Here’s the truth: navigating the world of intimate wedding decor can honestly be one of the biggest design challenges you’ll face when planning your small wedding. Sure, you may not have the same burden you might face with a large, 150 person event, but if we’re be honest, intimate wedding design still comes with its own set of challenges.
You’re dealing with a smaller guest count, which means every little detail is even more noticeable than it would be with a bigger event. But as a small wedding photographer who specializes in these types of events, I’m here to break down some best practices when it comes to choosing your wedding decor for your intimate wedding, from do’s to don’ts, so you can take on planning your intimate wedding with confidence. This process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, it should be fun, and I’m here to help you make sure it is!
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed from couples who are planning their intimate wedding decor, it’s that it’s so easy to get carried away with the color palette. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a colorful wedding, but it’s important to stick to a color palette that can guide you through the entire process of planning your small wedding decor.
I tend to think a palette with three colors is ideal. You can assign a primary, secondary, and tertiary color. From there, you use those wedding colors as your guide when selecting elements for the decor.
Allow your primary color to be the star of the show. This is the color you will see the most in your wedding decor. For instance, the centerpieces of your table-settings will likely showcase this color in full. Then you’ll use the secondary color to complement the primary color, without overpowering it.
The tertiary color should primarily be used for accents (e.g. gold or silver on your napkin rings). This type of color palette will give you a hierarchy for your wedding decor and will keep you from getting overwhelmed by all of the color options that may come your way.
Your wedding day should feel uniquely “you.” Sure, looking at Pinterest inspiration is a nice jumping-off point when brainstorming the type of wedding decor you’d like to have at your intimate wedding, but I don’t recommend you try to copy exactly what you see online. Why? Just like you probably want to get a wedding dress that looks good specifically on you, you want wedding decor for your small wedding that matches your personality, not some stranger’s.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t pull certain things from other small weddings you’ve seen. If you love certain decor elements, totally go ahead and incorporate them! But you don’t want your wedding to be a repeat of someone else’s. You deserve better than that, and you’ll love all of the personal touches that come with intimate wedding decor that feels distinctly yours.
One of the perks of small, intimate weddings is how much money you save by cutting down your guest list. Which now opens the door for upgrading your wedding decor, if that’s something that’s important to you.
I’m not an advocate for spending on something that isn’t super important to you (and I definitely don’t promote wasteful practices), especially when it comes to small weddings and elopements. But if wedding decor is something you value highly, intimate weddings allow you to do so.
Rather than planning table settings for a 200 person event, you’re looking at footing a fraction of that bill with a smaller wedding, and ultimately that can translate to getting the wedding decor of your dreams without breaking the bank.
DIY wedding decor can be an excellent option for couples looking to add their own personal flair to their small wedding decor. And it can also be a great way to save money, when done right. But oftentimes, DIY wedding decor can be more expensive than the alternatives. This is especially true when you’re working with a small wedding planner who has relationships with vendors and can score you a deal since you’re renting in bulk.
Another thing to consider when it comes to DIY is how much work goes into it. It can totally be fun to DIY small portions of your wedding decor for your small wedding, but DIYing too much of it will wind up being more stress on your shoulders, when you already have enough on your plate.
The last thing you want to worry about on your small wedding day is setting up all of your wedding decor yourself, or having to enlist friends and family to help out with it. Your intimate wedding should be a day of celebration, and it’s not fair to you or your guests if they’re all helping out with the set-up and tear-down.
That’s the huge perk behind having a day-of coordinator or designer who specializes in small weddings. They’re highly skilling in making your decor look amazing. They’ve likely done it hundreds of times, and are extremely fast and efficient at it.
What does that mean for you? A wedding timeline that doesn’t run behind and the peace of mind that your dream decor will be set up exactly how you want it.
Definitely check with your wedding venue to see if they offer day-of coordination services. A lot of venues include these in their packages, which is an awesome little perk!
P.S. As an intimate wedding photographer, I make it our job to help you figure out all of the little details when it comes to your small wedding or adventure elopement. From recommending specific vendors to gorgeous venues, I love helping my couples achieve their small wedding day dreams.
*Images taken by us while working for Cassie Madden and Alchemy Creative.
Check out some of our favorite elopement and adventure wedding planning resources:
Empowering You To Have Your Adventure Elopement, Your Way
Colorado Elopement Photographers + Adventure Wedding Photographers