In my time as a wedding photographer, I’ve captured all kinds of days for all kinds of couples–two-person elopements, intimate weddings with a guest list of 30, enormous weddings with 150+ people, and everything in between. 

All of that experience taught me something–there are a few universal truths about weddings.

First, what works for one couple might not work for another, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We all deserve the wedding day we desire most–and that’s something I’ll always believe. 

Second, as long as you’re chasing your version of bliss, you’re doing everything right. 

With these in mind, here’s my third truth: Your guest list determines so much of what makes your day memorable and aligned with your vision. 

Who you invite and who you choose not to invite can impact the bliss of your day. And often– whether you have a wedding with 30 guests or 130 guests–how you feel about your wedding day comes back to your guest list. 

So, how do you choose yourselves while inviting loved ones who can elevate your day and make your wedding feel more blissful? 

I’ve got some timeless considerations that can help you answer that question.

Pictured: A summer intimate wedding on the Oregon Coast.

Your Micro-Wedding Guest List: How to Choose Your Bliss 

When you close your eyes and picture what your micro-wedding feels like and looks like, what comes to mind? 

Is it a soft, light burst of happiness that makes you smile? 

A day that’s wrapped in elegance and ease?

Moments you float through on cloud 9–feeling like you’re somehow on top of the world and grounded all at once? 

That kind of wedding is perfectly within your reach–I’m lucky enough to document days like these all the time

But here’s another tough truth. 

You can hire the most talented creative wedding vendors to bring your vision to life, find a stunning venue, and share your vows in a ceremony that’s unique to you and your partner – and still, your wedding day might not feel the way you dreamed.

Why? Inviting the wrong people can be a wedding ruiner.  

On the flip side, inviting the right people can make your wedding day more special than you thought possible. 

The biggest difference maker in any wedding is the people you choose to experience it alongside you. 

Often, the couples who reminisce on their wedding day and remember the stress or the overwhelm of it typically can point back to the guests they invited as the culprit. 

Often, this kind of eye-opener funnels people into two extremes–either they opt for a large wedding and accept the guest dilemma, or they opt for a two-person elopement to avoid any drama. 

I’m here to tell you that if your people, your experiences, and your vision all matter to you, there’s no need to pick among these things. 

You can have everything you want on your wedding day–it just takes a little deliberation about the guest list. 

Pictured: an April intimate wedding in Moab Utah.

Decide Who Sparks Joy & Who Doesn’t 

When making a guest list for your wedding, write down the names of everyone who comes to mind who could receive an invite. 

Typically, people think about this kind of process as “making the cut” or not, but personally, that’s not how I view it. 

Not being invited to your wedding doesn’t mean you don’t care about a person or don’t want them in your life. It simply means your day–and your experience– is sacred, and it’s perfectly acceptable to limit access to that. 

Try walking through the list of each potential guest with your partner, and ask: 

  • Who’s going to support us fully?
  • Who’s going to be the best micro-wedding guest
  • Who’s going to be 100% respectful of our decisions and our experience? 
  • Who’s going to be there to celebrate us?
  • Who’s going to be there to bring more to our experience–not take away from it? 
  • Who’s going to make us feel wholly comfortable in this experience?
  • Who can we be fully ourselves around without a care in the world? 
  • Who doesn’t expect or require us to act or behave a certain way? 
  • Who would write us a heartfelt, meaningful letter to us on our wedding day? 

We all have people we feel 100% ourselves around, then others to varying degrees. 

There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s just human. 

My best advice for your guest list is to invite people who spark joy. That means the people toward the top of that 100% list. 

Aim for the people you can be your most authentic self around, who you know are going to add to your day and who wouldn’t dream of subtracting from it. 

Pictured: Left, a couple flying in a Kenmore Air seaplane from Orcas Island Washington onto Ross Lake in the North Cascades National Park on their elopement day. Right, a couple celebrating after exchanging vows on top of a mountain in Olympic National Park on their elopement day.

Think About Your Vision 

Most couples have some sort of wedding budget they’re keeping in mind when they plan their day–no matter what that looks like or how far it spans in either direction.  

Here’s something I think more couples should hear: when you cut down on guests, you can use more of that budget on experiences, vendors, and things that matter to you.

Lots of couples who are trying to maintain a specific budget might start looking at ways to cut costs, DIY some of the details, or sacrifice their vision to accommodate a larger guest list. 

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. 

Do you and your partner adore and appreciate a culinary experience? Do you believe food has a way of connecting you to a moment forever and elevating it? (I do, too). 

If the food you eat on your day is important to how you experience and remember your wedding, that should be a non-negotiable. 

Instead of settling for a more affordable caterer who can feed more people, you could choose a chef who can bring your food vision to life for a smaller group of your loved ones. 

When it comes to weddings, some of the most fluctuating costs will be food, alcohol, and a venue that can accommodate your guest list. 

Things like your wedding apparel are static, whether you invite 10 or 100 people. But your other costs will vary based on how many guests you invite. 

If floral design is part of your vision, you could either add a few bud vases to dozens of large tables or go for dreamy, overflowing floral designs on one to two long tables. 

The fewer guests you invite–and the more aligned they are with your vision and experience– the more freedom you have to create a day that looks and feels the way you always envisioned

Pictured: an elopement in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Capturing Each Moment of Your Micro-Wedding 

Choosing your bliss might look different than how someone else would do it–but that’s the point. Your micro-wedding or luxury elopement or traditional wedding should be about what’s blissful to you. And no matter what kind of wedding you choose, the guest list should be there to support you, celebrate you, and add to that experience. 

And honestly? The same goes for creative wedding vendors. As a micro-wedding photographer, it’s my primary goal to document the beauty and romance of your wedding day so that it always elevates your experience. 

When you’re ready to talk more about capturing the nostalgia and romance of your day, I’m here to listen. Reach out to me with any questions and explore more micro-wedding and luxury elopement experiences on my blog

Choosing Bliss on Your MicroWedding Day 

Jul 2, 2024