Tiny Weddings

Wedding Ideas and Planning Tips from Industry Professionals here at Ybarra Events

Wedding planners are more than just event planners. We're designers, problem-solvers, coordinators, budgeteers, part-time therapists, and friends to the couples and families who are entrusting us to help them with their events. Since we're on friendly terms now, here are some tips and tricks to the trade of navigating wedding planning! 

Is Tiny Where the Future of Weddings is Headed?

It temporarily is, but the good news is that intimate weddings are brilliant!

updated: 07-25-2020


Getting married soon? If yes, congratulations, that’s exciting news! We sincerely wish you all the very best tidings!


Now that we have had a chance to share in your excitement, we’re sorry to say we’ve got some sobering news that might put a damper on your wedding plans. Sigh* Oh pandemic, how thine doth throw us a curveball…


The possibility of having a big wedding with all of your friends and family in attendance, at least for the immediate future, is a bit slim. Unfortunately, large gatherings have become the new taboo due to COVID-19. The risk is simply higher, especially for high risk groups of people more prone to having a difficult time fighting off the virus. (Like grandparents or a loved one with an auto-immune deficiency, for example.) Plus, in many states, there are still rules in place that forbid large gatherings of more than 6 or 10 or 12 people.

Those rules effectively put the kibosh on the vast majority of weddings that newlyweds-to-be like yourself have been dreaming about. Even a relatively small wedding averages 50 people which, these days, is considered a massive gathering.


What it condenses down to is this: the future of weddings is leaning toward tiny. Think about it; you, your partner, your parents, and maybe 3 or 4 friends. That’s fewer people than a typical weekend barbecue.


But there is good news. Indeed, there’s very good news! Tiny weddings can still be the perfect wedding experience!  Small weddings may not be for everyone and there are other options we can always discuss, like postponing your wedding, or eloping and having the larger wedding you were hoping for at a later date. Some couples just have larger families or larger close friend circles, and every couple has different opinion on what they would like their wedding day to look like. But on the positive side, these intimate weddings are chock-full of benefits that might never have crossed your mind if it weren’t for this nasty pandemic. Keep reading as we share them with you!

The Benefits of Having a Tiny Wedding

We realize having to drastically cut back on your guest list is demoralizing and upsetting. It is infinitely difficult to decide who is invited and who will no longer be invited. If you’re like us, you love a big, beautiful wedding! The flowers! The wedding gown! Enjoying time with all of your loved ones!


But hear us out; big weddings come with even bigger expenses, challenges, and problems. A smaller wedding helps you completely avoid some of these planning challenges and, even better, opens up some marvelous new possibilities!


Tiny Weddings Are Extremely Affordable

Cutting back on your guest list means fewer people to feed at your reception and fewer tables and chairs to rent. It also means you won’t be limited to only booking a wedding venue with a large maximum capacity, send out hundreds of embossed invitations, and order a huge wedding cake. In short, an intimate wedding could save you thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands!


Let’s compare, shall we? In general, couples spend between $300-$1,000 per person on their wedding day in Sonoma County or Napa Valley. (Of course it is possible to spend less than that as well if you budget properly.) With an average guest list of 150 people and all the usual trimmings, that’s a cost of about $45,000 on the lower side. The average cost of a tiny wedding or elopement with 10 to 12 people in attendance can be less than $5,000! For those of us who aren't mathematically inclined, that's a savings of over $40,000! Take a moment to think about the amazing things that you could do with an extra $40,000! Some couples this year have chosen to keep a similar wedding budget to the original, and just treat a few of their family members are friends to a truly special experience. 


Tiny Weddings Can Be Easier to Plan

If you've ever been involved in planning a wedding you know it can be stressful. There are

hundreds of decisions to make. Who to invite and not invite. Seating arrangements for all

your friends and relatives (some of whom don’t exactly get along). Filling-out a mountain of

wedding invitations, choosing all the flowers, finding a decent band, hiring a talented local

photographer, etc., etc. The list goes on and on, ad infinitum.


A tiny wedding Can be easier to plan. There are far fewer people to invite, and, depending on if you are deciding to elope or host the full event, there may be less wedding vendors to book. It really depends on the type of intimate wedding experience you choose. Every couple is different, and aside from exchanging vows and signing the paperwork, there are no rules. And as for those seating arrangements, they’re not an issue, along with a litany of other tasks.


Another lovely side effect of planning a small wedding: you get to enjoy more time with your

wedding guests. With less circles of people to visit with, you have hours of time to spend

genuine time with your wedding attendees. The substantially reduced stress level alone makes

a tiny wedding well worth planning.


You Can Spend More Lavishly on Other Things

You just saved yourself $40.000 because you decided to have a tiny wedding! Why not use some of that money to do something truly special?! Something that leaves an indelible mark on you and your guests for years to come.


For example, you could hire an amazing string quartet to play music for you and your guests. Or have your intimate wedding at an alternative venue like a winery in Sonoma Wine Country, where the views and ambiance are spectacular.


With that extra money, you could serve your wedding guests a luxurious 7-course meal prepared on-site by a local chef and paired with local Napa Valley Wines. You could also hire a local cinematographer to create a mini-movie with you and your partner as the ‘stars’ of your special day. Or you could really play up the décor or theme of your wedding. If you know us, we love a fun, off-beat wedding theme!


If you’re so inclined, you could use some of that money to plan a spectacular honeymoon. Staying at a luxurious hotel, going to an exotic location (Hello Bali!) or extending your honeymoon a few extra days would be a treat! You definitely deserve it!


This last suggestion might seem a little bit stiff but hear us out; you could put that money towards a down payment on your dream home.


Throwing a tiny wedding opens up all these new and delightful doors for you! It gives you many more choices because it costs so much less than a traditional wedding.

Tiny Weddings Are Intimate Affairs

This is an aspect of small weddings most newlyweds-to-be don't think about. The thing is, at large weddings, there's hardly time to socialize on a deep level. Intimacy? Between you and your partner sure, but, between you and your guests, not so much.


As mentioned before, at a tiny wedding, you'll be able to truly socialize with your special guests in an atmosphere that’s romantic and intimate. More than that, you'll be able to focus on every second of your special day. The people, the food, the lighting and ambience and, especially, your wonderful new spouse.


Having a tiny wedding means less stressing about what's going on with the food, the photographer, the cake, or your drunk Uncle Bob.


It also means not having to go from table to table, spending a large chunk of your big day "meeting and greeting" guests, many of whom you’ll rarely see again. An intimate wedding is small enough that everyone, and everything, will be right there in front of you.

A Tiny Wedding Open Up More Venue Choices

Even if you're planning an intimate wedding with only 50 or 60 guests, there are a finite number of venues to choose from. If your guest list includes 100 guests or more, the list of venues shrinks even further (and the cost goes up substantially).


When you host a tiny wedding the number of breathtaking, beautiful venues options increases significantly. In California, a tiny wedding means your choice of several gorgeous wineries in San Francisco, Sonoma County, and Napa Valley Wine Country. You can also host a tiny wedding at your favorite restaurant or even a botanical garden.


We've talked about how smaller weddings are more intimate and, with so many more wedding venues open to you, the intimacy quotient goes up substantially.


Your Guests Can Be More Involved

Let's be honest, the typical wedding guest arrives, congratulates you, eats some food, has a few drinks, dances, and off they go. That's more or less the extent of their involvement in your big day. That amount of involvement is special and they have a phenomenal time, but with a smaller guest count, you can add in off-beat experiences!


With a tiny wedding, you can involve every guest in your celebration on a much more personal and intimate level. (There's that intimacy thing again!) For example, one of the most beautiful rituals we've planned is the "warming of the rings”. In this wedding tradition, everyone in your procession passes your wedding rings around from person to person. They warm them up with their blessings, good tidings, and love, just before you exchange them, and exchange your vows. This is a difficult tradition to involve with a higher guest count, because it simply takes too much time to pass the rings around.


It also opens up the possibility of having more interactive activities such as a live artist helping your guests create a collaborative painting as a guestbook alternative. With 150 guests, you would be pressed for time with an activity like this. How would they all circulate to add to the painting, and would you be able to find a canvas large enough to fit a little addition from each person. Even if you did get a canvas large enough, transporting it to and from the wedding venue would be no small feat.


Now that’s the type of guest involvement you’ll never find at a big wedding, we think you’ll agree.

The Tinier the Wedding, The Smaller the Carbon Footprint

Did you know that the average wedding reception creates over 400 pounds of garbage as well as 63 tons of CO2?! If you and your spouse-to-be are part of the growing green movement, those numbers will probably horrify you.


The good news is that tiny weddings produce far less of a carbon footprint, substantially reducing the negative impact your special day has on the evironment.


They’re Here, They’re Tiny, We're Growing to Love Them!

We realize it can be disappointing to find that the spectacular, extravagant wedding you wanted is either at risk, delayed, or cancelled. It might give you a small amount of solace to know you’re not alone. Millions of newlyweds-to-be have had their wedding plans completely upended in 2020.


The truth is, numerous events are going to be ‘go tiny’ in the months to come. Until this pandemic has been tamed, it’s simply the way the world is going to lean.


That being said, we hope this article gave you some hope and some great ideas for hosting a terrific tiny wedding. The truth is, they can be as much fun, fanciful, and glamorous as much larger luxury weddings, and the savings are nothing to sneeze at!


So, again, congratulations on your wedding plans! From the entire team here at Ybarra Events, we wish you all the best and a tiny wedding that’s as big a dream as you can imagine.


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About the Author: 

Tara Ybarra, Co-Owner and Event Planner for Ybarra Events, has been in the Wedding Industry for over 20 years. From Photographer, to Wedding Cake Artist, to Florist, to Officiant, and now Wedding Planner, her accumilated experience, paired with her College Courses in Event Planning, have given her the experience she has today. Blogging gives her an opportunity to share that knowledge with her readers. 

Ybarra Events is located in California’s spectacular Napa Valley. Ybarra Events are the pièce de résistance of wedding planners. Run by the dynamic duo of Tara and James Ybarra, they help couples organize, design, and plan their nuptials at some of the most fabulous and luxurious wedding venues in Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, and Beyond. Chat with them today to start planning the wine-country wedding of your dreams.

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