What Not to Skip When Having a [Super] Small Wedding!

Many future brides might think that, as a planner, my business would target big weddings, but that’s not true. For me, wedding planning is about partnering with you to make the first day of your MARRIAGE amazing; to honor you and the love of your life; to join two families together; to celebrate love. So I want to tell you something important: it’s ok to have a small wedding, a courthouse wedding, or any other kind of wedding, if that’s what your and your fiancé want. Yup, I said it.  That may sound strange coming from a wedding planner, but this is your permission to have the tiny wedding you’ve dreamed of, and below are the things I recommend to not skip:    

1. Hire an amazing photographer.  This is the first and most important.  Just because it’s small doesn’t mean you don’t need amazing pictures to cherish forever and pass down to your grandchildren.  Look for a photographer who will allow you to hire per hour and schedule them to be there for the ceremony and to get some photos afterward.  Think about what is important to you in that day and have amazing photos taken of that.

2. Invite only the people you want.  Maybe it’s just the two of you; maybe it’s your immediate families; maybe it’s some friends.  Whatever you decide, make sure you aren’t inviting people just because you feel like you have to.  Invite them because they are a special part of your lives and you love them.  If you get any questions about the wedding, just be open with people and own your decision.  Simply explain you’ve decided to have a very small wedding and leave it at that.  There is no rulebook on who you HAVE to invite to a wedding.  It’s your wedding after all!  

3. Get a really gorgeous bouquet.  There’s something about flowers that just feel bridal.  Your wedding day is a special chance to carry a bouquet, so make sure to budget for it and get the most perfect one you could ever imagine. If a bouquet isn’t your thing then consider a floral crown, or spend extra money getting your hair and makeup done.  The point is: treat yourself and take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  

4. Wear a dress you love.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, brand new, or even white, but choose a dress that YOU feel amazing in and suits your personality.  It’s your day and you want to be comfortable and confident!

5. Do something fun and memorable after the ceremony.  Whether you have a small ceremony at a church, or  a courthouse wedding with just a couple family members, make a reservation somewhere special (for lunch, dinner, or even just dessert) for afterwards to keep the celebration going with your guests.  You may be thinking “the reason I wanted a small wedding was so I didn’t have to buy everyone dinner” and it’s perfectly appropriate to have each guest pay their own bill.  These are your closest family and friends and they will understand.  Just be upfront with everyone in advance so they know what to expect and, I promise you, they will just be excited to be included in your day.  

 Photo by  Metts Photo

Photo by Metts Photo

Thinking about having an intimate wedding?  I’d love to help and I’m offering a special rate through September 30th for anyone having a wedding fewer than 30 guests.  Shoot me an email (kelley@havilandevents.com) and let’s set up a time to talk about your vision! 

Heritage-filled Wedding at LondonHouse Chicago

Kate and Longe’s wedding this past May incorporated American and Congolese traditions to create an amazing, energetic celebration focused on the couple’s heritage.

Their ceremony at Park Community Church was a true reflection of their love for Christ and their guests, and they even served communion to each person in attendance.  One very special ceremony detail was a vintage handmade tapestry from the Congo which we used as an aisle runner - thanks to Meredith from Canary Lane for helping us find it.  

The couple chose LondonHouse Chicago for their reception, which offered classical architecture, breathtaking views of Chicago (talk about memorable photos), and impeccable service. The team there was so wonderful to work with and I cannot wait for more weddings together.  

For their first dance, Kate and Longe started with “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and then transitioned into the Congolese song “Kema Fumbe” - and everyone from Longe’s family joined them on the dance floor!  How fun is that, ya’ll?!  Everyone then sat down to a wonderful meal with American and Congolese influence weaved throughout, including Congolese beignets that were to die for.  After dinner, the whole bridal party changed into custom-made Congolese attire and reentered to another Congolese song to kick off the dance party!  

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Reception Venue: LondonHouse Chicago
Ceremony: Park Community Church, Near North Campus
Paper Goods: Sweet Love Paperie
Ceremony Runner: Canary Lane
Linens: BBJ Linen
Floral: Flowerville

 

  

Classic Wedding at Arlington Racetrack

Margo and Will were such a joy to work with on their Arlington Racetrack wedding.  From our first phone consultation to our final details double-date meeting we had a blast working together to add details that reflect their story.  Everything from the heirloom silver and crystal pieces used as centerpieces on all the guest tables, the subtle horse racing theme seen in the paper goods by Noteworthy Expressions and the Greek dance, everything had a meaning and tied back to how close they are with their wonderful families.  For the head table, Margo knew she wanted something to make the table pop and add a bit of fun to the room while still keeping it classic.  We decided to use delicate white-on-white china, a handmade leafy runner and of course, mint juleps to add to the horse racing theme.  After hilarious speeches, they cut the cake and danced the night away.  It was such a wonderful evening.  Cheers to the Olsons!  

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Photography: Metts Photo

Venue: Arlington Park

Florals: Prairie Basket

Paper Goods: Noteworthy Expressions 

Calligraphy: Laura Reilly Calligraphy 

Head Table Place Settings: Vintage Place Settings

DJ: Toast and Jam

Simple Ways to Add "Oomph" to Your Tabletop Decor

If you've been around here for any amount of time you've probably noticed that I LOVE tabletop decor. It started with collecting plates while antiquing with my mom growing up. We would have dinner parties with friends and everyone would have "their" plate.  I loved the conversations they started and making people feel special remembering those little details.  The love of plates then grew to a love of silver, then glassware, then serveware...etc.  With Haviland, that love has transitioned to event decor and grown to a real passion for tabletop decor that reflects each one of my clients.  I think we tend to focus on really gorgeous flowers to add something special to the table and a perfect arrangement can completely transform a table but there are so many more pieces you can add to a table to step up the design and make it unique to you.  Below are three ways you can easily incorporate into your wedding.  

1: Fun Glassware! 

You can rent colorful glassware from awesome local rental companies and it completely changes how the table looks.  Vintage Placesettings and Nimble Well both have great selections and are a joy to work with. Each stem rents from about $1.50 - $3 and is a great way to add some fun and color to either your cocktail hour, or your tablesettings. Look at how much of a difference the blue glass makes in the pictures below.    

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2: Focus on Your Head Table

If it isn't in your budget to rent fun place settings for every single person at your wedding, why not focus on the head table instead?  You can go all out of flowers, plates, glassware, chargers, etc for your VIPs.  Use the Pinterest inspiration picture that is way too over the top to do for everyone but is completely feasible for just your head table. You would have the detail pictures to add to your wedding album and if you did your toasts around the head table, it could be captured even more and make for some perfect toast pictures.  Below is a picture of a styled shoot I worked on recently to show how awesome your head table could be.  Each placesetting would be about $20 to rent.  (photo by Michelle Cox Photography

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3: Add Fun Linens

I have a wedding this season that we've decided to upgrade the linens from the standard ones provided by the venue.  The total cost is less than $200 and it will make a huge impact.  We're also adding BBJ Linen's new velvet linen to the head table for a little extra oomph.  For another wedding coming up in June, we're doing the classic ivory linens the venue provides but adding fun green patterned runners to the tables for a pop of color.  This is a really simple upgrade but it can make a big difference in differentiating your wedding from others and making it reflect the style of you and your fiancé.  Check out #tablesettingtuesday for some fun linens.  Hint: the next couple will have bold patterns and I'm so in love with them. 

Want to explore the options for your wedding tabletop?  I'd LOVE to talk with you about it (I could talk about plates all day).  I've recently added a design consultation to my services for just this scenario :) Shoot me an email at kelley@havilandevents.com if you'd like to brainstorm with me!