Small Wedding Reception Ideas You’ll Love

Tying the knot surrounded by your nearest and dearest sounds like a dream come true to a lot of couples. Creating an intimate wedding day doesn’t mean it will be any less incredible. It can actually make it even more special by keeping the guest list simple and focusing on what and who matters.

According to an intimate wedding consists of 50 – 75 guests, a small wedding is less than 50 guests and a micro wedding or “minimony” consists of 15 guests or less. 

A small guest list means you can go all out and have the best time with your closest friends and family. Our small wedding reception ideas and wedding reception entertainment ideas mean your big day is guaranteed to go off with a bang!

One of the biggest benefits of having a smaller guest list is you will reduce your budget. This means you will have more money to spend on other elements of the day including your wedding dress, catering, wedding favours and entertainment. Better yet a small wedding could also mean a destination wedding or gorgeous honeymoon destination! 

No matter what, a micro wedding means you can have an incredible day without breaking the bank.


Who To Invite To Your Wedding

Intimate Wedding Ideas

Small Wedding Ideas

Wedding Favours for Small Weddings

Small Wedding Reception Ideas

How Can I Make A Small Wedding Reception Fun?

Choosing The Right Venue

How to decide who to invite to your intimate wedding?

Often intimate weddings are up to 75 people so you won’t have to invite a distant cousin just because you attended hers! You can focus on choosing guests that you see regularly, that you feel comfortable having in your home one-on-one and those who you have close relationships with.

Only the nearest and dearest friends and family will attend your wedding which will make it extra special. This means that throughout the day you will be able to spend one-on-one time with each guest.

Intimate Wedding Ideas

Choosing a smaller wedding means you can make some lovely ideas a reality that would be unrealistic with a large wedding guest list. Here are some of our favourite ideas for your small wedding or wedding reception. 

Small Wedding Ideas

Couples often say their wedding day flew by and it can be very difficult to say hello to everyone. How fantastic would it be to spend time with each of your guests on your big day? One way you can make everyone feel special is to have the seating arrangement as one table, if your guest list is small enough this could be a single banquet table so you can see every one of your guests’ faces. 

Another benefit of opting for an intimate guest list is that you can make your special day last a little bit longer with pre-wedding events. This could be a formal private dining event the night before your wedding for everyone to come together and get to know each other or could mean the bride can celebrate with her family whilst the groom celebrates with his before everyone comes together the next day. Depending on numbers, this could even extend to a games night before the wedding or breakfast the morning after your wedding to act as a debrief and keep the exciting atmosphere going. 

During your intimate wedding ceremony, enjoy different seating arrangements. This will depend on the location or venue of your wedding ceremony but a flexible wedding venue will be able to help you achieve exactly what you’re looking for, for your big day. Experiment with horseshoe seating and have fewer rows of chairs so that each of your guests feels special and part of your day. 

Small wedding ceremony

Wedding Favours for Small Weddings

One of our favourite small wedding ideas is to handwrite a letter for each attendee detailing your relationship and why you feel so blessed to have them attend.

A lovely wedding favour idea is to gift personalised wine glasses or plates, this is a nice touch that guests can take home to remember the day by.

A smaller wedding means you will be saving money which you can use for more luxurious wedding favours. Instead of a generic gift, you could tailor each one to the guest and the relationship you share with them. The best thing about a small group is they will appreciate even the smallest details that you choose to include in your wedding theme which makes the guests feel appreciated.

Small Wedding Reception Ideas

Smaller wedding drinks receptions create a far more relaxed atmosphere, where guests have more chance to connect with each other. If you want to keep things interesting, think outside the box for your entertainment. Allow everyone in the room to make a speech, including fun anecdotes and memories. This is a fantastic way to connect with everyone and even bring a tear to your eye.

Another fantastic idea is some outdoor games, as well as offering card games on your tables for those looking to have a quieter drink during your reception. This might be the perfect idea if you’re a competitive family or group of friends. We’ve also seen weddings incorporate large jenga games or even rounders so make sure the bride remembers her trainers! This is also the perfect idea for Summer weddings looking to take advantage of a venue with beautiful outdoor space and those warm summer evenings. 

A smaller wedding might give you the opportunity to put more of your budget into other areas of your wedding day such as the entertainment for your wedding reception. Why not book a band who can play all your favourite songs and interact with your guests? Who doesn’t love a bit of live music!

A fun idea for your wedding reception catering could be a wood fire pizza oven, it would be difficult for pizzas to be made for each individual guest if the guest list was too big, so this is an excellent idea for people to choose their favourite toppings on a delicious, low maintenance evening snack! 

Outdoor wedding reception at Eastwood Hall
Photography: Firewood Film

How Can I Make A Small Wedding Reception Fun?

Small is beautiful! Treat your guests to some luxurious food, from fancy entrées, food trucks to the sit-down meal you’ve always wanted.

Top this off with some expensive champagne, fruity cocktails or a selection of fancy craft beers. Don’t feel you have to follow wedding traditions, particularly with this unique day. The wedding cake cutting is a pinnacle of the day, but you don’t need the classic white tiers.

Top this off with some expensive champagne, fruity cocktails or a selection of fancy craft beers. Don’t feel you have to follow wedding traditions, particularly with this unique day. The wedding cake cutting is a pinnacle of the day, but you don’t need the classic white tiers.

Why not try cupcakes for easy eating, pies or even stacks of pancakes with a variety of toppings? Go for something memorable which will look great in the photos! Another fantastic idea might be to opt for personalised cupcakes for each of your guests rather than a large cake?

If you’re shying away from the idea of a photographer, a photo booth will never go unappreciated by the wedding party! Why not make your small wedding reception really fun by getting your guests involved? As an addition to your professional photos, here are some of our local recommended photographers, or as the sole way you’ll get photos for your big day, give each guest a disposable camera. Not only will it be cheaper, but after the wedding, it will be a wonderful surprise to see the photos everyone took!

Small Weddings With An Intimate Feel

The first step to hosting an incredible micro-wedding is to find a venue that will suit a smaller guest list. You don’t want your guests to be too cramped and equally somewhere too big can create an odd atmosphere. By choosing a medium-sized venue, you have plenty of space to set up a dining area and dance floor where guests can enjoy themselves.

We feel that an intimate wedding calls for plenty of decoration to bring the room alive. Draping coloured material from the ceiling means the room will feel more full, whilst fairy lights give it a whimsical feel. You’ll also have plenty of space for beautiful wedding flowers that will complement your ceremony and photos. Explore the 10 Most Popular Wedding Flowers.

If you’re based in Nottingham and looking for a wedding venue with expert coordinators on hand to help plan your special day, Eastwood Hall is a lovely location small weddings and larger weddings with up to 300 guests. All of our weddings suites can be decorated and tailored to your big day, so whether you’re looking for a civil ceremony space, wedding reception or a full day package, get in touch to find out how we can help. 

If you’re not in Nottingham, we also have wedding venues in Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire

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