These days, intimate weddings are all the rage. Elopements, surprise weddings, and tiny ceremonies are gracing wedding style blogs as a beautiful wedding ideal.
But what about those of us who have massive families, or large communities of friends that your wedding day would be incomplete without? There has to be a way to create serious cozy and intimate vibes while including a huge group of wedding guests, right?
Luckily, the things that make a tiny wedding intimate can be recreated with a little planning and a lot of love - and we know you’ve got some of that to spare!
First of all, a lot of intimacy can be created by making everyone feel involved, a task which we covered in a recent blog post - you can check out all of our ideas here.
In the same way, personalizing the experience for your guests will make each person feel like their presence is noticed and valued. Touches like handwritten notes for each guest or place cards handwritten by the couple are perfect for this. Escort cards can also have a surprisingly personal effect. Of course, it’s easier to print a large seating chart, or to have no seating arrangements whatsoever… but there’s something about being greeted at the reception with your own name on an escort card that makes a wedding guest feel special.
If the idea of hand-writing three hundred place cards makes you want to throw in the towel entirely, we understand! Luckily, the most impactful ways to make a large wedding feel intimate have to do with minor adjustments to the design of your wedding. Adjusting the layout of the room or the seating arrangements will make a big difference, without necessarily increasing your budget (or giving you carpal tunnel syndrome)!
Here are some the easiest, most impactful ways to make your wedding feel more intimate simply by how you arrange your floor plan.
1. Circular Ceremony Seating
When given the option, many of your wedding guests will walk in to your wedding ceremony and plant themselves somewhere near the middle or back. At a large wedding, this means that the bulk of your guests will be seated far, far away from the action.
By arranging all of the seats in a circle around the ceremony, no one is too far from the “I do”’s. Rather than feeling like a sports fan who’s stuck in the nosebleeds, each and every guest will be able to share in the intimacy of your wedding vows.
2. Long Banquet Tables
Easily one of the most intimate seating arrangements, extra-long banquet tables have a way of creating a cozy, familial feeling no matter how many people are present. An added bonus is that they look classy and dramatic, too!
3. Family-style Dining
If long tables aren’t an option, see if your caterer offers family-style service. Food is brought to each table for guests to share from, rather than having to head to a buffet. Passing dishes around the table makes everyone feel like family.
4. Make Your Room Smaller
Sometimes the only banquet room big enough for a large wedding is one that’s actually far bigger than you need. If this is the case, why not make the room smaller? Bring your head table backdrop 25 or fifty feet forward, so that guests are closer to the action, rather than being spread out to all corners of a giant wedding venue.
5. Keep The Dance Floor Even Smaller
It’s easy to assume that if you want a big dance party, you need a big dance floor. However, most DJs will tell you that one of the secrets to an awesome dance party is actually to keep the dance floor small. First of all, it makes the dance floor appear more full than if dancers are spread out over a huge area.
How will this affect the intimacy of your wedding? If the dance floor is too big, there’s a good chance that small groups of friends family will form all over the dance floor, with people dancing only with people they already know. When the dance floor is smaller - and therefore packed with people - your guests are forced to dance beside one another and to mix and mingle, making new friends and creating memories as a group. Don’t you want to see Grandma busting a move alongside your college friends? We thought so.
Bonus pro tip:
If all else fails, use candles to set the mood. Nothing makes you feel like you’re at a big sterile event like fluorescent overhead lighting! Turn those lights off, and create a cozy intimate candlelit wedding.