The Unexpected Drama That Comes With A Small Wedding
When you tell people you’re having a small wedding, a hushed tone falls over the room as if you just shared gossip or broke bad news. Everybody around you is secretly wondering whether or not they’ll be invited. Some friends are thinking, “Her fiancé must be forcing her to have a small wedding—she wants a big one! I know it!” Other friends are thinking, “If they were really excited about spending their lives together, they’d vow to do it in front of a big crowd. They’d just want to.” People will always talk and judge. You can’t do anything about that. You just need to face the task at hand: pulling off a small wedding without destroying relationships. Becausea small wedding comes with drama—possibly more than a big wedding does. Here is the unexpected drama that comes with a small wedding.
People want plus ones
Let’s be honest: weddings are more fun with a plus one especially when you only know a handful of people who will be there. So your guests will be upset when they learn they don’t get plus ones. Only married couples and couples in which you feel close to both individuals get to bring a date. Everybody else will just have to come stag and be ready to make friends.
People expect more individualized food
Since you won’t be feeding 200 people, get ready for the food requests to come in…This aunt will request a gluten-free plate, that cousin will ask for a special dish for her picky son, and this friend will ask if the catering company can accommodate her bizarre macrobiotic, soy-free, paleo diet.
Everyone thinks she should be a bridesmaid
When you have several hundred guests, many of the females can accept that they didn’t make the cut as one of the six or seven bridesmaids. But when you only have 40 guests, and 10 of those are your female friends or close family members, there can be some drama. The handful of women with whom you’re close who didn’t get chosen to be bridesmaids will really notice it.
Everyone feels entitled to the rehearsal dinner
Rehearsal dinners for 250-person weddings might have around 40 or 50 guests. So when your entire wedding will only have 40 or 50 guests, your rehearsal dinner may have 15 or 20 guests. That leaves around 20 to 30 other guests wondering why the hell they didn’t get invited.
Some friends/family want you to house them
When you’re expecting several hundred guests, people know better than to ask you to put them up. They know, “If I ask, everyone will start asking, and that’s too many people.” But when you only have 40 people attending, and only 15 of those are coming from out of town, eight of them may ask if you can put them up. And having eight houseguests while you’re preparing for a wedding is a nightmare.
Your friends learn where they stand
When you have a small wedding, you essentially let people know how important they are to you—and how unimportant they are to you. A lot of people who thought they were your very close friends will learn that you didn’t see them the same way when they don’t receive an invitation.
You can’t separate people who don’t get along
You don’t have any buffer tables at a 45-person wedding. You cannot separate your divorced parents, who do not get along, by an entire ballroom. Everyone will have to see each other, whether they want to or not. The seating charts will be very complicated, and it will be impossible to make everybody happy.
There’s no excuse for missed photo opps
You’d better make sure you get equal photos with everybody because if you don’t, you can’t use the excuse, “There were just so many people—it was hard to get a picture with everyone.” No there weren’t that many people and no it wasn’t hard to get a picture with everyone.
People have more special requests
When you don’t have many guests, you wind up with a lot of guests who think they can put in special requests. These requests can range from a complimentary shuttle from the hotels (complimentary to them—expensive to you) to extra umbrellas if it’s an outdoor wedding.
There are destination disputes
You cannot justify choosing the destination based on the fact that 50 percent of the guests live there. That argument holds water when you are expecting 250 guests. Because if 50 percent of 250 people live in one town, that means a whopping 125 live there. But 50 percent of 40 people is only 20 people, which can leave the other 20 people who have to buy plane tickets feeling pretty pissed off.
Everyone wants to give a speech
Every bride and groom have guests who they really hope don’t give speeches. If you have a huge wedding, you can assign speeches to a handful of people and leave it at that—your other guests understand that 200 people can’t give a speech. But if you only have 30 or 40 guests, it’s harder to explain why everybody can’t say a word or two.
You don’t get bulk buy deals
You can say goodbye to bulk buy deals because you don’t have enough guests to qualify for those. Catering companies, florists, and other vendors can usually cut you a deal when you’re purchasing enough food and roses for 200 guests. But if you only need enough for 40 people, those vendors can’t pass their bulk buy discounts onto you.
People don’t respect the bride’s privacy
On the day of large weddings, people tend to respect the bride’s privacy. The bride is in her quarters—maybe her hotel suite—and people know not to go in there. But when you don’t have many guests, everyone has the mentality of, “It’s not that bad if I just pop in to say hi while she is getting ready.” But then 40 people do that, and that’s too many.
One family may feel underrepresented
If you and your fiancé decide to just invite people with whom you feel connected, one family may end up underrepresented. If you have a huge family, you could have eight cousins and 12 aunts and uncles you feel really close to. Meanwhile, if your fiancé comes from a small family, he may not have that many family members with whom he shares a bond. This could mean you have 28 wedding guests, and your partner has 14.
People will constantly push the guest list
It’s very hard for everyone to accept that you’re throwing a small wedding. Every day, your parent, sibling, or friend will call you, asking if you can “Just make an exception” for this guest. You can’t say yes to one because then you’ll have to say yes to everyone.