The Most Common Western Wedding Rings in the Western World

When a couple is getting married, the wedding rings are usually an afterthought – or at best, just one more item on a checklist.

The engagement ring is the big ticket item. It’s the jewelry that brides dream about, and that grooms have to find a way to finance over time. On the other hand, simple wedding bands are easy to find online, relatively inexpensive, and rarely “shown off” to family and friends.

For that reason, plain gold bands are by far the most common western wedding rings, with millions of them sold every year. But they’re certainly not the only popular style. A number of brides have chosen to either “go modern,” with intricate designs or jewels added to the ring (often to match their engagement ring) or “go vintage” with throwback designs which make the ring look like an heirloom, even if it’s not.

In many cultures, the jewelry exchanged when a couple is married doesn’t just symbolize a union between bride and groom; it also connects them with their peoples’ history. That is why modern ceremonies often include the exchange of rings designed to honor the couple’s ethnic or religious traditions.

Here’s a brief look at the history of Western wedding rings, and the most common ones seen today.

Western wedding rings

History of The Wedding Rings

The tradition of a bride wearing a ring to show her marital status started in Greece, in the early centuries of the common era. It was first worn on the index finger, then switched to the third finger because Greek tradition dictated that there was a “vein of love” connected directly between that finger and the heart. Eventually it became traditional to wear the ring on the fourth finger.

The first use of golden rings is credited to the Romans, who considered use of the metal a demonstration of eternal love. Two clasped hands were often included in the design of these early Roman wedding rings, sometimes holding a key (to the groom’s heart).

Pope Nicolas I was responsible for making the gold ring universal. In 860 he decreed that one must be given to every bride married in the Catholic Church; an expensive metal was required because he deemed that the financial sacrifice would demonstrate the depth of the groom’s commitment. In the 1500s it became more common for men to also wear wedding rings, although the “double ring ceremony” didn’t become universal until the middle of the 20th century.

Travis Stringer unique ring

The Traditional Gold Band

Without question, the most common Western wedding ring is the humble gold band. There are a number of variations, though, by which a couple can make the “ordinary” wedding band uniquely their own.

First, there’s the ring’s thickness, color and material. The most popular sizes run from 2 millimeters to 5 millimeters; the size of the couples’ fingers often guide this choice. The bands are usually available in white, yellow or rose gold, and while platinum is obviously not gold, it’s become a very common (although more expensive) alternative for many brides and grooms.

The most popular Western method of personalizing a traditional ring is by having inscriptions engraved on the inside surface; this custom was first seen in Medieval Europe but has become even more common today. A majority of couples choose to inscribe their initials, as in “JD to JS” (which could stand for John Doe to Jane Smith) along with the date of the wedding. However, some choose heartfelt messages like “I Love You” or “Here Is My Heart, Guard It Well,” inscriptions with religious significance such as “Our Unity Is Christ,” the Latin “Dues Nos Iunxit” (God Joined Us) or the Hebrew “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li” (I Am My Beloved And My Beloved Is Mine), or complete Biblical verses. There are even couples who decide to use playful inscriptions, such as “Property of JD” or a private nickname.

Modern And Vintage

Hundreds of jewelers and designers have taken the traditional gold wedding band and put their own modern spin on it, and these sleek Western wedding rings are becoming almost as common as the ordinary bands which spawned them. The designs range from minimalist to ornate; some feature diamonds, other precious stones, or colored bands of jewels, while others are striking because of their unusual carved, brushed or patterned looks. Many are custom-created to match the bride’s diamond engagement ring; in fact, a growing trend for women is to choose matching sets of engagement and wedding rings at the same time. The number of available variations is almost infinite.

Another trend is toward vintage styles. These ornate creations are usually new, but appear to have been crafted in the early 1900s, the 19th century, or even the Victorian era. As you would expect, both the modern and vintage twists on wedding bands will usually cost quite a bit more than a plain gold ring.

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A Meaningful Appreciation Of Heritage

A resurgence in the use of traditional Western wedding ring designs has led many couples to choose the types of bands their ancestors once wore. Some of the most popular:

Claddagh Rings – these meaningful Irish rings date back to the 1700s, and are now worn by both
unmarried and married individuals. They have two hands clenched together, a crown and heart in the design. When single, the wearer points the heart away from them; at the wedding ceremony, the ring is turned around so that the point of the heart faces the wearer, showing that they are now “taken.”

Fede Rings – fede is Italian for “faith,” and while these rings were based on a early Roman idea, they first gained popularity throughout Europe during medieval times and the Renaissance. They are made of gold bands which resemble clasped hands, and the bands can be separated into two rings. During the engagement period, a man and woman each wears one of the rings, and at the ceremony they’re reassembled on the bride’s hand as her wedding ring.

Gimmal Rings – similar to fede rings, and first seen in Germany and England in the 16th century, gimmal rings are interlocking gold bands worn individually by bride and groom before the wedding and joined when the couple is wed. There is sometimes a third ring, which can be worn by the bride’s mother or another member of the bridal party until the ceremony.

Jewish Wedding Bands – these are actually the simplest of all Western wedding rings. When tradition is rigidly followed, they’re a plain gold band with no stones or inscriptions whatsoever, symbolizing the absolute purity of the marriage.

Your Wedding Day: What Really Matters

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life; there is no mistaking that. Therefore, it can be highly stressful to plan. The stress comes from many factors: family, friends, unforeseen events, your fiance… the list goes on. And yes, some things are worth your concern and attention. But some things are also not important enough to pull your hair out over. There are some things that just matter more than others during your wedding. I can look back at my wedding, recall specific events, and understand some lessons I have learned from those events. Yes, I stressed out during certain moments over things that truly did not matter. In this article, I will explain what I learned from my wedding and the things that really matter. What matters is…

white-wedding-dress

1. You feel comfortable in your wedding gown.
Because I have written another article about finding your perfect dress, I will not go into too much narrative here. Remember your dress is what you will be wearing for a long, long time on that day. Make sure you are comfortable with the feel, style, and fit. Does it really matter if great-aunt Gertrude thinks it’s too tight? No. You will be the one wearing it. For hours… and hours.

2. You have your closest friends and family in the wedding party.
I have read about so many brides whose second cousin or semi-friend/acquaintance was upset because she was not a bridesmaid. Although I did not experience such drama, I understand that a bride will not want to hurt a person’s feelings. But think ahead to your wedding day. Who do you want standing there with you in photos, during the ceremony, etc? Your closest friends and family, of course! You need to be comfortable with your wedding party. As I said, I thankfully did not have the wedding party drama. My mother was my matron-of-honor; my sister-in-law and one of my best friends were my two bridesmaids. It was perfect for me. I hope your wedding party is perfect for you.

3. Getting started as soon as possible on planning the wedding, but expect the unexpected.
I did pretty well getting my planning done on time. However, there was one box on my wedding checklist that I procrastinated on, and I reaped the results.

After I became engaged, my mother told the news to most people she came in contact with, including her hair dresser. This hair dresser, whom I shall call Sue, asked if she could do my hair for the wedding. I told my mom I would love that. Sue was great with hair. So in my mind, I was set on hair, no problem. But then, problem: I procrastinated on getting in touch with Sue. Before I knew it, I had three weeks until my wedding. My mom tried calling Sue many times, but we never heard from her. Sue disappeared. My bridesmaid recommended a hair stylist, Britney. I called Britney who accepted the job. A week closer to my wedding, Britney called. She was extremely sick and could not do my hair on my wedding day. Britney recommended Wanda. I called Wanda who agreed to do my wedding day hair. (Do you see a pattern forming?) Now I was all set. My mom and I met with Wanda a few days before the wedding to go over my desired hair style.

After I got home from the rehearsal dinner, my mother informed me of the new disaster: Wanda was extremely sick and could not do my hair. The following morning, instead of waking up singing “It’s my wedding day!” my mother and I high-tailed it to the hair salon. There was one stylist working, and she said she would squeeze me in during her scheduled clients. So we waited. And the minutes rolled by. And I panicked. Luckily, Britney arrived, for she was recovering from her sickness, and she and the other stylist double teamed me. The end result: my hair looked great and I got to the church on time.

Yes, this event was probably worth the stress I felt. But I learned that it does matter to check and double-check the important things. Do not wait until the last minute when planning your wedding. That really matters.

4. Trying not to stress when your limits are pushed.
My rehearsal dinner was held in the banquet room at a restaurant. I arrived early with my mom and step-father. My two bridesmaids arrived shortly after. My fiance was coming with his family, including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, from their hotel. There was a problem: My fiance’s family has a tendency to be late, very late. In fact, we told them an earlier time on the rehearsal dinner so that they would get there on time. That plan did not work.

One set of his grandparents arrived on time. My bridesmaids and I decorated the tables as much as possible, but my fiance was bringing the rest of the decor. The table decor was not complete. And it was past time for the dinner to start. No fiance, no fiance’s family. I was beginning to stress out. On top of that, my father called my cell phone, which added to my stress. (I will explain more on that in the next section.) I was to the point of tears from the stress. As I complained to my bridesmaids, my future grandpa-in-law, the one who was on-time, walked up to me, seeing my stress. “Don’t worry about them.” he advised, referring to the other side of the family. “They’ll be late to their own funeral!” I smiled, appreciating his encouragement. Eventually, my fiance arrived with his family and the decorations. He was very apologetic, but it was not his fault. I had over-reacted.

I am embarrassed now to think about my behavior. Was it really necessary to stress out to the point of tears because some people were 30 minutes late? No. True, they did not show the best manners by being so late. What was I worried about? That we would get home an hour later than planned? It did not matter. What matters is that you do not lose your cool over unimportant things.

5. You and your fiance
I learned this lesson from my older brother, who walked me down the aisle. My parents are divorced. My mother, with whom I am very close, and my step-father paid for the majority of my wedding. Although my father was not going to walk me down the aisle, I still wanted him and my step-mother to be seated with the parents in the ceremony. To keep a very long story short, there was major miscommunication. I sent him emails which he said he never received. He never offered to help with the wedding in any way. So it must have surprised him when I emailed him about renting a tuxedo for the wedding. He stated that they would not participate in the ceremony but sit quietly in the back of the church sanctuary.

The day of the rehearsal, my brother called me. Our step-brother told him that our father and step-mother were planning to go to the rehearsal dinner! Although I had sent them an invitation, that was before my father told me they were not participating in the ceremony. Let me just say that it would have been bad for them to come to the small, intimate rehearsal dinner. The two sides of my family would have turned into the gangs from “West Side Story” and fights would ensue! I started panicking on the phone to my brother. “They can’t come! Why would they do that?” Why would they come to the rehearsal dinner when the main reason for not participating in the ceremony was to avoid the other side of the family?

Then my brother gave me the best piece of wisdom I heard in the whole 14 months of my engagement. He said, “They don’t matter. Forget about them. All that matters is you and Shane. You’re all that really matters on your wedding day.” He was right.

It all turned out well. My step-brother and his wife invited my father and step-mother to dinner that night of the rehearsal and they accepted. Remember that phone call I got from my father during the rehearsal dinner when I was stressing out to the max? He left a message saying that my step-mom had a headache so they couldn’t make it to the dinner. I guess they still had that headache the next day, because they didn’t come to my wedding either.

As I write this article, I can still feel the stress from some of those days. I wish I hadn’t stressed out so much. It was unnecessary. As my brother said, all that really matter is you and your fiance. Those words were a comfort to me on that day. I hope they are a comfort to you as you plan for your special day.

Wedding Gift Etiquette

There are few things in life more difficult to figure out than the “rules” that apply to weddings.  It’s perhaps toughest to know what’s proper when it comes to giving presents. Here’s a brief look at current-day wedding gift etiquette.

What To Give

Many wonder whether it’s acceptable to give cash or checks. The answer, according to the Emily Post Institute, is definitely “yes.” However, customs do vary in different regions, so cash may be more welcome in some areas than others.

If you’re planning on giving something tangible, it’s best to stick with the items listed in the bride and groom’s gift registry. That way you know that the couple will appreciate and need whatever you’ve given. It’s fine to give something they haven’t chosen in a registry, if you know them well and can be sure that they’ll like what you’ve selected.

Wedding Gift Etiquette

The biggest issue for most people is how much to give. TheKnot.com recommends spending around $75-$100 on someone you don’t know very well, and $100-$125 for a friend or relative. They’ve also surveyed their members and found the average expenditures were $79 for friends, and $146 for family members.

It’s also acceptable to give less if you’re having financial issues. In this case, a good idea is to select something inexpensive from the couple’s registry, or a less expensive but more personal gift. They will certainly understand, and will appreciate that you’ve made the effort.

When To Give

“Everyone knows” that you have a year to send a wedding gift. Most etiquette experts, however, say that’s not really true. They recommend giving the present at the time of the wedding; at the most, they say, it should be sent within three months. Anything more than that is considered rude.

Another common fallacy is that it’s not necessary to give anything if you’re travelling a long distance to get to the nuptials, or if a couple is having a “destination wedding” which entails a lot of extra expense for guests. That’s not true, either. It’s perfectly acceptable to spend less on a present if it costs a lot more to attend the event, but you should still give a gift as well.

Two more beliefs that many people have:

  • It’s okay to give nothing to a couple, if you didn’t receive anything from them.
  • If you gave the bride something for her shower, it’s not necessary to give anything else for the wedding.

Those are both incorrect. Once again, it’s considered rude to play the “you didn’t give me one, so you don’t get one” game. And it’s proper to give engagement party, shower, and wedding gifts; experts suggest taking the total amount you want to spend and allocate 20% for the engagement gift, 20% for the shower and 60% for the nuptials.

When Not To Give  

There are a few times when it’s acceptable to not give a present. If you’ve already given the bride or groom something for their first wedding, there’s no need to give another gift for the second, although it’s certainly a nice thing to do.

And, of course, if the wedding is cancelled at the last minute there’s no need to give the couple anything at all. In that case, the couple should return all gifts that have already been received.

Do you have your own opinions about wedding gift dos-and-don’ts? We’d love you to share them.

Bachelorette Party Ideas – Skip the Boring House Party!

It often seems that guys have all the fun during the week before a wedding. All they have to worry about is getting their tuxes, while women have a million little details to take care of. Meanwhile, the groom gets to have an epic bachelor party; the bride is usually lucky if she can spend a few quiet hours with her best friends under the guise of a party.

Things don’t have to be that way – there are a lot of great bachelorette party ideas that let a woman have just as much fun as her husband-to-be before the big day. Of course, females can celebrate the same way many of their male counterparts do by going bar-hopping or heading to a casino. But many prefer doing something with a more feminine feel. Here are some suggestions.

Think Before You Drink – And Ask Before You Plan

arrest or accident

Nothing ruins a fun night more than a drunk driving arrest or accident. If alcohol will be a part of the partying, make sure that there will be designated drivers, limousines, taxis, or some other way to be sure everyone gets where they’re going safely.

One other thing that can turn a great idea into a terrible evening, is planning an event that the guest of honor won’t enjoy. It’s best to check with the bride before you make any decisions, to find out what sort of party she’d like to have – or more importantly, what type of night she doesn’t want. You don’t want to hire male entertainment only to have her annoyed and unhappy, and you don’t want to plan a quiet gathering at home if she’s ready to go out and paint the town.

The Traditional

bachelorette party ideas

Perhaps the most traditional “bride’s night out” involves going to a male strip show, or to a drag show featuring female impersonators. The Chippendales are the best-known male dance performers; they play throughout the country and around the world so it’s hard to time your event to catch them, unless you live in Las Vegas where they perform year-round. There are many local clubs in every area which feature male strippers, however, and it’s almost impossible to visit one without seeing at least a couple of bachelorette party groups in attendance. Drag shows are more likely to be found in larger cities, and if they don’t offend the group’s sensibilities, they’re a lot of fun. Some drag clubs even let you make a full night of it, offering dinner as well as a performance.

White limousine seen in London, England

Another popular choice is renting a limo and hitting a few night spots for cocktails. That’s often combined with a naughty “scavenger hunt,” in which the guest of honor has a number of sexy challenges to accomplish such as kissing random men, walking down a busy street drinking from a penis-shaped water bottle, and convincing a guy to surrender his underwear. It’s also customary to supply something that clearly identifies the bride-to-be, like a baseball cap with a veil attached.

Traditional Bachelorette House Party

The final traditional choice is a house party. This can be a sedate affair with tea or wine and conversation if that fits the group’s nature. It can also be more rowdy, with loud music, drinking and male strippers if that’s more in keeping with the bride’s wishes. There are also a lot of fun options which fall somewhere between the two extremes. Just a few suggestions: a game night (either with “normal” games like Trivial Pursuit or more risqué party games which can be found at novelty stores), a poker night complete with cigars and scotch, or a panty-gift party at which everyone presents the guest of honor with unique pair of funny, sexy or x-rated panties.

Girly Excursions

brides night out

Many women want to go “somewhere” for the bride’s night out, but aren’t really interested in heavy drinking and carousing. Here are some ideas that might satisfy the more feminine side of partiers.

  • Dessert Crawl – It’s possible to spend a night on the town without getting drunk, with this twist on the more common “pub crawl.” Instead of visiting bars, the group piles into a limousine and hits a number of high-end pastry and ice cream shops for a decadent, sweet and very fattening feast.
  • Bar Trivia or Karaoke – This allows the drinkers at the party to indulge, while letting everyone have a great time together. Of course, scoring well at bar trivia might be easier for the non-drinkers, while Karaoke might be more fun for those who’ve had a few cocktails.
  • Comedy Club – Once again, guests can imbibe – but the purpose of this outing is to enjoy each others’ company and have some laughs in a fairly low-key environment.
  • Slumber Party – Rent a fancy hotel room or suite, pack up the jammies and chick flicks and take everyone to a grown-up, stay-up-all-night party. Pillow fights are optional, but may break out after a drink or two.
  • Visit a Spa or Get a Mani-Pedi – These don’t really classify as parties, but are terrific ways for the girls to spend time together and do something to pamper themselves. If the bride has been going crazy planning her own wedding, they’re outings she’d probably appreciate as much as anything else you could plan.
  • Take a Class Together – Again, this isn’t really a “party” idea, but is another fun bonding excursion the group can take with the bride. It can be an exercise or dance class, a cooking or pastry-making class – or even a skydiving class for those who aren’t faint-of-heart.
  • Ride the Giant Coaster – Another fun spot for a non-traditional outing is the amusement park. It’s a wonderful place to let the guest of honor forget all about the upcoming wedding, and just spend the day feeling like a kid one last time.

There’s no reason for women to ignore venues usually considered “bachelor party” havens, like upscale steak restaurants, cigar bars, tracks – or even strip clubs for a few laughs. Some groups who can afford the cost and have the time, opt for a bachelor-style road trip to Vegas, Atlantic City or New Orleans. Those excursions are becoming so popular that they’re worth examining more in detail.

Vegas Bachelorette Parties

las vegas

Once upon a time, only the very rich could consider a Vegas bachelorette bash. Today, with cheap air fares and hotel rooms available much of the year, almost any bridal party can afford a trip to the city many consider “party central.”

There are three ways to approach the planning:

  • All-inclusive packages
  • Do-it-yourself trips
  • “The World’s Largest Bachelorette Party”

It’s important to note that all of these options still require you to book your own flights to Las Vegas, and for most you’ll also have to book your own hotel rooms.

All-Inclusive Packages

There are two types of “everything included” bachelorette party packages you can book.

The first is a party that’s planned for you by a major Vegas resort-casino. Most of the big hotels will be happy to accommodate your party, and some like the Palms and the Hard Rock have special bachelorette packages which they promote regularly. They usually include rooms (or suites, depending on your budget), VIP club admission, meals and beverages. Each hotel’s package has a little different twist; for example, bottles of champagne, all-you-can-drink nightclub tables, or spa experiences. Prices can vary widely; for example, the Palms (one of the more expensive choices) offers bachelorette packages with starting prices ranging from $1500 (including the Barbie Suite) to $55,000 (with two nights in their “Sky Villa”), while lower-end hotels like Harrahs will set you up nicely for well under $1000 as long as you’re not arriving during a peak week. Be sure to call the hotel rather than trying to book online.

The second category of package deals is arranged through an outside agency rather than a hotel. For that reason you’ll need to book your room(s) separately, although some of the party planning companies also offer discounts at big hotels. Your meals, clubs, entertainment and transportation can all be planned for you depending on how much you want to spend; you can choose anything from spa and salon pampering to cabana sunbathing, Chippendales shows and “pole dancing” classes in addition to dining, drinking and clubbing. Less-expensive packages start in the neighborhood of $100 per attendee, while the more lavish choices can easily run a few hundred dollars per person.

Do-It-Yourself Trips

Lots of bachelorette groups on a tight budget or with a “spur of the moment” mentality prefer to make all of their own arrangements. Unless you’ve chosen a week when an enormous convention or event has Vegas tied up in knots, this is pretty easy to do. There are so many great restaurants, spas and nightclubs in the city that you’ll have a good choice of options even at the last minute. You may run into difficulties if you decide to hit up one of the hottest clubs on the Strip, but you’d be surprised what a group of girls with a bride-to-be in tow can accomplish when they’re willing to offer a generous tip at the door. (This suggestion should also be kept in mind when you check into your hotel; letting the desk clerk know that you’re a bachelorette party, asking if there’s any possibility of an upgrade, and letting it be known that you’re willing to tip them for their help – $40-$50 will usually do it – can often work wonders.)

Doing it yourself can also give you the freedom to break off into smaller groups or depart from the usual “pool-spa-meal-club” bachelorette routine, since Vegas offers a wealth of entertainment possibilities. Everything from gambling (of course!) to off-road ATV excursions and hot-air balloon or helicopter rides are the type of unusual but fun activities your bridal party can enjoy before getting down to the more serious partying. Two final notes: most casinos will be happy to set up a separate table for your party to gamble and drink at; and unless you want to rely on taxis or rental cars, you might want to make a few advance calls to book limos in advance in order to avoid exorbitant last-minute rates.

“The World’s Largest Bachelorette Party”

This is only an option if you can plan your road trip for a specific weekend, but it’s a fun way to hold a bachelorette party with a summer break feel. The TAO Group, which runs some of the biggest and best restaurants and clubs in Vegas, has staged the WLBP for the last several years during the summer. The most recent one was hosted by Wendy Williams and Brandi Glanville (of Real Housewives fame), and included open bars, sunbathing, a turn on a runway with designer clothes, some meals (and discount prices for others), admission and VIP privileges at the hot LAVO and TAO nightclubs, gift bags, prizes and other goodies for just $125 per person. Without question, it’s a zoo – but isn’t that the perfect environment for a final weekend bash before getting hitched?

Atlantic City and New Orleans Bachelorette Parties

atlantic city

Atlantic City doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, but it’s a much cheaper getaway choice for those living in the Eastern US, and still offers a chance to get away and party it up before a wedding. The casino-hotels are all located within walking distance, and most have a nice range of spas and shops, restaurants and clubs on premises. There are a number of male strip clubs close by as well.

New Orleans

New Orleans has become a popular option for bachelorette parties in recent years, because all you have to do is walk onto Bourbon Street after 10pm in order to find the perfect atmosphere in which to get tipsy and a bit crazy. You can take in jazz and strip performances, visit rock or karaoke clubs, or just watch the amazing parade of people as you sip your hurricane or pound your beers. There’s also an incredible selection of fabulous restaurants, a nearby casino, and a wealth of sightseeing and shopping opportunities for daytime entertainment.

The Possibilities Are Endless

Use these ideas as inspiration, and you can come up with a bash that will be memorable and fun.

Have any other suggestions for a great bride’s-night-out? We’d love to hear them!

Small Wedding Ideas – Budget-friendly Suggestions

Everyone’s been to at least one enormous wedding. There are so many guests that it’s nearly impossible to spend much time with the happy couple. In fact, it’s so crowded that it almost seems that you’re in a fancy train station, rather than at an intimate celebration with friends and family.

Many brides and grooms who’ve been through that type of experience decide that for their own big day, they would rather have a smaller, more memorable event. Others opt to downsize their ceremonies and receptions in order to save money. Either way, there are many small wedding ideas which can make the day really special.

Small On A Budget

Smaller weddings can definitely mean big savings. If your motivation to “go small” is primarily based on finances, here are some budget-friendly suggestions that will also let you have a day you’ll always remember.

  1. The Guest List – This is always the key to keeping the numbers down. You may have to make some difficult decisions, but every name you eliminate will cut tens or hundreds of dollars from your budget.
  2. The Ceremony – Think about getting married in front of a justice of the peace, which will be a lot less expensive than a big church wedding. If you want a religious ceremony, ask if the church has a small chapel available, and if a layman can perform the rites instead of a priest or minister.
  3. The Reception – Inviting fewer guests creates more alternatives for the reception. A small group can easily fit into a church social hall, a private room at a family-style restaurant, a clubhouse at an apartment complex, or your home or backyard – all relatively inexpensive (or free). For a church wedding or home reception, many decide to just offer hors d’oeuvres and wine, or sandwiches and punch. After all, the point of a small event is to be with close friends and family, not necessarily to feed and entertain people.

Small Wedding IdeasSmall With Money To Spend

  • The Guest List – This is still the major factor in controlling the size of a wedding. One way to deal with the “disappointment” of some friends and family is to have a separate, low-key cocktail reception after you get back from the honeymoon.
  • The Ceremony and Reception – The choices are endless when searching for the perfect venue for a small group. Let your imagination run wild: beaches, small inns, private mansions, gardens and parks, wineries, barns, private clubs – when accommodating 200 people isn’t a concern, it’s easy to be creative and find a location that’s going to be memorable and fun. Take advantage of the small numbers to do something most people wouldn’t expect at a wedding, such as splurging on expensive champagne or a chamber music group, or pampering guests by supplying limousines for everyone.
  • Other Possibilities – When dealing with a small group, there are several elaborate options available, such as wedding vacations or destination weddings at exotic locations. They can end up costing even more than a traditional large event but will give you several days to spend with close friends and relatives – and priceless memories.

One of the biggest challenges when deciding on a small ceremony and reception is explaining the reasons for the decision to those who aren’t invited. The best way to do it is to be honest about wanting an intimate gathering with just a few people. Then invite the rest to an informal gathering or for a personal visit after you’re settled – and get ready for a memorable small wedding with those closest to you.

Have you staged your own low-key wedding? Share your ideas and experiences with us.