I absolutely love attending (and photographing) small weddings. And if you are looking for information on how to plan a small wedding, I can guess that you are at least considering embracing this new “micro wedding” trend. Does it really count as a trend if a majority of the people are either forced into it or are worried about being forced into it? Either way, I am glad to share with you my top tips for how to plan a small wedding.
By the way, before we get too far into it, allow me to quickly introduce myself in case you stumbled on here from Google or Pinterest. I am Katie Ruegg, a local Edmonton wedding photographer. To be honest, I am a little bit obsessed with photographing weddings – big and small – and want to be there for all the romantic moments and candid photos in between.
I have been a wedding photographer for a little over two years now and honestly, the time has just flown. Not a moment passes that I don’t feel grateful that I get to do what I love for work and even though I know that might sound a little cheesy, if you know me you know that it’s true.
Long time fan of small weddings, over here!
Small weddings bring me such joy because you truly feel as though you are surrounded with such an intimate group of your closest family and friends. I also find that all the guests feel truly lucky to attend. Planning a small wedding is not necessarily easy, and this is coming from a bride who had a 60-person wedding before the ages of Pinterest. I got married at an Edmonton church I had been attending since I was a child. And although there may have been a few things I would change now, I don’t think I would make it any bigger.
How to Plan a Small Wedding
If you are anything like most newly engaged couples I talk to, you jump right into the checklist of finding a location and saving your date. But if you are planning a small wedding, I would encourage you to make your guest list BEFORE committing to anything else. It’s actually harder than you think to cut down your guest list. I recommend starting with an ideal guest count in mind, before you and your fiancé start listing people.
Once you have an ideal guest count in mind, create your guest list separating the people you *must have* there, with the people you really want to have there. Anyone that isn’t a “definite yes”, you might as well leave off for now. Once you have a better count on your must have guest list, and your total “ideal guest list”, you can start to look for a venue. More on that below! But for now, one final piece of advice: never book a venue that doesn’t fit 100% of the guests you invite. Do not listen to the “only 70%” RSVP Yes. With small weddings, people are often closer to you, and you’ll likely get a higher percentage.
Planning a Small Wedding: Locations
I was fortunate enough to shoot a venue at the stunning LaMarchand Mansion a few weeks ago, only to have my heart broken that it is not currently an available wedding venue! Don’t worry though, I do believe choosing a venue is one of the first decisions you should make, and I have collected a list of alternatives below. For more information about who you should book first, head to this blog post.
Edmonton Small Wedding Venues
To making planning a small wedding a little bit easier, I have collected a few wedding venues that have either always offered smaller wedding venues, or at the very least are catering more to small weddings now. By the way, the industry term is “micro wedding” so when you are ready to pull your hair out looking at all the small wedding ideas, try switching the term up for some fresh inspiration!
- Ampersand27 : Hip Whyte Ave restaurant you can rent out – attached to a hotel for guest convenience. You can rent out the whole restaurant or they have a small back room for an intimate wedding guest list.
- Muttart Conservatory : Dreamy tropical garden venue in Edmonton – reopening in 2021. They do have some specific rules so make sure to understand what you can and can’t do before booking. The venue is just stunning though.
- Devonian Botanical Gardens : Another garden venue, just outside the city. Right now they have a twilight wedding package for weddings under 50 guests.
- Foundry room : seriously – if you are looking for Chiavari chairs and brick walls – run, don’t walk to their website.
- Art Gallery of Alberta / Zinc Restaurant : Right downtown with stunning glass windows. They have a micro wedding terrace that is just perfect, and Zinc Restaurant does an amazing job catering. It’s definitely worth a venue tour.
- Yellowhead Brewery : For a unique vibe, this brewery is a great choice. And I actually think it works even better for small weddings than it does at full capacity.
Quick disclaimer: things are changing fast in a COVID19 world. Please reach out to these venues to verify the information is still current directly. I have made it super easy by linking to their websites!
Are you currently planning a small wedding?
As you have likely gathered, I’m a wedding and couples photographer who likes to have fun, get real with people, and make memories. I love adventures and would be honored to document yours.
I’m honestly one of the weirdest combinations of extroverted and incredibly timid. Put it together and you have a little ball of enthusiasm with a side of caution. I try to be real, I try not to be “salesy” and I really try to make people feel like themselves – not like awkward mannequins or like they’re at prom all over again. I promise. As hilarious as I think I am, I take this job and your day so seriously and want you to know that I’ve got you, I’ll be there for you on your day when you need it most.
If you’re reading this and you already know that I’m the photographer for you, can I just say that I’M SO STOKED TO SERVE YOU ON YOUR BIG DAY! If you want more information about my wedding photography packages, you can check them out here. Or, if you have questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me here and we can talk more about what you’re looking for.
Thank-you in advance for considering me both fun enough and responsible enough for you to trust me with your memories. I’m already getting excited.
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