11 Creative Small Wedding Ideas

December 17, 2022

Small weddings are special because they remove so much of the pressure to follow traditions that don’t work for you. You can hone in on what matters to you and the experience you want to create. The truth of your story – the big moments and all the beautiful in-betweens – takes center stage. These small wedding ideas will help you create an aesthetic and connection-filled celebration.

A couple stands in a doorway casting shadows on a tiled wedding venue floor.

11 Creative Small Wedding Ideas

1.Find a venue that includes some essentials.

Whether you have 75 guests or five of your closest people with you on your wedding day, you’ll need a few things to make everyone comfortable. You can cut back on the number of rentals by opting for a venue that can provide things like tables and chairs. It’s even better if they can provide linens and glassware. Typically, venues who supply these things use a neutral or similarly easy-to-work-with color palette that shouldn’t get in the way of your wedding styling.

Two restaurant tables are set for a small wedding reception.
Glassware casts shadows over a table decorated with small wedding ideas, including personalize menus on the plates.
Multicolored chairs line tables set for a rooftop wedding.

2. Have all your wedding activities in one place.

You have more time to connect with your partner when you’re not running from one location to the next all day. The less time in transit, the better. One of my favorite small wedding ideas is to get ready, hold your ceremony, and have your reception all in one place. It’s so much more relaxing to move from one room to another instead of hiking it across town for cocktail hour.

A woman puts on a wedding dress in front of a floor length mirror in Vaux Studio.
A bride looks in a mirror on her way down a black and white staircase.
A couple in wedding attire walks towards their Philadelphia elopement in a historic neighborhood.

3. Pick the small wedding venue that’s right for your celebration.

Having a small wedding in a large venue can make it feel cavernous. Look for a venue that’s just the right size for your guest count. If you know what type of ambiance you want to create, also consider how the venue will help you achieve that. A restaurant like Suraya could be perfect for a moody, candlelit dinner, while a more spacious venue like Terrain has space for whimsical decor. If you haven’t picked your venue yet, check out this roundup of small wedding venues in Philadelphia.

A green garland wraps around a white wedding arch at Vaux Studio.
A couple stands in front of seated guests for their rooftop wedding ceremony.
Wedding guests enter a Terrain wedding reception decorated with pink floral installations.

4. Opt for sustainable jewelry.

When your guest count is smaller, you have more head space to spare for other details. Why not choose sustainable wedding rings? You could go the vintage route or buy a new piece from one of the dozense of jewelers who specialize in lab-grown and ethically-sourced gems and metals. Alternative stones are always a great way to put a more personal touch on your wedding ring too.

A bouquet sits on a reception table in a dark wedding venue.

5. Invest in florals that make a statement.

If you love flowers, now is the time to go big. Wedding florals can do so much to set the tone for a wedding. It can help you define your wedding’s style and create a cohesive experience throughout your venue. For ideas on styles of wedding florals, head to this blog post

A couple stands under a floral arch in a courtyard wedding venue.
Wedding flowers decorate a cake and a mantle at a Philadelphia restaurant.
Guests eat salad at a candlelit wedding reception.

6. Treat yourself to some great food.

As small wedding ideas go, this one is pretty universally agreed upon. Nothing makes a gathering feel special like decadent food. The right caterer can provide an elevated dining experience that still feels approachable to all of your guests. Meals are an important part of a wedding reception because it gives people time to be present and enjoy a full sensory experience.

Servers carry cocktails and appetizers through a wedding reception.
Guests share plates of food at a small wedding reception.
A bride reaches for a dip at a Philadelphia wedding reception.
A bride and groom kiss beside a wedding cake decorated with flowers.

7. Make it easy for your guests to connect.

Seated dinners also give guests time to connect with each other. At a small wedding, they don’t just catch glimpses of each other across the room. They can sit down and catch up over a cocktail. Small weddings give you a chance to do this with your guests as well. You actually get to speak with all of your people on your wedding day and have more meaningful interactions with them. 

A couple listens to toasts at their rehearsal dinner.
Wedding guests sit at dining tables in a room filled with hanging plants.
Older family members sit at a reception table in conversation.
Two women smile at a baby at a wedding reception.

8. Choose the right entertainment.

If you want to have a dance party with your favorite DJ, that’s great. That’s not the experience everyone wants to curate, though. Small wedding ideas can include more mellow music like an acoustic singer or string quartet. Depending on your venue, you could bring in lawn games, and give your guests another way to connect. Tarot readers have even become more popular at wedding receptions. 

A couple kisses while their wedding guests dance outside.
A bride and groom kiss during a sparkler exit at Terrain.

9. Don’t overload your timeline.

You might be tempted to put a lot on your wedding timeline. Just because you have fewer guests doesn’t mean you should try to fit a bunch of formal events into your day. The best small wedding ideas are ones that intentionally bring people together and leave breathing room for the in-between moments. After all, those laughs and gestures are the ones that define your relationships long after the wedding is over.

A bride and groom walk through their wedding reception decorated with pink florals.

10. Get film wedding photography.

Small weddings create space for intentional styling and emotional moments. Film wedding photography is perfect for capturing those honest exchanges and stunning details with warmth and nostalgia.

A bride and groom kiss on a Philadelphia rooftop wedding venue.
A bride and groom cut a wedding cake under a custom neon light.

11. Choose Super 8 videography.

One of the small wedding ideas that’s gaining more popularity is Super 8. Super 8 is a vintage filmmaking tool that was first developed in the 1960s. Like film photography, it’s nostalgic and moving. It’s also a unique take on wedding videography. Learn more about Super 8 here.

Are you interested in having me photograph your small wedding? I’d love to document your day with creative, modern images. Get in touch!