Majestic Wedding at Ojaj Valley Inn in Ojaj, CA
photographer: Callaway Gable Photography | planner: Bob Gail Events | florals: White Lilac Inc. | venue: Ojai Valley Inn
The Best of | National | Weddings

12 Small Wedding Ideas [That Make a Big Impact]

Majestic Wedding at Ojaj Valley Inn in Ojaj, CA

Small, intimate weddings are more popular than ever. For many couples, an intimate wedding means more quality time spent with friends and family — and most importantly, each other. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean a quick trip to the courtroom and few streamers in the backyard. These days, small wedding ideas are big on style. 

So how do you make a small wedding feel special? Good question. 

Planning a small, intimate wedding — much like any large-scale celebration — starts with a few good ideas and a talented team of event professionals. With a smaller guest list, a top-notch wedding caterer can go above and beyond to create super-customized menus and creative wine pairings. Floral and décor teams can transform a hotel rooftop, a garden patio, or even a backyard (see our feature on Small Backyard Weddings) into a romantic, wow-worthy setting. Finally, an expert wedding planner can turn any idea into a dream celebration.   

Meaningful and fun ideas for a small wedding include everything from focusing on personalized details to creating unique and interactive experiences. Whether you opt to exchange vows on a yacht (with a moving backdrop of your choosing) or go for a hot air balloon ride above the clouds, there are plenty of ways you can make your intimate wedding an unforgettable affair. 

Read on to discover 12 small wedding ideas that make a big impact. From beautiful tablescapes and sumptuous dinners to unique venues and show-stopping entertainment, we know all the ways to make your wedding dreams come true.

1. Opt for an Unusual Venue

Think outside the box (or the venue) and look for a unique space that captures the spirit of your celebration. When it comes to selecting the right venue, a small guest list allows for more flexibility. Head to a secluded spot in nature, or have your intimate wedding on-the-go with a luxurious yacht. PartySlate can help you narrow down your search with our “Find a Venue” directory. Search through restaurants, ballrooms, museums, and more. When it comes to finding the perfect venue, the sky’s the limit.

Elegant and Intimate Wedding at Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York | PartySlate
photographer: Anée Atelier

A Fairytale Castle

Tarrytown, NY

This small intimate wedding had a larger-than-life setting. We love how a fairytale castle has us thinking of living “happily ever after.” With such a magnificent backdrop, simple ceremony décor (like boho-style blooms and a pretty pink carpet) goes a long way.

photographer: Anée Atelier | planner: Pejy Kash Events | florals: Ivie Joy Floral Arts | venue: Lyndhurst Castle | video: We-Do Productions

Intimate Boat Wedding on Lake Michigan in Chicago, IL | PartySlate
photo courtesy of Adeline’s Sea Moose

On a Yacht

Chicago, IL

Why settle for one venue when you can have the entire city as your wedding backdrop? This intimate wedding took place on the tranquil waters of Lake Michigan — with differing views of Chicago’s majestic skyline as an integral part of its décor. Guests enjoyed exploring the city by water while celebrating a sweet union.

photo courtesy of & venue: Adeline’s Sea Moose

RELATED: 9 Unique Wedding Ceremony Ideas

2. Take Advantage of Natural Backdrops With These Small Wedding Ideas

Look. While we love elaborate arches and ornate wedding aisles, we also know when to take advantage of a great nature-provided backdrop. A glittering skyline or picturesque vineyard command attention and awe. Great venues often come with great views, so don’t forget to ask your event planner or venue coordinator for event spaces that showcase stunning scenery. 

Soho Rooftop Wedding With City Skyline View | PartySlate
photographer: Le Image

City Chic

New York, NY

This small intimate wedding has us feeling on top of the world. A city rooftop offers spectacular skyline scenery that rivals any altar. We love how the floral décor ends right at the railing, allowing for unobstructed skyline views.

photographer: Le Image | planner: Kristina Taheri Special Events | florals: Julia Testa | venue: private rooftop | caterer: MR Hospitality | rentals: Please B Seated | entertainment: DJ Eric Saga

Outdoor Courtyard Chicago Micro Wedding | PartySlate
photographer: Becky Brown Photography

Secret Garden

Chicago, IL

Towering ivy-covered walls add grandeur (and privacy) to this intimate setting. We especially love how a simple wedding arch (decorated with delicate drapery) seems to flow into the white of the bride’s dress.

photographer: Becky Brown Photography | florals: Hedonia Flowers | venue: Glessner House | caterer: Hearty Boys | bakery: Alliance Bakery | entertainment: Duo Vivace

Intimate Wine Country Wedding at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, CA | PartySlate
photographer: Cheers Babe Photo

Window to the World

Rutherford, CA

This gorgeous venue space comes with breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards*. We adore how the aisle of scattered petals leads the eye directly to the natural backdrop of lush foliage that’s been perfectly framed by floral arrangements.

*We are saddened by the California fires impacting events and livelihoods in the region — see this New York Times article for information on how to help victims of the California wildfires. 

photographer: Cheers Babe Photo | florals: Fleurs de France | venue: Auberge du Soleil | entertainment: Bella Rosa String Quartet

Charming Floral Alter Decor For Wedding at The Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, New York | PartySlate
photographer: We-Do Productions

Love Can Build a Bridge

New York, NY

An intimate wedding can still evoke a sense of awe. Go for a “New York State Of Mind” with one of New York’s many bridges as your wedding backdrop. We especially love how two floral arrangements add a sense of intimacy to the exchange of vows, as well as the metaphor of a bridge connecting two distinct locales, just like a wedding does with its couple. 

photographer: We-Do Productions | planner: Pejy Kash Events | florals: Ivie Joy Floral Arts | venue: Penthouse808 Rooftop at Ravel Hotel | rentals: Luxe Event Rentals, Nuage Designs, & Great Neck Games Productions | table linen: eFavormart | cake: Cakes by Sherry | entertainment: Danny Somai | makeup: Shema Popal | hair: Style by Razia

Luxury intimate wedding on the beach | PartySlate
photographer: Andrea Montin

Sun, Sea, & Sand

Venezia, Veneto

You know the saying: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. We love how everyone, including the couple, faces the awe-inspiring ocean at their feet. Some views (and celebrations) just aren’t worth missing. 

photographer: Andrea Montin | planner, production, & design: Paolo Cicognani Weddings & Events | décor: Fioreria Punto Verde | venue: Sabbia e Sale Venice | music & entertainment: Matteo Tiozzo Bicaco | videographer: Alberto Mantovan

Planning a small, intimate wedding…starts with a few good ideas and a talented team of event professionals.”

3. Beckon Guests to the Table

Think about it. The most intimate moments often occur around the dinner table. After all, meals bring people together. Heighten the sense of intimacy (and beauty) with thoughtful tablescape designs. From eye-catching centerpieces to colorful glassware and unique chargers, reception dinner tables can easily become works of art.

Hacienda Del Sol Cactus Elopement in Tucson, AZ | PartySlate
photographer: Elyse Hall Photography

Desert Dreamscape

Tucson, AZ

Towering candelabras and bountiful cacti centerpieces draw all eyes to this picture-perfect wedding table. We also love how varied seating and animal-hide linen brought a unique look to this dreamy desert landscape.

photographer: Elyse Hall Photography | planner, décor, & floral: Atelier de LaFleur | venue: Hacienda Del Sol | cake: Sugar Song Cakes | invitation suite: Brie Dumais Designs

Simple boho-style wedding reception table with florals decor | PartySlate
photographer: Catherine Threlkeld Photography

Floral Forward

Portsmouth, RI

Everything about this wedding reception table — from the textured floral arrangements to the burnt-orange glassware — makes us want to linger over dinner. We also love how the table placement offers dramatic views of the surrounding gardens.

photographer: Catherine Threlkeld Photography | planner & design: Kelly Golia Events | florals: Beach Plum Floral | venue: Glen Manor House | rentals: PEAK Event Services

Classy Elopement at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, CA | PartySlate
photographer: Scott Clark Photo

Simple Elegance

Los Angeles, CA

A wedding reception table doesn’t have to be over-the-top in order to be eye-catching. This simple chic tablescape reminds us why we love understated elegance. Sleek lines and minimalist floral arrangements are a perfect complement to the dynamic LA city landscape in the background.

photographer: Scott Clark Photo | planning & design: Sterling Social Events & Experiences | florals: JL Event Design | venue: Chateau Marmont | rentals: Theoni Collection

Intimate Wedding with a View
photographer: Matt Rice Photography

A Moment in Paradise

Miami, FL

A dinner in paradise doesn’t need much to make it perfect. That said, we love how emerald-green glassware and bright-pink orchids pop against the wood table and seating. Candlelight spans the entire table length — ensuring that every guest enjoys the romantic ambiance.

photographer: Matt Rice Photography | planner, design, & floral: LV Event Designs | venue: Amara at Paraiso | caterer: Michael Schwartz Events | rentals: Events on the Loose | cake: Sweet Guilt by Angelica

RELATED: 11 Wedding Theme Ideas for Every Type of Couple

4. Curate Intimate Spaces for Meaningful Conversations With These Small Wedding Ideas

Smaller weddings create perfect opportunities for guests to spend more quality time with the happy couple, as well as getting to know each other better. Intimate weddings, therefore, can benefit from thoughtfully-designed lounge areas and ceremony seating. It’s important to create spaces where people can easily converse — yet also feel like they’re connected to the surrounding celebration.  

Intimate and Modern Wedding at Loft Lucia in Chicago, Illinois
photographer: Maha Studios

Urban Loft Lounge

Chicago, IL

When it comes to small wedding ideas, stylish seating, along with artful décor is an unbeatable combo. This setup tempts guests to take a seat and indulge in quiet conversation. Such a beautiful backdrop also begs guests to take out their cameras for a fun selfie or two.

photographer: Maha Studios | planner, design, & décor: Details Chicago | florals: Taxaflora | venue: Loft Lucia | dinnerware: The Festive Frog | videography: Shawn Yang Films | caterers: Truffleberry Market & Bundoo Khan Chicago

Sophisticated, Intimate Wedding Reception at Rosewood Sand Hill
photographer: Augie Chang Photography

Stylish Patio Lounge

Menlo Park, CA

Patios and lounge areas go hand-in-hand. Older (and shyer) guests will love the opportunity to enjoy the reception band in comfort and from a slight distance — while tapping their feet to the music, of course. 

photographer: Augie Chang Photography | planner: Amazae Events | floral: Nicole Ha Floral Design | venue: Rosewood Sand Hill | entertainment: Entire Productions | video: iQ Video | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen & Napa Valley Linens | rentals: Hensley Event Resources & Theoni Collection | transportation: Corinthian

Elegant and Intimate Micro Wedding
photographer: Sarah Mack Photo

Sumptuous Ceremony Seating

Costa Mesa, CA

You’d have to have a massive space to create such luxe ceremony seating for a large-scale wedding — but small weddings allow party-hosts to go the extra mile for comfort. With such sumptuous seating, we would gladly sit through a ceremony of any length. 

photographer: Sarah Mack Photo | coordination: Above All Catering & Events | event design & floral: Shawna Yamamoto Event Design | venue: Fete the Venue | rentals: Signature Party Rentals | stationery: Paper Mint Press | signage: Nopalito Graphics

Tanque Verde Ranch Elopement in Tucson, AZ
photographer: Elyse Hall

Just the Two of Us

Tucson, AZ

We are obsessed with this private area for an intimate, two-person conversation, the perfect post-ceremony spot for the new couple to convene for a quite moment post-vows. Other fabulous details from this small wedding included cacti-laden tablescapes and a succulent-adorned wedding cake.

photographer: Elyse Hall | décor stylist & floral: Atelier de LaFleur | venue: Tanque Verde Ranch | invitation suite: Brie Dumais Designs | hair & makeup: HVH Faces

RELATED: Luxe Lounge Spaces are Trending 

5. Create a Sense of Intimacy with Beautiful Tenting

It’s true: Tenting creates a defined space amidst the great (and infinite) outdoors. It also ensures the festivities will go on — come rain or shine. Tenting comes in a variety of colors and styles, so it can easily be incorporated into the rest of your décor. You can rely on PartySlate to connect you with top rental companies. You can also browse hundreds of photos of tented weddings for more small wedding ideas and inspiration.

Majestic Wedding at Ojaj Valley Inn in Ojaj, CA
photographer: Callaway Gable

A Tent With a View

Ojai, CA

Ethereal white drapery and glittery candlelight transformed this simple tent structure into a fairytale setting. This stunning tent provided privacy, without sacrificing views of the picturesque California landscape. Moreover, a sleek heating lamp resembled the structure of the surrounding drapery — making it an artful (and guest-pleasing) addition to the evening’s décor. 

photographer: Callaway Gable | planner: Bob Gail Events | florals: White Lilac Inc. | venue: Ojai Valley Inn | draping & décor: Revelry Event Designers | tenting, flooring, & rentals: Bright Event Rentals | videographer: Elysium Productions | cake: Vanilla Bake Shop | tabletop rentals: Casa De Perrin | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | band: Bob Gail Music

Picture Perfect Outdoor Wedding at Carillon Miami Beach in Miami Beach, FL
photo courtesy of: Daniel Events

An Open Tent (& Drifting Florals)

Miami Beach, FL

This gorgeous open-concept tent dazzles with delicate drapery and white blossoms, both blowing in the tropical breeze. We  especially love how the suspended florals resemble strung pearls — while the metal tent-structure evokes the modern architecture of the adjacent resort. 

photos courtesy of, design, décor, & floral: Daniel Events | venue: Carillon Miami Beach

Social-Distanced Backyard Jewish Wedding in Chicago
photographer: Beller-Jones

A Tent Filled With Starlight

Chicago, IL

COVID-19 couldn’t stop the magic of this heartfelt, socially-distanced wedding celebration. Twinkling lights transformed this simple tent structure into an enchanted space beneath the stars. We also adore how strewn white petals created the illusion of reflected starlight. 

photographer: Beller-Jones | planner: Joyce Pollakoff Events | venue: private residence

Opulent and Intimate Wedding at The Breakers in Palm Beach
photographer: Jonathan Connolly Photography

A Roofed Patio With Elegant Drapery

Palm Beach, FL

This roofed patio evokes a beautiful tented space with its rows of white drapery. The addition of subtle greenery and wicker lounge seating add a boho-vibe to this elegant outdoor space.

photographer: Jonathan Connolly Photography | planning & production: YSD Events | floral & décor: Ovando Design and Production | venue: The Breakers Palm Beach | cinematographer: Andreo Studio Photo & Cinema | music & entertainment: Élan Artists | lighting & design: JM Event Group | china: Hermes | printed collateral: The Windmill Paper Boutique

Intimiate Wedding at Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge in Miami, Florida
photographer: Sass & Frass Photography

An Overhead of Autumn Leaves

Miami, FL

We love creative designs. So of course we are obsessed with this installation of autumn leaves. The burst of orange, combined with blue-hydrangea centerpieces and blue-brushed linen, makes for a bright and cheerful scene. 

photographer: Sass & Frass Photography | planner: Luna Events | décor & floral: Xquisite Events | venue: Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge

Initimate Emerald Wedding
photographer: Melia Lucida Photographer

A Transparent Tent With Lavish Foliage

Haiku-Pauwela, HI

Ornate pillars and a transparent roof are the perfect addition to this ivy-covered courtyard space. An X-shaped table and leaf-laden chandeliers add a unique vibe to this wedding set in paradise.

photographer: Melia Lucida Photographer | design & coordination: Elements by K.H & co. | florals: Mandy Grace Designs | venue: Haiku Mill | dinnerware: Set Maui | calligraphy: Alannah Rae Calligraphy | caterer: Cutting Edge Catering Maui | chandelier, table, chairs, leather cocktail hour chairs: Inspiration Events | cocktail hour linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | lounge furniture: Signature Event Rentals | ukulele: Sounds of Sebastian

RELATED: 14 Small Backyard Weddings

6. Give Guests the Individual Treatment With These Small Wedding Ideas

With a smaller guest list, there’s no need to “work the room.” You can linger over a cup of coffee with your best friend or take a few extra turns on the dance floor with a parent. A more intimate guest list also offers a greater opportunity to make each guest feel special. Add floral décor to each place setting; or dazzle guests with individual wedding cakes. A little extra love goes a long way in making your family and friends feel cherished.

Elegant Penthouse Wedding at the Fairmont San Francisco
photographer: Yuliya Jul Photography

A Dinner Corsage

San Francisco, CA

Decorate each table setting with an individual floral corsage, and make every guest feel like a “guest of honor.” We also love how modern cutlery, accompanied by pops of coral-colored blooms, add personality to the neutral tablescapes.

photographer: Yuliya Jul Photography | planner: Pretty Occasions | florals: Ochun Studio | venue: Fairmont San Francisco | rentals: Standard Party Rentals | linen: Napa Valley Linens | cake: Ma Petite Maison Cakes Design | paper goods: The Aerialist Press | calligraphy: Letters by Dina | hair: Salty Sea Braids | bridal salon: La Soie Bridal | makeup: Christina Choi

Stunning and Aspirational Wedding Dinner at The Village Club at Lake Success in Great Neck, New York
photographer: Anée Atelier

Love That’s Carved in Stone

Great Neck, NY

Personalized geode stones are the perfect addition to a gorgeous place setting. We also love how patterned dishware and water-colored menus complete the look. Best of all, a mirrored tabletop beautifully reflected a canopy of twinkling lights.

photographer: Anée Atelier | planner & florals: Pejy Kash Events | florals: Ivie Joy Floral Arts | venue: The Village Club at Lake Success | videographer: Lily Cohon | catering: CulinArt Catering Collection & Philip Stone Caterers | rentals: Great Neck Games Productions | invitations & printed materials: Minted | china set: Party Rental Ltd. | entertainment: Josh Grey Music | stone: The Evolution Store | lighting: Universal Light and Sound NYC

Stunning and Intimate Wedding at Central Park in New York City
photographer: Properpix

Let Them Eat Cake

New York, NY

This intimate wedding was as sweet as can be with individual cakes topped with delicate floral designs for each guest. The happy couple also indulged in their own personal cake-for-two (and plenty of sparkling Champagne, of course).

photographer: Properpix | planner: Lifetime Events By Jacqueline | design: Wedding Tailor & Planner | floral: Gatherings Floral Design | venue: Engine Room New York​ | cirque artists: The Muse Brooklyn​ | band: DWP Live Factory | baker: JLB Patisserie​ | rentals: ABC Fabulous Events Party Rental | shuttle: Leros Point To Point | stationery: Lovelab | hotel: Park Central Hotel In New York City | hair & makeup: Beauty Icon NYC

Intimate Wedding in Old Saint Hilary's Church in Sausalito, CA
photographer: Jim Vetter Photography

A Simple Surprise

Sausalito, CA

Each guest sat down to dinner and immediately discovered a party favor draped from their chair. We love the elegant packaging (a gift in and of itself), as well as the blue-and-white tablescapes that complement the celebration’s simple (yet dreamy) aesthetic.

photographer: Jim Vetter Photography | florals: Paradise Flowers | venues: Old Saint Hilary’s Church & The China Cabin | caterer: Delicious Catering Service Event and Design | musician: Dallis Craft

Meaningful and fun ideas for a small wedding include everything from focusing on personalized details to creating unique and interactive experiences.”

7. Focus on the Details With These Small Wedding Ideas

Without a doubt, small weddings can still be big on details. Regardless of the size of your wedding ceremony and reception, curate each individual element for a wow-worthy experience. Many overlooked details — such as dinner menus and ceremony seating — can set the tone of your wedding and dramatically contribute to the overall aesthetic. Use PartySlate’s Idea Slates to save pictures of your favorite small wedding ideas and elements (and later share your slates with your wedding event planner).

At Home Wedding With Pink And Gold Reception Table Decor | PartySlate
photographer: Blink & Co. Photography

Artistic Tableware

Jupiter, FL

We are obsessed with every detail from this small wedding reception. Ornate gold charges perfectly complement the gold cutlery and votives. Pink wine glasses and champagne flutes go hand-in-hand with the luxe linen. We also love how each place setting features a personalized place card.

photographer: Blink & Co. Photography | planner: Fabuluxe Events | florals: Southern Floral Company | venue: private residence | catering: Cafe Chardonnay – Palm Beach Florida | ceiling & lighting: CBK Events | rentals: Atlas Event Rental | entertainment: Kenny Mondo DJs & Edwin McCain

Bright White Wedding at the Four Seasons Westlake Village in Westlake Village, CA | PartySlate
photo courtesy of: XO Bloom

Laser-Cut Wedding Bar

Westlake Village, CA

While it’s impossible to pick a favorite detail from this intimate wedding, we are simply adore this laser-cut bar. Mirrored paneling creates whimsical optical illusions, while circular shelving evokes the floral-filled wedding reception tables.

photos courtesy of & florals: XO Bloom | venue: Four Seasons Westlake Village

Modern Bohemian Wedding at The Ponde Estate
photographer: Stetten Wilson

Metallic Menus

Palm Springs, CA

Every detail from this small, intimate wedding was perfectly curated. We love how metallic-copper menus matched the metallic-copper ceremony seating. Other fabulous elements from this chic celebration included funky-purple glassware and elaborate pampas-grass centerpieces. 

photographer: Stetten Wilson | planner & stylist: Stylish Details | florals: Little Hill Floral Designs | design, décor, & floral: Archive Rentals | venue: The Pond Estate | paper goods: Eclaire Paperie

Rooftop Rose Garden Wedding in Midtown Manhattan | PartySlate
photographer: Mango Studios

Love in Full Bloom

New York, NY

White ceremony seating becomes the perfect blank canvas for painted florals. A simple boxwood backdrop (with minimal floral décor) allows these unique wedding chairs to steal the spotlight — and our hearts.

 photographer: Mango Studios | design & coordination: TINSEL Gold Label Weddings & Events | venue: The NoMad Hotel | rentals: Luxe Event Rentals & Patina Rentals | videographer: NST Pictures | band: Nightingale Jazz Band | cake: Lael Cakes

With a smaller guest list, a top-notch wedding caterer can go above and beyond to create custom menus and creative wine pairings.”

8. Make it a Meal to Remember

You see, nothing brings people together like an intimate dining experience. Gather your guests around the table for a delicious meal (followed by dessert, of course). Many couples choose to forgo some of the more traditional large-scale wedding experiences, such as dancing or a pre-dinner cocktail hour. This leaves more time for a relaxed sit-down dinner and plenty of intimate conversation. PartySlate can connect you with top wedding caterers in your city. You can also find inspiration for your wedding menu by browsing through thousands of photos of food and drink ideas.

Wedding Reception Bite Size Appetizers in Sonoma, California | PartySlate
photographer: Suzanne Karp Photography

Passed Plates

Sonoma, CA

Nothing whets the appetite like mouth-watering appetizers. We love how this small, intimate wedding reception featured appetizers that matched the couple’s warm and bright wedding color palette. 

photographer: Suzanne Karp Photography | planner: CC Events | venue: Suite D | caterer: the girl & the fig CATERS!


Catering Food Prepping For A Quaint Apartment Wedding in New York | PartySlate
photographer: Darrington Photography

Delectable Dinners

New York, NY

This exquisite wedding menu indulged all five senses (especially taste). Guests enjoyed both savory and sweet dishes — not to mention, a chic neutral tablescape and mod-industrial chandeliers.

photographer: Darrington Photography | florals: Bastille Flowers & Events | venue: private residence | caterer: Nuhma NYC | entertainment: Alexandra & Ensembles

Lake House Micro Wedding at a Private Residence in Bridgman, MI | PartySlate
photographer: Carasco Photography

Champagne Toasts

Bridgman, MI

According to Mark Twain, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” We especially adore how this intimate wedding used florals froze into ice cubes to luxuriously keep our favorite beverage at the perfect temperature.

photographer: Carasco Photography | venue: private residence

Intimate Chic Wedding in Vail, Colorado | PartySlate
photographer: Erin Witt Photography

After-Dinner Delicacies

Vail, CO

The dining experience doesn’t have to end with cake and coffee. We love how this couple went the extra mile and offered individually-packaged cigars. “Let the good times roll,” indeed. 

photographer: Erin Witt Photography | planner: KATE & COMPANY | florals: Vintage Magnolia | venue: Edin roc on Gore Creek | catering: 23 City Blocks Catering | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | rentals: Alpine Rentals | invitations: Cheree Berry Paper

Save your favorite wedding venues, palettes, florals, and more with PartySlate’s Idea Slates.

9. Go Big on Creativity With These Small Wedding Ideas

In case you may be wondering, a small wedding can still be big on creativity. A smaller guest list allows you to use your budget in unexpected ways. Instead of opting for a spacious venue and dinner for two-hundred guests, you can focus on dazzling design elements and unique experiences. From hot-air balloon rides to lavish floral arrangements, there’s no limit to the imagination.

Bride And Groom Stand For Photo-Op Near Hot Air Ballon At Vineyard Wedding in Napa Valley, California | PartySlate
photographer: Viera Photography

Up, Up, & Away

Napa, CA

After an intimate wedding ceremony, this couple enjoyed a hot air balloon ride above the clouds. We adore how the wedding party sported colorful umbrellas that matched the photo-worthy hot air balloon. 

photographer: Viera Photography | planner: Little Blue Box Weddings | h/m artist: Design Her Image | venues: Beau Wine Tours & Andaz Hotel | videographer: Baby Blue Film | rentals: Encore Events Rentals | entertainment: Accordia Music | transportation: Beau Wine Tours | cake: Perfect Endings

Blush Gold Glam Micro Wedding With Floral Table Run | PartySlate
photographer: Klaire Dixius

Floral Cascade

Laurel, MD

This stunning micro wedding gave new meaning to the words “table runner.” We love how the unique floral garland extends beyond the gold-mirrored table. Other beautiful details from this wedding tablescape include gold charger plates and personalized seating cards. 

photographer: Klaire Dixius | planner: Events by Yosira | floral design: BCG Events | caterer: Chops By Rera

Elegant Outdoor Wedding at Chateau de Courtomer in Courtomer, France | PartySlate
photographer: Amy Mulder Photography

Ethereal Satin

Courtomer, France

Layers of draped satin make this stately manor even more beautiful — and resulted in one of the most creative wedding backdrops that we’ve seen. Tablescapes of lavish florals and tapered candles also add to the romantic vibe of this small, intimate wedding.

photographer: Amy Mulder Photography | design: Oleander Curated | florals: Curated Entertainment | venue: Chateau de Courtomer | paper goods: Design House of Moira | linen: Nuage Designs | hair & makeup: Natalia Issa | wardrobe styling & flatlay design: Janne Brown Design Co

Intimate Garden Reception | PartySlate
photographer: Eri Reyna Photography

Jim Beam With Garden Dreams

Houston, TX

This transparent bar set-up might be the terrarium of our dreams. Twinkling lights, a crowd-pleasing band, and gorgeous floral arrangements made this small wedding feel like a fairytale come true.

photographer: Eri Reyna Photography | planner: Belle Of The Ball | florals: Flora & Eventi | venue: The Grove Houston | entertainment: Gulf Coast Entertainment | linen: House of Hough | tent: Aztec Events & Tents | lighting: Brightstar Productions

Bright White Floral Wedding at Eau Palm Beach in Palm Beach, FL | PartySlate
photographer: Erika Delgado

Chandeliers in Blooms

Palm Beach, FL

Turn a traditional chandelier into a unique ceiling installation with the addition of wisteria blooms. Moreover, rose centerpieces and twinkling votive candles add to the romantic vibe of this elegant event space.

photographer: Erika Delgado | floral: Xquisite Events | venue: Eau Palm Beach

Heirloom Opulence at El Chorro in Paradise Valley, Arizona | PartySlate
photographer: Alisha Crossley Photography

3D Canvas Art

Scottsdale, AZ

Guests looking for their table assignments were happily greeted by this gorgeous 3D seating chart. Cascades of wisteria mirror the abundant garden blooms at this intimate wedding reception.

photographer: Alisha Crossley Photography | planner & design: Mandy Marie Creative | florals: Avant-Garde Floral Studio | venue: El Chorro | rentals: Bright Event Rentals | stationery & paper: They Call Me Spindles | tabletop: Bright Event Rentals | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | ribbon: Tono & Co | cake: MaeFlour Cakes | car: Roscoe & Louie

RELATED: 13 Wedding Balloon Décor Ideas

10. Get Your Groove On With These Small Wedding Ideas

You don’t need hundreds of guests for a lively celebration. Even intimate weddings can be dynamic events with show-stopping entertainment. You can opt for something extremely personal — like inviting any talented friends or family members to perform a song. You can also put in a dance floor and hire a live band. There are no set rules when it comes to planning your small wedding. Remember: The goal is to create a meaningful (and fun) celebration for you and partner.  

Rustic Lakeside Wedding at Rosewood Farms in Elkton, MD | PartySlate
photographer: Once Like A Spark Photography

A Solo Guitarist

Elkton, MD

This intimate lakeside wedding was full of charming details, including heartwarming ceremonial music by a solo guitarist. Of course, the music continued into the night with a lively dance party of close friends and family.

photographer: Once Like A Spark Photography | venue: Rosewood Farms | entertainment: Ivy Hill Entertainment

Modern Romantic Wedding at the University Club of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, WI | PartySlate
photographer: Alaura Photography

A Chorus Line

Milwaukee, WI

This wedding may have been small, but every element was grand and gorgeous. Traditional chorus line dancers, along with seven other specialty-entertainment acts, captivated guests. We also can’t stop thinking about the dazzling tablescapes set beneath arches of greenery and white blooms.  

photographer: Alaura Photography | planner, design, floral, & production: Bliss Events Chicago | venue: University Club of Milwaukee | entertainment: Élan Artists | videography: Wholehearted Wedding Film Co.

Perfectly Intimate, Romantic, and Regal Wedding at The Breakers Palm Beach | PartySlate
photographer: Muñoz Photography

A Personalized Performance

Palm Beach, FL

This intimate wedding boasted a world-renowned entertainment company as well as a heartwarming musical performance from the bride’s two sons. Other fabulous details from this stunning event included luxe floral arrangements and monogrammed ice sculptures.

photographer: Muñoz Photography | planner: YSD Events | décor: Breakers wedding | venue: The Breakers Palm Beach | entertainment: EastCoast Entertainment & Lokee entertainment | stationery: The Windmill Paper Boutique

Lively Intimate Wedding at Marigny Opera House in New Orleans, LA | PartySlate
photographer: Lance Nicoll

Second Line Parade

New Orleans, LA

New Orleans comes with a set of its own unique traditions. We love how a small wedding didn’t stop this couple from partaking in a second line parade. The bride and groom also enjoyed a live band and dynamic lighting installations for a night of non-stop entertainment.

photographer: Lance Nicoll | wedding manager: Amanda Price Events | florals: Antigua Floral | venue: Marigny Opera House | rentals: Distressed Rentals | catering: Black Pearl Catering Co. | lighting: Firefly Ambiance | entertainment: Vegas Cola | signage & paper: InvitoBella

Intimate, Ethereal Miami Wedding | PartySlate
photographer: Evan Rich Photography

A High-Energy Band

Miami Beach, FL

This small wedding took entertainment to new heights. An Italian opera and string trio performed the bride’s favorite song during her walk down the aisle. The reception kept the entertainment going with a vibrant dance party and a dynamic performance by a live cover band.

photographer: Evan Rich Photography | day-of-coordinator: Maureen C Weddings | florals: Julia Rohde Designs | venue: The Ancient Spanish Monastery | videographer: Motive Cinema | entertainment: Bay Kings Band & Master Musicians | cake: Earth and Sugar | caterer: Alexander Event | tablescape: Different Look | rentals: My Vintage Rental Boutique | flower wall: Miami Flower Walls | photo booth: Dipp Photobooth | lighting: Event Factor | stationery: I Can Do That Design | calligrapher: Katherine Duncan | hair & makeup: Ivy Sims

Lively Wedding at The Roanoke in Chicago, IL | PartySlate
photographer: Colin Lyons Wedding Photography

Music on the Dance Floor

Chicago, IL 


An intimate wedding (set at a premier restaurant) can still wow with lively entertainment. We love how this small wedding boasted a dynamic brass band and “out-of-the-box” thinking. Instead of performing on an elevated stage, the band performed right on the dance floor — next to the bride, groom, and guests. Suffice it to say, everyone had a great time — including the band.

photographer: Colin Lyons Wedding Photography | venue: The Roanoke

RELATED: Make Your Wedding Special Through Entertainment

11. Make Time For Meaningful Moments With These Small Wedding Ideas

There’s no doubt about it: Large-scale weddings often require a rigid schedule of meticulously-planned moments. In between the traditional activities — first dance, champagne toasts, reception dinner — the couple often goes from table to table to greet and thank their guests. Small weddings allow for more flexibility and a relaxed schedule. Therefore, intimate weddings are the perfect opportunity to create meaningful moments — whether they are traditional or more out-of-the-box wedding experiences. 

Gorgeous Intimate Wedding at HALL Arts Hotel in Dallas
photographer: Pharris Photography

Ribbon-Wand Send Off

Dallas, TX

Mark the end of your celebration with a significant moment like a ribbon or sparkler send off. We love how this couple took a moment to pause and take it all in (with a kiss) before taking the next step into their new life together.

photographer & videographer: Pharris Photography | venue: HALL Arts Hotel | bakery: Fancy Cakes by Lauren

Intimate Wedding in Paris, France
photo courtesy of: Wedding Story Writer

A Priceless Heirloom

Paris, France

Intimate weddings are full of personal details and moments. We love how this couple chose to immortalize their vows into a work of art. Best of all, the vow books matched the pink bouquet and boutonniere. 

photos courtesy of, invitations, & print: Wedding Story Writer

Lovely Intimate Wedding at Francesca’s Famiglia
photographer: Joseph Kang Photography

“I Spy” a Dream Wedding

Barrington, IL

Even a professional photographer can use a little help from the guests. This couple challenged their guests to capture particular moments. Suffice it to say, everyone felt engaged and connected to those around them.

photographer: Joseph Kang Photography | planner: Christina Currie Events, Inc. | florals: Barrington Flower Shop | venue: Francesca’s Famiglia | rentals: Marquee Event Rentals Chicago | bakery: Touch of Sweets Bakery and Cafe | stationery: Charmant Invitations

Matt and Todd's Carmel Valley Garden Wedding
photographer: Christina McNeill Photography

A Precious Moment Alone

Carmel Valley, CA

Don’t forget to take a moment to sneak off — just the two of you — and have some fun. At this intimate gathering, guests took their cues from the happy couple, so when a surprise thunderstorm came through, they kicked off their shoes and headed outside the tent for a wild dance party in the rain.

photographer: Christina McNeill Photography | planner: Coastside Couture | florals: Seascape Flowers | venue: Carmel Valley Ranch | rentals: Zephyr Tents

Whether you opt to exchange vows on a yacht (with the entire city as your backdrop) or go for a hot air balloon ride above the clouds, there’s plenty of ways you can make your intimate wedding an unforgettable affair. “

12. Spend Extra Time With Your Photographer

Don’t forget: Hire a talented wedding photographer to capture the heartfelt moments of your intimate wedding ceremony and reception. A more flexible time schedule means that you can spend extra time with your photographer. Head out and visit some of your favorite spots in the city; or stop for a quick picnic in the park. Just make sure to invite your photographer along so you can cherish your photos for years to come.  

Romantic Micro Wedding at Gibsons Italia in Chicago, IL | PartySlate
photographer: Bob & Dawn Davis Photography & Design

A Day in the City

Chicago, IL

This couple hit the town (or should we say, major metropolis?) right before their wedding ceremony. Their talented photographers took them to the heart of Chicago’s financial district and captured magnificent shots with the Willis Tower and 120 South Lasalle building in the backdrop. 

photographer: Bob & Dawn Davis Photography & Design | planner: Great Events | florals: Flowers for Dreams | venues: Gibsons Italia & The Kimpton Gray Hotel | entertainment: Rendezvous Music | video: Loose Tie Productions | makeup: Shannon O’Brien | hair: Christin Stevens

Rustic Chic Intimate Wedding
photographer: Ben Q. Photography

Pastoral Bliss

Kaufman, TX

After a simple, rustic-chic wedding ceremony, this happy couple escaped for a brief interlude in the open fields. Their photographer, of course, stuck around to capture an outfit change and the heartfelt grand exit.

photographer: Ben Q. Photography | planner: Each & Every Detail | florals: Market Street | venue: The Emerson

Love is Love in the Time of Corona
photographer: Beller-Jones

On a Path Close to Home

Chicago, IL

There’s no need to wander too far from home — as long as you have your photographer close at hand. Before exchanging vows on their front porch, this beautiful couple took a loving stroll through their surrounding property.

photographer: Beller-Jones | florals: Fleur Inc | venue: private residence

Intimate Wedding Shoot at Chateau de Courtomer in Courtomer, France
photographer: Amy Mulder Photography

The Perfect Picnic

Courtomer, France

We love how this talented photographer captured this romantic post-wedding picnic. We would happily spend a few hours relaxing with delicious food, artisan wine, and the love of our lives.

photography: Amy Mulder Photography | design & florals: Oleander Curated | venue: Chateau de Courtomer | hair & makeup: Natalia Issa

Dreamy Intimate Wedding
photographer: Amanda Hein Photography

Whimsical Moments

Chicago, IL

Cherish every moment of your wedding day by taking time to have some playful fun. We love how this bride takes a moment to show off her ethereal wedding dress (and white balloon) in front of a dramatic, floor-to-ceiling window.

photographer: Amanda Hein Photography | event design & florals: A Perfect Event | venue: DL Loft

See a small wedding idea you love? Find a talented team of event professionals or the perfect venue on PartySlate to help bring your favorite small wedding ideas to life. You can also browse real weddings, both intimate and large-scale, for more event inspiration.

But wait, there’s more: Don’t forget to use Idea Slates to save your favorite wedding photos and ideas. Share them with your wedding planner, floral and décor team, and other vendors when creating your wedding vision board.