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Pros and Cons | Big vs. Small Weddings

Today, while speaking with a prospective BMH bride, I asked her how many guests she estimated inviting. Her response was, “How many should I invite?” In continuing our conversation, it became apparent that this particular couple wasn’t aware of the benefits and setbacks to having a big or a small wedding. Many think that the size of their wedding guest list depends purely on budget. While in part this is true, there are also many other factors to consider when nailing down the number of guests at your wedding. I happily went through some of them with this bride-to-be and helped her decide which fit their personalities best – a large or small wedding.

This conversation got me thinking; the “intimate wedding” is very popular right now, while other couples are opting for a larger wedding – the more elaborate, the better. For those of you who may not know exactly where you fall on the spectrum, take a look through our pros and cons list below and consider your options.


Jensen Photography

Big Weddings

Pro You don’t have to stress over the guest list | If your plan is for a big wedding, there’s no reason to agonize over whether to invite your second-cousin you don’t see that often or that sorority sister you haven’t spoken to in a few months. You can make everyone happy.  The more the merrier!

Con It’s more expensive Those of you having a big wedding may wish you have a bigger budget. With most caterers having a per person cost, it goes without saying that the more people at the wedding, the more expensive it will be. To combat this, consider choosing a caterer with a lower per person price. We have great caterers on our list that work for every budget, while still providing excellent food.

Pro More Gifts | It’s obvious that the more people invited, the more gifts you’ll receive. If you’re just moving into a new place or are getting married young, odds are you may new a few things. The more people invited to your wedding, the better your chances of receiving many of the little necessities that can start to add up if purchased on your own.

Con More work involved in planning |  With large weddings, a lot more planning has to be done. You need to be sure you have a site that can fit your guest list, spend more time on seating arrangements, and be sure to leave enough space in your timeline to say your “thank you’s” to each guest. Consider asking your Maid of Honor to help or hiring a wedding planner or Day of Coordinator to assist with the little details.

Pro | Creates a fun atmosphere | If you want a party, the big wedding might be just for you. Large weddings evoke a certain energy that makes people excited. And excited guests typically translate into a full dance floor. A bigger guest list also means that the reception will stay full longer so the party doesn’t have to end early. 

Con Less personal Keep in mind that all of those people you invite will also want to speak with you at various points in the night. With a large wedding, you won’t get as much time to spend with your close friends, family, and new wife or husband. Consider having a receiving line and using that time to say your obligatory thank-you’s, so you can enjoy the rest of the night next to those closest to you.

The Wiebners Photography

Small Weddings

Pro Less stress | With smaller guest lists, the planning is usually less stressful and time-consuming. It’s easier to find the venue since you’re not worrying about capacity limits, and you can worry a little bit less about cost since you’re likely saving with your guest list. Also, if you’re on a shorter timeline, smaller weddings are much easier to plan quickly.

Con May offend some Having a tighter guest list means that you will likely offend some of the people that don’t make the cut. You could also offend family members who don’t like the idea of a small wedding or get upset when their friends aren’t on the list.  From the beginning, be prepared with a response to give those who may be unhappy.

Pro You can afford to spend more on certain things |  As I mentioned above, smaller weddings usually help you save money. As a result, you can sometimes afford to put money somewhere you couldn’t otherwise. If photography is your thing, spend a little more on your photographer. If it’s music, get an awesome band. Even if it’s just having a little bit set aside for the unforeseen, this is a nice perk of the small wedding.

Con Less of the “party” feel If you’re going for the party vibe, it may be more difficult to achieve. With a smaller guest list, sometimes the energy is a bit more relaxed, so the fun and dancing may be more difficult to get going. Consider this when choosing a band or DJ, as they’ll help to get the party started and continue it throughout the evening.

Pro More Intimate | Because you’re choosing to only invite close friends and family, you won’t have to spend as much time with the obligatory conversations that go along with having a high amount of guests. You and your groom can have a few moments alone and have more time to spend with individual guests rather than floating around the reception for most of your night.

Con More to do yourself Because you typically have an easier planning process, many who have small weddings choose to forego a wedding planner. This means that many of the things that planners do are now on your plates. Creating a timeline, researching vendors, making sure everything arrives on-time the day of – these things are time-consuming and can be difficult. If you don’t need a wedding planner, consider hiring one of our Day of Coordinators. So the day of the wedding, you can stay destressed and enjoy yourself.


Many people believe that the type of wedding they have is dependent on their budget. While important, there are other aspects to take into account. Every couple and every wedding is different, and what’s perfect for one couple might not be for the next. In collaboration with your budget, have the wedding of your dreams, surrounded by however many or however few guests you choose.

If you’d like more information on the rooms or weddings at Brandywine Manor House, call or email us today at or 610.942.2200.