There are numerous decisions to make when planning your Milwaukee wedding, but one of the first will be the size. Below are reasons to consider a smaller wedding and the magic one creates for you and your guests.

1. Unique venue options
One of the most exciting aspects of a small wedding is the increase in venue options. One isn’t limited to a large hotel ballroom, museum, or banquet hall. A small wedding allows for more unique venues, some especially magical ones include:

  • Story Hill FireHouse (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Villa Terrace & Charles Allis Art Museum (Milwaukee, WI)
  • The Chef’s Table (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Camp Wandawega (Elkhorn, WI)
  • Maxwell Mansion (Lake Geneva, WI)

It also offers you the ability to unleash your own, magical, creativity in venue options:

  • Your family home, or cottage
  • Rent a home, or homes – try but be honest about your plans, some rentals
    do not allow events
  • Restaurants & Inns – many have small event rooms and offer the same high‐level of
    service and menu selections available daily
  • Destination – take your family and friends to your favorite vacation destination near or far

If you select a location that does not regularly host weddings, I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner to assist. Just as you won’t renovate your own home without professional help, wedding planners offer invaluable professional advice and services to perfect your magical event.

2. Watch family become friends and friends become family
Another piece of magic unique to small weddings, is how the bride and groom’s friends and family interact and become close, no matter their ages and experiences. It makes sense that your friends from college and work would like each other, since you like them, but have they ever really spent time together? How great is it to see your cousins and friends make their own connections on Facebook? This opportunity for unique and lasting connections will mark your special day in your, and your guests’, memories forever!

3. Upgrade
Although some people choose to go small to save money, a small wedding is not always an inexpensive option. However, being able to take the budget of a large wedding and put it toward a smaller one offers another unique piece of magic. You have the ability to upgrade the experience and treat yourself and your guests to a more extravagant event.
You can upgrade the food options:
Let’s be honest, have you ever said, following a 200‐person dinner, “Gosh, I’ll never forget the beef or chicken option”? But imagine a multi‐course gourmet meal thoughtfully paired with wines. That’s memorable!
You can offer other unique experiences:

  • Offer to host guest’s hotel rooms
  • Host local tours, boating activities, zipline tours, etc.
    Plan other, less formal dinners or activities throughout the weekend such as a Brewer’s

These experiences will be incredibly magical and memorable for your guests and allow you all to spend more time together outside of the wedding itself, a gift to yourselves, so to speak!

4. Customization
Another way to increase the magic with a smaller wedding is to truly customize the event for the you and your guests. You may already plan to place welcome gifts in the hotel rooms, but have you considered customizing them for each guest? This can be a bit overwhelming, but if you can stay organized and pull it together, how magical can it be for your favorite people?!
Does your uncle love bourbon and your cousin love champagne? Why not put a bottle of each in their room! Does your maid of honor collect magnets and your friends’ kids love your special cookies? Put those in their rooms! They don’t have to be expensive, just knowing you remember each and every one of them will make your guests feel special.

5. Group photo
Can you imagine rounding up 200 guests for a group photo? There’s a reason this doesn’t happen at every wedding you’ve ever attended. But a smaller group with a less robust timeline, why not?! It’s not only possible, but will be a keepsake of your wedding you will cherish forever. Take the photo at the beginning or end of the toasts while everyone has champagne in hand, or dress all guests in a custom shirt for a photo opportunity that will never be re‐created. Bonus: send a copy of the photo to all guests with the thank you note. Everyone will love the opportunity to relive your very special day.

Things to consider
One major hurdle to a small wedding is the guest list. You will have to make some difficult decisions with respect to who is, and is not, invited. This will be difficult, but it can be done! If you explain your reasoning for a small wedding and communicate it properly, you should be able avoid hurt feelings. Consider hosting a more casual gathering after the wedding in order to celebrate with your extended list of friends and family. Show photos and video of the wedding to help all guests feel like they were part of your special day. If you think it through and execute properly, you can keep this aspect from becoming a nightmare and help retain the magic of a small wedding!
As mentioned earlier, I would caution against expecting your small wedding to be less expensive than a larger wedding. If you would still like extraordinary photography and video, for example, the cost will be the same. Other services such as wedding planner, flowers for the wedding party, rehearsal dinner, DJ or band, and of course your wedding dress, will likely be similar to a larger wedding – unless, of course, you make different choices.
One very important thing to remember, no matter the size of the wedding, this event is about you and your fiancé, so make it what you want it to be! All wedding choices offer the chance to showcase who you and your fiancé are as a couple. Enjoy the process, the day, and the beautiful life ahead of you!