So you’d rather have hiccups for the rest of your life than 160 guests at your wedding. We get ya! You are the small unusual wedding type of gal (and your other half is quite happy with the idea too). So what’s next? Pick a place that will surprise those lucky few guests who will be invited. Less planning stress and a smaller budget are just your icing on the cake.
Keep it simple: city hall/church and dinner afterwards
Going out to dinner instead of having a wedding reception really isn’t a strange choice. You only have to make sure you pick a place that will blow your socks off. Feel free to consider everything: Michelin stars, celeb hangouts, the sky’s the limit, but one thing is a must: the food reviews have to be the best you have ever seen. There really isn’t a better time to splash on a top-notch restaurant than for your (small unusual) wedding day.
The surprise factor: anything but a venue
Above image by snippetandink.com
Chances are, you have a lot of hidden gems in your local area, or in a town nearby. Some locations to consider: art galleries, vintage cinemas, the zoo, the aquarium, museums, theme parks… you’d be surprised how many of these will be glad to accommodate a small unusual wedding, even if they don’t advertise it. Count on the location to provide the wow factor for a guaranteed unforgettable reception.
Return to memories: a significant place
Do you and your OH have a place that means a lot to you, and is it suitable for a wedding? This could be the pub where you had your first date, and you still love returning there. An outdoor space where he proposed, and where you could pitch a summertime tent and have a BBQ. The local uni library where you studied together. They all make fabulous unusual wedding places! One thing you must check: whether you require any kind of permit. If it’s an outdoor space not normally used for celebrations, any vendor should be able to point you in the right direction.
The getaway: fly everyone somewhere nearby
Above, a tiny wedding in London by london-bride.com
Keep it close so nobody has to take too much time off work or suffer jetlag. But of course, if you want to take everyone to New York, go right ahead! Think of all the destinations a short flight away from your nearest international airport. Research some future flights and packages for two or three-night stays, and your budget will start to take shape. You are giving your guests not just a small unusual wedding to look forward to, but a mini city break. How much you do things together is up to you, but it’s really nice when everyone gets to go and do their own thing, then meet again for dinner in the evening and talk about their adventuring.
Go with the flow: rent a boat
How big the boat, that’s up to you! You can still have a small unusual wedding on a 100-foot yacht, why not. Do you just want to dine on it, or dance too? Do you want to sail while you celebrate, or stay moored? As the saying goes, do whatever rocks your boat. The only thing you really really need is a solid Plan B in case the weather lets you down (although you can still stay and party on a moored boat under the deck).
Like in a movie: the local park
Above image by b-freedweddings.com
Checking for any permits is a must here, but that may only be necessary if you are having your ceremony there too. For a reception, as long as it’s a public place, you most likely won’t need anything. Have a picnic in the park! BBQ, casual dress code, blankets, delish light snacks, lots of love and affection while you all sit and eat surrounded by trees and other people. Hats and sunglasses will make perfect favours for everyone.
Be a superfan: stadium, recording studio, GAA stadium, battlefield
Couples with strong passions for a particular sport, team, band or historical venue should definitely follow their hearts. It is possible to marry at most stadiums, with the added bonus of the on-site restaurant (stadiums usually have hospitality down to a T). Is your love strong for the local music scene or particular band? Find out if you can rent a recording studio, or one where your fave band recorded their biggest selling album (go ahead and invite the lead singer, you just never know!) We know couples who are really into history, so they got married at a historically significant site (like, yes, a battlefield!) If you follow your passion, you can’t go wrong.
Where the heart is: celebrate at home
Above image from intimateweddings.com
Got a garden big enough to get all the guests in? Or your parents have one? Beautiful. All you need for your small unusual wedding is cover (tent), seats, food and drinks. Make it a DIY wedding too by asking the guests to bring something simple but homemade: cakes, favours, finger foods. This is a perfect scene for couples who don’t like fussy or formal, because it’s really hard to be formal when walking barefoot on grass and sitting on lawn chairs.
Main image courtesy of Medley
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.