The same principle applies when planning a destination wedding. Advice that would do well for a big wedding will do very poorly for a smaller wedding.
And yet most of the advice you receive when planning a destination wedding does not take into account the size of the wedding. The only advice you end up receiving is the one size fits all kind which cause a host of problems.
In order to get a better understanding of the type of wedding you should have, we have listed some of the pros and cons of having a small destination wedding. In general, you will see that a smaller wedding will provide much more flexibility in location, but a larger one will provide a grander and more wedding like atmosphere.
Let’s start with the pros of having a small destination wedding
Selecting a hotel is easier
For example, let’s talk about selecting a hotel or resort for your destination wedding. When planning a small event (less than 25 attendees), you can select a large or a small hotel, adults only, or kid friendly, or any combination that suits your needs.
However, if your guest list is large, your flexibility in selecting a hotel decreases quite a bit. No longer can you select a small hotel on a remote island (So Culebra, Puerto Rico is out!).
A variety of destinations to choose from
In addition to the resort, the size of a guest list also determines where you wed. The larger the guest list, the narrower your choices will be when it comes to the destination itself.
In most cases, you will have to select a large city (or Island) that is easy to get in and out of, has ample transportation options, and has English as a primary or secondary language.
For smaller weddings, you can select off the beaten path type of cities. You can get married on a small island that requires a ferry or a small plane to get to (Saba is one). So if you’re looking for romantic and intimate, a smaller guest list the way to go.
You can have a themed wedding
Another difference is that a smaller guest list affords you the opportunity to do themed weddings. Couples nowadays want to have their wedding at a vineyard Wedding or a ski resort wedding. Just know that these kinds of wedding don’t lend themselves to large affairs.
Planning time is much shorter
For larger weddings, you will have to plan at least a year out if you expect the wedding to be well organized. With a smaller guest list, however, you can potentially do all the planning in 3-4 months, provided that the venue and vendors are available.
In most cases, since you have a small guest, list, you can be quite flexible on dates, so working around vendors should not be that difficult.
Smaller weddings equal lower cost. In fact, couples that have 10-20 wedding guests sometimes pay for airfare and lodging for everyone. Since there are a limited number of guests, doing so is not very burdensome and makes those who are invited feel that much more special.
Nicer Venue, Better Food
With a small guest list, you can get married anywhere., It can be an outdoor beach event or a small intimate church. It can be an exclusive golf club or even a cemetery (the Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel is Oakwood Cemetery).
The point is that a smaller wedding inherently has less restrictions in terms of space so you can select an intimate spot or even an exclusive one. Not only that, since you have a small guest list, you can even splurge on the meal.
Intimacy is certain
A smaller wedding means you will be able to spend more time with each guest. After all, the reason you want to have a small guest list is to be able to share every moment with the ones you love.
Not everyone will make it to the wedding
One of the disadvantages of a small wedding is that not everyone you want to attend will make it. If you plan something like a European wedding, some families may not be able to afford the cost of having to travel with kids.
One of the questions you have to ask yourself is whether your dream wedding on a secluded island is worth it if it’s going to mean that you will have to exclude some people that are near and dear to you.
Family style weddings are very different than the small romantic ones with 10-20 people around. For one thing, large weddings provide the atmosphere of a celebration. Everyone from kids to adults will be there to celebrate one thing, your wedding. Plus, larger weddings tend to be longer and the celebrations tend to be grander, making your wedding more memorable.
You will most certainly have to do a second party back home
Just because you are having a small destination wedding does not mean you are off the hook when it comes to celebrating back home. Most of your guests that were not invited will expect some kind of a party when you get back home. So in addition to planning a destination wedding, you can expect to plan another party, except this time you will invite the entire list.
Deciding whether to have a small destination wedding is something that will need to be decided very early on. You can uninvited people once you get started so you must make this decision within a few weeks of deciding that you want to have a destination wedding.
And if you do plan on having a small destination wedding, then know that the real challenge is explaining it to your parents 🙂
What should you do next?
If you are looking for a location for your wedding, take a peek at the most popular destination wedding locations.