Should you have a small wedding or large wedding?

Wedding season is just around the corner.  In fact, last week, Dave and I attended one of his friend’s wedding.  The wedding consisted of a ceremony in a church followed by a reception at a country club.  We had a lovely time and Dave was able to catch up with several friends he hadn’t seen for a while.  Whenever we attend these large weddings, I wonder if ours should have been grander.  Based on our wedding and ones we’ve attended, the following are pros of small and large weddings.

Our Wedding

Last year, Dave and I had a small wedding on Cocoa Beach in Florida, attended only by immediate family.  From our wedding experience as well as having attended friends’ weddings at venues ranging from hotels to backyards, I feel the following are some pros and cons of having a smaller wedding.

Pros of a Small Wedding

Easier to Plan

When you have a smaller number of attendees, there are fewer schedules to accommodate, which makes it easier for everyone you want to attend to be witness your big day.  We only have nine people and one dog, including the bride and groom, at our wedding!

We did all our wedding planning remotely, starting about five months before our wedding date.  We found several companies that organize, officiate, and host weddings on Cocoa Beach and e-mailed several of them.  We ended up going with Beach Weddings by Joanie as she was the most prompt to reply and prompt responses are important when you are trying to plan a wedding remotely.

More Flexibility

We didn’t have to worry about a venue for a reception.  With so few attendees, we just went to a restaurant for lunch after the ceremony.  It was great that we had a smaller group because we had to change our lunch place the day before the wedding because we learned that it would rain the day of our ceremony so outdoor seating wouldn’t have worked.  Also, we were able to avoid rain during our ceremony by starting our ceremony 15 minutes earlier than planned, since everyone had already arrived.

Can Be Less Expensive

The average cost of a 2017 wedding in Boston is $39,147 and even weddings in Florida aren’t much less!  The cost of our ceremony including photography and my hair and makeup was $863.75.  Of course, the wedding dress is a big expense.  After visiting a wedding dress outlet in the Boston area and trying on dresses that cost several thousand dollars and needed tailoring, I got my dress online from Ann Taylor for under $100 and fortunately, no tailoring was needed.  I was able to order several dresses, try them on at my leisure at home, and return the ones that I didn’t want.  Dave wore a shirt, vest, and pants purchased at Express and Macy’s, respectively.

One reason our wedding was lower cost is because the beach is public, which means you’re unable to reserve an area.  When we walked out to the beach and realized another wedding was taking place at the same time as ours near where we planned to be, we just moved a little further away.

Pros of a Large Wedding

Having Many Friends at Your Big Day

Having many friends attend wedding provides a more lively and fun atmosphere.  It’s also a good opportunity to see friends you haven’t seen in a while.  We didn’t have any friends at our wedding.  But when I attend large weddings, I always have difficulty getting more time to talk to the bride and groom other than to say “Congratulations” as they are so preoccupied making rounds.  It seems to me it’s more fun to attend a large wedding than to host a large wedding.  Also, it’s difficult for the bride and groom to decide which friends make the list of invitees.

What about yours?

Weddings are special days and most people hope to get married just once in their lifetime, so it’s understandable to want to splurge.  It’s difficult to know what size wedding will work best for you and no matter what you choose the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.  We think we made the right choice for our circumstances and what’s important in life is to look forward and not behind you.  A wedding is a one day party, but a marriage is a lifelong adventure!

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