There are cases when a bride and groom decide they would like a smaller wedding that includes only their closest friends and family. While there are many reasons for this decision, the most common one is a small budget, but this does not mean they can get out of planning all the details required for a perfect wedding. In a nutshell, the secret to planning a small wedding is creativity, and there are many sources for small wedding ideas that will get your creative engine running. Let’s take a look at a few.

The Guest List

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The wedding cost can increase exponentially as the guest list grows, which is why keeping it to a minimum is always a good way to stay within your wedding budget.

Most guest lists usually start out large but can be thinned after going through them a few times. Inviting your mother’s aunt Millicent from Ecuador is not an absolute necessity, because she may not show up. Stick to more local guests, and those who will definitely be there.

Your Wedding Venue

Venues are one of the biggest expenses to be included in a wedding budget. The size of the venue will be dictated by the number of guests, and in many cases can cost a small fortune. When you are planning a small wedding, there are many options available to you which may not be appropriate for a larger party.

For example, the church where you have the ceremony may be willing to let you use their grounds for the party for a small fee, so you should look into that. Public gardens, parks, and other common areas may only require you to get a permit for their use, and when it comes down to it, if you have a family member or friend that is willing to allow you to use their home as a setting for your wedding, you may end up with a completely free venue.

Make sure you check our collection of wedding venues in Calgary.

The Bridal Gown

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While every bride dreams of a fairytale wedding and a designer dress, paying the price may not always be possible. You can save a lot of money from your wedding budget by looking at alternative options, such as consignment stores, or websites where brides offer their dresses at an extremely reduced price.

If you are a traditionalist, you can also consider wearing your grandmother’s dress, which is an inexpensive option that may require only a few stitches here and there. It is at this point where it is worth investing in a wedding planner, who can offer a myriad of small wedding ideas.

Party Favors and Decorations

Decorations and favors have a habit of eating into anybody’s wedding budget, and are usually the center of attention during and after the ceremony.

When you are planning a small wedding on a limited budget, a good way to counter the cost of these items is by making them yourself. As a matter of fact, get all your friends together for a session or two of creative brainstorming that may produce better results than those you see in specialized publications.

When you craft your own decorations and favors, the sky is the limit, and your imagination and personal talents will be the guide to what you can do.

For example, if you are good at cross-stitching, you can create personalized favors for your guests, or maybe one of your friends is a florist in disguise, who can help you make the most beautiful centerpieces, while staying within or below your budgeted wedding cost.

Keep in mind that wedding decorations can be a tricky undertaking. Therefore, sometimes, if you can stretch the budget a bit, wedding decorations can be outsourced to a professional. If you’re thinking in this direction, make sure you check Sharon Barwick, our award-winning wedding planner and decorator.

Pictures and Portraits

Professional photographers can be very expensive, and when you are working with a small wedding budget, they can seem prohibitive. A cool way to make your guests participate in your wedding celebration is to leave a couple of disposable cameras at each table during the party, and encourage your guests to take pictures of every aspect of your wedding. Not only will you end up with great pictures, but will be able to enjoy your wedding from the same perspective as your guests.

If you have a friend or relative who is known for taking great pictures, your wedding portrait woes can be solved easily and inexpensively. Simply find a beautiful area in town where you can have your portrait taken, pack your digital camera and your friend, and go wild. Have him take as many pictures as possible, upload them to your computer and enhance them for the perfect portrait. Once you have the finalized image, have it enlarged and framed.

Caterers and Cake

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When you have to work with a small wedding budget, having a professional caterer can seem excessive, but there are many small wedding ideas that can help counter this expense. Making your own food or cake, hiring a friend to do it, or having your family pitch in, are all good ways to save money.

Ask around, and if you have a wedding planner, discuss all the options that may be available to you. Feel free to check our highly regarded wedding catering menu if you feel you need help.

Working with a small wedding budget is not the end of the world, and it does not mean you can’t have the wedding you’ve always wanted, it only means you have to give wings to your imagination and let it take you as high as it can.

Get the help of a professional planner, who will help you direct the wedding cost in a more effective manner, and make this a time where you can get your closest friends and family involved in what will be the event of a lifetime, which will create wonderful memories that will remain even when all the guests are gone.

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