Guide: How to decide on a grand or intimate wedding reception

24 Jul, 2022

What’s the first question that comes to mind when planning a wedding reception? Whether you want it to be a grand or intimate affair. This really drives all other aspects of wedding planning for example venue, DJ and food.

What no one tells you is how to decide if you want a small or grand wedding reception! So, we’ve come up with a list which you need to go through as a couple. Ask yourself these 6 questions, and you will have your answer!

Guests at wedding reception     

1. How many guests do I want at my wedding reception?

First things first, ask yourself who you want at the celebration. Under 250 guests is a small affair. Anything over and you start moving to something grander!

Let’s take Indian wedding receptions, they have always known to be grand, even bigger than the wedding itself. Since covid hit we have noticed the popularity in a more smaller guest list, simply because couples are tired of waiting to get married and just want a small affair. For a lot of people, lockdown also highlighted the quality of people in their life over quantity.

Don’t get us wrong, grand wedding receptions are still a major thing which is why we provide a range of packages to suit your guestlist needs. Check out our packages, from rustic, bespoke to supreme: MUSICAL MOVEMENTS PACKAGES


Wedding reception venue - Grand wedding reception vs Intimate wedding reception

2. Where will my wedding reception be located?

We no longer ask our couples what wedding venue they have chosen. Our question is where it is located. Why?

Well, based on personal preference of course, many couples aren’t just settling for a prestigious venue in London. They want a party on the beach, which brings us to destination weddings!

This is definitely a BIG decision to make, because a lot of destination weddings tend to be an intimate affair. As you can imagine, planning a wedding is a job in itself, but planning a wedding in a different country where you have no familiarity, contacts and perhaps a language barrier, it gets difficult!

But then you have us, Musical Movements who deal with destination weddings day in, day out, so we take that stress away. We love to help couples turn their event into an experience, even when it’s abroad: DESTINATION WEDDINGS

Ultimately, it depends on the location you choose and where your guests are based. For example, if you and majority of your guestlist is from the UK and you decide on Portugal, you may get a great turn out! Yet if you chose Mexico, it may be difficult for a lot of people to fly out so far…

So, a lot to think about!


Wedding reception budget

3. How much do I want to spend?

This brings us onto budget. Your wedding reception is a once in a lifetime celebration, so it’s important to create the day you envision whether that’s grand or intimate. We understand that for every couples no budget is the same, so here’s what you need to consider…

Firstly, the aesthetic of the venue/ location. To help you out, check out the 3 packages we offer, what they include, what you can add on and the difference in price: MUSICAL MOVEMENTS PACKAGES

DJ Deven at a wedding reception

4. How does the DJ differ from an intimate wedding reception to a grand one?

At Musical Movements, one thing we can ensure is no matter what size your event is, we deliver. But it definitely differs for the DJ in terms of music dynamics…

Our DJ’s always ask the couple their preference in music, and we always try to take as many song requests on the night. As you can imagine, at a smaller affair we can get through most of the song requests and the genre of music played doesn’t need to be widely varied.

Whereas at a grand wedding reception with around 500 people on the dancefloor, we have to please everyone! This means listening to the couple’s choice of genre’s and playing crowd pleasers based on that. We do take song requests, but it is impossible to get through them all!

Simply put, at an intimate wedding reception the music is more intimate than what it would be at a grand one.


Rustic Wedding Reception Theme

5. Vibe check: How does a grand vs intimate vibe differ?

Let’s start with grand. It’s all about giving a theatrical show with music, lighting and extra bits such as an LED wall. A grand wedding reception is the showstopper of all events! We usually see this in big venues with a lengthy guestlist.

An intimate wedding reception offers a completely different vibe. Naturally, there is more of a personal touch. At Musical Movements we have had our fair share of intimate wedding receptions, and our rustic package has proven to be popular: RUSTIC PACKAGE

The couples that go for this package usually have their wedding reception in a barn aesthetic or small venue.

Asian Wedding Photoshoot in the Garden, walkway on the south front, Queen Mary's Bower. Back lit bride wearing gold.

6. When is my event?

Not a huge factor, but something you should ask yourself. Usually, a wedding reception finishes at late hours of the evening around 12am. This means a Friday and Saturday are very popular as that’s when you know your guests will turn up and stay to the end!

Keeping it on a weekday could prove to be a struggle for many with work the next day, which could drive your event to be more of an intimate one.

They are the 6 must ask questions before you decide whether you want a grand affair or an intimate wedding reception. If there is a question or two you find yourselves battling over, we are here to help!

Feel free to get your free quote, then we can book you in for a free consultation with us to figure out what works best for you!

Turn your event into an experience with Musical Movements.

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