Your dreams of 150-300 of your friends and family coming together for your big day are probably on the back burner due to the current state of the world. We know this is a heartbreaking and frustrating time of changed plans and dashed dreams, BUT we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t show up and let you know that everything is going to be OKAY! You CAN still get married, yes, even in a pandemic.
It may not have been your first choice to have a smaller guest list, but smaller weddings may be the norm for the foreseeable future. We want to inspire our couples to embrace smaller, more intimate events.
We asked one of our past RSP couples to reflect on their wedding day and remember how fun it was hosting a small event. Carter & Jo were married at the Mansion of Saratoga.
Here’s what Jo had to say about their special day:
“Carter and I were married on March 26, 2016 in a small bed and breakfast in Saratoga Springs, NY. There were 38 people at our wedding including ourselves.
In the first wild weeks of getting engaged we threw practicality to the wind and face planted into Pinterest pages and wedding blogs. The sheer volume of possibilities was exciting to explore given that we are a couple that likes to entertain – we throw fancy over-the-top theme parties in our small Brooklyn apartment at least twice a year. In an effort to narrow the field a bit and actually start planning – we sat down and wrote out a possible guest list. In this exercise we learned that we would either need to have a wedding that was less than 40 guests, or it would snowball to over 150. There wasn’t an in between option – we both have large extended families and we kept having conversations that started: If we invite Great Aunt so-and-so then we have to invite 25 other relatives that would feel slighted otherwise… Everyone in my family still talks about my mom’s wedding – the branch of the family that wasn’t invited – and the fact that they crashed the party anyway… fun times.
Initially, we were tempted to throw the bigger party. We figured out a budget and then started to look for venues. We fell in love with the Mansion Inn in Saratoga Springs. They could have accommodated our crowd if we were willing to wait more than a year for there to be a free weekend. We were conflicted and weighed the options:
First: We really didn’t want to wait that long. Planning a party is fun – but not if you are doing it for over a year. The Mansion had another option: rent the whole house in the off-season and throw a smaller event inside. They could accommodate 40 people max for a ceremony and sit-down dinner event.
Second: The larger wedding would have absolutely blown the budget. We might have been able to make it work even so, but we would have had to sacrifice the pretty details that would have made it feel special. This was the crux for me – I’m an artist and I had some pretty grand DIY ideas that I felt confident I could pull off on a smaller scale, but I knew would have been ludicrous to try and execute for a larger event.
In the end, we opted for small and it was a truly beautiful wedding. Aside from having extra money in our budget to hire the best photographer and go for the more gourmet dinner options – we also found that it added an intimacy to our ceremony that was really lovely. Carter and I are both a little shy and the idea of the actual ceremony in front of a huge crowd was terrifying. Instead – we were all squeezed into a cozy parlor in front of a fireplace that we festooned with candles and flowers. The walk down the aisle was less than 20 feet. Everyone could see and hear every word we said. We wrote our own ceremony and a close friend was our officiant. By the time we were married everyone in the room was tearing up – not just us.
Over cocktails and then dinner – we were able to have real interactions with every one of the guests. Instead of a DJ or band, we created a playlist that was blasted throughout the house’s sound system. We were dancing and singing along to 80’s pop ballads at the top of our lungs with our closest family and friends late into the night. It was like throwing the best dinner party ever, and we have never regretted a thing.
We have been to many weddings since our own – all over 100 people. They are fun and crowded and we have a great time – But we always still seem to look at each other at some point and say ‘ours was better!'”