We often get questions and inquiries from real New Orleans brides. They range from etiquette questions to how to plan certain parties and everything between. 

Recently, we received a question on logistics. Our reader wanted to know how to properly plan for a wedding with an intimate ceremony and large reception. 

Understandably, some couples may choose to only invite close family members, or only family members and close friends included to their ceremony. It’s an intimate affair and can definitely be highlighted and celebrated at a different level when there are only few people involved. 

That said, though a couple may want an intimate ceremony, that doesn’t necessarily mean they also want a small reception. 

But how do you tackle both? 

Logan Doerries, with Pop of Love Nola, and Melanie Warner Spencer, “Let Them Eat Cake” and New Orleans Bride Magazine editor and resident “wediquette” authority, help break down the process of creating an intimate ceremony accompanied by a larger reception. 

The first thing to consider is location. If you are choosing to have a nondenominational or modified religious ceremony that does not need to be in a place of worship, it would be easier to have both the intimate ceremony and the reception in the same place. There are venues around the city, and beyond, like Stella Plantation or The Chicory that have multiple rooms throughout the properties allowing for the ceremony to be conducted in a completely separate room from where guests will attend the party following the exchange of vows. 

Doerries says planning this type of wedding is a delicate dance, “Its not always easy when trying to be true to what you and your fiancée want, while also considering the feelings of your guests.” 

Having the location of both parts of your wedding in the same place makes it easy for not only the couple, but the guests as well. 

Doerries also noted that this is an option many destination couples take. Have your ceremony somewhere you’ve always wanted to travel then head back home for the celebration. 

However, this concept works for New Orleans brides as well. Have your ceremony somewhere that means the most to you, and then have a reception in a new location, and even on a new day. 

As Doerries noted, the couple then doesn’t have to be slaves to the date because of the reception location. They can do whatever day, time, season they want for their ceremony and then something completely different for their reception. 

When thinking of your guests and getting them to these fêtes, Spencer says to avoid mix ups when it comes to the invitation print two different sets. Have one printed for those invited to both the ceremony and reception party, and then have another sent to those just invited to the reception. She also says that while it’s certainly OK to have an abbreviated ceremony guest list, and expanded reception guest list, remember that anyone who is invited to the former must be invited to the latter. 

Doerries added that this is when a wedding website comes in handy. Tell your close family and friends who are invited to the ceremony in person and then add all of the other information for your reception or celebration on a wedding website. That way guests have all the information they need right at their fingertips. 

When it comes to a wedding, every part should be exactly what the couple wants. Whether you have your wedding all in one, spread it out over multiple days or maybe a few different locations – it’s your fairytale “I Do.”