10 Fun Ideas for the Small Wedding of Your Dreams

Small extended families? Low budget? A desire for an intimate day? Your wedding doesn’t have to be huge to be a blast! Here are 10 fun ideas to make your small wedding a unique party that still has flair.

1. Think about a destination wedding

Small Wedding Ideas at the Beach
Source: Pinterest

Destination weddings by their nature tend to be smaller, as fewer guests are able to make the journey. If there’s a Caribbean island you’ve always dreamed of visiting, consider making the trek for the most important day of your life! Or, head to Europe! Invite friends and family to show up a few days early, so you can have an extended vacation with those you love the most.

WGM Says: Just remember if you do decide to get married out of the country, you’ll need to get married legally in the U.S. first (then have your symbolic ceremony where you destination wedding is). You can read more about marriage license requirements in your county here.

2. Not a frilly white dress girl? Have a city hall wedding

Small Wedding Ideas San Francisco City Hall
Source: IQ Photo Studio

If a casual, down-to-earth, and intimate wedding day sounds like a dream (all while saving a ton of cash and stress) than a city hall wedding could be perfect for you. Hire a wedding photographer to make sure you get your favorite moments captured, and wear a casual white dress from ModCloth or Anthropologie. Then, plan on throwing a family style brunch for your immediate families. You can even splurge on your favorite restaurant since you’ll have such a smaller guest list!

3. Consider a shabby-chic backyard wedding

Small Wedding Ideas Backyard Wedding
Source: Jasmine Rose Photography

One of our favorite small wedding ideas is super close to home—your backyard! Instead of a traditional venue, choose your own house or one of your family homes, and exchange your vows with a small guest list in attendance. Have a family member man the grill, or even consider hiring a grill master or chef to take over the cooking duties. For decorations, rustic is always on trend, so decorate with lots of greenery, wildflowers, and don’t forget the string lights. For a small group, you can rent one long table for your wedding guests, and even couches to create a funky lounge area. Backyard games like corn hole or badminton are also a fun idea! Take a look at our favorite rustic party ideas on Pinterest!

WGM Says: Just because you’re getting married at home, doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about local noise ordinances. Make sure to find out about amplified music rules in your county, and be sure to give your neighbors a courtesy call first!

4. Hire a food truck instead of a caterer

Small Wedding Ideas Food Truck
Source: Pinterest

Food trucks are a cool, modern twist on a traditional wedding meal but are often unable to handle huge weddings. Is there a local favorite you know your guests love? Or a truck you and your partner used to visit in college? All the better! You can even work together with the food truck owner to see if you can create a specialty menu for the night, or even a late-night snack. If a food truck isn’t your thing, consider an ice cream cart or even a mobile bar to make your guests craft cocktails.

5. Don’t forget the group picture!

Small Wedding Ideas Group Picture
Source: Coppersmith Photography

Group pictures are seemingly impossible with a big wedding, but a photographer can easily fit ALL your guests into a photo if you have less than 100 people on your wedding guest list. So definitely put a group picture on your “must-have” list—you’ll love looking at the photo years down the road and remembering who was there on your big day.

6. Have a potluck meal

Small Wedding Ideas Outdoor Meal
Source: Elizabeth Burgi Photography

If your wedding is super small—like, family only—a potluck dinner could be a fun way to have casual dining on a very low budget. If your grandmother’s red velvet cake makes you swoon, or your aunt has a mashed potatoes recipe you crave every Christmas, this can be a great way to make your wedding meal more meaningful.

7. Consider out-of-the-box wedding venues

Small Wedding Ideas Unique Venues
Source: Shropshire Star

Does your favorite brewery or local aquarium host wedding receptions? Maybe not typically, but if your wedding is small enough, they may be open to the idea. One major perk of a micro wedding is that you don’t need a ton of space, so places that aren’t usually thought of as “wedding venues” may make for a unique, fun atmosphere. Having your wedding at a non-traditional location will help make it an amazing memory for you and your guests alike.

WGM Says: Even smaller weddings need a wedding planner, so don’t skimp on this essential vendor. To save money, consider at least a day-of wedding coordinator who can help with logistics, deliveries, and more. The last thing you want is to enlist a family member with figuring out your wedding day timeline. This can lead to frustration and confusion on your wedding day. Plus, it’s no fun for any invited guests to have to work!

8. Skip the band and just create a wedding playlist

Small Wedding Ideas Make Playlist
Source: Wedding Spot

With smaller celebrations, it’s easy to add the favorite song of every guest! Include a line on your RSVPs asking for wedding song requests so each guest can enjoy a tune they love. If you opt for a DJ or live band, talk to them ahead of time about allowing guests t make requests. And don’t forget the dance floor! No matter where you have your nuptials, make sure there is a comfortable place for guests to boogie down.

9. Go camping!

Small Wedding Ideas Camping

Guests can all reserve campsites near each other, and you can have s’mores in lieu of wedding cake. Most campgrounds have park shelters that can be rented out for events. The morning after, you can enjoy a hike or a trip to the beach and relive the funniest moments of the wedding. If guests aren’t into sleeping in tents, make sure you select a campground with a hotel nearby.

10. Want to keep it really small? Consider eloping?

Small Wedding Ideas Couple
Source: Arte De Vie

It doesn’t get smaller than am elopement! The good news is, eloping doesn’t have to mean running away to Las Vegas and getting hitched by an Elvis impersonator. Instead, consider heading to Paris or another romantic locale for a beautiful wedding backdrop. Bring along your best friends or parents to be your officiant and witnesses, and then throw a casual party once you’ve returned. Without the usual trappings of a wedding, there will be plenty of money available for travel, especially for your honeymoon after.

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  1. says: Heather

    Hey Betty!
    I’m not sure what flowers are growing in your area in may but I always suggest that brides hit the local farmers market a couple of weeks before the wedding and ask if any of the growers will have arrangements or bunches available the day before or if your big day. For example, pike place market in Seattle has huge bundles of flowers (40+pieces) for $20. If you are buying a bunch you may be able to get a discount. Definity cheaper than a florist. Congratulations and have fun on your big day!

  2. says: Betty Hayden

    I’m getting married in May and planning a very small wedding at a nursing home so my residents can be a part of it. It will be held on the balcony of the 3rd floor. 2 residents will be part of the ceremony. I will only have about 20 people in attendance. I need decorating ideas, etc. Thanks for any feedback you can give. Not looking for anything elaborate, just simple but pretty..