BIG vs. small: How to decide on the size of your wedding
07 July 2017

BIG vs. small: How to decide on the size of your wedding

Wedding Planning

Cover Photo

When it comes to weddings there is no “right” or “wrong”. It just comes down to what is going to suit you as a couple based on your budget, your family and friends, and your personal style.

However, the size of your wedding is one element that has been known to cause a few headaches, so we’ve weighed up the arguments for both a big and small bash, with the help of a few other wedding pros including Bridal Florist Sarah Wu of Petite Studio and Wedding Planner Karen Carceres of Save The Dates by Karen.

Before we start, for interests sake, according to Wedding Bells 2015:

  • The average wedding size in Canada is 129 guests

  • The average wedding costs $30,717



  1. Fewer guest list “conversations”: You greatly reduce the need for uncomfortable conversations (arguments) when you open up the guest list to Great Aunt Betty and Joe from work. If your budget allows and you are happy to do it, going large will remove the guest list stress for you and your family. As Wedding Planner Karen Caceres puts it, "You get to invite relatives, friends near and far, colleagues and bosses, neighbours - lets face, it almost everyone you know." 

  2. You won’t offend anyone: From the perspective of family and friends, you won’t have to worry about snubbing anyone who expects an invite. Weddings are emotional times, and whether or not people get an invite can cause rifts between friends and family that hang around long afterwards. Bridal Florist Sarah Wu notes, "Some couples just inherently have large families, and tradition may dictate that big weddings are the norm. For many, weddings fall into the category of milestones where family traditions are tops."

  3. You can invite everyone YOU want to: Often people assume that if they keep their guest list small, they’ll get to have everyone there they want. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Particularly if you’re a social person with lots of different groups of friends. A bigger wedding will mean you get to have everyone you want there. 

  4. Dance P.A.R.T.Y!: The general rule is, the more people, the more lively the party. So if that’s your goal, bigger will usually equal better. Larger guests lists lead to more dancing, and more wild parties overall.  

  5. More people to capture more memories: Weddings are snap happy times. With lots of people present, you’ll end up with loads of photos and videos to document the fun from all different perspectives. That means more memories, and more people to reminisce with about the biggest day of your life.

  6. More friends (old and new) for your guests to have fun with: Weddings are about family and friends coming together to celebrate and create a community around you. The more guests you have, the more new relationships that form, which can last a lifetime.

 Photo credit: Adam Nyholt

 large wededing gift registry canada giftspaces1


  1. You’ll get to spend time with to all your guests: "The couple has more opportunity to share personal, private moments with guests," observes Bridal Florist Sarah Wu. However you choose to interact with your nearest and dearest, the smaller your wedding, the more time you’ll get to spend with each person during the reception, often making it more special for all involved. 

  2. Money money money: When it comes to weddings, every guest is another mouth to feed, another table to rent, and another potential glass smashed on the dance floor. Smaller guest lists generally translate into smaller budgets, that can stretch further for catering, unique venues, drinks and detailing. 

  3. More customization & DIY: When there are fewer guests to DIY favours and invitations for, and fewer tables to decorate, you can tackle bigger projects, making for beautiful, customized detailing.

  4. A more “relaxed” and “intimate” vibe: This is something that’s hard to capture in words, but small weddings, with the right combination of people who are up for a good time, can be the most memorable for all involved. "You can make guests feel more at home because you will be able to spend at least some time with them," says Wedding Planner Karen Carceres. Everyone will feel more at ease, including the bride and groom, which lays the foundation for a great time.  

  5. You can cater to your guests: Small weddings generally mean close relationships with each guest, making it much easier to cater to the crowd across all elements, from what is served on their plates to what is served up by the band on the dance floor. 

  6. You can splurge on the important details: "Some couples choose a small list not necessarily because their budget is small, but because they can pull out all the stops and have a truly lavish wedding," says Wedding Planner Karen Carceres. When costs go down, you can spend a more on the elements that matter most to you like the more expensive wine, the dream dress, or the upgrade on the honeymoon.

Photo credit: Magnus Bogucki

intimate wedding blog canada gift registries


Petite Studio offers floral design services for weddings and events (big and small), as well as floral styling for commercial projects.

Save the Dates by Karen opened in Toronto three years ago, after operating for nine years in Honduras, Netherlands, Barcelona and London. They offer various wedding planning packages, promising to make your big day magical.


  1. Top ways a wedding planner will seriously improve your life
  2. Shop local: Beautiful registry finds from Canadian homeware and designer boutiques
  3. The ten most important tips to simplify your wedding
  4. The ongoing list of stores to find the best bridal registry items in Canada
  5. 12 steps for stress-free wedding planning from industry experts  


*Here at GiftSpaces, we are dedicated to helping bride and grooms-to-be, new parents, honeymooners and all those celebrating life's special moments turn their visions into reality through the power of community. GiftSpaces allows users to curate one registry with anything from anywhere and have friends and family contribute financial gifts.

Create your own GiftSpace registry for free here.

Ready to get started? Create your GiftSpace

Create a GiftSpace