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  • Writer's pictureKeilah Stallsmith

Simple Wedding Ideas

Three low-key wedding ideas for down to earth couples in Kansas City

A couple toasts their guests at a backyard wedding
photo: Katie B Photography

Weddings can be a big production, but they don’t have to be. A simple wedding asserts the beauty of the little things, and allows you and yours to celebrate in a low-key, practical way. What they lack in bells and whistles, they make up for in stress-free planning. It’s the elegant solution for couples who want to celebrate with ease, love, and simplicity.

What makes for a simple wedding? For the sake of argument, you can define it as a wedding that fits easily into your life, community, and budget. You don’t feel overwhelmed with logistics or the amount of time it takes to plan it. You feel socially and financially at peace. If you’re going for a simple wedding, your budget will likely fall under $10k, it will take less than a year to plan, and it provides a fun and hospitable experience without a lot of DIY.

A simple wedding can be pulled together with just a few elements that matter most. It’s all about doing 1-2 elements really well, then just letting people enjoy a moment of togetherness and celebration. I put together a few guidelines to help couples stay on the path to something simple, beautiful, and fun:

  • Select an aesthetic local celebration space with key services

  • Adorn it minimally

  • Create a thoughtful guest list and focused guest experience

  • Select a short list of excellent vendors you trust

  • Cut the fluff

If you want to know what that looks like in action, I’ve compiled three simple wedding ideas for couples who want a low-key way to celebrate.

Simple Wedding Idea 1: The Dinner Party Wedding

Whereas a traditional wedding incorporates many elements of celebration (music, dancing, ceremony, honored roles), a dinner party wedding hones in on one: the food.

The ceremony might take place earlier in the day, perhaps in a church or venue. It’s common to say your vows in some place beautiful, snap some photos, and then head to dinner elsewhere with your guests. Alternatively, you might get married right before dinner, or between courses, with guests already at their tables.

Restaurants make for excellent dinner party venues, especially if they have private rooms or offer a whole restaurant buy-out option. There are gorgeous restaurants with excellent service, a great ambiance, and phenomenal food. Often they have food and beverage minimums, and the cost to use the space is minimal. You need minimal decor to personalize it, and perhaps a cake. Some spaces will even have enough room for you to spread out onto a patio, do a first dance, or set up a photo booth. Alternatively, consider hotels (especially ones with food/bev service), bed and breakfasts, or any place that can host a private chef.

Your gathering takes place over 2-3 hours, and an intimate guest list of less than 50 people works best. You’ll likely be skipping the dance floor, wedding party, and grand entrances. Speeches, a champagne toast, and cutting the cake work still great.

A dinner party wedding can be as unique as a traditional wedding. For example, a dinner party may not feature dinner at all. Breakfast, brunch, or lunch can fit the vibe as well, especially if you’re looking for something light. Some dinner party weddings take place on rooftops, while others are in restaurants, and others are in greenhouses. Some dinner parties have live music, or conversation decks. Some take place over several hours, while others are short and sweet. They’re just as dressed up or casual as you want yours to be.

Simple Wedding Idea 2: The Cake & Champagne Wedding

Whereas the Dinner Party Wedding is all about the food, the Cake & Champagne Wedding is all about creating an environment of celebration. The gathering portion of the day is short and sweet, with a hospitable opportunity for togetherness.

You might picture a more traditional wedding ceremony, including flowers, music, an officiant, and an aisle. Afterwards, instead of a long night of wining and dining, you serve a lite bite (such as cake, champagne, and appetizers) as a gesture of thanks and hospitality. Guests are free to express their well wishes, give hug, say hi to loved ones, and enjoy a glass of champagne. It all takes place over 1-3 hours with a few staples, such as a champagne toast and cutting the cake.

A naturally beautiful space, with perhaps some cocktail tables and music, is the backdrop. Consider aesthetic and immersive environments such as gardens, art galleries, or lounges, to let guests explore following the ceremony.

If you want to keep everyone together, you might do a first dance, have speeches, or do a champagne toast. If you want everyone to spread out and explore, consider skipping formalities. Cake & Champagne Weddings can be cute and fun, chic and modern, or natural and bohemian. It all depends on the space you host it in, a few pieces of aesthetic personalization, and the festivities you include.

Simple Wedding Idea 3: The Open House Wedding

An Open House Wedding is all about keeping an open, easy timeline. The day should feel low-pressure for both the newlyweds and for guests. You create a timeline without any formalities, therefore guests are free to stop by at their leisure.

For a day without formalities or a strict timeline, you hold your ceremony on a different day, likely with a very small guest list. That’s what makes the Open House Wedding great for couples who are eloping or having micro weddings, but want to celebrate with extended loved ones afterward. It’s also great for newlyweds with a large (mostly local) guest list, but don’t necessarily need everyone together at once.

You won’t need to serve a full meal, think about seating arrangements, or coordinate a full parking lot. Apps and drinks replace the full meal, and light mingling/fun replace formalities. You’ll be able to spend quality time with different guests in a low-pressure environment.

Historic mansions, parks, and rooftops make great spaces for open house-style weddings. Depending on your space, consider a scavenger hunt, photo booth, tarot reader, or other fun stations for guests to enjoy throughout the day.

Newlyweds toast each other at a rustic Iowa venue
photo: Chelsea Dawn Weddings

Ideas for Celebrating Simply

As a wedding planner, its often assumed big, elaborate affairs are my specialty. In reality, while I love complex logistics, I also have a really big heart for the simple but beautiful celebrations whose most important delight is connection. I believe in the magic of simple moments, and hope to provide a little direction for couples looking to color outside the wedding lines.

If you need help planning something simple and uniquely you, reach out! I have a list of amazing spaces, vendors, and ideas right here in Kansas City I'd be happy to share.



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