I've been thinking about small wedding ideas for those looking for something a little bit different. Most weddings you see these days are quite large with massive budgets to match, but that's not to everyone's taste. Small is beautiful too and sometimes even more memorable. A little intimacy goes a long way and can make a great soiree.
Having researched this article, it's actually quite hard to find licensed wedding venues besides your local registry office that are suitable for less than 60 guests. Most venues cater for upwards of 100+ guests and since we're discussing small wedding ideas, that doesn't really fit.
There are far too many wedding venues about that are all about big numbers and usual wedding chintz, which is not for everyone by any means. Working around the difficulties of large venue numbers, minimum guests or minimum spends can be a nightmare.
I remember my friends having the ritual wedding venue search of days of trudging around venues with the usual blurb from the in-house planners. Lucky for me I had my own reception in my in-laws back garden. It was a perfect retreat for our simple wedding. Finding that ideal venue is never easy.
A garden reception can be a great alternative to a larger venue. It's intimate, quiet and if the garden is well tended can be a beautiful setting for a wedding reception. There's also nothing quite like sipping champagne in the garden on a balmy summer evening (not something I usually do, but I do have aspirations).
A word of advice, if thinking of a small garden wedding, make sure you have somewhere to go if it's going to rain: a marquee, reception room or any kind of cover. As romantic as a garden reception seems, that suddenly goes out the window when it's lashing with rain and only 16 degrees outside. Oh the British summer, don't you just love it?
So where else can you enjoy a wedding reception for a small wedding? Consider bistros, restaurants, private members clubs or pubs. There are a wealth of lovely little venues that are willing to give you exclusivity and a memorable venue for your wedding reception.
Consider, for example, Bumpkin, a pub in South Kensington that offers an interesting mix of funky country style alongside locally sourced food topped off with a burlesque show (not inclusive) for small wedding receptions with up to 36 guests.
Other small wedding ideas might be a modern canape reception in a creative space such as The Creative Venue in Hammersmith. It's an airy west London loft with an outdoor area. It seats up to 45 for a sit-down dinner and if decorated well could make a inspiring venue.
Alternatively, a superb little alternative venue is the Clifton Lido in Bristol. Catering in one of their rooms is up to 30 guests and the restaurant can hold up to 80 guests. With a back drop of a glittering Victorian swimming pool, your wedding will be remembered.
The Clifton Lido, Brisol
One of the other pleasures of an intimate wedding venue is the plethora that the venue themselves can offer. From flowers to enticing wedding entertainment, they're willing to go that extra mile so that the details are just right. They're not usually 'wedding venues' and therefore they're generally willing to go out of their way to make an impact, accommodate your needs and do things a little differently.
With a small wedding, you can go that extra mile with the details. Having fewer guests, mean that you can take a step up in stationery stakes with matching motifs, themes and colour-ways through all your paper goods and decor. It also means you can spend more time with your guests and your new husband, rather than being the social butterfly most brides have to be on their wedding day.
Cutting your numbers though, doesn't necessarily mean little budgets. A small wedding can still command big bucks, where the money is spent wisely and lavishly on just a few. Everyone has a good time.