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WEDDING PLANNING: Deciding how big of a wedding to have

Updated: May 17

So you just got engaged... CONGRATS! 🎉 🎉 Now comes the fun part, all the planning! That's fun, right?? If you feel a little overwhelmed already, that's ok! There's a lot that goes into planning a wedding. Be patient, maybe start a Pinterest board, sit down with your fiancé, maybe have a drink and start asking questions to get you inspired!

One of the first questions you need to answer is how big of wedding do you plan on having? Not sure yet? That's what I'm here to help you decide.

So take a moment to picture your dream wedding. Close your eyes and really imagine what it would look like. You're walking down the aisle looking at your soon to be husband/wife, your heart feels full. What else is around you? Are you on a mountaintop with beautiful views? Are you at a beautiful venue? Are you in a church? Maybe you're in front of a waterfall?

Who else is there? Is it just you and your love? Are you surrounded by friends & family? Maybe you just see your parents & your closest friends?

This is the best place to start.

The next question I have for you is what would you like to do on your wedding day? Are ya'll the type who's down for an awesome adventure? Maybe just have a good time and go to some beautiful places? Do you want to have a huge party with all your friends & family? Does the idea of being the center of attention in a huge group seem a little bit stressful or does it sound perfect? Do you want to have a smaller gathering with just those closest to you? Or the idea of just spending the day with your love sounds perfect? Maybe you have always dreamed of going somewhere amazing and want to have a destination wedding?

I truly believe that every wedding, no matter how big or small, should be a day of celebration for you & your love. Two people committing themselves to each other. So it makes sense that your wedding day should be a reflection of your personalities! So in short, these are the core questions you should ask yourselves:

-Who do you NEED to have at your wedding?

-How do YOU want to celebrate?

-What would YOU want to do to have the BEST DAY EVER?

So you have answered those questions, that's a great start! Now let's get into the nitty gritty of what your options are:

-A larger traditional wedding

-A Micro wedding, Small Wedding, Intimate Wedding, there's a million different terms for it these days

-A Destination Wedding

-An elopement

-Adventure elopement

-Destination elopement

So there's a lot of different options! Don't feel overwhelmed yet! I'm going to go over each one, I'll give you pros & cons of each from my own personal wedding experience & from my experience as a wedding vendor. As you read through the descriptions, think: "Does this sound like us?" You should have a reaction of: "OMG YES! That's exactly what I want!"

**Now depending who you talk to the specific guest count for what is considered a large wedding or a small wedding will vary. I'm going to go with the rough estimate I use to judge.


Guest Count: 80+

Traditional weddings

I am going to say it right now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a traditional wedding. Things that typically happen at a traditional wedding:

-wedding party (groomsmen, bridesmaids, etc)

-First Look

-First Dances

-Cake Cutting

-Cocktail hour

-Bouquet toss

-Send Off (sparklers, ribbons, etc)

Large weddings can vary in a lot of different ways. Maybe you want to get married at a church then head to a venue for your reception, maybe you want an all inclusive package at a venue, or maybe you just want a huge party with friends and family.


-you can have everyone there (this can also be a con)

-you get married!


-Can feel like you're being rushed throughout your day to make your timeline happen

-Can be more expensive

-Can feel overwhelming with the amount of planning

A Micro wedding, Small Wedding, Intimate Weddings whatever you want to call it

Guest Count: 50 or less

I personally love smaller weddings. I had a smaller wedding myself, I just found that it allowed us to be able to spend time with all of our guests. We didn't feel rushed or pulled all over the place. The great thing is you can still do all of the same things you can at a traditional wedding but you have a bit more flexibility. Don't want to do a bouquet toss but still want to cut the cake? that's fine it's YOUR wedding make it what you want!


-Easier to interact with all of your guests

-Less pressure of being the center of attention

-you get married!


-You may still feel obligated to do some things on your wedding day that you're not super into

A Destination Wedding

Guest Count: Typically on the smaller side (30 or less) but can be whatever you like.

So you want to get married somewhere AWESOME. What better excuse to be able to travel than for your wedding? Go somewhere you have always wanted to go, or if you don't know where, but have a vision of what you want, talk to your photographer or planner and they can help you come up with some awesome ideas!

Maybe you picture snowy mountain tops, or tropical beaches, or mountains and beaches. Maybe you want an amazing forest with tall trees, or open meadows. Reach out for help and make your dreams a reality.


-awesome vacation

-super rad photos

-you get married!


-could be expensive (there's a lot of options to keep costs down, but if you plan on renting a place for your guests to stay it can get pricey fast)

An Elopement

I would say there's a few different ways to define an elopement. A lot of people picture just a courthouse or maybe running away to Vegas, but an elopement can be so much more than that. I consider an elopement any wedding with less than 10 guests. Many elopements are just the couple, the officiant, and a photographer. So after you say the I do's on your elopement day, then what do you do? Well there's a lot of different options. You can go to some awesome spots to take some rad photos, you can go out for a great meal, maybe get a drink or two, or maybe go on an awesome adventure. What I highly encourage all of my eloping couples is to make your day YOUR best day ever. So what are your favorite things to do with your partner? Do you like to go on epic hikes? Do you want to go out for your favorite food? Do you want to try something new? Maybe kayaking? Mountain biking? Sky diving?


-it's more about YOU and less about everyone else

-Typically cheaper

-you get married!


-You may not be able to have everyone you want there (maybe consider upping the guest count to a small/micro wedding)

So some sub categories in elopements:


Now adventure elopements are pretty rad and one of my favorite things. This is where you make your elopement day as EPIC as possible. Or you just have an awesome time out in nature and declare your love to your partner. This involves finding an amazing location to have your ceremony and to take photos after. Sometimes this can be all in the same location sometimes it's multiple spots. There's options for finding the perfect location, maybe you want something easily accessible so your grandparents can still be there for the ceremony, but for your portraits you want something a little extra so we go on an awesome hike. Maybe you really want to go out there and have a backpacking elopement, that would be sick. There's a whole bunch of different awesome options, if you're thinking about an adventure elopement but don't know where to start, reach out! Even if I am not your elopement photographer I am happy to help when I can.


-Awesome photos in epic places

-nature is cool

-You get to make an unforgettable day that much more awesome

-you get married!


-Mother Nature can be unpredictable, you have to make sure you are well prepared


Similar to destination weddings, except for just a smaller guest count. This can easily be paired as an adventure elopement as well. Going to some epic place to get married and take some awesome photos. It can also be a really great way to combine the wedding and honeymoon into one awesome trip.


-you can go to an awesome place

-you get married!


-may be more expensive to travel with your family

-I'm putting this as a con but with proper planning it is not an issue - marriage license

I hope that this blog post has helped you to start thinking about what style of wedding fits your dream day. As always I'm happy to answer questions or offer any guidance I can.



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