We’re so excited to have Houston wedding planner Alyssa Meeks on the blog today sharing her best tips and ways to make a large wedding feel intimate. Alyssa is a Houston wedding planner skilled in designing and executing events of all shapes and sizes, especially large weddings. However, sometimes a large wedding can feel overwhelming, impersonal and even stale, simply because of the sheer scale of the event. We asked Alyssa to share her insight and expertise on a subject many brides struggle with: creating a personal, intimate environment for their wedding even with a larger guest list. Read Alyssa’s advice below!
Photo: AB Motion Photography
What tips do you have for making a wedding feel more intimate, even with a large guest list?
When planning a wedding, big or small, I always emphasize to my clients to incorporate elements that embody their relationship and make their guests say “that is so them.” This is especially important when beginning to visualize your special day. For example, when you have 350 guests, it’s not always practical to greet and socialize with every single guest, so using decorations, refreshments and music that represent you as a couple are key opportunities to connect with friends and family.
Personal touches are a must. For example, if you and your fiancé love margaritas, you could have margaritas served at cocktail hour with a custom napkin and stirrer. This also builds a natural conversation among guests!
If anyone knows me, they know I love unique personalized signage. Wow your guests from the moment they receive your save the date, leaving a trail of beautiful invitations, place cards and thank you notes along the way.
Ideas are the most exciting part of my job, but it’s also important to remain realistic and consult with your venue or caterer to ensure they can accommodate for volumes, flow and time schedules, which will prevent long lines for the best guest experience.
What are some of your favorite ways to encourage guests to mingle and feel more comfortable?
Incorporating details that represent your union is going to be a natural conversation piece and allows for guests to bond over elements about the couple. Think, “So, how do you know the bride?”
With a larger budget, I like to get creative and bring in lounge furniture, which creates a swanky cocktail vibe. It says “get comfortable, grab a bite, but meet me on the dance floor in five.” In my experience, having a separate space for drinks immediately following the vows gives guests 45 minutes to relax and chat before sitting down for a formal dinner with potential strangers.
What tips do you have for creating a guest list in general, especially if a bride is having a hard time keeping it on the smaller side?
Creating a guest list can be tricky. Do I invite my aunt twice removed? What about kids? Do my college friends get a plus-one even though they claim to be forever single?
To help with this, I tell couples to use an interactive guest list that both sets of parents can contribute to as well, which will help you with a rough starting point for numbers purposes. From there, you can always cut based on venue space, budget, etc.
Any other words of wisdom?
When wedding planning becomes overwhelming, hire a wedding planner. We’re here to give you advice, be your best friend and help you throughout this process! Planning a wedding is naturally stressful, but we do it for a living and are here to see your wedding through from concept to completion.
Special thanks to Alyssa of Alyssa Meeks Events for sharing her expertise with us!