Podcast

A Case for the Smaller Wedding Party

November 14, 2022

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Have you invited your family and friends to be members of your wedding party yet? If not, today’s episode is for you. In this episode, I wanted to make a case for a smaller wedding party. As a luxury wedding planner in Upstate NY, I always love to see trends unfold in real time. Of course, I have an opinion on them. Over the last two years, couples have naturally moved toward smaller wedding parties and smaller guest counts. However, as guest counts increase again, wedding party sizes seem to increase right along with them! 

While I love a big wedding and jam-packed dance floor, today I’m going to make a case for a smaller wedding party. If you're newly engaged and haven’t chosen your wedding party yet, today I’m sharing 6 things you might not have considered.

If this is your first time visiting Verve Event Co., welcome! My name is Desiree Adams and I am an upstate New York wedding planner and podcast host.

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EPISODE [73] HIGHLIGHTS: 

To fast-forward to a specific part of the podcast episode, check out the timestamps below:

  • You’ll save money on stuff that doesn’t matter so that you can splurge on the stuff that does [3:20]
  • It enhances your wedding day experience by making it feel more intimate and less chaotic trying to do all the things with all the people [7:00]
  • It makes your getting-ready suite feel a lot roomier and more comfortable [8:15]
  • You can start getting ready at a more leisurely time later in the day and worry less about having half a dozen hair and makeup artists in your schedule [10:05]
  • You don’t feel like you’re herding cats on your wedding day. From photos to getting from one location to the next, a smaller group always seems to know exactly where they’re supposed to be. [12:20]
  • Lastly, you can spend extra time loving on the people you care about the most. [13:42]

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Here's the summary of the podcast episode!

Hello and welcome to all of you on this week’s episode of Ask the Planner! I’m your host, Desiree Adams. Today I’m sharing some behind the scenes as a NY wedding planner and making a case for why I believe most couples should choose to have a SMALLER wedding party. Before you go out and invite 8 or 10 of your favorite people, or try to make sure you and your fiance have the exact same amount of close friends, listen to this! 

If you’re new to the show, Welcome, Welcome. I’m so glad to have you here for season 3 of the podcast. Are you newly engaged? Or are you a wedding vendor? I’d love to know! Leave me a message when you drop your review in Apple Podcasts. I check Apple Podcasts almost daily for any new reviews and am always so excited to hear your feedback. Leaving a review helps up-and-coming shows like ours get found by other people. I want to serve as many people as I can with all of our free help and content. So I hope today’s episode is helpful for you. 

Reason #1 – You’ll save money on stuff that doesn’t matter so that you can splurge on the stuff that does.

If you think that sounds obvious, keep listening. If you’ve ever googled how to save money on your wedding, you’ve likely heard that a smaller guest list saves you money, so it makes sense that a smaller wedding party would do the same. But, it’s a lot more than just buying them dinner. First, let’s address the assumption that your wedding party pays for their own stuff.

Let’s face it – being a part of someone’s wedding can be EXPENSIVE. In fact, WeddingWire published a study stating the average cost of being a bridesmaid is $1200. And if you’ve listened to me before, you know I often find them to be on the conservative side of things. So, in the interest of making a case for the smaller wedding party, there is something to be said for saving your best friends some cash. But that’s not even really what I am talking about here. The truth is, it costs YOU significantly more money to have a large wedding party than it does a small one.

On your wedding day, you should consider costs like their wedding bouquet and anything you want to gift them as a thank you for standing up with you. Yes, typically you give them a gift at your wedding. Don’t even get me started on all those bridesmaid proposal boxes, either. Yes, that will cost you something, too. 

Don't forget about hair and makeup costs.

Now, let’s talk about hair and makeup. This one can be kind of controversial. But, we never shy away from that here on the Ask the Planner podcast. Here’s our take: if your wedding party has the option to opt into hair and makeup, you can ask them to pay. If you're requiring they get their hair and makeup done with your chosen beauty team, you should pay for it. As an FYI, we almost ALWAYS recommend couples pay for their wedding party's hair and makeup. You may not think it’s obvious on the wedding day but it's often painfully obvious in wedding photos if half the party had their makeup done professionally and half did it themselves. Regardless of how talented they are!! They just stick out like a sore thumb. So to avoid letting them be “that person,” I recommend covering the cost of hair and makeup. 

To help you estimate your wedding expenses, check out our Wedding Budget Bundle.

Reason #2 – Having a smaller wedding party makes your wedding day feel more intimate and less chaotic.

Listen, I completely understand wanting your wedding to feel like a big celebration. However, what I’ve found as a wedding planner is how you think a large wedding party will make you feel is often not the reality. With more people, there might actually be less attention on you because there’s more going on. I know right now you might be thinking that’s fine, I don’t need or want ALL the attention, but when it comes time to organizing people, getting them going to certain locations, asking someone to hand you a beverage or whatever else you need, having fewer people there is often a more enjoyable. It’s like herding cats at a wedding. Whether it’s your rehearsal, your ceremony processional, introductions at dinner, group photos, the list goes on. 

Also, do you love having 10 opinions thrown at you at once? Some people don’t mind. But, if you’re the type that gets a little overwhelmed trying to balance everything or please people, a smaller wedding party will make the wedding planning process a lot more enjoyable!

Reason #3 – Let’s talk about your getting-ready location.

As your wedding planner bestie, I’m here to tell you that some, okay, many, getting-ready locations are TIGHT. Seriously, I say this as someone who has toured 100s of wedding venues and has frequently popped in to see how things are going (and checking the timeline). 

Whether your venue has a wedding party suite or you’re getting ready in a hotel room, it can be hard to comfortably squeeze everyone in the same room. Not to mention, you may want other people outside your wedding party getting ready with you too. It’s not uncommon to invite your mother or your partner's mother or siblings to get ready with you. On top of that, don’t forget the hair and make up artists that will also be taking up space in the room with you. It doesn’t take much for the number of people squeezing into your hotel room to spiral out of control.

When you picture getting ready the morning of your wedding, chances are you aren’t picturing being squished bumping elbows with your family and friends. I can tell you this – no matter what the size of the room is, it takes less people than you think to fill it! Plus you just need more counter space and that’s usually hard to come by. Not just for hair and makeup tools, but all the bubbly and snacks!

Reason #4 – You don’t need to start getting ready as early or bring in as many hair and makeup people.

Again, the word chaotic comes to mind. It is MUCH easier to have 3 or 4 people getting their hair and makeup done than it is to have 10 people. Not only will you need more artists with a larger party, but booking can also be a bit of a nightmare. Many hair and makeup teams have a maximum number of artists available per wedding. So even with the extra people, they might ask for a 6 am start time to squeeze everyone in.

Quick caveat – this is the wedding planner inside of me that can’t NOT say this. Hair and makeup is one of the items on your wedding day timeline that ALWAYS seems to run late no matter how much time is budgeted for it. And when it DOES happen, it can feel like you are playing catchup all day. If you’ve listened to the Ask the Planner podcast for a while now, you know how crazy I can get about a wedding day timeline. I run a tight freaking ship. It REALLY makes SUCH a big difference to the overall feel of the day. It’s one of those things that nobody notices when you get it right and everyone notices when you get it wrong.

If you leave this episode with just ONE tidbit about your wedding party size, please let it be that large wedding parties require early start times. Which means there’s more opportunity for getting behind.

Recently engaged? Use our Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist for all your wedding to-do's.

Reason #5 – There are fewer people to herd around on your wedding day.

Now let's discuss transportation and your wedding party photos. These are two things that can quickly become an absolute nightmare with a large group. It can be like herding cats to get everyone to the limo or all smiling at the camera at the same time. I mean, it’s hard to take a selfie with a group of 3 people and everyone looking good and in the same direction and no one blinking. Think about if you doubled or tripled that!

Also, with larger groups, there are often so many side conversations going on. It can be hard to hear or stay focused on the person telling your wedding party what to do. You would be surprised by the number of people that just don’t listen or pay attention. (This is called “diffusion of responsibility.” It's a psychological fact.)

Reason #6 – A smaller wedding party allows you to have more quality time with the people that are there. 

Honestly, this has been one of my biggest takeaways from micro weddings in general, but it applies tenfold to your wedding party. These are the people you’re going to spend your ENTIRE wedding day with. You don’t need to include your old best friend you don’t see anymore or your favorite work colleagues. 

Like every wedding decision, be intentional. If you really can’t imagine walking down the aisle without your 15 best friends from middle school, that’s okay too. But often I find couples filling their wedding party lists with too many people in an effort to make everyone from a certain social group feel included or to make sure they have the same amount of people as their partner. 

Now as we look toward 2023 and 2024, many couples are scrapping wedding parties altogether or are keeping things very intimate – I’m talking only their siblings and no one else or Just a Maid of Honor and a Best Man. With that in mind, they are also enjoying themselves more which as a wedding planner, is all I care about!

Conclusion

Wow, that wraps up today’s episode on making a case for the smaller wedding party. This is one trend that erupted from the micro weddings of 2021 and in our humble opinion, we hope it’s here to stay. We love designing weddings intentionally, and I hope we have made our case for the benefits of a smaller wedding party. 

As a quick recap, here are the 6 reasons why less is more when it comes to your wedding party size:

  1. You’ll save money on stuff that doesn’t matter so that you can splurge on the stuff that does
  2. It enhances your wedding day experience by making it feel more intimate and less chaotic trying to do all the things with all the people
  3. It makes your getting-ready suite feel a lot roomier and more comfortable
  4. You can start getting ready at a more leisurely time later in the day and worry less about having half a dozen hair and makeup artists in your schedule
  5. You don’t feel like you’re herding cats on your wedding day. From photos to getting from one location to the next, a smaller group always seems to know exactly where they’re supposed to be.
  6. Lastly, you can spend extra time loving on the people you care about the most.

Did we convince you? Whether you decide to keep it small or go big with your wedding party, I hope this episode has given you something to consider when wedding planning intentionally. Sometimes more isn’t more! 

Questions? Comments?

If you have follow-up questions or want me to talk more in-depth about something you heard today, join me Wednesday night for a quick IG live! We will talk about your questions from today or anything else. I loved the questions you all have submitted so far and I can’t wait to do more of them with you.

And don't forget to call our wedding planning hotline with your questions! (585) 210-3467.

Stay Tuned

I just had a great conversation with wardrobe stylist and image consultant Amy from the Style that Binds us. And later this month I’m interviewing the Points Guy! He's going to tell us how to use miles and loyalty programs to pay for your honeymoon. 

So, keep those 5-star reviews coming. We have a couple of 1-star reviews but I have no idea why they didn’t like the podcast. They just leave a 1 star, so if you’re one of those people, can you please let me know? I’d just like the feedback on why so we can improve.

Coming Up

In Episode 74 I’m talking to Peter Roberti of Adrian Jules about custom suits and tuxes. In this episode, we’re going to tell you why and what I know and think about the choice in attire my husband of 13 years made when we got married. 

Until next time, happy wedding planning!

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