Checklist for a Small Wedding

Wedding image by Przemyslaw Malkowski from

A small wedding is often less expensive and allows for a more intimate sharing of the day with your closest friends and family members. A small wedding requires the same components as a large one, only on a smaller scale. A checklist will help you pay proper attention to every segment of the wedding on the appropriate timeline so nothing is overlooked.

Venue and Entertainment

It is imperative to plan ahead when it comes to reserving important components like a wedding location, florist, reception banquet hall and entertainment. Depending on where you want to get married, you may need to reserve a chapel or outdoor location months, or even a full year, in advance. Photographers book up quickly, so if you want a good one, give them two to three months to plan. The same is true for florists, videographers and any bands or emcees that will host the reception. As you set the date, start making reservations--and pay particular attention to when your deposits are due to guarantee you won't lose the vendor.


Just as you need to plan ahead to secure a venue and photographer, you will need to secure catering. Before you hire a caterer, check with your reception venue to see if it provides food--many hotels include this in a wedding package. If you are hiring your own caterer, confirm availability and book as soon as possible. Give the caterer a head count one week before the wedding. When ordering your wedding cake, ask the vendor when the cake will be ready. You will want to check with the reception hall to see if there is a refrigerator to store the cake or if you need to make other arrangements.


Mark the date when you and your fiance will head down to city hall to get a marriage license. Call ahead or visit the city hall website to obtain all of the requirements before making the trek. Some states have a waiting period between application and marriage. Make sure you bring two forms of identification, and plan to spend half a day waiting in line in busy cities.


It is doubtful you will forget about your wedding dress or the groom's tux; however, there are other people that need to be dressed for the occasion. Make a list of those in the wedding party, including flower girls, ring bearers and ushers. Have fittings done three weeks prior to the wedding, giving the seamstress enough time to make adjustments but not giving your wedding party enough time to drastically change dress sizes. During the busy season, dress seamstresses can be very busy. Make sure to give yourself enough time to get the dress perfectly fitted and pressed for the big day.

Guest List

Even though your guest list is small, you still need to spend time paying particular attention to getting invitations out in a timely fashion. If you are planning a wedding more than a year in advance, it is wise to send your guests a save-the-date postcard, announcing your engagement and asking potential guests to put the date on their calendars. This can also help you get early intentions of guests who can or cannot attend, opening up seats at the small event. Invitations should officially go out six weeks prior to the wedding with RSVP requests being three weeks before the date. This gives you enough time to adjust the guest lists before the event. A small wedding means a small reception. You can choose to have a seating chart, though small weddings can have a more casual reception that does not require a seating chart. Make sure you are registered for gifts before the invitations go out so guests have plenty of time to find the perfect gift.