How to Have the Best Small Wedding: 15 Ideas

Weddings are one of the most wonderful events in one’s life. It is a day to celebrate love, commitment, and the start of a new journey. However, planning a wedding can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the guest list. While some couples dream of a grand wedding with a long list of guests, others prefer a small, intimate wedding. 

A small wedding typically has between 20-50 guests. However, the number of guests can vary depending on the couple’s preferences, budget, and venue capacity. If you’re struggling to determine how many guests to invite to your wedding, check out our guide here: How many people should I invite to my wedding.

There are several reasons why couples may prefer a small wedding. One of the most significant advantages of a small wedding is the opportunity to focus on the details that matter the most. With fewer guests, couples can go all-out on certain aspects of the wedding, such as the venue, decorations, and food. Additionally, a small wedding can be less stressful and more cost-effective. There is no need to worry about accommodating a large number of guests, and couples can choose to spend their money on what matters the most to them.

How to Have the Best Small Wedding: 15 Ideas

If you’re planning a small wedding, there are plenty of ideas to make it a memorable and unique experience. Below we’ll explore small wedding ideas for the details and venue that can make your intimate wedding special.

The Details

A small wedding allows couples to focus on the details that matter to them and celebrate with their nearest and dearest. Whether you’re planning a micro wedding or an intimate affair, there are plenty of ways to make your special day unforgettable. In this section, we’ll explore some ideas on how to have the best small wedding. Here are some ideas on what to focus on:


Your wedding invitation sets the tone for your wedding. With a smaller wedding, you can choose to have personalized invitations that reflect your style and personality. You can also consider unique designs, such as hand-lettered invitations or invitations that incorporate elements of your wedding theme.


Flowers can add a beautiful touch to any wedding. With a small wedding, you can choose to have elaborate flower arrangements or unique floral installations that make a statement. You can also consider using locally sourced flowers that are in season.


Decor is an essential element of any wedding, and with a small wedding, you have the opportunity to create a personalized and intimate space. You can choose to go all-out on place settings, hand-calligraphed place cards, table linens, and personalized touches that reflect your style and personality. 

A Stellar Photographer

A photographer is essential to capturing memories of your special day. With a small wedding, you can choose a photographer who specializes in intimate weddings and can capture the unique moments of your special day. Here are things to know before booking your wedding photographer.

Have a Lounge Area

Creating a lounge area can provide a cozy and intimate space for your guests to relax and socialize. You can choose to have comfortable seating, pillows, and blankets to create a relaxed atmosphere. How Fun!


Food is an essential element of any wedding, and with a smaller wedding, you can choose to have a personalized menu that reflects your tastes and preferences. You can also choose to have family recipes or unique dishes that are not typically served at weddings. Is your wedding tasting quickly approaching? Here are some Wedding Tasting Do’s and Don’ts.

Dining Table

With a smaller guest list, you have the option to have one long table or a U-shaped table, creating an intimate and communal atmosphere. You can also choose to have personalized place settings that reflect your style and personality. 

The Wedding Cake

The wedding cake is a classic centerpiece of any wedding, and with a small wedding, you can make it extra special. Instead of opting for a traditional tiered cake, consider something more unique, like a dessert table with an assortment of cakes and sweets. This way, guests can choose their favorites and you’ll have a wider variety of desserts. You can also add personal touches to your cake, like having it decorated with fresh flowers or incorporating flavors that are special to you and your partner.

Half Moon Seating for the Ceremony

One of the benefits of having a smaller guest count at your wedding, is the ability to create a more intimate setting for your ceremony. One way to achieve this is by using half moon seating. Instead of having rows of chairs facing the altar, half moon seating creates a semi-circle around the couple. This creates a more inclusive and cozy atmosphere, where everyone feels a part of the ceremony.

Photos of the Whole Party

Fewer guests means you’ll have more time to spend with each of them, including taking photos together. Make sure to get group photos with everyone, including family and friends. Consider hiring a photographer who specializes in small weddings to capture all the moments and emotions of your day.

Opening Up the Mic at the Reception

One of the benefits of a small wedding is the opportunity for everyone to get to know each other. Open up the mic at the reception and allow guests to give toasts or share stories about the couple. This can make for a memorable and heartwarming experience for everyone involved. Want more ideas on how to make your reception a moment you’ll never forget? Check out Five Tips for Making Your Reception More Memorable.

Have a Fire Pit

If your wedding is outdoors or at a venue with outdoor space, consider having a fire pit. This can provide a cozy atmosphere and a place for guests to gather and socialize. You can also have s’mores or other snacks available for all your guests to enjoy.

Have an After-Party

After the reception, keep the celebration going with an after-party. This can be a more casual and relaxed gathering where guests can continue to socialize and dance. You can also have late-night snacks or drinks to keep the party going.

Make it a Whole Weekend

With a small wedding, you have the option to turn your celebration into a whole weekend affair. Consider having a rehearsal dinner, a welcome party, and even a post-wedding brunch. This allows you to spend more time with your guests and create even more memories together.

Have a Brunch Wedding

If you’re looking for a more low-key and relaxed celebration, consider having a brunch wedding. This can be a great option for early risers and allows you to save money on alcohol and other evening-related expenses. You can still have all the traditional elements of a wedding, like the ceremony and reception, but with a more laid-back atmosphere. Check out How To Host A Brunch Wedding for more ideas.

Venue Ideas

One of the benefits of having a small wedding is that it opens up unique venue options that may not be feasible with a larger guest list. Here are some ideas for venues that are perfect for intimate weddings:

Backyard Venue 

If you or someone you know has a large and well-manicured backyard, it could be the perfect spot for your wedding. With a small guest list, you can take advantage of the intimacy and familiarity of a backyard wedding. However, keep in mind that weather can play a major factor in outdoor weddings, so it’s important to choose a time of year with good weather. Late spring, summer, and early fall are ideal. Get inspiration for planning your own backyard wedding with this Intimate Backyard Boho Wedding.

Restaurant Venue

Many restaurants offer private dining rooms or event spaces that are perfect for small weddings. Not only can you enjoy a delicious meal with your loved ones, but you also don’t have to worry about renting tables, chairs, or linens. This option is especially attractive if you’re looking for a venue that requires minimal setup and teardown.

Family Home

Photo by

If you have a close family member or friend with a beautiful home, it could be the perfect location for your wedding. You can save on venue costs and have a truly unique and personalized experience. Plus, you can take advantage of the familiar surroundings to make everyone feel at ease.

Destination Wedding

photos by @lighthousephotography_gr

While destination weddings may seem like they require a larger guest list, they can actually be perfect for small weddings. With a smaller group, you can choose a more remote or exotic location that may not be feasible with a larger guest list. Plus, the smaller guest list can help justify the cost of travel and accommodations. Thinking of eloping or tying the knot in a remote location? Check out How to Plan a Destination Wedding.

State Park Wedding

Many state parks offer beautiful natural settings for outdoor weddings. You can take advantage of the natural beauty and unique features of the park, such as waterfalls, mountains, or forests. Plus, state parks often have event spaces and facilities that can accommodate small weddings.

Chapel Wedding

photo by @7f.lodge

Beautiful chapels are often found in both rural and urban areas, making them a great option for small weddings. With a small group, you can enjoy the intimacy and charm of a quaint chapel. Plus, many chapels have beautiful stained glass windows, which can provide a unique backdrop for your wedding photos.

City Hall Wedding

If you’re looking for a simple and low-key wedding, a city hall wedding may be the perfect option. You can have a small ceremony in a courthouse or city hall, and then celebrate with a reception or dinner at a nearby restaurant or event space. Plus, you’ll have the freedom to choose whatever you want for your honeymoon.

Small Spaces in Large Venues

Photo by @nicolekrausephotography

If you’re looking for a unique and creative venue option, consider a small space within a larger venue. For example, you could rent a small room or courtyard within a historic mansion, museum, or hotel. This can provide a unique and intimate setting that’s perfect for a small wedding. When you rent out a small space in a large venue, you have the option to host your ceremony and reception in the same location

10 Tips to Make Sure Your Small Wedding is Amazing

When it comes to planning a small wedding, there are a few tips and tricks that can help ensure everything runs smoothly and the day is everything you hoped for. Here are 10 tips to make sure your small wedding is amazing:

1. Have a timeline:

Even though it’s a smaller wedding, it’s still important to have a timeline for the day. This will help keep everything on track and ensure that you have enough time for all the important moments. Consider working with your day-of coordinator or wedding planner to create a detailed timeline that includes everything from hair and makeup to the last dance.

2. Have a day-of coordinator: 

Even if you’re having a small wedding, a day-of coordinator can be a valuable asset. They can help make sure everything runs smoothly on the day, allowing you to relax and enjoy your wedding day. They can also act as a point of contact for vendors and help with any last-minute issues that may arise.

3. Have the bridal party you want: 

One of the benefits of a small wedding is that you have more flexibility when it comes to the bridal party. You can choose to have a smaller bridal party or skip it altogether if you prefer. This is your day, so you should have the people around you that make you feel the happiest.

4. Pick only the vendors you really want: 

Another advantage of a small wedding is that you can be more selective when it comes to choosing vendors. You don’t need to book every vendor in the book if you don’t want to. Focus on the vendors that are most important to you, and don’t be afraid to skip the ones that don’t feel essential.

5. Don’t be afraid to personalize: 

With a small wedding, you have more opportunities to personalize the day. From customized favors to unique décor, consider incorporating personal touches that reflect you and your partner’s personalities.

6. Consider a unique venue: 

As we mentioned earlier, small weddings offer unique venue opportunities. Consider a backyard wedding, a state park wedding, or a city hall wedding. The smaller guest list allows for more options when it comes to choosing a venue, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

7. Make sure your guests feel special: 

With a small wedding, your guests are likely to feel more included and appreciated. Consider personalized touches, like handwritten notes or customized favors, to make them feel even more special.

8. Focus on the details: 

With a smaller wedding, you can go all-out on certain details. Consider things like elaborate floral arrangements or personalized place settings. These small details can make a big impact and help make your day feel even more special.

9. Keep it intimate: 

One of the benefits of a small wedding is the intimacy it provides. Consider seating arrangements, like half-moon seating during the ceremony, to help create a cozy, intimate vibe. You can also consider opening up the mic at the reception for guests to share their favorite memories or stories about you and your partner.

10. Have fun!: 

Finally, remember that this is your wedding day, and you should have fun! Don’t stress too much about the details or trying to please everyone. Focus on what’s important to you and your partner, and enjoy the day with the people you love.

Pros and Cons of Having a Small Wedding

When it comes to weddings, one size does not fit all. The traditional, large wedding ceremony is not for everyone, and there is no shame in that. In fact, some couples prefer to have a smaller, more intimate ceremony with only their closest family and friends in attendance. If you are considering having a small wedding, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. In this section, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of having a small wedding.

5 Pros of Having a Small Wedding

1. Cost Savings: 

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of having a small wedding is the potential for significant cost savings. With fewer guests to accommodate, you can cut back on everything from catering costs to venue expenses. This frees up funds that you can use for other aspects of your wedding, such as the honeymoon or a down payment on a new home.

2. Intimate Atmosphere: 

A smaller guest list creates a more intimate atmosphere, allowing you to spend quality time with each of your guests. You will be able to have meaningful conversations with everyone, which can be challenging in a larger wedding where you may feel pulled in many different directions.

3. More Flexibility: 

With a smaller guest list, you have more flexibility in terms of your wedding venue, catering options, and other details. You can opt for a non-traditional venue, such as a backyard or a park, and choose a more personalized menu that reflects your tastes and preferences.

4. Better Guest Experience: 

Smaller weddings tend to create a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for guests. With fewer people in attendance, everyone has a chance to get to know one another and feel more comfortable. This can be especially important if your guests do not know each other well.

5. More Personal Touches: 

With a smaller wedding, you can focus on creating more personal touches that reflect your personalities and relationship. From customized wedding favors to handwritten notes to each guest, small weddings allow for more meaningful details that can make the day even more special.

Cons of Having a Small Wedding

1. Tough Guest List Decisions: 

One of the biggest challenges of having a small wedding is deciding who to invite. It can be difficult to narrow down your guest list and exclude people who you would like to be there. This can lead to hurt feelings and strained relationships.

2. Limited Venue Options: 

With a smaller wedding, you may have fewer venue options to choose from. Many venues have a minimum guest requirement, and you may need to search harder to find one that can accommodate your smaller wedding.

3. Fewer Gifts: 

With fewer guests in attendance, you will likely receive fewer wedding gifts. While this may not be a major concern for everyone, some couples enjoy the tradition of receiving gifts from loved ones.

4. Less Excitement: 

A smaller wedding may not have the same level of excitement and energy as a larger wedding. If you are looking for a party atmosphere with lots of dancing and entertainment, a small wedding may not be the best fit for you.

5. Limited Help: 

With a smaller guest list, you may have fewer friends and family members available to help with wedding planning and day-of tasks. This means you may need to hire more vendors or take on more responsibilities yourself.

Ultimately, the decision to have a small wedding comes down to personal preference and priorities. If you value intimacy, personal touches, and cost savings, a small wedding may be the perfect fit for you. However, if you crave excitement and a larger celebration, a traditional wedding with a larger guest list may be more your style.

These are just a few small wedding ideas to help you plan the best scaled down wedding. Remember, the most important thing is to stay true to yourself and create a celebration that reflects your personalities and love for each other. Love these small wedding ideas? Check out for helpful wedding planning resources.

Featured Image by @ashleyolafssonphotography

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How to Have the Best Small Wedding: 15 Ideas