I had the pleasure of chatting to the founder of Coral & Co. Events, Coral Deverick, for our Minimalist Issue about what couples can expect when deciding to go for a smaller wedding. With her focus on stylish and custom intimate celebrations, we knew she was a go-to industry contact to get some amazing tips and advice for our readers. We discuss the pros and cons couples can expect to discover when deciding on the size of their big day, and how Coral personally believes the best ways to incorporate elements of a couple’s personality and style into their wedding, especially a minimalist style brunch wedding get together. So please enjoy “Going Small: Creating An Intimate Minimalist Brunch Wedding!”
Does having a small wedding reception mean you should keep styling to a minimum?
In my opinion – absolutely not! If anything, you have the potential to go mad with the styling and add your personal style through as much of your day as you can. When I say ‘go mad’, I don’t mean styling over-kill, less is more, but execute your key styling elements well and beautifully. Just because your event may be small, in no way does it mean it has to lack stylish elements. I believe it is the complete opposite!
Having a smaller reception usually means that your budget is not as stretched, and you do not have to compromise on the finer details that you may have had to if you were hosting a larger wedding. Your dream wedding is realistically within reach, and you can consider adding that floral arch, premium linen, or signature cocktails you had your heart set on!
One thing to keep in mind with a smaller event is refining the use of styling elements and refraining from overcrowding the space. Treat yourself to the styling elements that are important to you, execute them with care and consideration, but keep in mind the balance of the space.
What are some elements you can add to your small wedding brunch/lunch/dinner to make it feel extra special?
Having a smaller event usually means that your budget is not as stretched and you’ll have more money for the finer details, to really make it feel really personalised and feel extra special. There are SO many unique elements you could add to make your big day even more extraordinary, but here are my top three.
Place settings are one element that I love to hero to make our clients and their guests feel extra special. Instead of a simple card name setting, you could choose to have personalised placemats, coasters, drink tags or even drink stirrers. They are a fun and quirky alternative and adding the guest’s name to this unique place setting idea really elevates your overall wedding design, along with being a focal point of the night. Guests always love it when they have something personalised they can take home as a playful memento of your night and one they can use later.
Another way to add an extra touch of flair to your small wedding is customising your very own photo opportunity and backdrop. I love it when my client’s come to me with endless Pinterest inspiration of custom backdrops and say, ‘I want something like this, but better!’ Backdrops are a wonderful way to add that touch of elegance and enhance your décor. The first thing that catches the eye is the venue decoration, which sets the mood of the event and emphasizes the overall theme.
Not only are backdrops a real statement feature, but they can also double up as gorgeous photo backgrounds for your guests to take insta-worthy shots, and where your guests can leave forever imprints through photos. Statement backdrops are one of our favourite accent pieces when it comes to creative wedding and event styling!
Lastly, if you’re not feeding the masses, you have more room for a detailed and more personalised menu. Whether you’ve been wishing for a personal oyster shucker to roam through your cocktail hour or a seven-course meal with wine pairings, the options when you have a smaller wedding are boundless!
You can add make your day feel extra special with an unexpected menu, a boujee food station, or even replicate the menu from your first date. Splurging on dinner is guaranteed to bring forth a hit of excitement in you and your guests’ bellies!
What are the pros and cons of having a smaller wedding?
The biggest pros to a smaller wedding are:
- You should spend less money. Fewer guests mean less furniture to hire, less catering to provide, less stationery to produce etc. This also means there is less to plan, so it is to plan and manage, and who wouldn’t love that?!
- You have a less stretched budget, meaning you can spend your money on the elements that are important to you and your partner. A less stretched budget also pairs back to less stress too!
With the above two points in mind, you could have more money to spend on your honeymoon. Time to choose that Ocean View room upgrade and VIP lounge at the airport!
One good advantage to having a smaller wedding is you are less likely to have to postpone your wedding if Covid-19 restrictions are imposed again.
Subconsciously, you surround yourself with people who love you and know you. By culling and curating your guest list, you will have a more intimate atmosphere, sharing more quality time with the people who are the closest to you. (Plus, there’s no pressure to go speak to your Mum’s friend who you haven’t seen since you were little!)
Another benefit is you will experience less pressure because there is less expectation. With a smaller wedding, there is less to plan, and not as much pressure for large-scale event production. Less things are likely to go wrong by scaling your day down, so you could avoid being a stressed-out couple, and fully enjoy your wedding journey.
As I have touched on before, you can add more personalise touches. Whatever elements you chose to personalise, you can choose more of them and really make your mark. You can splurge on the things that are important to you and things that you may have had to compromise with a bigger guest list. This added extra also ensures your wedding will be very memorable.
I think a good pro to highlight by having a smaller wedding, is it means you have easier DIY projects. Most people love the thought of making something themselves for their big day, but when it comes down to it, they realise there is a lot to do (whether it’s due to high guest numbers or the large event space) for whatever the reason, they feel overwhelmed. And what was once a fun and sentimental gesture, turns into a stressed half-hearted project.
With all the above advantages, there do come some disadvantages…
- There is a possibility that you may regret not inviting certain people after your big day, or regret having a smaller wedding when you see the kinds of weddings that other people you know are having.
- With a small wedding, you might miss the crowded dance floor and have less of a ‘party’ feel. Guests of different age groups might not be able to create a party vibe on your big day.
- You will have to make some difficult, potentially stressful, decisions and risk offending some people who are not invited. When you choose a smaller wedding, naturally you have a reduced guest list, which can cause friction or hurt feelings when family and friends learn they are not invited.
Things to consider when having a small table set up.
Everyone wishes to create a stunning tablescape, full of blooming florals, statement centrepieces and striking crockery, but when it comes to a smaller table set-up, you should be mindful of the following:
Your guests will not wish to feel confined and anxious about knocking anything over, whether it be décor or their drinks so you will want to ask yourself; What is your food being served on? Do you know the size of the servings and plates? Is there enough room for everything to fit comfortably and your guests not feel overcrowded?
Floral arrangements, candles, and centrepieces
Being space-conscious, you will want to consider if you want any centrepieces on the table. If the answer is yes, what are the sizes of these? Will there be enough room for food to be served? Could you incorporate these but as a smaller element spaced out throughout?
You may want to trial the chair spacing between each place setting to ensure you have enough room in between each guest and there are no elbowing ribs as they eat their meals.
Serving of food
A creative way to utilise a smaller table is by serving your food vertically, rather than horizontally across the table. Think tiered platters that are used to serve afternoon tea and smaller plates. Could you highlight this fun and interactive style of dinner service?
Cutlery, crockery, and glassware
If you’re having a fancy seven-course meal, it’s likely you may favour the table set with a variety of cutlery, plates, and glassware. A setting like this takes up a lot of space, so you may wish to contemplate resetting after each course.
Tips for getting the most bang for your buck when planning and styling a small wedding.
Hold your ceremony and reception in the same place
Save hiring two spaces and on your transport costs to from getting everyone from A to B!
Do your research on your vendors and try and get as much as you can from one supplier. Using fewer suppliers could contribute to more room for discounts on a larger transaction, and it saves you money with fewer delivery fees for each service provider. Staying local with your suppliers also helps with this too!
Re-invent the cake
If guests have their sweet tooth satisfied, I doubt that anyone will miss the wedding cake if you decide to save on costs here. You could choose to get creative with your favourite dessert, whether it be a doughnut wall, gelato cart or macaron tower.
Have a family-style dinner
This dinner style not only encourages mingling and interactions but also promotes a relaxed atmosphere and a more cost-efficient menu.
What are some small wedding reception style trends for 2022?
Expect to see a rise in digital registries and RSVPs. I have seen innovative and quirky companies that are bringing a new life to these traditional wedding elements, which is exciting, including minimal QR code invitations that link to your digital e-stationery suite! Think less paper waste and more fun GIFS and animations.
With sustainability on the rise, more couples are looking to rent their dresses and suits rather than purchasing. Recycled fashion is a fantastic way to contribute to the environment’s wellbeing, and you have the chance to wear an even more luxe gown than you thought you would, due to the money saved by hiring.
Sobriety is a growing health trend which you count on to impact the future trends of weddings. With more couples being conscious of their guests’ morals, I highly anticipate mocktails will come back with a bang!
Plant-based menus will continue to boom this year. Whether the couple is vegan, or a handful of their guests are vegan, conscious couples will opt for plant-based menus. Weddings are all about love and compassion, so why not celebrate it with some cruelty-free petit fours?
About Coral & Co. Events: I always had a knack for planning – organising never felt like a chore! It made sense to me to take advantage of my personal traits and passions and turn them into a career. Coral & Co. Events was conceptualised in the midst of COVID – you could call it my COVID baby! With events being non-existent, I had a lot of downtime in lockdown but used the time to build and launch my dream business. I count myself lucky that I had the opportunity to build Coral & Co., and be my own boss, and now I cannot imagine it any other way!
Embracing my own personal style and planner personality, I wanted to offer a unique planning experience for all couples in the wedding industry. My focus being creating personalised experiences, and ensuring each event has a point of difference.