How to throw a small-gathering exquisite wedding in the most memorable way

With a well-planned small-gathering wedding, you can achieve a cozy gathering of your nearest and dearest, exchanging vows under a canopy of stars (if that’s your thing), surrounded by love and laughter. Sounds dreamy, doesn't it?

A bride walking down the aisle on her wedding day with her father holding her hands

Yes!!! You've said yes to the man of your dreams, and now it's time to plan that beautiful wedding. As someone who isn't into big, extravagant wedding scenes, that doesn't mean you are settling for less.

Absolutely not!

Now, to help you ensure your most memorable day is perfect, we are taking you on a little journey through how you can put together an exquisite small-gathering wedding. We'll dive into everything from venue selection to personal little touches (all the bits and pieces that leave your guests in awe).

To help you better understand what a small-gathering wedding is, here's a simple definition we put together below.

What is a Small-Gathering Wedding?

A small-gathering wedding is a small-sized wedding. Most small-scale weddings typically fall between the range of 30 to 60 guests. It is an intimate affair, where every detail is planned and chosen thoughtfully to reflect the couple's personality and love story.

However, in Nigeria, where owambe (big party) is the order of the day for weddings, having an intimate wedding is an opportunity to break free from the constraints of tradition and embrace a more relaxed approach. 

Out the door goes the worries about running out of food or drinks to serve, as seen in most big weddings—those concerns fade away… puff! Instead, your party shimmers with quality over quantity.

Now that you've gotten a clear picture of a small-gathering wedding - let's go deep into things you'd need to consider when planning a small wedding to achieve memorable success.

Things to Consider When Planning a Small Wedding

Having a small wedding can be downright awesome when done right. Below are a few friendly tips to keep in mind as you get started on making your intimate celebration unforgettable.

1. Set your budget

The first thing you need to check on your checklist when planning your small wedding is budget. While it's a common misconception that smaller weddings equate to low-budget, don't let the word "small" fool you. Sure, it might not have the same price tag as a grand ballroom affair, but small-scale weddings can still pack a punch when throwing one with class and elegance.

So, take a moment to sit down with your partner and perhaps even your wedding planner if you've enlisted their expertise. Deliberate carefully and agree upon a fixed budget. Having a clear budget in mind from the get-go will help you put first what's important to you on your big day. 

So, take a deep breath, relax and calculate those numbers carefully. You can seek the assistance of budgeting apps like Fundall to make things easier.

2. Venue/location selection for your small wedding

Now that your budgeting is off the list, it's onto the exciting stuff: finding that perfect spot to celebrate your love story. Finding the right venue for your small wedding is super important—it's where your wedding dreams come to life! So, naturally, you want to get it just right.

Firstly, think about the aesthetic you and your partner are aiming for. It could be an outdoorsy wedding with canopies, a classy/chic indoor wedding, or maybe an intimate garden ceremony. Whatever your heart desires, make sure it's a vision you both share.

Additionally, consider the weather when scouting for venues. If you're planning to exchange vows during Nigeria's rainy season, it's wise to opt for an indoor venue to avoid any unexpected downpours.

Once you and your significant other have eyes set on a particular location, go ahead and check out the logistics of that area. Try to answer these few questions to aid your decisions:

  • Is the venue easy for your guests to get to? 
  • Is the reception venue close to the church?
  • Does the venue have all the amenities you'll need, like bathrooms and parking?

These little details might not seem like a big deal now, but they can make a difference on the big day.

3. Finding a fitting theme and decor

For this next step, try to envision this: you and your forever person walking into your wedding venue, and it feels like stepping into a scene straight out of a fairytale - beautiful flowers and crystals everywhere you turn. A huge smile appears on your face because your inner child's desires just came alive. 

Absolutely astonishing!

Now that's the power of a good theme and decor!

Your theme sets the tone for the entire day, so choose a theme that isn't randomly picked from Pinterest. Instead, decide with your spouse and pick one that creates an atmosphere that feels like you. 

Once your theme selection is clear, your next focus should be sorting the decor. Think about everything from flowers to how the tables are set up. Maybe you want to add a personal touch with custom towels and bowls with your names on them for each table. Every tiny detail counts and adds up to make your dream wedding come alive.

And don't worry if you're not sure where to start or if you're not the craftiest person around. You can bring in a decorator with experience in turning small spaces into something magical.

4. Food and drinks

If there's one thing you can't skimp on in a Nigerian wedding, it's the feast. Even small-gathering weddings are not left out. You've got the famous party jollof rice, succulent suya that practically melts in your mouth, and let's not forget about those heavenly puff-puff balls of goodness.

So, to hit the jackpot with your food and drinks, have an open discussion with your caterer on a menu that'll surely tantalize the taste buds of all your guests. Consider incorporating some modern twists alongside traditional Nigerian meals to keep things interesting.

While for the drinks, make sure there's enough to go around. You could serve up some refreshing palm wine alongside champagne to give your guests options.

5. Selecting a good photographer or videographer

A day as beautiful and memorable as your wedding needs to be captured in all its glory. Go all out and find that dream camera team who gets what your wedding is all about; those vibrant colours, those heartfelt dances, every little detail that makes your day so special. 

You want someone who can capture it all in a way that makes you feel like you're reliving it every time you look at the photos or videos. So, take your time and find professionals like fearless photography who can make your wedding day memories last a lifetime!

6. Putting together a Guest list for your small wedding

A guest list is top tier when planning a small, exquisite wedding, especially in countries like Nigeria where you've got your family, your extended family, your neighbours, your friends from way back when. And don’t forget about your parents' friends—who honestly feel like family too.

Here's the thing: just because you're keeping things small doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the people who mean the most to you. It's all about finding that perfect balance between intimacy and inclusivity.

So, grab a pen and paper (or open up that handy spreadsheet) and start jotting down names. Think about who you and your partner absolutely can't imagine getting married without. 

If you're feeling torn about leaving someone off the list, remember it's your day, so your way. Surround yourself with the people who lift you and help make your special day sweet!

Do you know that Africa offers you a mix of tropical and equatorial environments for any activity, including a destination wedding? There are different destination wedding-worthy venues in Africa, each with its own unique experience. 

2 Awesome ideas to help make your small-gathering wedding fun and extra-special

It's time to sprinkle a little bit of magic onto your small-gathering wedding to make it truly memorable. Below are a few creative ideas:

  • 360 video booth

One cool way to bring some fun into your small wedding is to have a 360 video booth. You and your guests can hop in, strike a pose, and capture every angle of the moment in stunning 360-degree footage. 

Now, you might be thinking—aren't those just for fancy Hollywood parties? Nay nay! These days, having a 360 video booth at your wedding is simply becoming a new norm. It's a foolproof way to inject some fun and excitement into your big day.

If you are having trouble getting one, simply head straight to elite studio. There you can hire a 360 video booth for your wedding at 160,000 naira.

  • Couple games 

Seeing beautiful smiles on your guest's faces and hearing loud sounds of laughter is something to hope for in a memorable wedding. To help bring in those extra smiles to your little fancy wedding, add some cute couple games to the event program.

Here are some cool couple game ideas you can try out:

  1. The Shoe Game
  2. Trivia Challenge
  3. DIY Photo Scavenger Hunt
  4. Love Letter Exchange

Guest experience ideas for small weddings

Making sure your wedding is a blast for you and your partner is fantastic, but it's also essential to consider your guests' experience. After all, they're there to celebrate with you, and giving them a memorable time will make your big day feel even more special. 

One perfect way to turn it up for your guests is to host a karaoke sing-along right after the wedding ceremony. You can have it right at your venue or match everyone to the nearest karaoke bar. 

Another great way to amp up the excitement is with a DIY Cocktail Bar. Let your guests play bartender for the night, mixing their drinks as they please. It'll give your guests a sweet feeling of being involved.

Why you should consider throwing a small-gathering wedding

There are numerous reasons why you should consider going for a small-gathering wedding. Aside from  cutting down the guest list; it's also about creating a whole different vibe for your special day. You and your partner, surrounded by just your closest friends and family, share those intimate moments without the pressure of a big crowd. Who wouldn't want that? 

Plus, big weddings can come with a ton of stress and expenses. But with a smaller gathering, you can keep things low-key and focus on what truly matters—your love for each other.

So, if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of a huge wedding, maybe it's time to consider going small.

Wrap up

So there you have it—your recipe for a small, exquisite wedding that'll leave everyone breathless! However, remember, it's not only about the size of the party but the magic in the moments. So go ahead and channel your inner charm into making your dream wedding a reality—small in size, big in memories!