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How To Make a Big Wedding Feel Intimate



How To Make a Big Wedding Feel Intimate

You have a conundrum if you have always dreamed of a small, cozy wedding but have big families on one or both sides. While ultimately, the day belongs to the bride and groom, accommodating others when planning a wedding is often necessary.

Facing a larger wedding guest list than you would prefer, you can still take steps to make it feel more infinite and friendly. No matter how large, a wedding should never feel anonymous, generic, or as if individual guests don’t matter. To help you get started, here’s how to make your large event feel smaller.


Find a Cozy Venue or Make it Feel that Way

Hosting hundreds of people necessarily means you need a large space, but you can make it feel less so. Find a venue that has a few rooms you can spread out in rather than one large space.

If you have no other option but to go with one cavernous space, here are some tips to make it feel cozier:

  • Create smaller spaces within the large space. Use dividers or arrange furniture to encourage people to gather in smaller groups.
  • Use additional spaces if they are available. If there are smaller rooms or outdoor spaces, set up seating or bar areas to encourage more small grouping.
  • Set round tables for dinner so that people can see and speak to everyone. This goes for the main table. There’s no reason you need to sit on a pedestal facing everyone.
  • Use softer lighting to make the space feel less like a warehouse. Instead of overhead lights, rely on table lights and strings of twinkle lights.
  • Add soft materials, if possible, to dampen sound.
  • Use warm and dark colors for a cozier feel.
  • Take the time to make the rounds to every guest, even if only to say a quick hello and thank them for coming.


You can make other changes not specific to the venue that will also help you feel more connected to the event and your guests. For example, consider limiting the size of the bridal party so you have more time to spend with each bridesmaid or groomsman.

Also, remember to schedule a little alone time right after the ceremony to be together as a couple and separate from guests.

Host a Pre-Wedding Dinner and Other Events

Even if the wedding can’t be as cozy as you would like, you can still enjoy time connecting with your loved ones. Plan events leading up to the big day that involves out-of-town guests or the people most important to you.


A rehearsal dinner is a classic example of a pre-wedding dinner, but don’t limit yourself. Any event involving some of your guests will make the entire wedding experience cozier and more intimate. For example, you can bring a few close friends along to try on wedding dresses or to pick out decorations.



In the days immediately before the wedding, have the traditional rehearsal dinner, and consider other appropriate but casual events. You could have a bar-hopping night with friends who traveled from out of town. Or, plan a sightseeing day that you can join in if you have time.

Use Your Own Style

One of the risks of having a big event is that it becomes generic. When you have to pay for decorations to fill a large space, for instance, you might feel pressured to choose items that aren’t special just because they cost less.


To make your wedding feel more intimate and special, hang on to personal details as much as possible. With enough planning in advance, you can make some of the décors with your own personal touches. Making seating cards, for instance, is reasonable.



Put your personal touch on the ceremony too. If you are not having a religious ceremony, consider using a friend or family member as the officiant. Their service might not be as professional as an officiant-for-hire, but it will be more memorable and personal.


Write your own vows instead of or in addition to the standard boilerplate vows. You can even involve guests in the ceremony to make it more personal. They can do readings, assist with seating, or provide music.

Make the Day Yours

You might feel pressured into having a larger wedding than you want, but always keep your and your partner’s needs front of mind. There’s nothing wrong with accommodating those you care about, but it is your wedding in the end. Make it happen if you both have your heart set on a cozy, intimate wedding.

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