16 Small Wedding Ideas That Are Intimate Yet Intricate

Impactful small wedding ideas that are gorgeous at the same time

By Lucilia Pires
16 Small Wedding Ideas That Are Intimate Yet Intricate

You are getting married but want a hustle free wedding, so the best thing is to keep a guest list to a minimum, as totally over-the-top weddings are time-consuming, extremely expensive, and just energy draining. And maybe you rather splurge on your honeymoon, rather than on your wedding, or even spending a lot is not quite in the plans right now. Whatever your reasons for deciding on a small wedding, know that you can count on us to provide you with a nice selection of small but impactful wedding ideas, to make your special day all the more amazing.

Simple Small Wedding Ideas for Older Couples

As you grow in maturity you realize you prefer understated class and elegance to sparkly frills and sequins, and what better to accomplish your wish than a simple small wedding with a close group of family and friends. Later, after the honeymoon, you can plan a party to all your 100+ friends and relatives, either at a venue or as a house warming party, if you have space and the disposition.

1. Destination Wedding

Destination weddings tend to be smaller, as not that many guests can find the time and budget to attend. Eschew common wedding destinations for more exotic scenarios, like Maui, or the Bahamas, or a romantic destination like the Amalfi Coast, in Italy, or Prague, in The Czech Republic. If your dream wedding takes place at a real chateau, the French countryside is dotted with impressive estates you can book on its entirety for your special day. You invite a small party to be with you on your special day, maybe your parents, children and a few close friends, and make a small holiday out of it, enjoying all those close to you.

2. A Rocking the Boat Wedding

If you live close to the sea, and you like sailing, a sailboat is THE perfect place to have a private, intimate wedding with a few close family and friends, and the skipper of the boat can even officiate your wedding.  You can fit a few tables, bedecked in white, decorate with flowers garlands, candles in matching color glass holders, and have a beautiful ceremony with the sea as background. 

3. Wedding in the Garden

If you have a largish garden or access to one, all you need to do is create a small dedicated area with a wedding arbor, pergola, or chuppah festooned with flowers and greenery, and place a few seats near it. Or take advantage of that beautiful statement tree you have right in the middle of the garden and create your wedding altar around it. Create an area for the wedding reception in another separate area of the garden where the caterers can set their stuff up without disturbing the ceremony, and if you’re up to it, why not consider an area for a string quartet or a harp that can provide music for both the ceremony and the reception.

4. Wedding at the Hacienda

Source: Alberto-g-rovi/ Wikipedia Commons

Haciendas are beautiful historical estates where romanticism meets al fresco living. The open inner courtyard is the perfect place to host your reception dinner, and you can even use the small enchanting chapel, ubiquitous in these places, to have your ceremony. Remember to book your wedding and reception for the evening, as the weather tends to be inordinately hot in the middle of the day.

Casual Small Wedding Ideas

If a casual small wedding is more appealing to you than all the pomp and circumstance of a princess style extravaganza at a fancy venue, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for our simple but gorgeous casual wedding ideas.

5. Eloping

No, we’re not referring to Vegas (though there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your idea), but eloping with your husband-to-be and a couple of your closest friends might be just the thing to do to keep it casual and simple. Pick a nice location that works for both of you, like the sun-drenched vineyards on Napa Valley, or that nice pastoral bed-and-breakfast you discovered two years ago in Virginia, or even that fantastic ski lodge in Aspen for a wed and ski weekend.

6. A Beach Wedding

Getting married at the beach means bare feet, casual attire and maybe even a dip for the most courageous. Consider planning your wedding for late afternoon or early evening to avoid the heat and take advantage of the sunset and the quiet. You can build a gorgeous wedding arch right there on the beach, with the sea as the backdrop, add a few beach chairs or poufs, and the all-important candles or tiki torches provide romanticism and much-needed light as evening sets. Having a buffet table nearby with finger food, plenty of cold drinks, and building a bonfire to make smores really sets the mood for an unforgettably cool beach wedding.

7. Think out-of-the-box for venues

Thinking out of the box allows you to come up with possibilities related to your personal tastes and connected to your own private history, and who knows you might be surprised as to which venues won’t mind opening up their space for your special day. Consider, however, that museums, libraries, or the likes don’t have a readily available catering space and are likely to require a cleaning detail after the party, so either just use them for the ceremony itself, or hire a caterer that supplies parties in unlikely scenarios with cleaning crew included.

8. Public Park with Food Truck

Rent a small area of a public park, or use the big back yard of a friend or a relative to create the perfect casual wedding setting. A bedecked gazebo with a modern natural feel, some chairs you manage to borrow or steal from friends and relatives, and a nearby food truck are all you need to achieve the perfect casual wedding. You can even work together with the food truck owner to create a bespoke menu for your wedding dinner and be sure to pick a truckie you know and love.

Small Wedding Ideas at Home

If you, or your family, have a big enough backyard hosting your wedding at home, might be just the thing to do. There are lots of work involved though, even if your guest list is on the small side, as you need to consider the number of tables, chairs, plates, silverware, glasses, etc. you’ll need to cater to an event at home. How about food preparation and preservation? Are your kitchen and your freezer big enough for such an endeavor?

9. Rosy Wedding

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden with a lovely rose arbor, consider mounting your at-home wedding scheme around it. Pick the season where the roses are in bloom and use them as the backdrop for your altar. Place a platform or a rug to mark the spot and place chairs for guests directly in front of it. Use roses as a table decoration for the wedding dinner and even for your bouquet, keeping everything rosy. Think about having a tent, a large gazebo, or the shade of a large tree in case it rains or if it is exceptionally warm, bedecked with roses and greenery from your garden.

10. Wedding on Water

If you have a lakeside property or a simple backyard pool, take advantage of this waterside location to infuse your wedding with an aquatic theme. Think bluish and greenish soft hues for flowers and overall decoration. Emphasize the location by creating a special deck onto the water where you can say your vows, and consider using light green and blue gauzy fabrics as a canopy to your wedding arch. You can even extend the theme by offering a wedding dinner with plenty of fish and seafood to sample.

11. Forest Wedding Extravaganza

 Use the existing trees on your backyard or garden to create a canopy, by attaching fabric and greenery to them, or create your own wedding arch using natural wood. Hang lights and pictures on nearby trees to create the perfect atmosphere, limiting the space with a rug. You might consider using extra rugs to place chairs on and avoid legs sinking on the soft floor, and some runners to create the wedding aisle.  Your table decoration should include wood and greenery to keep up the theme, and food should lean towards game dishes and mushrooms and berries to show nature’s bounty.

12. Wedding Barbecue

Who said wedding food needs to be pricy and fussy? After tying the knot at your local church or city hall, why don’t you invite your closest family and friends to a wedding barbecue, complete with steaks, burgers, fries, potato salad, and lots of cold refreshments? This just requires a family member (or 2, or 3) willing to man the grill and a lot of imagination. You can create your own wedding wall and table decorations in keeping with the wedding theme, hang fairy lights, colorful balloons and add tons of candles and tiki torches to set the mood.

Small Wedding Ideas on a Budget

Overpriced weddings, full of pomp and circumstance and guests uncomfortable in their wedding finery, are not always synonym with happy occasions, and a small, fun wedding on a budget, can create that cozy, meaningful feeling you have in mind when you think about your wedding day. Even if you need to keep your expenditure on a tight leash, your wedding day can still be memorable to you and the ones you love. Just have a look at our suggestions.

13. Brunch Anyone?

If you are too practical to buy a frilly dress you’ll only wear once, but you still dream of a white wedding, nothing says you can’t wear a casual white dress to city hall, or church, and still look fabulous. Gather your immediate family and best friends to celebrate the big day throwing a wedding brunch at home, or taking advantage of one of your city locations famous for their brunch.

14. Potluck Wedding

If your wedding party is super small, we’re talking closest family and friends, a potluck wedding dinner could be the best of both worlds. First of all, you’ll get a wedding dinner on a very low budget, as guests are bringing their own culinary specialties to the feast, but most of all you are giving your family and friends a way to truly be a part of your special day, by making your small wedding meal more meaningful and memorable.

15. Picnic Wedding

Eschew silverware and plates for a cozy and casual wedding picnic.  Paper plates these days are extremely decorative, while cheap and easily disposed of. Do you really need Lobster Thermidor or Wellington steak to create the perfect wedding meal? Think finger food, order pizzas, or better yet ask guests to bring their own picnic hampers and share all the lovely food.

16. Cake and Champagne

In this day and age, who has the time or the inclination to sit for a 5-course meal plus desserts? Forget about outdated wedding traditions and opt for a simpler fare: cake and champagne. Bake your own cake specialty (or ask mum or granny to do it for you), or get a really good pâtissier cake, and buy some bubbly. People just want to share your happiness on your special day, they are not really looking for a free gourmet meal.

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Regardless of budget, guest party size, or location, what really counts is the fact that you are getting married to the man of your dreams, all the rest is accessory. Enjoy and make it a good one.