As a event designer who’s philosophy has always centered around intimacy, I can say for certain that the most successful celebrations we’ve ever created have also been the ones where we focused on creating a super intentional experience for the guests. Whether 40 people in Italy, 60 people in the Philippines or even 2o people in Ohio, there’s just something special about bringing together your inner circle on your wedding day. It not only allows each guest to be extremely present but also feel completely honored. While the following tips can be implemented in a wedding of any size, these details our some of our favorite moments from celebrations with the smallest guest counts:
Whether it’s greeting each guest with their cocktail of choice when they arrive to cocktail hour or making sure every detail down to their dinner napkins are customized, guests love anything that was created just for them. For a recent 40 person wedding in Mexico, we not only had monogrammed dinner napkins at each place setting, but guests received welcome bags embroidered with the guest’s name.
As mentioned in my video the other day, intimate guest counts are perfect for multi-day celebrations, no matter where your wedding is. Think sunset sails, scavenger hunts, pizza parties, outdoor movies and more. These are all amazingly intimate experiences to add on to your traditional wedding weekend that offer more time for guests to relax, get to know each other and celebrate you as a couple.
HAND DELIVERED INVITATIONS
One of my favorite ways to honor guests and have the freedom to create a super intentional invitation is to hand deliver invitations. We’ve managed this experience several times, but my favorites were the beautiful boxed invitations we created for for a multi day wedding in Vermont as well as a private celebration in a family home in the Midwest. The moment guests were on the receiving end of this experience, texts, phone calls and emails came pouring expressing how excited they were to be invited.
CUSTOM CHINA & TEXTILES
When there’s less guests, there’s more room to make your wedding that much more reflective of your personal style. We love working with our couples to commission personal artwork, curate custom patterns and more. The end result is a beautifully cohesive celebration that is EXACTLY what you want it to be, rather than force fitting existing rentals, textiles or other readily available elements into your design. At a recent wedding in Italy, Happy Menocal created a stunning print which we used to create custom dinner linens, napkins and even cushions for the ceremony benches.
ELABORATE DINING EXPERIENCES
From seven course tasting menu to having pasta or mozzarella made fresh before your guest’s eyes, less guests means you can create a true culinary experience. Think Michelin star level menus and perfectly designed plates that could double as artwork. While not impossible with a large group, menus like this are so much more successful when created for an intimate guest count.
INTENTIONAL WELCOME GIFTS THAT GUESTS ACTUALLY WANT
Our most beautiful welcome gifts have been for our most intimate guest counts. Smaller guest counts mean the gifts can be curated with intention. Whether it’s a beautiful bottle of champagne or other luxurious treats, we recommend finishing the gift off with a handwritten letter, which is always easier to do when the guest count is lower.
GENUINELY CONNECT WITH YOUR GUESTS
The number one way to ensure an intimate celebration is to be genuinely present in every guest interaction. I’ve yet to see my couples at their 30 to 40 person wedding rushing through a conversation with any guest, especially if they have multiple events. They can actually be savor every conversation and moment throughout the wedding day.