Weddings

Intimate vs. Grand Weddings: Which Option is Right for You?

Should you consider a small dinner party or an all-out bash?
IMAGE KATIE SHULER
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If you are stuck between the idea of throwing a smaller, surprise affair or opting for an all-out, grand bash, knowing the difference between the two nuptial options can help you realize the day that’s right for you. We asked the experts for details on what couples really need to know when hosting an intimate versus a grand wedding.

Whether you envision a cherished dinner party environment or imagine all of your friends and family in one large shared space, the details behind these drastically different events will make it easier for you and your spouse-to-be to understand what is more of a priority for your big day. Read on for more tips to help you create a day that reflects who you are as a couple.

If customization is a priority: Intimate


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If making sure that every piece of your day is fully customized is of top importance, then we recommend an intimate celebration. “There is something so special about an intimate wedding,” says Jeannette Tavares, Chief Creative Director at EVOKE. “A smaller wedding allows you to invest in more details and customization for each guest,” Tavares adds.

If you want to emulate a dinner party vibe: Intimate


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“Having an intimate wedding is like throwing a dinner party with your closest friends,” suggests Sheila Dodson-Wright, Owner of Tableau Events, who used bold colors and varying depths to craft a playfully elegant tablescape for this intimate affair.

If you prefer a wider range of design options: Grand


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Hosting a grand wedding opens you up to limitless design options. “With a larger guest count, there are more possibilities to structure creations, table layouts, and more extreme, over-the-top design details,” says Kelly Clark Leonard, Owner of Event of the Season.

If your ceremony space is limited: Intimate


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Creating a more personal setup for your ceremony is a great way to showcase the intimacy of your guest list. “With a smaller guest list, you can be more creative with chair setups, ceremony décor, and your altar placement,” says Jessica Haro, Senior Account Executive at Paula Le Duc Fine Catering & Events. “Add color and comfort to your setting by integrating pillows into your final design,” Haro adds.

If you have a large RSVP list: Grand


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The more extensive the guest list, the larger the footprint you will need to host your wedding. “While your wedding size may require more space, aim to design your event to still feel intimate although equipped for hundreds of guests!” says Lynn Easton, Founder of Easton Events. “If your space is limited, but your headcount cannot budge, consider a stationed event,” Easton recommends. Guests flow through the space enjoying access to beautiful bars, a variety of culinary moments, and separate seating with different size tables, heights, and cozy lounge vignettes.

If you have limited table space: Intimate


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Remember the details when planning an intimate wedding. “Your guests will be able to appreciate and notice all of the small details of your day,” says Anna Le Pley Taylor, Owner of Anna Le Pley Taylor Flowers. “Using multiple vases with delicate flowers running down each table will not go unnoticed when working with more of an intimate tablescape,” she adds.

If you plan on going destination: Intimate


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“Opting for a small guest list allows you to focus on creating a unique experience for each attendee, especially if you are doing destination,” says Michelle Rago, Owner of Michelle Rago Destinations. Smaller is more intimate and of course can be less of a financial investment.

If you want to dance all night: Grand


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“People always want a really big dance floor but in reality, having a slightly smaller and more crowded dance floor always makes for a better party,” says Leah Hoos, Director of Catering for Mandarin Oriental, New York. Get creative with your dance floor by creating a custom design or crafting a unique shape to accommodate your guest list as well as add originality to your reception space.

If you have a small wedding party: Intimate


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“With smaller wedding parties, I am given the opportunity to appreciate how each person is a representative of my client’s life,” says Carla Ten Eyck, Owner of Carla Ten Eyck Photography. “The stories inevitably come out when I ask how they are all connected, and it gives the wedding party a nice chance to remember that connection on the big day and includes me in the story.”

If you prefer multiple seating areas: Grand


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A larger guest list means a larger venue which means a higher need for makeshift seating areas. “Implementing seating areas into your design doesn’t have to deter your entire vision or aesthetic,” says Heather Balliet, Owner of Amorology. Chic couches, chairs, and even pillows—that fall under your wedding style—can create depth to your reception or cocktail hour design while providing necessary comfort for guests.

If you want an original culinary experience: Both


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You can have one-of-a-kind menu for any size event. The key is creating a curated menu with easily-served dishes that still bring a unique quality to the food options. “No matter how large or small your event is, crafting a menu that feels special is important. With the proper culinary creativity and staff, anything is possible,” says Carla Ruben, Owner and Creative Director of Creative Edge Parties.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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