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Extraordinary Small Wedding Reception Ideas

So you're getting married and want to have a small wedding, that's great! A small wedding can be a beautiful, intimate event that is unique and personal. It's a chance to celebrate your love with...

So you're getting married and want to have a small wedding, that's great! A small wedding can be a beautiful, intimate event that is unique and personal. It's a chance to celebrate your love with less stress and more room for creativity. In this article, we will explore some extraordinary small wedding reception ideas that will make your day special and memorable.

What do you do at a small wedding reception?

Most importantly, have fun and make it memorable! Your big day is all about you and celebrating your love however you want to. Your small wedding can be as fun, clever, or unique as you want it to be. If you're unsure where to start, consult with your bridal party, family, friends, and even your wedding planner. They can provide valuable insights and help you brainstorm ideas that suit your style.

How can I make a small wedding reception fun?

Some wedding couples choose to forgo the traditional reception dance at their small wedding. Here are some cool small wedding ideas and activities for your reception:

  • Board games, like "Where's George?", "Guess Who?", or "Candyland"
  • Set up a photo booth with props and fun backdrops
  • Display an artsy centerpiece at reception tables as people mingle before dinner is served. Consider a mix of fresh flowers, candles, small succulents, and other items.
  • Cupcake tower: stand up a tall, slim stack of cupcakes with thin cardboard circles on the bottom to help keep them standing
  • Hire a string quartet, live band, or another kind of small ensemble playing for guests during dinner. If you're bold, host an open mic!
  • Allow your guests to wear (appropriate) costumes at the reception for a more laid-back vibe.

Take advantage of the smaller guest list by getting creative with your wedding theme.

With a smaller wedding reception, you'll have more room to play around with your theme and budget. Here are some great ideas:

  • For a rustic reception, try using elevated lanterns, Edison bulbs, and calligraphy escort cards. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it also gives a relaxed vibe.
  • You could also do your own thing with different colors for the centerpieces, depending on what theme is vital to you!
  • Add some entertainment, like a comedian, magician, live painter, or caricaturist.
  • Bring some of the indoors outside by using chairs or furniture from around the wedding venue (or rent them), and decorate them to match your theme!

Don't be bashful: play around with your seating arrangements!

Making an ample space feel intimate is exciting because you have the opportunity to take advantage of your guest list by creating dynamic seating, lounge areas, artistic bars and food stations, and more. Consider the following:

  • Provide plenty of group seating arrangements such as round tables and couches.
  • Create small intimate spaces by placing a few chairs around a table or couch for couples or small groups to mingle in an enclosed area.
  • Place lounge areas with sofas, chaise lounges, and low coffee tables throughout the space.
  • Consider a chef performance area table where you can sit, enjoy food and cocktails, and chat with the chef.
  • Set up small bars throughout the room so guests don't have to go far for another drink.

Giving your guests a welcome basket is one of the best and most thoughtful small wedding ideas.

A welcome basket is a nice touch for your wedding guests, and you'll have more room in your budget if you're having a small wedding. Some great items to include in your basket are a bottle of wine, cheese, crackers, a small fruit basket, tea or coffee packets. To make it even more special, add local items from your area, such as honey from the city you live in or a particular fruit jam from where you're getting married. Include a few favorite recipes for guests who might want to cook them after they return home. Incorporate items that you and your fiancé love or bring influences from your wedding location or planner. And don't forget to include table numbers on the welcome basket, so guests know which food is theirs without having to ask another guest what it's called.

Elevate your small wedding reception space with decor

Remember to design the space, not just the tables and centerpieces! Consider lights, plants, fabrics, textures, and other playful ideas. Some small wedding ideas for your reception decor include:

  • Hang up a canopy of fabric over the space for an Instagram-worthy photo op.
  • Bring in orchids and other lively plants to fill a corner of the room.
  • Create small tables that are used as decorations for larger areas within your wedding venue. Take advantage of the space by utilizing it to your fullest.
  • Have different textures on every table: textured linens, marble floors, wood chairs, etc. for an eclectic look.

The decoration ideas we've talked about are an excellent place to start, but you can run with them! The best thing you can do is brainstorm and have fun! You'll find that the more imaginative you get, the better small wedding reception you'll have.

Spoil your guests with dinner

With a smaller guest count, you can get creative with the dinner menu at your small wedding. Consider doing a small family-style meal, tapas-style, or even an intimate tasting menu for your guests to enjoy. You can also consider hiring a food truck, which is a clever way to treat your guests and add a unique touch to your reception. Alternatively, you don't have to go with the traditional wedding cake - a donut wall, sweets table, ice cream station, or a smaller wedding cake are all great options.

Consider having a destination wedding (that is also a small wedding)

Destination weddings can be a great option for a small wedding and don't have to break the bank. Many couples opt for destination weddings in places like Sonoma and Napa, where guests can easily travel from the San Francisco/Bay Area. If you're considering a destination wedding, be sure to choose a venue with experience in hosting small weddings. They can provide valuable advice and share additional small wedding ideas specific to the destination.

Small wedding ideas that are also budget-friendly

There are many amazing things you can do at a small wedding without spending a fortune. Personalized touches like custom napkins and centerpieces, photo booths & scrapbook stations, games like Horseshoes or Cornhole, and passed hors d'oeuvres can save you on your overall wedding budget. Get creative and think outside the box to create a unique and budget-friendly small wedding experience.

Ways to treat your wedding party

If you want to show appreciation to your wedding party or bridal party, you have several options. Consider providing them with small souvenirs, such as a nice pen or notebook, that they can use after the wedding. Alternatively, create an experience for them, such as spa services, a professional photoshoot, or accommodations at a fancy hotel. Another thoughtful gesture is to give each person an ornament to commemorate your wedding date that they can hang on their Christmas tree every year. There are plenty of ways to treat your wedding party that will make them feel special and appreciated.

Need more small wedding ideas? Just ask!

These small wedding ideas are just the start - there are countless possibilities to explore. Don't hesitate to reach out to our preferred wedding planners or us for more inspiration and guidance. Your intimate wedding is a chance to get creative and spoil your friends and family with entertainment, wedding favors, and a memorable celebration. Embrace the opportunity to create a unique and extraordinary small wedding reception that reflects your style and love for each other.