Sam and Jonny kindly share their own experience planning an intimate wedding day.
Are you planning a wedding with less than fifty guests, or perhaps having to streamline your guest list to the 30-person limit that came into play as of 4th July?
Over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of weddings opting to be more intimate days with fewer guests. Interest in this wedding trend has been amplified by recent world events and the media has coined the phrase ‘micro-wedding’. As well as planning this style wedding being a definite advantage in current times, this refreshing feel appeals to many people looking for a more relaxed day.
This real couple’s experience planning their micro wedding began pre Covid-19. Sam and Jonny had already started to organise their day with an exclusive guest list of twelve of their nearest and dearest. They certainly aren’t compromising on the wow factor any couple would want for their special day.
What is the biggest appeal for you both to have an intimate wedding day?
So many people said “Your Wedding day, it goes so fast! Make sure you enjoy it”
Neither of us likes being the centre of attention, so deciding to reduce the number of guests instantly made us feel less anxious about the day.
We wanted the day to feel special but also stress-free, not only for ourselves, but for our selected guests.
We wanted to slow the day down and be able to spend quality time with our selected guests.
How did you choose your guest list?
It was difficult choosing a guest list. There definitely would’ve been more people we would have loved to invite, but it very easily spirals out of control and the one thing we were both sure of, was neither of us wanted a big wedding.
We chose our nearest and dearest. The people we couldn’t imagine not sharing the day with:
our parents, our siblings plus their partners, our grandparents and very best-friends.
What is your view of the choice of venues available? Did having fewer guests open up more unusual and quirky venues as possible options?
It definitely did affect the available selection of potential wedding venues, some of which were very unusual and unique.
However several venues we were looking at had minimum guest numbers of 20, 30 or even 60 guests. We have 12 guests and as we were not prepared to increase our guest numbers, these venues were no longer an option.
Sam and Jonny, who are to be married this October, chose Hartwell House as their all-in-one wedding venue.
(Visit www.hartwell-house.com for more details)
(Images above of Hartwell House and grounds courtesy of Mark Sisley - www.marksisley.co.uk)
You have chosen Hartwell House for your ceremony and wedding breakfast. What were the qualities of this venue that won you both over?
We wanted a venue that was peaceful, tranquil, beautiful, intimate, but still provided the wow factor. It ticked all our boxes.
But a huge factor in our decision was the Head of Events at Hartwell – Mirella, she was and is amazing, she put us at ease straight away and made us feel completely welcome, nothing we asked was too much trouble and we knew our Wedding day would be in safe hands.
Having worked with Mirella and the events team at this National Trust venue for some years, I can see why this is a great choice for Sam and Jonny’s day. Although it can accommodate large events, with the option to hire the whole venue, it can easily adapt to the most intimate of celebrations.
(Images above of Hartwell House, James Wyatt Room, courtesy of Mark Sisley - www.marksisley.co.uk)
(Images above of Hartwell House, The Octagon Room, courtesy of Mark Sisley - www.marksisley.co.uk)
There are many rooms of various sizes to choose from with several being licenced to host wedding ceremonies, so with a smaller group you still feel centre stage and definately not lost in a corner. Pictured above is The Octagon Room Sam and Jonny have chosen. It is licenced for ceremonies and is ideal for intimate weddings of 24 guests or less. After the service the events team transform the space into a gorgeous private dining room.
The décor is impressive and stately at Hartwell House, but they still manage to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. With stunning grounds to explore as well as a spa to pamper yourself you could easily spend days here, and despite the grandeur still snuggle up and get cosy in the evening.
Mirella, Hartwell House Head of Events, shares her Top Tips for having a fabulous day:
- I have noticed that over the years, wedding guests do not enjoy huge gaps in-between the ceremony and meal , stick to one hour (max one hour and half).
- I often nudge couples to take 5 minute breaks during the course of day, just to spend some time to look around them and soak up the flowers, cake, guests and also check on one another too!
- Relax and let me be your watch.... there is no need for them to worry about the time and what they should be doing at what time. Let the day flow.
- Speeches should be kept short and sweet and of course very funny!
(Images above of Hartwell House, The Morning Room, courtesy of Mark Sisley - www.marksisley.co.uk)
What has been the hardest part about planning an intimate wedding day?
Deciding on the guest list was difficult.
But we also found finding a venue a challenge.
To find a place that fitted all our wishes for a venue was a challenge… but it had to be just right
What do you feel is the greatest advantage of limiting the size of your guest list?
It definitely affected our budget in a positive way. Not in reducing the amount we were spending, but it changed and opened up how and where we ended up spending it.
We also feel it will allow us to spend more quality time with our selected guests, truly sharing the day with them, which will allow us to enjoy the day more.
With your wedding planned for later this year, have you made any alterations to your plans due to the pandemic?
We were incredibly organised and had already sorted and booked almost everything for the wedding day before the pandemic, so at this point we have not made any alterations.
We are simply waiting, as the restrictions lift we can see if our wedding will be affected or not and if any adjusted will need to be made.
There is not point worrying about all the “what ifs”. Simply deal with a problem if and when one arises.
What advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding day?
Planning your wedding day can very easily become stressful.
Personally I created a folder, with spread sheet and check lists. It meant I could keep everything all in one place:
Quotes, contact details, booking details, contracts, receipts… and the list goes on.
I am an organised person, and so this helped me feel more in control of the numerous aspects of the wedding day, which instantly made me feel less stressed about the day.
Everyone finds different aspects of booking a wedding stressful, work out how to reduce your stress and you can then focus on really enjoying planning your wedding day.
Are you thinking about planning an intimate wedding like this? What has your experience been? Or, are you now in the difficult position of reducing your wedding party? Please share your ups/downs, tips and thoughts here…