Small Wedding Photography

This one is for all my introverts. 

In reality, there might be many reasons why you’d choose to have an intimate wedding over all that fast-paced, big wedding excitement. 

I’ve got to be honest, my little introvert heart wishes I’d gone with a micro wedding. I bet there are plenty more introverts out there giving me praise hands right now. 

For some, it might be hard to imagine why’d you choose to have a small wedding unless your budget or Covid restricted you to it. 

And although those are two excellent reasons to stick with a small guest list, they aren’t the only benefits to pursuing an intimate wedding. 

But before we get too far into this…

What is a Small Wedding?

guests throwing confetti to newlyweds
Photo by: Klayne Photography

Perhaps your curious mind has just stumbled upon this article and you’re interested in learning, or (more likely) thinking about your own wedding size. 

So, what even is a small wedding, and how is it different from an elopement?

Typically a small wedding (or intimate or micro wedding) has 50 guests or fewer. Some intimate wedding photographers define a small wedding as 35 and under. 

And that’s about it. 

Most intimate weddings follow the same basic format as larger weddings, they just have a tighter reign on their guest list. 

On the other hand, an elopement can be planned or last-minute, and typically it’s only the couple, the photographer, and a witness (if it’s not the photographer).

An elopement doesn’t have any typical wedding format. It’s just two partners exchanging vows at the courthouse, somewhere meaningful, or perhaps on an adventure. 

Why Should You Have an Intimate Wedding Celebration?

There are many reasons why a micro wedding might be the perfect fit for you. 

Introverts Unite

happy couple at top of building wedding photoshoot
Photo by: Alysha Miller Photography

The first that comes to mind (since it’s near and dear to my heart) is that large groups might overwhelm you. Extroverted-ness and outgoing traits are highly celebrated in American culture, and weddings exemplify that! 

But if inviting hundreds of people to sit and stare at you makes your palms sweat, then, friend, don’t do it. There’s nothing wrong with you if you simply don’t enjoy being around many people at once. 

And, if you’re introverted, there’s a big chance that being the center of attention is also not one of your fav things. 

May I remind you, this is your day. Your wedding is your celebration. Consider a micro wedding to make it feel more you (and less anxiety-inducing). 


emotional groom looking at bride
Photo by: Elissa Deline Photography

Honestly, money is a great reason to pare down that guest list and opt for an intimate wedding. 

Perhaps you just have a smaller budget. No shame in that game. Having fewer people attend your wedding will significantly reduce the cost of your celebration. 

Typically, wedding venues will have a per-person cost, so you don’t have to pay quite as much if you have fewer people. The same goes for food, dessert, invites, etc. 

And if you’ve been looking for that perfect photographer, but can’t quite afford them, check their wedding packages. 

They might have an intimate wedding photography package that runs a bit lower than their other wedding packages. 

Or perhaps you can find someone who specializes as an intimate wedding photographer. Since you’re spending less money in other areas, you might find that you can afford them!

On the other hand, you may have a typical wedding budget, but you just want to spend it on fewer people. If you can’t book that luxury wedding venue with 200 people, perhaps you can with 20. 

With a smaller guest list, you can focus your money on really high-quality experiences that may have been out of your reach if you had to accommodate more people. 

This can feel exciting and liberating for those uninterested in entertaining the masses. 

Focus on the Details

wedding dine table
Photo by: Kanoa Photography

That leads me here. A small wedding allows you to really focus on the details. 

When you’re not worried about paying for Aunt Jeanie’s sister-in-law, then maybe you can actually block out time at that restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. 

You can give extra attention to your place settings, decorations, and favors.

And that open bar that you really wanted to offer but just couldn’t reasonably afford? Yea, that’s within your reach now, too. And you can rest assured that only your fav people will be getting tipsy on your dime. 

small intimate wedding photo of couple in food truck
Photo by: Kanoa Photography

Spending less money on a large attendance means that you get to add more of the things that feel like you to your day. Rent out that food truck. Buy those boujee bottles of wine. 

Really do you. 

More Flexible and Creative

bride, groom and guests in rainy wedding ceremony
Photo by: Elissa Deline Photography

A smaller guest list means you get to play with your day a little more too! 

If you want a location that’s a bit outside the box, accommodating 30 people instead of 300 is far more within your reach. 

Maybe you’re thinking about your favorite national park, or that beach near your home, or perhaps even your own backyard. 

couple wedding photoshoot at grand canyon
Photo by: Allison Slater Photography

Take your people on that hike that meant so much to you. Have your ceremony in the place where you and your partner’s dreams collided. Don’t hold back. 

After all, you don’t have to accommodate a boatload of people. 

With a smaller group of people who really care about you, you can really get creative with your wedding ideas. 

Are there some traditions that you just don’t vibe with? Garter toss feels a bit… ew? Want to skip dancing entirely? Or perhaps you’d rather it just feel like a warm gathering of friends and family instead of an orchestrated event?

A micro wedding can get you there.

couple wedding photoshoot near river
Photo by: Allison Slater Photography

Maybe you want to spend a bit more time on those vows you’ve been pouring over. After all, that is what the whole day is about, right? 

You can also get more creative with the involvement of your friends and family! If you want your best friend to officiate or your brother to make his famous focaccia, a small wedding would be the perfect fit. 

More Time for Photos

brides swaying their gowns
Photo by: Klayne Photography

If this doesn’t drive home the benefits of a small wedding, I just don’t know what will! 

An intimate wedding will provide more play in your wedding day schedule for you to, well, play! No hurried timelines and no large crowds waiting for the next event in the day. 

Just you, your partner, and your favorite people. 

Since it’s a smaller group, your friends and family will be more accommodating to a relaxed schedule. A little extra time where it’s just you and your partner in front of the camera won’t be a problem. 

It’s More, Well…Intimate

stolen shot of emotional guests
Photo by: Elissa Deline Photography

It’s called an intimate wedding for a reason, and it really will feel more personal for you and your guests. 

A tight-knit group of people who all know and love one another will make a wedding ceremony feel extra special. You’ll feel connected to the people you love most during one of the most critical moments in your life. 

No random wedding crashers. No awkward distant relatives. No obligatory co-worker invites. 

Only the people you really care for. 

It’s pretty typical during a large wedding for a couple to feel like the whole night went by, and they barely got to experience it. Either they were too busy making small talk with a lot of people, or they didn’t get to talk with anyone they wanted to. 

They might even skip the whole meal that they planned (and paid for) because things were just too busy. 

Consider a small wedding if you’re looking for intentional, deep, and meaningful time with guests. 

happy bride and groom with their dog
Photo by: Becca Louise Photography

It will also leave time and space for those four-legged family members that you cherish so much. 

Maybe you don’t trust your doggo in a group of 200, but they’re probably already familiar with your closest 30. Cutting down on that guest list allows you to keep the people (and fur-people) you love the most, closest. 


backyard wedding ceremony
Photo by: Becca Louise Photography

Of course, a pandemic can make this decision for you too. 

Keeping your wedding small and intimate could be the safest choice while the world battles Covid. Perhaps you are high risk or want to care for some of your closest high-risk guests. 

Limiting attendance will certainly help cut down on any Covid-related risk. 

Don’t Limit Yourself

Although you’ll be limiting your guest list, don’t limit yourself. 

The flexibility and savings that a small wedding provides allow you to really hone in on what is important to you! 

It is your day, after all!

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