blog navigation

Top 10 Small Wedding Ideas for Your Intimate Day

Have you felt lost when it comes to thinking of unique ideas to incorporate on your wedding day? Maybe all that you are finding in search results look like, give personalized guest gifts, or send elaborate invitations. In my opinion, there’s so much more that will inspire you to think outside of the box! This is one of the most special days of your lives, after all, and it deserves to be celebrated as such! We’re going to dive into the top 10 small wedding ideas that will help make your wedding day the most special, intimate celebration.


Why Have a Small Wedding?

More so now than ever before, small, intimate weddings are becoming more common. Many couples feel that eloping or having a small wedding is more of a “less-than” option compared to a big traditional wedding, but it truly doesn’t have to be! You get to personalize the day completely to who you two are and what you love to do most together.

Another benefit of a small wedding is that you get to have the most important people by your side as your awaited union becomes a reality. This day is all about being reflective of who you are together, so you can choose to include as many traditional or non-traditional ideas as you’d like. The wedding industry has turned weddings into such a production-based event centered around a really intimate commitment and it truly doesn’t have to be that way!

By choosing to have a small wedding, you won’t have to skimp on the details due to budget or time constraints. This means your wedding may actually turn out like that secret Pinterest board you’ve been obsessing over since before you got engaged. (I see you, I did it too.) If you’ve been planning for even a moment, you know that guest count is directly correlated with the cost of your entire wedding. Having more guests = having less of a budget for other things. Having fewer guests = having a really meaningful time with each person there to celebrate you and you can invest in the things that matter most!

The Top 10 Small Wedding Ideas

1. Have a destination wedding ceremony and small reception with your guests!

This option is great if you want the best of both worlds – your most favorite people there to witness your union and an epic location as the backdrop. For the couple who wants some of the benefits of eloping, but at the same time doesn’t want to leave out the most important people, this idea is for you! You can always hold a larger reception at a later date with all of your friends you want to share some dances with.

2. Plan quality time events around the wedding for your family and closest friends to take part in!

You could have an entire wedding weekend! If you choose to make it a destination wedding, you could find the best local brunch joints, go on the most beautiful hikes with both families, go to a local winery, or spend quality time at a relaxing resort closeby. If it’s a local wedding weekend, consider going to the places that reflect the two of you and your relationship most. It can mean a lot for both sides of the family to get to know each other even more.

3. Imagine your ceremony and a candlelit reception as a beautiful backyard wedding.

Peerspace and Airbnb are the top 2 places I have found amazing areas to hold an intimate backyard wedding and reception! The possibilities are endless. You could even choose a family members backyard to make it even more personal and intimate.

4. If you love eating new food together, consider having a plated five-course meal.

When I’m getting to know my couples, I always ask what they enjoy doing most together. 9 times out of 10, each couple says they just love eating food, trying new things, and going on dates to new restaurants. If this sounds like you and your lover, consider going all out for the reception meal. Because you’re choosing to have a smaller guest list, you can invest in a nicer meal for everyone to enjoy around the table while sharing your most embarrassing memories.

5. Go big or go home with your wedding decor.

Your decor can be as huge and as magical as you’ve envisioned. Because you have a lower guest count, you can spend money in other ways (like your decorations) to truly go all out and represent that Pinterest board we talked about! If you’re wanting to have more of a family-style reception table, an elaborate centerpiece can be a gorgeous addition.

6. Take time privately at some point in the day to enjoy the company of your new spouse after you have said I do!

Many times, you can dedicate a few moments during golden hour and cocktail hour to snap some photos, and then afterward, I highly recommend taking a moment to yourself to let it sink in that you’re married! You can also take this time to share a private meal or snack with each other before you get back to hanging out with your guests.

Cocktail area at a wedding venue in Chattanooga, TN.

7. Have some fun games planned during cocktail hour and the reception.

Consider having corn hole, jenga, or any other fun board games set up for guests to play! You can also play games to challenge each side of the family to know more about your relationship!

8. Include a mobile bar and dance floor to celebrate to the max!

Just because you’re having an intimate wedding, that doesn’t mean you can’t throw a big dance party to celebrate one of the most exciting days ever! This is your day! For the best mobile bars in Colorado, check out La Piccolina, Cocktail Caravan, Mountain Sips Mobile Bar, and The Wandering Wagon!

9. Incorporate family heirlooms at your small wedding reception!

One example of this could be incorporating your family’s china or vintage place settings to be your place settings for the reception table!

10. For dessert, roast marshmallows and have some smores instead of a cake!

I don’t know about you, but I always loved sitting around a campfire with my family and roasting marshmallows. The debate about whether or not you burn the marshmallows will definitely come up… so do you burn marshmallows or get them perfectly golden?


Still Need More Small Wedding Ideas?

I have written a blog post containing 20+ elopement activity ideas that you may also want to incorporate on your intimate wedding day. I will link it below! Now that you’re inspired to the max, let’s get to planning and create a deeply meaningful experience for you and your lover!

Additional Activity Ideas: Elopement Ideas For Your Elopement Timeline

Learn more about having Claire as your photographer: Wedding Packages + Elopement Packages

Learn more about Claire: About



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Ali Hebert says:

    I love this, Claire! Beautifully and thoughtfully written and your images are incredible.

  2. Adriana says:

    I LOVE the idea of including games on your wedding day, especially because you get to spend quality time with your guests, I love this post!

  3. Lauren says:

    I love these ideas, you’ve given couples such a gold mine of resources and inspiration! My fav is probably the smores by the fire idea – so genius!!

  4. Carissa says:

    Oh my gosh I love all of these so much! Definitely remembering the Smores idea for my intimate wedding one day 😉

  5. David Tam says:

    Small intimate weddings are so great and you’ve giving some wonderful tips and ideas on how to make it extra special! I love the suggestion of just going HAM on your wedding meal!!!

  6. Twinkle says:

    Love all these ideas, especially the mobile bar! And gorgeous pictures!

  7. Lucy says:

    These are such great tips! There are so many opportunities to make an intimate wedding AMAZING for you AND your guests! I’m sure your couples will get a lot out of this. 🙂

  8. Traci says:

    Love these ideas and images to go with it!

  9. Van Gachnang says:

    Ohhhhh this is an amazing blog. It’s such a helpful resource for your clients and helps folks who have just started planning really get an idea for what they want to do! Awesome blog post.

    • Claire Hunt says:

      Thank you so much, Van! I’m truly here to help with small wedding ideas for all couples because the day should really reflect who they are! I greatly appreciate your kind words!

  10. […] Pro-tip for selecting your venue: One really fun reception idea is to have your guests roast marshmallows, and they can do that with the fireplace in this courtyard! For more small wedding ideas to make your day unique and intimate, check out this blog I wrote here. […]