There seems to be this pressure to invite everyone you’ve ever known to your wedding. Or at least every coworker you have fun banter with, every cousin you’ve visited once or twice, and every friend you have even a moderate connection with. Hey, if you’ve grabbed coffee with your dog walker, you may feel obligated to send her an invitation. But the truth is that peripheral contacts and mild acquaintances make up too much of a wedding guest list. Unless you’re very close to someone, your big day doesn’t mean much to them. And don’t you only want people at your wedding to whom your wedding is really special? You’d be surprised how little offense your dog walker took if you didn’t invite her to your wedding, and how nice it can be to keep it intimate. Here’s how having a small wedding changes everything, in a good way.

You can actually see your guests

When you have a wedding of 200 plus guests, you’re lucky if you get to spend twenty seconds with each one. You make the obligatory rounds to the tables, but you barely get to give everyone a kiss on the cheek before the night is over. If you keep your wedding at 50 people or less, you can actually engage with everybody and create memories together that day.

The guest list becomes easier

Once you’ve agreed to keep the guest list to immediate family and very close friends, things become very simple. It’s when you start adding second cousins removed that the guest list gets out of hand. Once you start expanding beyond the very close circle of friends and family, you feel obligated to invite everyone. That simply doesn’t happen when you set strict rules for the guest list.

You may be able to house people

If you keep your wedding very intimate, then between your home, your parents’ home, and the home of a generous family member, you may be able to give everybody a place to stay. This makes it so much easier for people to RSVP yes. Even if you can’t house people yourself, you can rent a couple of large AirBnb’s at a moderate price.

It’s cheaper (duh)

Half the people means half the cost, or just about. Don’t forget that feeding people alone costs between $50 and $100 a plate, depending on how gourmet you go. Then there are the goody bags, the amount of alcohol you have to order and the chairs. Yup: each individual chair costs a pretty penny. And you don’t just get cheap folding chairs for your wedding.

Only people you love will be there

When you look around, every face you see will mean something to you. You’ll have meaningful memories with everybody there. You’ll feel genuine love and care from every smiling and crying face in the rows of seats when you exchange vows. A lot of people who throw big weddings end up regretting how many people were there with whom they really didn’t share a connection.

The venue options become greater

It’s hard to find a place to house 200 to 300 people, let alone an affordable one. If you keep your wedding at 50 people or less, your options open up. You can use a park, a restaurant, or even somebody’s home. You can rent out a small bed and breakfast and have the wedding and reception there.

Your meal options become greater

If you’re trying to feed 250 people you can either feed them tiny portions of gourmet food or decent portions of bland, less-than-memorable food. Either way, your options are limited. When you’re feeding a smaller group, you can expand into more exciting, gourmet options without breaking your budget.

There can be more speeches

If you have an enormous wedding, you have to set a rule about the speeches. Maybe only the bridal and groom party can give speeches. Maybe only the parents can give speeches. If everyone gave one, you’d be there for days. If you have a wedding of 50 or less people, more people can give a speech and share some very touching words with you on your big day.

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