Breaking Wedding Traditions | Turning Your Wedding into an Intimate Wedding

How to have an intimate wedding anywhere.

You may or may not have heard the term “intimate wedding” which typically means a small wedding. As someone who has seen a lot of weddings and who has planned my own wedding, I’ve noticed a few different themes across different weddings. While Johnny and I had hundreds of guests, we knew we wanted this to be a fun, intimate wedding. Sounds crazy and like they’d contradict each other, doesn’t it?

Well, while you’re planning your wedding, if you’ve found that the new and old traditions that seem to come with a wedding aren’t your thing.. guess what? You don’t need to make them your thing.

Here are some things to consider, whether it’s one or none or all, know that you can make this wedding exactly how you want it. Cut what you don’t want, and add in what you do.

I am about to contradict every single thing you’ve ever read about planning a wedding.

Get Rid of the Timeline :

The biggest no-no. If you’re a couple who flies by the seat of your pants, then fly. If you’re having a wedding day where it all takes place at one spot, then consider inviting everyone to come over at a time leading up to the ceremony, and when the time is right and things are going and everyone’s there, exchange your vows, hold your ceremony, and continue on with your festivities.

Get rid of the
time to do hair
time to do makeup
time to eat
time to take these photos
time to take those photos
time to see each other
time to be here
time to walk down the aisle
time to say vows
time to stop saying vows
time to take those photos
time to enter party
time to throw bouquet
time to cut the cake
time to dance
time to break from dancing
time to leave

yes. I said it. I meant it.
as long as there’s dinner at dinner time.

No Seating Chart, and Long Tables (or no tables?!) :

Talk about casual & intimate - having tables and seating areas placed around all over and not telling people where to sit lets anyone mingle with whoever they want.

Having one (or multiple, depending on your guest list size) long table wherever everyone sits makes it feel more intimate, whether it’s a few guests or a few hundred, like a big family dinner.

Get Ready Together :

Some ceremonies don’t happen until late in the day, so most wedding days, brides & grooms don’t see each other until the day is almost over, and at that point you’re normally engulfed in people. If you’re setting a day aside for the two of you, but you get very little time together, you may have a hard time appreciating all of the guests who are there. Getting ready together and with family and friends could make you more excited to be surrounded by more people later in the day.

Salubria Historic Manor House Virginia - Moody Scottish Highland Wedding Styled Shoot - White Sails Creative - Sage and Silhouettes - BHLDN - Bijous Sweet Treats_51.JPG

Get Your Dress Dirty :

Yep. I said it. And I meant it. “You only wear it once” rings true, unless you’re doing some sort of photo shoot after your wedding, or planning on wearing it every year on your anniversary. You may even want to pass it on to your daughter! But most of those dresses often get cut up to the trends. Looking back at the ridiculously fun time you had on your wedding day through the dust and dirt on the bottom of your dress just may hold a lot more sentimentality (and can still be passed on and danced in.)

Damian & Jesse - Maine Backyard Wedding - White Sails Creative_5.JPG

Reusable Decorations & Mismatched Plates :

Also a way to save money - when you’re out buying decorations for your wedding, look for things you’d use in your own house, or that friends/family members would like. Use things from around your house to decorate - such as frames, plates, cups, vases, statues, old bottles, table cloths, and other knick knacks. Use a journal for your guest book that you can tuck away and continue writing in about your wedding day and honeymoon, the fill it with prints (like a scrap book, from the good ol’ days).

White+Sails+Creative+Backyard+Wedding+Guide++Inspiration.jpg
Hannah and Shannons Wedding - Brown Wedding_12.JPG

Homemade Food & Pot Lucks :

I’ve seen the crazy responses to this one - a pot luck for a wedding? This all comes down to what kind of wedding you want. If you want a beautiful and seated wedding with low-stress, and having food like that is a priority in your budget, then having it catered is the way to go. But if you’re looking at your budget and realize that having friends and family there is more of a priority, and that meals have always been a big part of your relationships, then maybe having a fun, laid back, intimate dinner (for all amounts of people) is the way to go. A huge vat of soup and breads and cheeses can go a long way.

Hannah and Shannons Wedding - Brown Wedding_15.jpg

Have your Dance Floor under the stars :

This sounds scary, because weather, but staggering tents around the dance floor can combat that fear. Then, for some extra magical (for pretty cheap!) string lights across from tent to tent, or tree to tree. It makes for a bigger space to enjoy each other’s company, or do some barefoot dancing.

Pick your own flowers :

Turning your wedding day into a wedding weekend or even a wedding week gives you more of a chance to spend time with everyone. Want to save money, and make it a fun experience? Pick your own flowers, and create your own arrangements! Flowers die quickly, so make sure you test it out first and see how to make it doable. If you don’t want dead flowers by the time the wedding festivities start, pick your flowers the day before, and keep them cold until it’s time to show them off.

Damian+and+Jesse+Chebeague+Island+Maine+Backyard+Destination+Beach+Wedding+White+Sails+Creative_62.jpg

Get Ready At Home, In a Cabin, Cottage, or Outside :

Getting ready somewhere where everyone fits, and with more to it than a hotel room adds sentimentality to the whole experience. It also adds more character to your photos.

Damian+and+Jesse+Chebeague+Island+Maine+Backyard+Destination+Beach+Wedding+White+Sails+Creative_78.jpg
Megan+and+Andrew+Lake+Valhalla+Washington+PNW+Adventure+Elopement+White+Sails+Creative+Sunrise+Hike_47.jpg

Don’t Be Scared of the Rain :

Not because it’s good luck, like everyone says, but because it’s your wedding day, and it’s going to be fantastic.

Caitlin and Ted_17.JPG