“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – the words of Leonardo Da Vinci still ring true to this day, and arguably never more so than with the modern wedding.
In these uncertain times, the recent UK Government announcement that, from August, wedding receptions can be held for up to 30 people is heartening news and provides couples with much-needed clarity.
These numbers are likely to be further revised upwards in the months ahead but, for now, it’s 30 and that gives us all something to work with.
So how do you go about staging the biggest day of your lives on a smaller-than-anticipated stage?
We’ve put together a list of our Top Five things for you to think about when it comes to planning a simple wedding.
Keep your guest list intimate
The current limit of 30 people at your ceremony includes your Registrars or Priest and Church Warden, your photographer and the wedding couple themselves, leaving room for just 25 guests.
You will need to keep your guest list small, focusing solely on your nearest and dearest. It may mean a few difficult phone calls to explain the situation to friends and members of your extended family but this is a pandemic that has affected us all in some way and people are understanding of the predicament we find ourselves in.
Your wedding venue should be able to ensure that the seating arrangements for your ceremony take into account current social distancing recommendations. This expanded seating will actually use up much of your ceremony room and will help create a spectacular aisle for the bride’s big arrival.
Keep it simple to keep the atmosphere buzzing
Whether your drinks reception is held inside or outside, there’s not too much that needs to change – but do keep one thing in mind. It needs to have an atmosphere. You will want to do all you can to ensure your drinks comes with fizz and sparkle, rather than feeling flat.
To keep things lively whilst still ensuring social distancing, choose one specific area (a terrace, barn or courtyard area) to keep your guests in one place rather than spreading all over the venue and disappearing into pockets. Too many available areas will lead to too much dispersal. Keep it simple and stick to one.
Let the drinks, and your imagination, flow
Fewer guests doesn’t have to mean fewer choices, in fact it can result in endless possibilities for creative flavour combinations. Small guest numbers will enable your caterers to be more expansive with your drinks offering. If you have booked a no corkage wedding venue, then why not push the boat out and provide some personal favourites for the catering team to create and add some real flair to the occasion. We’re thinking mojitos, strawberry daiquiris, espresso martinis or an Aperol Spritz or Long Island Iced Tea to remind you of your favourite holidays. Sounds good right?
Feast your eyes on a simple yet stunning wedding breakfast
A smaller service can also give you added flexibility when it comes to the food and how your wedding breakfast seating is laid out. Social distancing precautions, whether on round tables or side-by-side bench-style seating, means that there will be a little more room than normal, but this makes life easier for your catering staff and also allows the bride and groom to wander freely between tables during your wedding feast.
Much like your drinks reception, keeping your wedding simple and intimate means you have the scope to be more creative with your wedding breakfast food choices. You could go for a wholesome roast, a BBQ platter or a taste of your honeymoon destination. Maybe you have a love of fine dining and fancy a sorbet palette cleanser or soup shots between courses? Perhaps an incredible cheese board would make the perfect centrepiece. Whatever it is that gets you salivating, the choice is yours and a small, simple wedding can help make it a reality.
Get comfortable and keep it relaxed
Smaller, more intimate ceremonies can remove that perceived need for formality that can overwhelm some couples on their big day. If designer suits and six-inch heels aren’t your thing, then a simple wedding can give you the chance to dress things down and get yourself comfortable.
There’s no reason you can’t switch to a more casual look for your reception. Traditionally couples who were leaving on their honeymoon at the end of their wedding would dress down prior to departing, so why not bring this forward? We often notice brides changing out of their heels and into flats, losing trains from their wedding dresses or changing into a ‘second party dress’ for the evening. Grooms often lose the waistcoat and change footwear. Remember, it’s your day so do whatever is right for you.
So there you have it – our Top Five tips for a stunningly simple yet magical wedding.
We fully understand the concerns over switching to a smaller service but an intimate ceremony presents the opportunity to rethink the whole concept of a wedding. It should be about the happy couple and what matters most to them, giving them the chance to spend the best day of their lives with the people that matter the most.
A simple wedding can allow for greater personalisation with the inclusion of family photographs, themes that all the guests can relate to or maps of the world chronicling your adventures. It can be whatever you want it to be.