Even in pre-coronavirus times intimate gatherings were gaining in popularity in Colorado. They provide the host and guests with unique benefits that are often not possible with a large event. One of the main benefits of opting for a smaller scale event is that you don’t have to scale down the creativity. In fact, take this opportunity to get even more creative! Let’s take a look at what intimate events look like these days and how you can host an epic event even with a pared down guest count!
Overall Design – More than anything, how you design your event will drive the overall event experience. Take the time to truly map out what you want your event to look and feel like to you and your guests. Figuring out your desired aesthetic can be a bit tricky if you truly don’t have a starting place, but sites like Pinterest, Instagram or just good old fashioned Google are great areas to kick start your search for the perfect look! Instead of worrying about where everyone is going to sit, think about that they will sit on. Couches, pillows, benches, thrones?? Who knows?!
Floral/Décor – Once you’ve created that Pinterest board or binder full of magazine clippings (do people still do that?) find the elements that convey your design the strongest. These should be your focus for the next design steps. Most often this means florals, lounge furniture, lighting, etc. Want to recreate The Secret Garden from your childhood dreams? Hire a florist to fill the space in cascading greenery and live trees to surround your custom picnic setup. Want to transport your guests to Hogwarts Great Hall? Find a lighting designer to hang “floating” candles from the ceiling and have your guests seated at long wooden tables. There so many ways to bring your vision to life!
Food Design – That’s right, food design. Without having to take into consideration the tastes of 100+ people you can spend a little extra time considering how the food at your event can truly contribute to the overall experience. Instead of a buffet or seated dinner, how about interactive food stations or a multi-coursed small plate menu? Tailor your menu items to suit the overall vision and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!
Bespoke Beverages – I am a big fan of signature cocktails. This is another place you can let those creative juices flow. Create a custom cocktail that goes with a theme, matches your event color scheme, or pairs well with your menu. Serve it in a cute glass and take it up another notch!
Great Guest List – Every guest on your list will play an important role in your event because they have been handpicked by you! Having an intimate gathering will allow your guests themselves to truly contribute to the event experience. If it’s a wedding or elopement, you won’t have to make do with a quick 2 minute visit to a table of 10 during dinner service. If it’s a corporate gathering, you have a more genuine opportunity to make connections with your attendees.
Hiding in Plain Sight – Not a fan of being the center of attention for a large group of people? No problem, just don’t invite them! Many a shy bride or groom has chosen the small event route to avoid that head table spotlight. Since your smaller guest list contains those most important to you, it takes the pressure off those performance elements of your typical wedding reception.
Ballin’ on a Budget – It goes pretty much without saying that smaller events typically end up costing less. Now, this doesn’t mean that this will necessarily be the case for every intimate event (some of us have expensive tastes, ok?), but at the very least you will see that money have a higher impact on your event in general. Everyone’s vision is different so make sure to invest your money into the areas that are most important to you. Those small details that you put together with that initial design and invested in capturing through your décor, food, beverage, and entertainment will stand out all the more with your guests.
Pro-Tip: Hire a professional – Just because you have less guests doesn’t mean you need less help. Its still your event (maybe even your big day!) and you want to enjoy yourself. Hiring a professional for any or all of the aforementioned items can really help you stay in love with your event and avoid the stress and challenges that every event brings no matter the size.
Not ready to let go of that over-the-top big event? No worries! All of these elements can be refined to suit a larger format event to create a great experience for any guest count.