Board #282 | Intimate Dinner (Budget Friendly #14)

Many couples don’t want to elope, but they also want to avoid the circus that often goes along with a big wedding. Hopefully today’s wedding inspiration board strikes a happy medium. However you decide to keep your guest list small, an intimate and chic dinner party is a great way to stay within a reasonable budget without sacrificing any style. After all…

Who says…bigger is better?

Mood: intimate, chic
Palette: green, gold

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Top row from left: Citrus at Social restaurant via Here Comes the Guide, calligraphed favor box from Martha Stewart Weddings, ceremony photo from Martha Stewart Weddings
Row 2: Shumaq Sophia dress from Couture Candy, miniature orchid cakes from Martha Stewart Weddings, notecard by Silhouette Blue, votive photo by Jennifer Davis
Row 3: menu and mum place setting from Artfool, photo by Sean Flanigan, bouquet from Martha Stewart Weddings
Row 4: birdseed packets from La Baleine Volante’s flickr, pistachio macarons by Paulette, green tie from Martha Stewart Weddings, rose fascinator by Refined Society

The Paper: With only a handful of guests, a handwritten note is a nice way to invite them to join you for your wedding. These sweet notecards by Silhouette Blue are only $1.25 each, or you could order some personalized correspondence from your favorite stationer that you can use after you’re married for non-wedding related notes.

The Fashion: This darling dress from Couture Candy that you can definitely wear again will only set you back $216. Pair it with a unique rose fascinator from Refined Society for $65. Let the groom wear a going-out-to-dinner outfit that he already owns, but maybe buy him a new tie.

The Decor: Choose a restaurant that not only serves delicious food, but that also looks good – ambience is a huge part of any meal, and will add to the experience of your wedding celebration. If the restaurant you’ve chosen has a known menu for the week or the month, print up pretty menus to put at each guest’s seat. If the restaurant doesn’t already have them, you might light up the table with some unscented votive candles.

The Flowers: Go for a bouquet made with a variety of orchids and embellished with sparkling gold details – not having attendants means you can afford to splurge on a single bouquet. Set an individual green spider mum at each place – definitely an affordable choice when they’re in season, and when you aren’t using too many of them.

The Food: If you choose a restaurant with incredible food, you’ve pretty much got everything covered – and if it’s somewhere you’ve eaten before, then you’ll know what’s in store. You don’t need much cake, so go with one or two small ones, beautifully decorated with orchids, and let them double as your centerpieces.

Other Details: For a detail that’s both charming and cheap, sew little packets of birdseed or confetti for guests to toss as you walk back down the aisle as a married couple.

Splurges: Buy fancy cookies or chocolates to give as favors, and place them in a box calligraphed with each guest’s name. Or, make things easy and see if your favorite sweet shop has a favor option (Paulette’s mini-boxes are a splurge at $4, but for such a small number of guests, you might decide to go for it).

For Free: The after-party! After dinner, head to a local jazz club or other music hot spot (preferably one with no cover charge), and meet up with friends who might not have been invited to a family-only wedding.

Real Wedding Inspiration: Aleishall & Matthew by Mel Barlow, and Toni & Pietro by Jocelyn Filley


  • DomestiGals says:

    What a beautiful board, Kathryn! With the way the economy is going, my man and I are starting to brainstorm how we can downsize our Wedding of Dreams. I love that you brought in some metallics – I am hoping to have pewter and orange as my color scheme so I appreciate the metallic inspiration! Cheers! Jen

  • People St.Clair says:

    I love this board and this series is so wonderful it shows how you don’t have to stifle your style to stay on budget. Plus, I’m always lovin the green. Great post!

  • We did this – we had a dinner party for 30 – and we were so glad we did! It allowed us to splurge on the food and venue, but even more importantly, we found that by distilling our guest list to the 30 most important people in our lives, we were able to create an atmosphere of pure, unadulterated love – because every guest truly loved one or both of us, and each guest was truly a guest of honor. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “Gee, I wish we had done that for our wedding.” I would recommend this approach to anyone.

  • Love it!!!

    I hate trying to explain to people that small, intimate weddings can be just as stunning as the gala events…

  • Abbie says:

    Oohhh… I love this board. We are definitely trying to keep our wedding from turning into a circus, but it’s hard juggling friends and family. Great post!

  • Love the colour combinations, the look is glamorous and classy. We had 32 people at our wedding. Lemon and green were our colours and that was 10 years ago – shows that classic colours never date!

  • your board inspired me to go check out citrus at social. it’s gorgeous! currently slashing other parts of budget so we can have this as our venue. thank you!

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