Weddings in 2020 have been demonstrating just how wonderful elopements or micro-weddings can be. Many couples who dreamed and planned for large weddings have not been disappointed when adapting to a smaller scale guest list and creating an intimate day. Discover 5 of our favourite small wedding venues across the UK to help you plan on your very own intimate rustic wedding.
2020 has been the year all attention has turned to small and intimate weddings. So many couples have embraced the restrictions put in place this year and altered their special day and the results have been outstanding, so there’s no surprise the demand for small weddings is increasing – restrictions or not!
Featured image by MT Studio Photography
Thousands of couples are embracing a smaller wedding and jumping for joy once realising there’s no more blowing the budget on feeding up to 70+ people on sausages and mash and limiting everyone to one glass of the cheapest prosecco. One clear benefit of hosting a smaller wedding is that it costs less, giving you an opportunity to spend on the things that will make a real difference. If you’re thinking about organising your wedding with a smaller number of guests or rethinking the scale of your current guest list, here are 9 ideas to make your intimate wedding stylish and memorable.
Put more thought into decor and styling
Let your creativity shine through or be inspired by a wedding stylist and planner. The unusual and one of a kind are always memorable additions to a small wedding and you don’t need many. Just a few statements are enough to make a big impact. Here are a few things that have inspired us recently.
Get creative with the catering
If sausages and mash are your thing, then we love you for it, but there are so many caterers with innovative dishes and picture-perfect presentation that giving a bit of extra thought to who you choose to prepare your wedding breakfast will add to the overall deliciousness of the day.
In our opinion, you can never go wrong with sharing platters or a grazing table, it’s got a real WOW factor and instantly forms part of your overall decor; the mix of colours, textures, smells, shapes, and heights, makes for a very attractive display. You’ll find many grazing tables on the side, but why not make it your table centerpiece!
It’s not all sausage rolls, grapes, and cheese. You can incorporate almost anything, just take a look at these.
Top tip: Don’t forget to top with edible flowers and herbs, this cheap and simple trick makes all the difference.
DIY projects are less daunting
Ever thought about doing a DIY wedding project and stopped when you considered the amount of time it would take to create for 100+ guests? There’s no excuse now. Get started with some simple DIY invitations, place settings, wedding favours, centerpieces, or chair dressings. DIY projects are a great way to save money, build excitement, and get your bridal party and guests involved too.
Ask for help from experienced planners
Planning a wedding, large or small requires a lot of research, organisation, and creativity that altogether takes months. This year, thousands of heartbroken couples have been stalling, cancelling, and rearranging their ceremonies and we all remain uncertain of the months ahead. Times like this call for experts, someone who has established connections with hundreds of venues and suppliers, and has the ability to adapt quickly.
Hiring a planner will help you to enjoy the run-up to your wedding day knowing you have a professional to support you throughout. Your wedding planner will expose you to new ideas, recommend the best vendors, and many will be able to negotiate deals on your behalf.
We’re excited to see luxury wedding planner Constance Taylor’s new initiative “Sweet 15” combines all these advantages and more. She has grouped together a team of her best suppliers and venues (many that we already know and love) that will help couples to tie the knot and throw a gorgeous wedding for a total of £15,000 with 15 attendees. Learn more about Sweet 15 here.
Know how to make use of big spaces
Many wedding venues have big open rooms, easily seating 120 people at a time. So how can you make such a vast space feel cosy and intimate?
Sectioning a room not only improves the feeling of the space, but it also gives you the opportunity to incorporate some fun features like a games section, beanbags or sofas around the fire, a photo area for the silliest photos, gallery walls of your adventures together, and the must-have baby photos.
Choosing a smaller venue
There are so many small venues that don’t compromise that all-important WOW factor and often come at the fraction of the price. You’ll also find many restaurants with private rooms that have bags of character or where you can hire the whole place. Then there are the bigger wedding venues who are transforming their smaller barns or buildings into intimate spaces as the demand for smaller venues increases. To help you with your search we’ve put together a selection of our favourite small rustic venues across the UK.
A weekend-long affair
English weddings are typically day-long with a large guest list, making a weekend-long wedding quite the challenge. For a start, where’s everyone meant to stay when there are almost a hundred guests and who really has the budget for accommodation like that? A small wedding is the perfect time to make your special day into two, three, or four!
Here are a few of our favourite weekend-long wedding venues and links to their packages.
It’s all about you and your partner to be
This is so important to remember no matter what the size of your wedding party. It’s your wedding day, make it your own. Forget about traditional weddings with big cakes, sit down meals, a white dress, and bow ties. What do you and your partner enjoy, what do you do in your spare time? Incorporating this into your day will not only make it extra special but so memorable to you, family and friends.
Getting everyone involved on the day
The bridal party and guest might have been involved with some of the wedding planning, DIY projects and hen do/stag celebrations, but you can also get them involved during the wedding for a memorable experience. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend with musical talent, a grandparent who’ll read a poem or share a blessing, or a younger cousin who can present the rings, these moments add a little magic and intimacy to a wedding.
We’re looking forward to seeing all the fabulous suppliers in a few weeks time at The Rustic Wedding Show in Lattenbury Hill, Cambridge. There are over 40 suppliers attending, all handpicked to bring you the best – they’ll show you a great selection of their offerings, discuss your ideas and share their incredible knowledge of pulling off an amazing rustic wedding.
The Rustic Wedding Show is one of a kind, creating an inspiring and pleasurable wedding show experience.
Visitors can expect to find a beautifully designed tipi structure, a gorgeous sailcloth tent (ideal for venues in an extraordinary setting), a rustic outdoor ceremony inspiration area and a charming naked tipi. As if that’s not enough, there will also be four more inspiration zones: boho, neon, classical foliage and one delightful surprise! We can’t wait to see it all.
Important show details:
DATE: Sunday 28th April 19
TIME: 11AM – 2PM
LOCATION: Lattenbury Hill, Cambridgeshire. PE28 9PA
STRUCTURES BY: Country Tipis
TICKETS: £3 per head (or £5 on the door) Book your tickets here.
We’d certainly recommend booking ahead to get yourself a goody bag – sponsored this year by The Wedding Shop.
Photographs by: Rose and Spear.
We first got together at 14 after one of James’ friends introduced us at school. After a few months of being friends James asked me to be his girlfriend and we’ve been together ever since.
James proposed after 9 years together, whilst we were on holiday with his family in Cyprus. Unbeknownst to me he’d bought the ring a week earlier and after asking for my families blessing he smuggled it in his camera bag around Paphos for 5 days. We took a break from his family and went to visit a monastery (St Neophytos) in the hills just above Paphos. I was covered in sunburn and heat rash and wanted to go home to cool down but James insisted on taking ‘one last photo’ of me facing the hills. As I reluctantly turned away from James, (who was kneeling on the floor for a good photo angle) he asked me to marry him, I turned around in shock and he was taking photos! It completely took me by surprise and made me forget all about the mood I was in! I’d have thought after so long together I’d have been able to tell if he was planning something but he and my family did such a good job of keeping it a secret.
One of the most important aspects of the wedding for us both were the photos. Apart from the rings they’re the only tangible thing you get to keep afterwards, so our photographer Hamish was one of the first bookings we made within weeks of getting engaged. The inclusion of family and friends was also very important for us. Our favours were in memories of loved ones and most of our vendors were in fact family. The rings were designed and made by a friend Nikki Barrett and everything else was created by us. James designed and based all the table plans on some of our favourite artists. He took their art style and made the focal point. The flowers and confetti were grown and made by my mum and auntie. All the wooden lanterns were also made by a friend. The whole day was a huge DIY effort from everyone!
I always knew I wanted to get married in Autumn as it’s my favourite season, we got lucky in choosing November the 9th as it was 3 years to the day we graduated from uni and the day before our 11th year anniversary. The inspiration of the day was Autumn itself. All of its rich colours and natural rustic beauty were included in the wedding through the colour theme, floral arrangements and the hand made bunting, which I created using botanical prints and old Ladybird books. East Riddlesden Hall shines in Autumn and it was important to bring those gardens inside, but also give it a richer wedding edge with gold tones and warm lights throughout.
Our caterers were The Hog and Apple based in York, a company I had seen work at ERH many times before. They matched our long tables by supplying long wooden boards down the center of each table for the food. We had a ‘Yorkshire platter’ to start with paté, ham hock tureen, pork pies and cheeses. For the main we had pulled hog roast and pork chops with all the trimmings. None of our guests realised it would be three courses so by the time the starters were finished and the main course came out everyone was blown over by the amount and quality of food. Everyone is still talking about how tasty it all was!
Our dessert was in fact our cake which was created by James’ cousin at Little Breads based in Harrogate. I knew whatever we had for our cake should represent my love of chocolate and our relaxed naturally rustic but indulgent theme. Karl knocked it out of the park with the cake. It looked stunning and tasted even better. Having it for dessert meant none went to waste too.
I first knew of East Riddlesden Hall when I was bridesmaid for my auntie (the one who did the flowers) as a child. I just so happened to be lucky enough to get a job there after university, so when it came to James proposing I knew right away ERH had to be the place. It’s the perfect venue and the medieval hall is such a blank canvas. Every wedding is completely unique to each couple’s style. Working there means I have a really close relationship with the entire team which made the whole process as easy as it could be and the weeks leading up to the wedding very exciting. Returning to work after the honeymoon brought back all those excited nervous memories and everyday is a little bit of the wedding all over again.