tips from the pros :: planning a small wedding

San Diego Weddings of Distinction member Cynthia Zatkin Blase of Cynthia Zatkin Events helps brides and grooms coordinate their intimate and personal day. She shares her tips on how you can create the ultimate small wedding.

Find your critical mass: Figure out how many people you need to have in attendance to feel as if your wedding is an “event.” For some brides, 20 people are enough, but others need 50 or 60 to feel like they have created a party. Find that number you need and then, to account for negative responses, invite 20 percent more than that number.

Invite your essentials: Come up with a list of the people who mean the most to you. This, in itself, will create intimacy.

Find a distinctive venue: With a smaller group, you can select an untraditional space. Consider using your favorite restaurant or the quaint inn you and your spouse-to-be love.

Find a venue that fits the size of your group perfectly: Try not to have the room be too small or too large. If the room is a bit large, use more tables and seat fewer guests at each table.

Do more than just the standard toasts: Have childhood friends or your college roommate tell stories. Just make sure these are all prepared speeches and not inebriated ramblings!

Personalize your wedding: Because only your closest friends and family will be in attendance, include photos or mementos that truly showcase your personalities.

Specialize your menu: Consider polling your guests for their favorite kind of food or upgrading the alcohol to reflect their preferences.

Be grand! Small weddings don’t need to be small events. Feel free to create large, dramatic centerpieces, display a magnificent cake and have a full band.

Upgrade the item that is most important to you: Because smaller weddings are generally less expensive, spend the money you are saving on that item you really want. Whether it’s the perfect dress, a specific photographer or gorgeous linens, upgrade on whatever it is that you’ll remember most.

written by the union tribune