Sometimes getting married feels like being caught between a rock and a hard place. Either you a) have a normal wedding with all the costs and hassles and stress that entails, so your loved ones don’t feel left out, and everyone pats you on the back for doing what is expected. Or b) you elope, save yourself time and hassle and dollars and stress, but maybe hurt those same loved one’s feelings because they can’t celebrate with you.
When it came my turn to decide between the two options, I tried to mash them together and compromise by having a small wedding. Fifty guests. Food truck. DIY. Low-key. But as it turned out, planning a small event is still planning an event. And shit starts to get a little crazy once you creep past twenty guests, no matter how chill you’re trying to be. What I needed was professional help, but at the time there was no such thing for “in-between” weddings. There were companies that helped plan pop-up elopements, actually. And there were wedding planners and day-of-coordinators serving 100+ guest big weddings (and charging big wedding rates), of course. But in-between? Well, I was distinctly on my own.
So now, when I find the rare unicorn vendor who specializes in small weddings like mine, I want to yell out from the rooftops about them. Today I’m yelling about planner/coordinator Sarah Carroll and her company Small Shindigs, because well, the name says it all. Sarah works out of the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City (but will travel all over), and there’s a whole bunch of ways she can help you if you’re having a small wedding: from planning to day-of-coordination, to help with DIYing, to all-inclusive tiny wedding packages.
In fact, Small Shindigs’ Tiny Wedding option be my new favorite way to have a wedding. For just $4,500 on weekdays or $5,400 on weekends you get planning, location, photographer, officiant, florals, and snacks for up to twenty of your nearest and dearest. Right?! Where was this a decade ago? But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the most important thing first: Sarah, herself. Is. A. Gem.
Since the most important part of working with a planner is just plain liking and getting along with them as a person, allow me to personally vouch for Sarah’s warm yet no-nonsense personality. An East Coast native (and APW reader since planning her own wedding!), Sarah has that get-shit-done approach with the calm kindness of her adopted West Coast home. She has years of experience working in corporate and other large events in NYC, before switching her focus to helping those of us having small shindigs:
I focus on the in-between couples. By this I mean, those who are looking for something more elaborate than a courthouse elopement but less than a mountain of a full-blown 150 guest extravaganza. The couples I work with are very intent on making their wedding feel wholly and uniquely “them” rather than “an event for the ages.” I am a firm believer that big moments happen in small spaces.
I first came across APW during my own wedding search and found it so refreshing to see a site that broke down real wedding situations and showed weddings of all styles and budgets. I am so aligned with the APW motto “you do you and we’ll help you make it happen.” APW couples are often looking for fun, outside-of-the-box ideas, and I love brainstorming with them to make those happen. I work with couples whose budgets range from big to small and always approach every situation with “let’s figure it out.”
As one client put it:
Sarah was SO amazing to work with! From the moment I contacted her to the day of our wedding, she was so responsive, thoughtful, and attentive! She understood exactly what I was looking for and made the whole process so easy for me. I could not imagine having my wedding without her. Even though my ceremony was an intimate-family event, Sarah was able to take all the work off my plate and make it so easy for me to enjoy the day.
If all this sounds like you, and you could use some HALP with your small wedding, there’s probably a way for Sarah to have your back:
- DAY-OF (STARTS AT $2,000) OR MONTH-OF COORDINATION (STARTS AT $2,700): For when you’ve planned everything out but want to enjoy your day or the month leading up to it stress-free.
- FULL-SERVICE PLANNING: The whole enchilada, from venue research to vendor outreach to timeline creation, starting at $4,000.
- DIY WORKSHOPS: Whether you are looking for accountability, instruction, or just the opportunity not have to go it alone, Sarah can help you with everything from signage to decor, signature cocktails, and flowers. These workshops are also majorly perfect for an outside-of-the-box bridal shower or bachelorette.
- The Tiny Wedding. My personal favorite. An all-inclusive package of planning, location, photographer, officiant, florals, and snacks are all taken care of for you and twenty of your nearest and dearest for just $4,500 (weekdays) or $5,400 (weekends). Bigger than an elopement, smaller than a wedding, this is in my mind the perfect affordable compromise. The having of your cake and eating it too.
As Sarah told us:
I absolutely love this offering because it’s perfect for clients looking to have a wedding ceremony and small celebration, without the stress. Weddings can be intimidating for a lot of people and my goal is always to make them more approachable. The idea of paying just one fee and knowing you’ll get all the important vendors is a huge draw. You show up with your marriage license and the rest is taken care of! From officiant, to flowers to a choice between a savory or sweet snack, you’ll get it all! You even get to choose from various locations.
And because Sarah and I are totally biased and think this is kind of the sweetest way to plan a wedding, Small Shindigs is offering $100 off to any APW reader who books a weekday tiny wedding and mentions this post.