Are you ready for exciting news? Because in this blog post I am revealing FOUR announcements I think many of you will be thrilled about. But before I elaborate more, let’s talk about something I want to wholeheartedly discuss with you: intimate weddings.
Have you ever considered a small and intimate celebration for your wedding day? If not, I would like to shine a little light on these small and stunning fetes. For half of the couples reading right now, an intimate wedding is not on your radar and not your dream — and that is 100% wonderful! Yet for the other half reading right now, an intimate wedding is likely what you need and, underneath it all, are exactly what you want. And during a time such as now in our world (it’s April 2020 for anyone reading this in the future), an intimate wedding could be the answer you’ve been looking for these last several weeks.
Hear me out — I am not saying that everyone should change their current course, pivot and plan an intimate wedding. This celebration style is not suited for everyone. But, what I am saying is that for those who search deep down and recognize that a small, intimate and beautifully designed wedding feels so true to who you are and how you wish to celebrate your marriage, this blog post is your permission to pursue it.
What is an Intimate Wedding?
Intimate weddings are bespoke and beautifully designed celebrations with a guest list of 10-75 guests maximum, with an average of 25-30 guests total. Because of their size, these weddings tend to take place in unique and exclusive locations all over the world. And with the ability to focus on each individual guest, these small weddings tend to be highly personalized with dozens and dozens of fine details that wow. Some of the most awe-inspiring weddings I have ever had the pleasure of planning have been small weddings and have included details such as personalized cheese and charcuterie boards, custom made linens, hand-stitched menu cards and luxury welcome gifts such as Baggu bags filled with Veuve Cliquot and Burdicks chocolates.
So why are intimate weddings specifically ideal right now in 2020? For couples who need to pivot or want to continue to have their weddings but are living in fear of COVID19, I want to get a little bit motivational with you right now. I’ve been in this industry for a long time. It is safe to say that I am beyond passionate about weddings and I will fight to save them because I wholeheartedly believe in the joy they bring to our world. I will be damned if we are going to let a virus cage the joy and celebration that weddings exude. I will not let the light that shines from weddings and the celebration of marriage be snuffed out. And if that means that we rise up and fill our world with a million tiny beautiful weddings, so be it. So for those of you who have dreamed of an intimate wedding but have felt pressure to host a larger celebration, this is your opportunity to grab ahold of your dream and run with it. Whether you are thinking of hosting at home, locally, somewhere safe to travel to or are planning ahead to a time when we can travel internationally, now more than ever is the perfect time to choose to host a joyful, sentimental and remarkable intimate wedding with your closest loved ones.
The Five Benefits of a Small and Intimate Wedding:
Still not sure? Or maybe your family isn’t so sure and you want to get them on board. Let me share with you 5 benefits of hosting a small intimate wedding.
I. Your Venue Options are Endless: One of the benefits of hosting an intimate wedding is the ability to host anywhere, including abroad destinations and outside the box locations. Greenhouses, secret gardens, a private beach, in your parents’ picturesque backyard of their Summer home on Cape Cod, a private estate inside or outside and even at your very own home in your grand living room, rooftop restaurants, outdoor patios of Charleston, SC homes, a vineyard, a loft, the terrace of Le Sireneuse in Positano with panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast, a villa in Puglia, a chateau in Provence… the possibilities are endless. With a smaller guest count, the doors to more venues open up including spaces that have never had weddings before (think greenhouses, villas, private homes, etc). If you are an adventurer, traveler, lover of the sentimental or in search of a venue with history and meaning, hosting a small wedding will give you admittance into these locations. Here are some of my favorite venues and hidden gem locations that make for a magical wedding venue for an intimate celebration (although there are hundreds more all over the world that I could list):
- The River House at Lowndes Grove in Charleston, South Carolina
- The Newport Beach House, Newport, RI
- Edson Hill in Stowe, Vermont
- Topstone Chalet in Redding, CT through Mayflower Venues (exclusively offers a limited number of intimate weddings)
- ShoreWay Acres Inn on Cape Cod in Falmouth, Massachusetts (hidden gem, exclusively offers intimate weddings)
- La Playa in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
- Hotel Escalante in Naples, Florida (exclusively offers intimate weddings)
- The Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida
- The Patio of the Gadsden House in Charleston, SC
- The Terrace and La Sponda of Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy (maximum 20 guests)
- Castello Santa Marinella in Rome, Italy
- The Abbey of La Badia in Orvieto, Italy
II. You Can Share an Experience With Your Guests: If you’re a couple who has been to many weddings, you might be looking for an experience not only for yourself, but also for your guests. With a smaller guest count, your ability to create an experience with high level of service can be achieved more easily. For example, maybe you want to host your wedding on an island and shuttle guests there via sailboat or private chartered ferry. Maybe you would like to host at a winery in California and guests tour the vineyard by vintage trolley. Or perhaps you want your guests to celebrate with you in Capri at Da Paolino, the magical restaurant under the lemon trees, of which you can take a gondola to get to. For couples who cherish experiences, a small wedding can allow them to celebrate their marriage while immersing themselves in an experience together with their guests.
III. You Can Relieve a Bit of Pressure: Some couples feel more comfortable and themselves in an intimate setting, and with a small wedding the pressure to host and entertain so many guests is alleviated. If you are more private or even just a bit more introverted in general, a wedding including your nearest and dearest can release you of the overwhelm you feel in larger group settings and allow your focus to truly be on your partner. Many couples do not experience this feeling, but for those who do please know that a small and intimate wedding is an incredible option for you!
IV. You Can Have a Wedding AND a Reception: For many a small intimate wedding is what they want, but for their families and friends it can feel challenging to not celebrate with the couple. But the good news is, a wedding and a reception do not have to take place at the same time. I have had couples in the past opt to have a 20 person wedding and luxury dinner on a rooftop in NYC, followed by a low-key Summer reception at their home on Cape Cod for 150 guests. I have had couples host a wedding in Europe with just their closest family, and then host a huge casual reception in the US for all guests who could not attend. I’ve had couples host a tiny wedding in Naples, Florida and then have a full wedding in Massachusetts. Just because you have an intimate wedding doesn’t mean that you cannot celebrate later with more of your friends and extended family if desired. But having the small wedding first allows the day to be more intimate and designed to your likeness, which then lets a larger reception feel more casual and focused on easygoing celebration.
V. You Can Design and Customize Every Last Detail: With a small intimate wedding, the overall design can be even more personalized and detailed, with lots of focus on the design and decor. Why? Because the budget can often go even further with a small guest count. We refer to this as an intimate luxury wedding. Here’s the unique thing about small intimate weddings as it pertains to budget. Catering is the highest ticket item in a wedding budget, and with a high guest count it usually is 30-40% of the total budget. But with a lower guest count, catering reduces greatly as does the amount of labor required, freeing up more budget to be spent on design details such as flowers, stationery, rentals, guest gifts and more. In turn, the result is a budget spread more evenly over categories rather than mostly allocated towards catering and beverage.
Ready for the Exciting News?
And now for the exciting news I promised you. All of which surround, you guessed it, intimate weddings:
- Introducing the Intimate Wedding Planning Package from Always Yours! You may have noticed that you are reading this post on the newly refreshed Always Yours Website, but you may not have noticed that we quietly added this new package offering to our services. The Intimate Wedding Planning Package is ideal for couples looking for planning and design of a small wedding for 50 guests or less and can be utilized for any celebration happening anywhere in the USA. For more information about this package, inquire here.
- Introducing the Italian Destination Wedding Package from Always Yours! This one is SO exciting. For couples looking to plan a European destination wedding, especially in Italy, and have the unique benefit of working with a planner who is based in the US with a team member who lives and has boots on the ground in Europe, this package is for you. This is truly a unique package where you have the best of both worlds — immediate access to your wedding planner and designer here who you can meet in person and work with regularly on a dreamy design, while our Italian based planner manages the logistics abroad (and speaking the language as well). Whether you are hosting and intimate wedding for 10 or a large celebration for 150 guests, this package is ideal for you and will be scaled to fit your wedding size. For more information about this package, inquire here.
- There is a historical venue in New England specifically perfect for small and intimate weddings. ShoreWay Acres Inn is an expansive property on Cape Cod with lush lawns and ample grounds, 82 guest rooms with the ability to social distance in accommodations and outdoors in the public areas. The inn is just a seven minute walk (or a 1 minute drive) to Surf Drive Beach and a two minute walk to charming shops and restaurants on Main Street of Falmouth, MA. Shoreway can rent one of the historic homes and lawns to couples wishing to host an al fresco or indoor 25 person intimate weddings with proper social distancing and accommodations for a full wedding weekend starting in the late Summer of 2020. And later when bans are lifted, intimate weddings for 50 guests or less will be offered, as the venue will only offer weddings for couples interested in hosting an intimate wedding. Please note that this venue is a venue location only and all vendors would be required to be brought in to plan and host the wedding. For more information about this venue, inquire here.
- A field guide for engaged couples on planning and intimate wedding (at home or destination) is going to be launched shortly by yours truly. Sign up for our newsletter here to be the first to know about this guide’s release date (in the next month) and be the first to get your hands on the professional Intimate Wedding Field Guide by Always Yours in the new shop.
If you have any questions, please comment below or reach out directly here.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to fill the world with a million tiny remarkable weddings everywhere.