An intimate wedding is still entirely possible.

By Alyssa Brown
December 27, 2018
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Many couples love the idea of having a small, intimate wedding, but once they start adding up the actual numbers of their own friends, their family, and their family's friends, they're quickly staring at a guest list with around 100 (or even more!) guests. If the idea of a wedding that large is unappealing to you and your future husband or wife, here are a few things you can do to keep the numbers low without upsetting anyone.

Communicate Your Wishes with Your Family

If a small wedding is really important to you, make sure both families understand this. Then, you may want to work with them on a draft of their guest list-rather than asking them to simply send over a list of people they'd like to invite to the wedding-so you can discuss who truly deserves an invitation. This way, you can be clear and firm about how many guests you're hoping to invite from your parents' circle. Your fiancé should do the same with his own mother and father.

Consider a Destination Wedding

Planning a destination wedding can be a way to get the numbers down. Since many potential attendees understand that a smaller guest list is par for the course, there will be fewer hurt feelings from those who didn't receive any invitation. The one caveat: Some guests may consider your destination wedding a great excuse to plan a vacation, so only extend invites to those you'd really want there. It's a mistake to assume a certain percentage of people will decline your invite.

Celebrate Without Children

Though they're small, kids add up fast on a guest list. Having a kid-free wedding is something you can do to easily keep numbers down. You might consider making exceptions for any breastfeeding babies, as it's a kind courtesy and these little ones don't take up additional seats.

Have a Golden Rule

It's often helpful to set a hard rule as you start creating your guest list. For example, you might say, "We're only inviting immediate family and those who feel like immediate family." Use this as a guiding principle as you draft your list-only those that fit the bill should be included.

Be Prepared

Having an intimate wedding doesn't have to mean offending people you love and care about. In fact, communicating with those who aren't invited is an important part of the planning process if you want to keep those relationships intact. You might consider reaching out to a few people you love but can't invite and explaining the situation, or else organizing a small dinner party with them to celebrate. For couples having a small wedding, it can also be helpful to prepare a thoughtful line about the size of the event they're planning so can skip the awkwardness of not inviting someone.

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