Small Ceremony, Big Reception

Some brides cannot wait for the drama of their grand entrance at the wedding ceremony, as they process down the aisle in front of hundreds of guests. For other brides, not so much! A great way to balance the wish for a very intimate wedding ceremony with the desire to celebrate your marriage with all of your friends and family is to have a private ceremony and a large reception. This is a look at how to plan a small ceremony and a big reception.

There are plenty of reasons why a small wedding ceremony might make sense for you. Maybe you dream of getting married on a sun-swept beach on a far-flung tropical island paradise, and know that only your closest family will be willing to make the trip. Or perhaps you break out in a cold sweat every time you think about having hundreds of people watching you as you exchange your vows, and want a very low-key ceremony to alleviate your stage fright. Some brides who have lost their fathers find that the idea of walking down the aisle of a church in a traditional ceremony without their dad is too heartbreaking to even contemplate. A small, non-traditional ceremony can help in this situation.

There are also plenty of reasons to have a big reception. You may have a large circle of extended friends and family who you would love to have with you to celebrate the joy of your new marriage. Even if it is not that big a deal to the bride and groom, it might be a big deal for everyone else. Big wedding receptions are also a lot of fun. They have a great energy, especially on the dance floor, that you just can't get at a tiny party.

So if you want the best of both, a small ceremony and a large reception, the key is to figure out how to pull it all off. Destination weddings are a great way to keep the wedding guest list short without hurting feelings. Follow it up with a huge bash when you get home. It could be really fun to have a reception which is inspired by the place where you had your ceremony. A tropical party is always wonderful, and your guests will get a flavor of your ceremony, which they will love.

For couples who really want an ultra-tiny ceremony, a private service at home with only their parents, siblings, and one or two closest friends might be the way to go. Having a large wedding at home is a massive undertaking, but a very small one can easily be held in your living room with no special accommodations. While formal bridal gowns with ornate bridal jewelry sets might seem a bit much for a wedding at home, the bride can still wear a very pretty dress, perhaps with a short veil, and a pretty nosegay. Have a couple of bottles of Champagne on hand to toast the newlyweds at the end, and everyone can go out to a nice restaurant for dinner. That is all you need for a special private ceremony at home.

After your small ceremony, follow it up with a fabulous reception. Any style will do, from very traditional wedding reception in a country club or hotel to a casual barbeque for three hundred of your closest friends. If you opt for a traditional reception, by all means dress the part. For brides that means beautiful wedding gowns with classic sets of bridal jewelry and either suits or tuxedos for grooms. This is nice for the bride who did not wear a gown for a very small ceremony, as it gives her the chance to get all dressed up in full bridal regalia for the reception (perhaps minus the veil). The small ceremony followed by a large reception may be just the perfect combination for your wedding.

Bridget Mora writes for Silverland Jewelry about wedding planning, relationships, and etiquette. At, we carry a breathtaking collection of bridal jewelry sets. All jewelry orders over $99 receive free shipping, so visit today!

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