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Moving away from larger gatherings to planning a small intimate wedding has its advantages. Further, if it’s just the two of you eloping or are planning a post-wedding, you’ve got an open canvas for whatever you want.

Here’s a story for you. 

Last summer I got a message on Instagram from Gabriela. She lived in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands in Spain. 

She and her fiancé Ernesto were planning on a civil wedding but wanted to an elopement feel to their photos- in Las Vegas. 

Coordinating was easy and streamlined – a matter of hotel dates and flight times. We flew out to the desert and were able to get creative and take some amazing photos with the exact energy that they wanted.

We came back with these photos.

And this feeling.

“Thank you Jose! I can’t stop looking at the photos again and again. It was always clear to me that when I got married there wouldn’t be a big party party but afterwards if I ever went on honeymoon, I’d go back and take it in my wedding dress.

Without a doubt it was so great to do this all with you out of all the people in the world. Ernesto is incredibly happy and he was the most skeptical in the beginning! Thank you, truly. The pleasure is ours.”

Creating a vision and planning small could mean a day that is simpler and boiled down to the essentials and the core of what you want for your day.  Some quick advice for you if you’re planning small for your gathering.

Get Specific.  Great venues enable spaces that are both accommodating and intimate. Enable is the functional word here – a well-chosen location that allows certain dynamics to unfold. Planning small means that you could now be thinking about the beautiful spaces filled with the people you are specifically inviting. The exciting aspect of this all is that you can now imagine a very specific guest at dinner.

Where will the conversations happen?

How does the space relate to this guests

How would they move around?

How do you see yourselves moving about the space?

Go outdoors. If you gravitate towards nature or open spaces, planning small means that you can take your party outdoors away from city clusters. Fresh air and big skies, or forests and lakes.

Make sure that your photographer is comfortable with the hikes you’re going to take, and even better, plan with them on an excursion that could be meaningful for everyone.

Make memories. With a smaller gathering, you will find much more flexibility to create with folks who truly align with your vision on a small scale.

For photographers, a small event is a great opportunity to tell a beautiful story.

Be specific with your photographer – what is important, and what is not? What is the agenda of the day?

Ask if they’ll scout the location beforehand (a good idea) and collaborate on the spots that you love.

The smaller dynamic just makes it a whole lot easier to pause, take a step back and CREATE WITH YOU. This means working closer together in a personal way that suits you.

The best advice for you is to keep it simple and be true to what you and your partner want.

Invest in what is important to you, whether it be photography or a dream location where you can celebrate as a party of few or a party of two.

Jose Melgarejo is a wedding photographer based in New York City. Available for travel worldwide.

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