Wedding Wisdom

Wedding Wisdom: Small and Chic Ceremonies

Welcome to Wedding Wisdom! Every week, JET experts will help you plan your dream nuptials from engagement to “I do.” This week, wedding planner and bride-to-be Tami Smallwood, CEO of blush|WEDDING & EVENT PLANNING FIRM, gives advice on planning small and intimate weddings.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

As a planner, I must admit that I’m partial to lavish and over-the-top weddings. I am in love with it all: the five-tier cake, exotic linens and cascading floral arrangements. However, in my years of planning, I have met couples that simply request a small and romantic ceremony.

Grand and extravagant weddings just aren’t for everyone.  A-listers Beyonce and Jay Z chose the more subdued route and planned their 2008 nuptials in the privacy of their New York residence with less than 50 guests.

If this fête sounds more appealing to you, check out these tips to make your laid back wedding dreams come true:

Keep it small.  Try to keep your guest list under 40 people.  Inviting only your close and personal friends can help keep the count down.

Don’t let the cat out of the bag.  Make it fun for your guest and keep some elements of your wedding a secret.  Invite your guests to a dinner party and when your unsuspecting loved ones arrive, surprise them with your wedding ceremony.  This idea can also help keep the number of guests and costs down because the invite is sent by word of mouth.

Select a personal location for the affair.  Pick a location that is sentimental to the two of you. Beyonce and Jay Z said their “I do’s” on the balcony of their Tribeca loft.  If you aren’t so lucky, you can opt for a backyard or your parents’ home.

Scout out your city.  Hotels and restaurants house some spectacular private dining rooms and rooftops.  On clear days, you could catch some breathtaking views making the cityscape your backdrop.  Art galleries make for a nice ambiance as well. One-of-a-kind artwork only adds to the drama of these chic settings.

Meet in the office.  Have your ceremony in your faith leader’s office. If you call ahead, you can usually meet during the week when the office tends to be less busy. Your city’s courthouse is another great option. You would be surprised at how spectacular some courthouses can be.  Marble floors and carved architectural details can be surprisingly stunning.

Take a gamble and go to Vegas. How fun would it be to just grab a few friends and family members and hit the Strip? Matt Barnes and Gloria Govan chose this option last year then had a big to-do this summer.

No matter how small, don’t skimp on the details of your big day. Consider adding special elements like hiring a photographer, picking up a small bouquet and a special dress for the day.