50 Small Wedding Ideas [Plus Helpful Tips To Make It A Huge Success]

groom and bride stand in front of a brick background at their small wedding

Jennifer Skulski

Published: Jul 6, 2021

Last Updated: Jul 22, 2021

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The popularity of small weddings has increased over recent years. For some, having an extensive guest list of hundreds of extended family and friends may be their idea of a dream wedding. For others, they live by the mantra “the smaller the better.”

If you and your partner fall into the second category and are looking to start your small wedding plans, check out these 50 ideas we’ve gathered. You’ll find creative tricks and helpful tips to truly make your small wedding ceremony a huge success.

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. When you make a purchase we may receive a small commission at no extra expense to our readers.

Why Have A Small Wedding

Small weddings may not be for every couple, but if you’re looking to limit your guest list to your nearest and dearest, then this is definitely the route to go. 

Not only can smaller weddings save you money, but it can also help you save your budget so you can splurge on the things that matter most to you. 

For example, instead of worrying about feeding 150 guests, you can invest in a small destination wedding. Or instead of booking a large, traditional venue, you can set up an intimate wedding in your own backyard.

Benefits Of Having A Small Wedding Ceremony

There are several benefits to having a small wedding ceremony, whether you’re looking to save money or simply dreaming of a wedding with only those closest to you. A small wedding can be the perfect opportunity to personalize your ceremony with incredible details that you and your guests will never forget.

Here are the best small wedding ideas that will make your miniature celebration feel full of life and love.

50 Small Wedding Ideas [By Category]

Wedding Dates

1. Weekend Weddings

It’s quite common to have a weekend wedding because that’s the time most guests are likely to be off from work and able to attend. When choosing your wedding date, weekend weddings often book up first. However, with a smaller wedding, you may find it easier to book those hard-to-reserve weekends because you’ll have less guests to accommodate.

bride dancing with friends at a small wedding

2. Weekday Weddings

On the other hand, a weekday wedding is also a great option for small weddings. With the smaller number of guests attending, you may be able to coordinate having your friends and family take off on a weekday so you can enjoy your celebration on any special day you choose.

small wedding party dressed in slate blue

3. Summer Weddings

Some wedding dates are harder to get than others. With the nicer weather and increased venue locations available in the summertime, summer weddings are by far the most popular. By planning a small outdoor wedding ceremony, you may have less trouble booking a summer wedding.

Pro Tip: If you’re dreaming of having your big day take place during wedding season, you’ll want to plan ahead. Be sure to book your venue in advance and make sure to send out your save-the-date cards early, as well. While summertime is great for weddings, many people also take vacations and trips. Let them know about your wedding date early so they can arrange their summer plans around your wedding.

bridal bouquet in stunning summer colors

Guests

4. Fewer Guests, More Personalization

With fewer guests to account for, small weddings are the perfect time to get personal. Take your wedding table decorations to the next level by personalizing name cards, having handwritten menus, and including personal, fun photos of each guest throughout your venue.

example personalized table setting at small weddings

5. Little To No Plus-Ones

If you’re looking for your small wedding ceremony to be a truly intimate celebration, it’s alright to stick to a strict guest list and not allow plus-ones. Plus-ones can be a great option to make guests feel more comfortable and social, but if you’re planning a ceremony where most of the guests are already close and familiar with each other, then keep it small and don’t allow extra guests. 

custom sign for table assignments at a small wedding

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6. Focus More On Family And Less On Structure

A lot goes into planning a wedding, especially when it comes to structuring the timeline and figuring out table arrangements. With less guests, you can focus more on a family-oriented atmosphere rather than a regimented structure. 

For example, don’t be afraid to opt out of assigned seats. Let your guests choose their seats and be free to mix and mingle however they see fit throughout the night.

table seating arrangement sign for small wedding

Bridal Party

7. Keep It Small

When it comes to the bridal party for small weddings, try to keep it to one or two of your closest friends. Having a maid of honor and best man is a completely sufficient wedding party size.

Pro Tip: As you consider your small wedding plans, it’ll be important to keep your bridal party proportionate to your wedding size. If you were to have a larger bridal party, those few individuals who were invited to the wedding but not selected for the party may feel left out.

Bride with three friends

Invitations

8. Handwrite Your Invitations

For a more personalized appearance and style, consider handwriting your wedding invitations. Calligraphy can be a stunning option and will make your guests feel special and appreciated.

handwritten wedding invitations utilizing calligraphy

9. Create Digital Wedding Invitations

Digital wedding invitations can be a fun, trendy way to announce your wedding details. After all, with a smaller guest list, you may be wanting to keep things simple and get your invitations out in a fast and less-expensive manner. 

Pro Tip: With digital invitations you can include interactive aspects such as videos, GIFs, or a slideshow. Even better, your guests can easily respond via a digital link and all your RSVPs will be tracked online in one convenient location.

example of digital wedding invitations

10. Fancy Invitations

With a minimal number of guests to send invitations to, invitations can be the perfect item to splurge on. Order your invitations on unique or expensive materials such as on translucent paper, clear acrylic, or with a holographic shine.

Go all out and design them to be more than just invitations, but rather a memorable keepsake that can last forever.

an intricate wedding invitation

11. Ditch Traditional Invitations

For small weddings, there’s no need to stick to a traditional style. Embrace the opportunity to try out creative wedding ideas such as having unique wedding invitations.

wedding invitations made to look like a groom and bride

Small Wedding Theme

12. Brunch Wedding Theme

Brunch weddings are one of the hottest wedding trends of the year, and this can be the perfect theme for small weddings. Coordinate a morning ceremony and get creative with your reception by serving eggs, toast, muffins, fresh fruit, mimosas, and a pancake wedding cake to top it all off.

pancake cake for a brunch wedding reception

13. Beach Wedding Theme

If you’re looking to have a small outdoor wedding, let the beautiful backdrop of the beach become your ultimate wedding theme.

wedding with beach setting and floral arrangements

14. Mix-Matched Theme

Sometimes having no theme at all is a theme in its own right. Small weddings are the perfect time to try out unique and abstract theming such as having mix-matched styles for a creative look.

Pro Tip: Need help designing your mix-matched theme? Line your aisle with a variety of different mats and rugs, pick out different types of chairs for your guests to sit in, or have your wedding party wear different styles of dresses and suits in different colors. 

bride and groom stand together before outdoor wedding

Wedding Dresses And Attire

15. Coordinate A Color Scheme

With a smaller guest list, you may be able to coordinate a special color scheme for a stylized ceremony. Simply inform the close friends and family on your list to all wear a certain shade. This can make for some awesome, aesthetic group photos.

long dinner table at a wedding reception

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16. Dress To The Nines

Make your small wedding ceremony as classy as possible by asking your guests to put on their best attire. With less guests to worry about, it may be easier to coordinate a more formal celebration complete with dazzling wedding dresses and sharp tuxedos. 

bridal party with bridesmaids and groomsmen

17. Keep It Casual And Non-Traditional

On the other hand, as you figure out your small wedding plans, you may wish to keep your family-oriented celebration more laid back. The wedding attire dress code for your big day is ultimately up to you and your fiancé, so choose the style that works for you.

family at beach wedding

Small Wedding Ceremony Site

18. Backyard Wedding

If the goal of your small wedding is to create an intimate atmosphere with all your loving friends and family, why not choose a backyard wedding? Transform a place that feels like home into a beautiful space to celebrate life and love.

example of a tablescape for small weddings

19. Pick A Unique Venue

Small weddings are also the perfect opportunity to pick a more unique venue. With fewer guests attending, you may be able to find interesting venues such as a zoo, amusement park, museum, or another creative location that holds a special place in you and your fiancé’s story.

bride, groom, and zebra pose on a dirt road

20. Destination Wedding

If you’re planning a destination wedding to a remote location, it may be best to have a small wedding ceremony. The travel and trip plans for a destination wedding can be a bit pricey, but with a smaller crew, you can splurge on the trip of your dreams.

couple kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower

Reception / Food & Beverage

21. Rent A Food Truck

Another original idea for your small outdoor wedding is to rent a wedding food truck for a few hours. Treat your guests to some amazing food from a pizza truck, taco truck, ice cream truck, or any other kitchen on wheels.

Bride and groom feed each other from a food truck

22. Opt For Family-Style Seating

When it comes to your reception arrangements, there’s no need to have a few tables scattered about, separating your guests from each other. For a more intimate feel, try family-style seating where everyone sits and socializes together at one long table. 

A lakeside tablescape from a small wedding

23. “Build Your Own” Stations

Having “build your own” food stations at small weddings can be quite a creative addition. With fewer guests, this can be easy to organize and will help you avoid lengthy lines around the food buffet. Plus, it adds a nice personal touch to your food selection because everyone can create exactly what they want to eat.

a taco bar at a wedding reception

24. Include A Lounge Section

Recently, lounge areas at wedding receptions have become more popular. They are a beautiful space with couches, chairs, and tables that offers guests a designated area to sit back and relax. This is a great area to splurge on when nailing down your small wedding plans.

a relaxing outdoor area with a couch and two chairs

Wedding Cake

25. Get Creative With Your Desserts

You won’t be needing a giant cake to feed a village if you’re having a micro wedding. Instead, opt for a smaller cake, or maybe even cupcakes for a more personalized dessert. Include nods to your family-oriented celebration by having grandma’s homemade pie or your brother-in-law’s favorite brownies. 

a custom dessert table for small weddings

26. Donut Cake

If cake is not your dessert of choice, nobody says you must have one. Choose a dessert that fits your taste or embellish your cake with additional treats to share such as delicious donuts or candies. 

a wedding cake covered in donuts

27. Naked Cake

Naked cakes are all the rage for a rustic-styled wedding. By only icing in between your cake layers and leaving the outside bare, you can display a dazzling naked wedding cake at your ceremony. 

an unfrosted, or naked, cake at a wedding reception

Wedding Hashtags / Social Media / Internet

28. Get Your Personalized Wedding Hashtag

Get your small wedding trending with your very own personalized wedding hashtags. Wedding hashtags are a great way to keep all the memories of your big day in one place online. You can share and enjoy your social media photos for years to come.

Pro Tip: Be sure to properly advertise your wedding hashtag throughout your venue by putting it on signs, in neon lights, on your wedding favors, and anywhere else you can think of. The more your guests see your hashtag, the more likely they are to use it when they post their memories on social media.

a couple holding each other in front of a brick building
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29. Create A Wedding Website

A wedding website is a great way to keep all your wedding planning and wedding details in one convenient location. This can help you and your guests stay organized leading up to the big day.

an Apple computer with Wedsites pulled up on the screen

Wedding Photography

30. Photo Booth

Have fun capturing the moment by investing in a photo booth at your reception. It’s a great way for you and your guest to take cute and silly photos together, all while creating a fun photo album of memories.

Pro Tip: Photo booths are the perfect location to display your wedding hashtag. Put your hashtag on different props or have it spelled out on the backdrop to encourage your guests to post their photo booth photos using your one-of-a-kind tag.

wedding guests pose with props in a photo booth

31. Drone Photography

No matter if you want creative or traditional photos, you’re going to need to hire a good wedding photographer for your small wedding ceremony. To take your photos to the next level, literally, try finding a photographer certified to fly a drone so you get truly unique shots on your big day.

a bride and groom watch their photographer launch a drone

Wedding Planner / Coordinator

32. Hire Your Wedding Planner

Even if you’re throwing a smaller, laid back wedding, there’s still a lot of planning involved. That’s why it’s always best to hire a wedding planner. Make sure you do so well in advance, so the timeline of your wedding planning remains on track.

a wedding planner stands in the venue of a wedding

Entertainment / Music

33. Get A Live Band

To entertain your guests throughout the day, invest in a live band. Live music from exceptionally talented musicians adds a fun, personal touch to your ceremony. It’s the perfect thing to splurge on as you organize your small wedding plans.

a bride and groom dance outdoors to live music

34. Games Galore

For a small outdoor wedding, it’s always a fun idea to set up outdoor yard games like cornhole, giant Jenga, darts, or even foosball.

a bride and the bridal party play foosball

35. Bonfire And S’mores

Perfect for a late afternoon or nighttime celebration, start a bonfire at your small outdoor wedding. This is a great way for everyone to relax, continue socializing, and enjoy some s’mores together.

a bride and groom roast marshmallows over a fire

36. Open Mic

Another way to personalize your intimate celebration is to offer an open mic. Let all your closest friends and relatives who want a turn at the mic to say their well wishes and toasts to you and your spouse. These memories and words will last a lifetime.

a groomsman gives a toast in a rustic setting

Small Wedding Decorations

37. Include Family Heirlooms 

As you’re planning a small, family-oriented ceremony, it’s only fitting to include nods to both families throughout the day. Create a display or decorate your tables with trinkets and heirlooms passed down within your families. You can also include photos of your families for your guests to admire and to spend time reminiscing about the backstory behind the photos. 

family photos displayed at a wedding

38. Have Large Floral Arrangements

If you’re concerned that small weddings make venues look sparse, worry not! There are plenty of creative ways to decorate a space to feel complete. For example, use large floral arrangements to fill up space while keeping the light, airy feel.

large white floral arrangement and candles on a table

39. Personalize The Place Settings

When it comes to place settings for small weddings, you can get as creative as you’d like with dazzling displays like this one that include a gold chrome menu card that effortlessly matches the plates. 

Pro Tip: Choose to personalize your place settings further by adding your names, wedding date, and wedding hashtag to plates, napkins, glasses, or other decor to create a beautiful arrangement that doubles as a keepsake.

a personalized wedding place setting

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40. Hang Your Decor From The Ceiling

To make small weddings feel full, but not crowded, opt to hang your decor from the ceiling. This will help create a cozy atmosphere perfect for your intimate affair.

a candlelit wedding reception table

Wedding Favors

41. Welcome Favors

While wedding favors are often given out at the end of the ceremony, try having welcome favors instead or alongside your exit favors. These awesome goodie bags can be a great way to start the day off with fun treats or to welcome your guests to a destination wedding.

personalized wedding welcome bags

42. Organize Your Send-Off

Your wedding send-off can be a fun way to end the night and can make for some lovely photos. Choose to individually package little bags of what you wish your guests to throw or create a display of items your guests will need for this interactive activity. 

Fun wedding send-off ideas include throwing sprinkles, rice, confetti, or flower petals at the newlyweds. You can also get your guest to blow bubbles, hold glow sticks or sparklers, or wave streamers.

candy sprinkles in small plastics bags

43. Commemorative Wine Bottle Favor

For a classy custom wedding favor, you can invest in personalized labels to put on common goods such as honey, jam, coffee beans, and even elegant wine bottles.

personalized wine bottle wedding favors

44. Provide Favor Options

Small weddings are all about the intimate, personalized touch you can provide due to having fewer guests. With that being said, to further personalize your wedding favors, try giving your guests options. 

Pro Tip: Instead of everyone leaving with the same exact favor, either have different favors to choose from or have your favors be a variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors for your guests to pick out for themselves.

potted flowers as wedding favors

Wedding Car

45. Splurge On A Limousine

Enter and exit your wedding celebration in style by splurging on a limousine. After all, small weddings will save you money on food and guests, so you can splurge in other areas such as your wedding car.

a bride and groom get out of a white limousine

46. Vintage Volkswagen Bus

Who doesn’t like the vintage look? Volkswagen buses have certainly increased in popularity and can make for fun, stylized photo shoots. Take one for a spin by having it be your wedding car of choice.

a bride and groom in a blue Volkswagen bus

47. Luxury Convertible

Another great option for a wedding car would be a luxury convertible. Convertibles are an excellent choice because they allow for you and your official spouse to easily be seen as you drive away and wave to all your guests. 

a bride and groom stand outside of a vintage convertible

After Party 

48. Hand Out After-Party Kits

If you’re looking to keep the party going after hours, consider planning an after party. Having after-party favors can be a fun way to welcome your guests to the post-reception celebration while also giving them treats and other goodies to snack on and enjoy throughout the night.

after-party kits for small weddings

49. Get Comfy And Casual 

As your small wedding ceremony ends and your more casual after party begins, it’s alright to embrace more casual attire. In fact, an outfit change is probably advised. Relax, get comfortable, and have some fun.

a bride dances with the groomsmen

50. Consider The Venue, Food, And Entertainment

When it comes to an after party, more planning is involved. Where will this party take place? What food or snacks will be served? What kind of entertainment will there be? All these questions are definitely something to keep in mind if you’re looking to enjoy an after party.

Pro Tip: As you consider your after party venue, it may be wise to have it take place somewhere close to your original venue or close to the hotel the majority of your guests are staying in. For small weddings, after parties can also be quite successful at beaches or even at a family member’s home.

a beach party after a wedding

Ready For Your Small Wedding?

Small weddings are the best weddings! If you and your fiancé want an intimate celebration with your nearest and dearest by your side, throwing a small wedding ceremony may be the perfect option for you.

If you are currently in the process of making your small wedding plans, we hope that this list of ideas has inspired you as you decide on all the various aspects and details of your big day.

#WeddingExperts

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2 Comments

  • Some awesome tips for small weddings in this list. We’ve got one more for you – elope to Australia 🙂 There are so many beautiful small wedding locations in Australia.

    • Christina La says:

      Hi Rachel! We totally agree with you. Eloping is also a great option and Australia is definitely a beautiful place to do it! As long as you’re with your special person!

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