they booked a Suite for a couple of nights, relaxed and soaked in nature before marrying on the waterfront in front of beautiful blooms and all of their loved ones on Zoom!

For cocktail hour the couple enjoyed their favorite cocktails and bites and we sent gift boxes over to those who attended the virtual cocktail hour so they could toast along with the brides and enjoy snacks, both sweet and savory including cake, from afar!

The cocktail hour was so special, hearing the toasts were so heartfelt and meaningful! After the digital cocktail hour the brides sat down for a beautiful private dinner on the water, with a four course meal to celebrate their wedding!

Bigger is not always better, and smaller is not always less! Couples are each deciding what is best for them and their friends and family, and going smaller can be a beautiful way to celebrate with your significant other in a more special way!

Gift Boxes: The Giftwell

Jove Meyer

Owner | Creative Director

Jove Meyer Events, Brooklyn, NY

We are finding that they are going all out on the wedding details.

It’s been so much fun to see how our couples are reallocating their budgets when they have to cut their guest counts unexpectedly. We are finding that they are going all out on the wedding details. They are renting upscale china, flatware, glassware, and chargers. They are adorning their tables with heavy florals and tons of candlelight. We are also finding that they are including furniture rentals more than ever.

We are seeing couples add more tables to their reception space. This allows them to spread out their guests, while still providing an intimate setting. We are also seeing couples get creative with their ceremony setups. They are including couches and benches and having groups of the family sit together.

Venue: Williamsburg Winery

Photographer: Luke and Ashley Photography

Florals: Aleen Floral Design

Cake: Extraordinary cupcakes

Planner: Wedding Co of Williamsburg

Jess Aiken

Owner

Wedding Co of Williamsburg, Williamsburg, VA

For one of our Summer 2020 couples who chose to proceed with their date,  we moved the wedding outdoors and ensured the guests were well spaced out and seated in family bubbles.

Our couples are being more intentional and going an extra mile to give their attending guests a more memorable experience; after-all everyone who makes the list is a VIP.

From individual miniature cakes for each guest, a more upscale table scape with luxurious floral arrangements to personalized gifts and favors for the attendees.

We have incorporated hybrid weddings with guests streaming the wedding virtually. We encourage couples to spend some time personally thanking their virtual attendees and sharing a moment with them if they can.

For one of our Summer 2020 couples who chose to proceed with their date,  we moved the wedding outdoors and ensured the guests were well spaced out and seated in family bubbles.

Adeola Fowodu

Owner/Lead Planner

Celebration Events Management, Bradford, Ontario, Canada

Over the top decor, menus fit for a king with caviar, lobster, filet replacing chicken, salmon, and short ribs.

Couples are opting for over the top decor, menus fit for a king with caviar, lobster, filet replacing chicken, salmon, and short ribs.

One thing that comes into play is the need for larger tenting for social distancing for outdoor events which results in more revenue for the venue.

Couples are desperately seeking venues with less than a month to go as indoor venues cancel due to COVID.

Bill Hansen

Bill Hansen

CEO

Bill Hansen Catering, Miami, FL

Since they saved so much by minimizing their guest count, they opted to do a coursed, plate and serve dinner.

I had a wedding last November that had a guest count of 35 people.  Since they saved so much by minimizing their guest count, they opted to do a coursed, plate and serve dinner.  This made the dinner more exciting and filled in a lot of time during the reception.  The couple had plenty of time to visit each table and greet their family and friends.

We planned a wedding in France years ago and I loved how much time was spent on the dinner, which lasted four hours.  I think this is a much better way to serve your guests, fill in down time and allow your guests to actually chat and spend time together.  I hope to see more of this trend moving forward!

Photo Credit: Toni Albers Photography

Meredith Corning

Owner/Wedding Planner

Meredith Events, Rogers, AR

For catering, couples have moved from a buffet-style meal for 150 to an elegant, 5-course plated meal for 30.

With the rising tide of more intimate, smaller scale events; couples who had originally planned on a full-scale affaire are finding themselves with extra funds.  There have been a lot of wonderful ways to see couples still supporting their vendors (and upholding their contracts) while shifting what the wedding day plans may look like.  These have included going from a full reception of centerpieces to shifting florals into an amazing ceremony statement piece with their florist.

 

For catering, couples have moved from a buffet-style meal for 150 to an elegant, 5-course plated meal for 30.  Couples have also gotten creative in the dessert department shifting from what would have been a multi-tiered wedding cake to individually wrapped cupcakes for guests to take to-go.

 

All it takes is a little creativity and flexibility to shift what were the original plans to still create a meaningful, beautiful, memorable wedding day for your and your guests.

 

Florals: Oak & Fig

Rebecca Grant

Owner/Lead Planner

New Creations Weddings, Kirkland, WA

We've seen the most fabulous touches added to smaller celebrations!

We’ve seen the most fabulous touches added to smaller celebrations! Below are a few examples:

– Upgraded tabletop (linens, china, flatware, glassware, etc.)
– Over the top florals!
– Chef’s Tasting Menus with Wine Pairings
– Creative, personalized menus
– COVID Friendly Cocktails and Appetizers (passed and topped with decorative coasters and acrylic lids)

Photo credits:

Aaron and Jillian Photography

Shannon Oleksak

The Happy Bloom

Francesca DiSalvo Follmer

Owner

Pure Luxe Bride, Charleston, SC

Some of our couples who are comfortable traveling are spending their wedding dollars saved on travel experiences...

Some of our couples who are comfortable traveling are spending their wedding dollars saved on travel experiences either for their honeymoon or to visit places they have always dreamt of. We also have a few couples that are purchasing new homes or investment properties, and donating to their favorite charities.

Sarah Nickens

Sarah Nickens

Owner/Lead Planner

SG3 Events, Clarksburg, MD

When it comes to celebrating with loved ones at a safe distance, couples have solicited the assistance of vendors who can provide them with high-quality streaming services...

Couples that have micro-sized their guest lists down to 25 or less, from the 100 or so they had originally planned are spending the money they saved on items like renting extravagant Airbnbs to host the wedding, handmade, bespoke stationery, fancy cocktails for cocktail hour and switching out the traditional wedding food fare for high quality cuisine.

 

When it comes to celebrating with loved ones at a safe distance, couples have solicited the assistance of vendors who can provide them with high-quality streaming services and/or they have opted to hire a videographer so that they have memories to share with family and friends who could not attend in person. If the guest list isn’t too big, another way couples can keep the guests engaged is to send them a wedding package that contains items such as an invitation, a small bottle of champagne and a few silk or dried flowers in their wedding colors. That way when it comes time to toast the couple each guest, either in person or watching on-line, has the same drink.

 

Calligraphy: Jennico Calligraphy

Heather MacArthur

Owner

Bowtie Services,

You don't need much, as long as love is present.

For the most part my 2020 couples postponed their weddings to 2021, but they were still able to celebrate their union with their intimate family. You don’t need much, as long as love is present.

Photo #1 – Julie and Manny were able to get a few things together with the help of their family, and in their new home were able to celebrate their wedding.  Other guests were invited to watch the ceremony on Zoom, me included.  You were able to feel the love and the special moment.

Photo #2 – Carol and Javier were also able to get together with a few close friends and family, and find  the right spot to celebrate their union by the sea.  I was so excited to be invited. So much love.
Photo #3-8 – Alexa and Frank were able to reduce their wedding to the NYS mandated guest count of 50. In addition, there was a no dance policy but with everything else going on guests 

were kept pretty busy and entertained; from a photo booth to an espresso bar and fireworks, an amazing evening was had by all. The couple were able to at least have their first dance.
 
The guests tables were set at different guest counts, since they were set to sit families from the same household. There were tables set for 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and even 12.
 
Couples important must have: Amazing food, décor, intimate wedding and the sparkly bridal gown the bride fell in love with.
For the bride the entire day was like a dream and amazing, but the most memorable was the  fireworks show the groom surprised her with at the end of the night.
 
Photo Credit: Fred Marcus Studio
Floral & Decor Designer: Konstantinos Floral Designs
Makeup Artist & Cosmetics by Bride Alexa Persico
Bridal Gown Designer: Pnina Tornai

Jacqueline Vazquez

Owner & CEO

Lifetime Events by Jacqueline, Scarsdale, New York

Live streaming and face timing has also become really popular during key events of the day. 

We have had a lot more seated dinners with fun plate ware and custom dummy cakes so they could still have a large cake but we weren’t wasting food.

Live streaming and face timing has also become really popular during key events of the day.

Kelsey Connor

Owner/Lead Planner

Connor & Co., Memphis, TN

A client couple of mine used their saved money to buy their first home!

A client couple of mine used their saved money to buy their first home! They ended up saving close to $10,000.00 from their wedding costs and so they decided to use that money to get a home. I am so happy and excited for them to not only start their journey as husband and wife but now also as new home owners.

 

Hesok Pittman-Boyd

Hesok Pittman

Wedding Planner

Bountyful Creations, Casa Grande, AZ

...our clients have decided to postpone their large-scale reception and instead had a micro wedding surrounded by just the immediate family.

LOVE WINS
We have found that love will always win even in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.  During these unprecedented times a variety of our clients have decided to postpone their large-scale reception and instead had a micro wedding surrounded by just the immediate family. To them, being “married” was more important than throwing a large celebration. They realized that having a small wedding with less than 20 guests provided more opportunities to create memories with those they hold closest to their hearts. Each person at the intimate wedding was able to share a toast with the newlyweds and the couple had ample time to laugh and dance with their loved ones. Couples who have postponed their large-scale weddings can look forward to celebrating a second time when they throw an extravagant celebration on their one year anniversary. A win-win for love – and for all party lovers!

 

Safety Protocols
In order to make sure that we followed safety protocols, all family and guests were Covid tested prior to the couple’s big day and quarantined after the test so that the couple and their guests would be safe.  Staff working the event (ie. planner, vendors, photographer, videographer, etc). all wore masks and kept a safe distance from the guests.  Vendors loaded in during different time slots so there were not a lot of people onsite at the same time.  Staff that served tray-passed appetizers, dinner and attended the bar all wore masks, face shields and gloves in order to be safe.  In keeping with the safety protocol, we served all courses plated, rather than family style, so that there was no sharing involved.  Guests were outside only and we spaced out the seating for the ceremony and reception more than usual.

 

Even though the wedding was small and intimate, we were able to make it special for the couple by bringing in the special touches as an ode to the couple.

 

Photos 1-5: Lauren & Blake Wedding
  • Groom’s Childhood Home
  • Cake Cutting
  • First Dance

 

Photos 6-8: Justine & Hrishi Wedding
  • Chuppah
  • Mala (floral garland)
  • Live Video for family who couldn’t be at the wedding

Photo Credit: Heather Kincaid

 

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Cohen

Co-Founder | Owner

JOWY Productions, Los Angeles, CA