Download a free venue comparison spreadsheet
Wedspiration > Advice > Here’s How To Plan A Small Wedding Or Elopement
Here’s How To Plan A Small Wedding Or Elopement
Thinking of planning a small wedding or elopement? We don’t blame you. We love the intimate vibe that comes with both.
small weddings and elopements
Words by Melany Mashman
9 May 2020

Small weddings and elopements. Two things we absolutely love. We often find the smaller the wedding, the further away you can get from traditions and the more personal you can make your day. Some of the best weddings we’ve ever been to have been the ones that are the most intimate and personalised to the couple.

So with that, we’ve listed a bunch of our top tips to help you plan and pull off a little big day.

Featured photography by Corinna and Dylan.

small weddings and elopements

Handy tips to help you pull off an epic “big” day:


Choose vendors you’d want to be mates with

Make sure you partner with a legendary celebrant/photographer that you REALLY connect with. You’ll be spending lots of one-on-one time with them. If you’re still searching for either of these, you can find a bunch we love here on Wedshed.


Involve the limited guests in attendance

Given that you’re getting married in front of an intimate crew, it could be a nice idea to get everyone involved. You could ask each guest ahead of time to send over a fave memory spent with you and your partner, or a well-wish for your life together that could be read during the ceremony.


Choose a location where you can all stay together

Choose a destination where you can keep your guests nice and close so you can spend as much quality time together – perhaps a resort, holiday park, big Airbnb, for example. In fact, plenty of our venues have onsite accommodation – you can search for these properties here.


Incorporate things to the day that you’re truly passionate about 

Really think about what you and your partner are into and aim to introduce that passion to the small, special group of guests you have. Love wine? You could ask guests to bring a fancy bottle in lieu of a gift and do a tasting session with everyone on the day. Avid campers? Set up glamping for everyone at the venue so you can stay overnight together. Partial to a touch of glamour? Set a fancy AF dress code. You get the point. Make your day really reflect what you’re all about.


Keep the ceremony and reception sites close (or otherwise organise the logistics for guests)

If you’re having a backyard reception (love, love, love), we’d suggest choosing a spot for the ceremony that’s not too far away – you don’t want to have to make guests traipse across town. Or alternatively, if the ceremony location is a distance from the backyard, we’d consider organising transport for everyone (like a group bus) so that you can keep people together and make it more of an experience, with a fun playlist and a beverage.


Don’t feel pressured to share your plans if you don’t want to

If you’re eloping and want to keep it secret, you could tell people you are planning a long engagement and won’t be thinking about wedding planning until at least a year or two on and say something like, “we’re just going to enjoy this lovely stage of our lives and figure out the wedding stuff later.” And then BAM. Elope. Nice way to keep it private, we think.



Some other handy reads:

How To Decide On A Styling Theme For Your Wedding

Wedding Stylist vs. Florist vs. Planner – What’s The Difference?

Wedding Venues You Can Sleep Over At

Other Advice articles
View all articles arrow right


The Rising Trend of Wedding Content Creators

Wedding content creators - who are these mysterious new, iPhone wielding wedding vendors? What exactly do they do? Do you need one? What are the costs involved? Recently married writer Sophie Jay Nelson explains this fast emerging 2024 wedding trend.
wedding wines


The Ultimate Wine Guide For Every Wedding Season: What Wines To Serve (And How Much)

Sure, weddings are first and foremost about love but they’re also about showing guests a good time and there’s a fair assumption that there will be wine served – and plenty of it. Hence we’ve put together our ultimate wine guide that covers what wines are most suited to the season you’re getting married in and how to calculate how much wine you will need to ensure no one is left feeling thirsty.
wedding tax my debunked


OPINION: Does The ‘Wedding Tax’ Actually Exist? Yes (And No)

Something you should know about the wedding industry: it’s full of legends. Not people who want to skim off the top of their couples. Here we shed light on why the wedding tax is a myth.
outdoor wedding


Planning An Outdoor Wedding? Read This.

What could be more romantic and magical than an open-air soiree with your loved ones? Outdoor weddings are hard to top – if the conditions are right. Read on to learn how to choose the location and timing of your alfresco wedding, along with a host of other top tips.
Articles you might like

Real Weddings

REAL WEDDING: Sarah + Jason – Seacliff House

From now on, whenever we talk about kicking wedding goals, we’ll be pointing at Sarah and Jason. This couple (alongside some very gifted vendors) created a south coast wedding that was a total vibe. Cocktails, a cake the size of a small bath, a killer venue and an epic surprise for all their guests, this day had it all.


10 of the Best NSW South Coast Wedding Venues

When it comes to choosing an attractive location to tie the knot, it's hard to look past the NSW south coast. Along this renowned, 400km stretch of coastline you'll find pristine beaches, rolling farmland, world class rainforests and some of the most memorable Australian wedding venues. Here are 10 of the best. 


What To Do If You’re Second-Guessing Your Wedding Dress

We love pizza but if we were to eat it everyday, the infatuation we have for this classic culinary delight would fade pretty fast. It’s the same with wedding dresses – you look at the same garment every day for months and it eventually becomes less palatable. If you’re second-guessing your wedding dress, you must read this.
nsw hen's accommodation


The Most Hen’s-Worthy Weekenders in NSW

Why have a hen’s night when you can have an entire hen’s weekend? It’s a question worth considering. And if you decide that it does indeed make a whole lot of sense to extend the fun times, we’ve got your back with a collection of properties up to the task of housing you and your ladies.
Looking for more ideas?
We’ve brought together advice, articles, and inspiration on our Wedspiration to help you find your feet.