Terrific Small Wedding Venues for Your Special Celebration
Do you feel as though you would be entirely overwhelmed by hundreds of guests? If you do, you’re not alone.
In fact, you may be wondering how to cut down your guest list to make it more manageable for you and your preferences.
That means that your perfect wedding would only actually include your dearest friends and family for a maximum of maybe 20 or so people.
Sounds heavenly, no?
That doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the wedding festivities. Here are some tips on how to keep your wedding cozy along with a list of small wedding venues that you can check.
How to Keep Your Guest List Short
Small wedding venues exist to accommodate your smaller, more intimate weddings. The key is that a truly small wedding is going to have a short list of people that you actually want to invite.
If you’re not sure how to cut down your list, there’s a quick way to pare it down to size. Look at the people you’ve talked to most on your phone over the past few months. Those are the people that you want to invite. No more, no less.
Of course, if you’re on the go constantly and talk to people all the time, that might be easier said than done. Another route to take would be to ask yourself if you’d feel comfortable having this person over in your home for a dinner guest or if you’d be okay spending an entire weekend with these people.
If you answer yourself honestly, you’ll know pretty quick if you’re going to feel like they need to be part of your guest list. When you can’t answer yourself in a way that lets you know you’re entirely comfortable around these people, they don’t need to be at your wedding, either.
Selecting the Venue
Small wedding venues are going to be found in alternative locations and are going to be mostly non-traditional places. You’re not likely going to go and book a garden wedding venue or a dance hall if you’re celebrating with a couple dozen people because it wouldn’t make sense.
Instead, you would need to look at places like restaurants or even private homes that are willing to open their doors to your smaller event.
Restaurants are excellent choices because they have everything you might need in one place, minus a dance floor. Not having one of those might not even be an issue for you.
Private homes that are located in picturesque areas may also be willing to allow you on their grounds if you ask them. It would be a pretty neat venue to have your wedding, and it would certainly be unique if you got permission someplace that most people can’t go.
On the other hand, if you’ve been dreaming of having your wedding in a ballroom since you were twelve years old and you want that more than anything, then you’re going to have to get creative.
According to one wedding designer, it’s not about the space, but rather how you use it. You can use the extra space to add unique touches like lounges or a creative space like a candy bar.
Using a more extensive space may also mean using the area differently than weddings normally would. That means using the single large space for the ceremony on one side and the reception on the other side. You can do that with a smaller guest list because you have space. It’s more cost-efficient that way, too.
When you start looking for the right venue for your wedding, you’re going to have to remember the number of guests you’re expecting. Double check the space to make sure it’s yours for your night, too.
It’s essential to verify the space with wherever you’re having your wedding or reception because it is not uncommon for venues to have back to back weddings, especially when there is a smaller wedding. It’s from a business perspective for them, but if you talk to them ahead of time, you can find out whether or not it’s a possibility for what you’re looking for.
Make a List of What You Actually Need
When you have a smaller guest list, you’re going to have a different number of items that you’ll need for your celebration. As an example, you may not need two dozen centerpieces or lights strung up above you.
Instead, your list might only include things like food, cake, staffing, rental information, and maybe décor depending on the venue.
Even entertainment is optional depending on what you’re planning for your reception because if you’re having dinner at a restaurant, you’re probably not going to need to book a DJ.
One thing you won’t want to skip is a timeline so you can give yourself deadlines of what to expect moving forward. This will tell you and your guests what the expectations are ahead of time. A timeline is crucial for any wedding regardless of size because so much depends on having enough time to get things done.
You may want to skip other niceties, too, like photo booths or printed programs. There’s simply no need for a wedding that is hosting only your closest friends. They’re there because they see you frequently enough that they don’t need to be reminded that you’ve gotten married.
If you really want to make an impression that is far more personal, you may even consider skipping having formal invitations printed. It’s not as crazy as it seems. A phone call or a hand-written invitation means more than a printed invite that is typically sent out to masses of people. Calling or writing keeps the intimate feeling of a smaller wedding.
Plan Your Budget
It sounds like an obvious step in planning any wedding, but there is more room when you’re planning a smaller wedding.
In fact, you can splurge on things like the meal that is served to your guests. You can actually take the money you would typically spend on a larger wedding and instead use it to treat your guests to a truly luxurious meal complete with wine and other spirits.
Think about the details that will matter to you, like getting a photographer that knows how to capture the essence of a smaller wedding. That means that they will be getting the genuine feelings and emotions that come from being with a smaller group without interfering with the overall flow of the evening.
Other splurges can include personal pieces like the bridal bouquet. If you’ve always imagined your bouquet to look a certain way, then take the extra money that you may have and get yourself the bouquet you’ve always wanted.
Selecting Small Wedding Venues
Bed and Breakfasts
There are bed and breakfast venues across the country, not to mention the rest of the world. They’re great for hosting a small wedding. If you happen to schedule your wedding around a holiday like Christmas, chances are that you won’t have to spring for décor, either, because they’ll decorate the place anyway.
Public parks are meant for public use. There are plenty of places that have beautiful settings like waterfalls or lakes that would be perfect as a backdrop to your wedding. You may have to do a little more on your own like getting chairs out there for your guests to sit while the ceremony is performed. Even still, you can end up doing the entire ceremony for free, not including the cost of the person officiating the ceremony, and you end up with a dreamy backdrop in the process.
Art galleries are wonderful choices for those of you that like the arts. Galleries don’t typically host weddings or receptions, but they may be willing to do so if you have a small gathering that only includes a couple dozen people. Depending on what you’re looking for, they may also charge you minimal fees as long as they know what to expect and you stick to your agreement with them.
Museums operate much the same way that art galleries do. There are plenty of them, too, that are well-acquainted with private affairs like a wedding. When you start asking, you might find that the person you talk to may also be familiar with booking corporate dinners and other events on the museum grounds. They might even have a vendor list for you to work with that is less expensive than what you would otherwise be looking for, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Don’t count small towns out. In the town of Newnan, Georgia, there is a beautiful garden wedding venue, but it is meant for small ceremonies and their guests. It will be a fraction of the price of a larger venue that provides a similar background in a larger city. Exploring the small towns nearby is a great way to save on costs and also ensure that you find a location that works well for a smaller amount of guests.
Something else that pops up every now and then is outdoor retreats or resorts. You may find that there is one nearby that will accommodate a smaller wedding and its reception. As a bonus, you can get married with a gorgeous natural backdrop behind you if there also happens to be beautiful acreage or river running through the property.
If you’ve always imagined the mountains as your backdrop for your wedding, you would be amazed at the opportunities there are to have a wedding like that. As an example, if you were to go out to Wyoming, there are so many wide open spaces available near the Grand Tetons, that you could easily have them in your backdrop while a ceremony is performed. You could then spend the rest of the day at a mountain retreat with your friends and family if you so chose to do so.
Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have a family that owns a sprawling piece of property, and all you need are tables to keep it small and intimate. If that’s the case, then your family’s home could be the perfect venue. It has a lot of perks, too, because you know you could be completely comfortable, as can your guests.
A Few Final Words on Small Wedding Venues
There are plenty of places that smaller wedding parties can go where large weddings simply can’t. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
If you wanted to get married at a movie theater because that’s where you and your fiancé met, then ask.
The worst anyone can ever tell you is no.
And if you get a yes, you may end up with the most fantastic experience that is better than you could have hoped for.