Credit: Alicia Robichaud
The Guest List — how big it is, who’s on it — is probably one the most important and difficult parts of the planning process. My primary saving strategy has been to keep my wedding small. When there is a per person cost, it seemed like the best way to keep costs down. Mostly, though, I prefer quality to quantity. I’d rather spend time with a more select group then have lots of guests that I don’t even keep in touch with (I’m looking at you, mom’s friends from work). When I say I’m having a small wedding, some people suggested it wasn’t worth it because with bigger groups you “make” more in gifts. Well, I’m not in this to make a profit. Most people I’ve talked with say one of their major regrets was not having a smaller wedding and not having so many people they didn’t know well or care about. And if you can save money in the process, it’s a bonus, right?!
It turns out the small wedding hasn’t helped control costs as much as I had hoped. We struggled to find a venue due to minimum head counts or costs that many venues imposed. The only way we could have avoided those restrictions were to have our event on a weekday or in the off season. Unfortunately, the off season in Upstate NY can mean a foot of snow. We were so glad (relieved) when we found our venue! They have zero minimum; they accommodate 20 or 200. There are also several places on the property to hold the reception so that our small party won’t be overwhelmed by an empty space meant to hold 300. So important for a small group!
Although I’m not saving a ton of money on overall costs, we will still save some per-head costs by having a smaller group of people. Keeping it small also helps to keep other costs down. I will have fewer tables, which means fewer centerpieces and table decor, fewer favors … but most important more of the most precious currency: time. More time to spend with the ones I love.