Are you considering a private wedding? For some couples, the idea of being the center of attention in front of over a hundred people doesn’t appeal. Others may want to share this special moment with only their closest circle of family and friends. Whether you’re dreaming of a just-us-two elopement, an intimate celebration, or even a larger wedding that still feels private and intimate, here are some tips and things to consider.

Location, location, location

One of the best ways to ensure your privacy is to choose a wedding location that’s tucked away from prying eyes. A private ceremony (especially if your guest list is limited) opens up many interesting options. Some require less planning, like a private home or garden. Others, especially if they are outdoors, may require permits. If you have your heart set on marrying on a beach, in the mountains, or in a park, try to find a private clearing or viewpoint. Your officiant or photographer may be able to help with suggestions.

If you’re planning a larger wedding but still want it to feel private, choose an exclusive, secluded venue where you can have both ceremony and reception, ideally with accommodation for guests on the property. A destination wedding is also a great option! Stretch out the festivities to three or four days, and you’ll have time to really bond with your group.

Limit the guest list

Whether you’re planning a private wedding for five people or fifty, a private wedding calls for a limited guest list. This may mean some difficult decisions. It can also unfortunately lead to hurt feelings. Set a maximum number of guests and stick to it. And try to keep it fair! For example, if you’re only inviting immediate family on one side, don’t extend that further on the other. Then be honest when you explain the situation to those who haven’t made the cut, but be sure to let them know how much you still value your relationship. If you want to avoid any drama in the lead-up to your private wedding, keep it under wraps. Then mail a personal announcement to everyone who may feel left out, so that it arrives while you are on your honeymoon.

Another option to consider is a post-wedding celebration, whether it’s a dinner with friends who couldn’t make it, or a larger reception. You can also opt for a private ceremony and a bigger reception.

Images and social media

If you’re planning a private wedding, the last thing you want is images and videos all over the internet the following day. Unplugged weddings are always a good option, as they allow guests to focus on the moment instead of seeing everything through their phone screen. It’s important to communicate this with your guests in a polite and gracious way. For example, you could put out the word through mothers and bridesmaids ahead of time, and then have a sign clearly visible on the day asking guests to refrain from sharing photos and video.

You should also decide whether you are willing to have photos shared by your vendors on blogs, in magazines, or on their websites. Good vendors will work with you to ensure your privacy. For example, you may agree they can share images from the reception but not the ceremony, or that they can share images that don’t include personally identifying details. You may ask them to limit what they share to details only, and not include any images of yourselves or your guests. Again, be clear about your wishes, and consider including what you agree upon in your contract.

Ultimately, your wedding is YOUR day, so it should be as public or as private as you want it to be! Whatever you choose, stay true to your vision to ensure you have the wedding that feels right to you.


Thursday April 30th, 2020

How to Have a Private Wedding

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