When you think of the ultimate wedding, usually a long guest list, a grand ceremony, and a venue decked with decorations come to mind. Generally, the thought process is: Bigger is better. While it can be fun and exciting to share your big day with hundreds of people, there is something special about hosting an intimate affair.
Small and intimate weddings are the perfect opportunity to make your guests feel more connected with you and your partner. Plus, the smaller the headcount, the more opportunities you have to personalize your wedding and entertain unique ideas like customized dining options (especially for your vegan loved ones) and create handmade wedding giveaways.
In a previous article, we outlined the steps on how to plan and throw an intimate wedding. For those of you who wish to push through with a small yet special affair, continue reading this post as we highlight some of the best intimate wedding ideas to carry out in the Philippines.
What is considered an intimate wedding?
But, wait. Before we actually get to the nitty-gritty of this article and list some unique intimate wedding ideas, let’s first define what an intimate wedding is. For sure, some who are still confused if having 100 guests is considered an intimate affair.
According to a Special Events blog article about the ins and outs of intimate weddings, a ceremony and reception with guest counts that fall between 20 and 75 are generally considered intimate. But of course, you can have as few as six guests and still have a grand time. The consensus is that intimate weddings don’t have more than 75 guests altogether.
Now that we have the definition out of the way, what exactly can you do for a small intimate wedding? Head over to the next section for some great intimate wedding ideas!
Small intimate wedding ideas perfect in the Philippines
You want a wedding that’s impactful, meaningful, and full of memories — memories that you’ll return to time and time again, long after the festivities are over. Right? Of course!
Here’s a list of small intimate wedding ideas that you and your guests will love.
Send gorgeous invitations
Many couples choose to go the inexpensive route when it comes to their wedding invitation. But with fewer guests, you have the means to go all-out and send stylish invites that none of your family and friends will want to throw away.
For instance, you can commission a digital artist who can draw you and your partner and then have that art plastered on the front cover of your invites. Or you can hire calligraphy professionals like Andrea and Jerrika from Type and Treats to write the invites in longhand with watercolor. You can think up of various invitation ideas to fit your theme — the possibilities are endless!
Make it a destination
If you have a smaller guest list and have the budget for it, consider renting out a private estate or a boutique resort to celebrate all weekend long with only your nearest and dearest. Destination weddings are also typically smaller and more intimate – not many friends and family members will be able to make the trip.
Grab the opportunity to plan a weekend full of events while also giving them free time to unwind by themselves. In lieu of wedding favors, you can give your guests welcome bags filled with treats, toiletries, and other items that would be useful during the weekend stay.
You can check out our list of intimate wedding venues all over the Philippines for inspiration. We’ve jotted down venues from all over the country. Just take your pick!
Personalize your ceremony
One of the best small intimate wedding ceremony ideas is to make your own vows. This not only makes the ceremony absolutely your own, it’s the most genuine way to profess your love for your partner. Since you’re already having an intimate wedding, saying the vows that you personally wrote just makes the entire affair even more tender and special.
Other intimate wedding ceremony ideas include choosing meaningful music for your traditional Bridal March. You can either choose a song that’s significant to your relationship or even take down the road less traveled and walk down the aisle to the theme song of your favorite movie franchise.
Add personal details to the décor
With fewer seats and place settings, consider using your family’s gorgeous collection of china or plate ware instead of settling for plain white plates. This is a unique intimate wedding idea that will make your small celebration even more special. It’s also a great idea to handwrite a thank you note for each guest and include it in their welcome bag or display it on their place setting.
Indulge in the cuisine
This is one of the best intimate wedding ideas, especially if you and your partner are foodies and want to serve your guests nothing but the most delectable dishes. Food and beverage are often the most expensive elements when planning a wedding but with a smaller guest list, you can create a menu that will delight everyone’s taste buds, including yours.
Instead of just serving an appetizer plus a choice of entrée or a buffet, consider treating your guests to a five-course gourmet meal that focuses on locally sourced ingredients and the finest flavors – paired with some good wine and cocktail. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t stop at the wedding cake! You can add a dessert table with mouthwatering cheesecakes, cream puffs, a DIY smores bar, and a chocolate fountain.
Sit family style
This is one of the easier small intimate wedding ideas that make a big difference in how your guests perceive the celebration. If the venue for your wedding allows it, have all of your guests sit together during the reception so it feels like one big dinner party. This will make the celebration feel more intimate and as though your dearest ones are attending a sophisticated dinner party.
If you decide to go with this intimate wedding idea, make your rounds so that you get to converse with those who are sitting at the ends of the table.
Create opportunities to gather and socialize
Capture the scene and squeeze everyone into a group photo! This is practically impossible to manage if you have a huge guest list. You can also pass around a guest book or a tablet where guests can leave messages or film themselves saying their congratulations to you and your partner.
Have exceptional entertainment
One of the best intimate wedding ideas in the Philippines is to get creative with your entertainment. With a smaller list of attendees, you have a bigger budget to spend on other things. For example, do you have a favorite local band? Consider hiring them for your ceremony or reception.
You can also hire a harpist or a string quartet to perform during the ceremony, or hire a jazz band or lounge singer for the reception. Love to party? Hire a DJ for your cocktail hour!
Preview has a great list of local bands and vocal quartets that you can hire for your wedding day.
Splurge on the alcohol
Personally, this is one of my favorite intimate wedding ideas: making the drinks memorable for those in attendance. Instead of simply serving wine and beer, purchase top-shelf liquor or you can even hire a mixologist to craft custom cocktails for your guests based on their preferred flavor profiles and ingredients. For instance, you can hire a mobile bar from Mixed Mobile Bar for as low as Php3,999 and just request if they can whip up some special drinks for your loved ones.
For non-alcoholic options, you can upgrade the juice and soda selections to include fancy mocktails. The young ones will surely love it!
Send guests off with customized giveaways
If you’re thinking of giving your wedding entourage or guests special unique wedding favors, it’s much easier to personalize each item when you only have a short guest list. You can go all-out with engraved jewelry or something as simple yet special as artisan soap with a handwritten thank-you note.
Celebrate the Joy in Small Affairs with Our Intimate Wedding Ideas
Small weddings can be incredibly special when carried out with care and attention to detail. They give you more time to spend your big day with those closest to you, making them just as wonderful as a large-scale event.
At the end of the day, when it comes to your wedding, it’s important to remember that what matters is that you’re celebrating your special day with loved ones — everything else is icing on the cake. Weddings aren’t meant to fit into a box and if you want a small wedding, the number of intimate wedding ideas you can pull off in the Philippines is truly unlimited.