Is it possible to have a small intimate wedding reception that's also good fun?

Hi there,

My fiancé and I are getting married in December 2014 in London. We have considered a big traditional wedding and looked into various venues, however we feel that a small intimate wedding with our nearest and dearest is more suited to us. We are fortunate in the respect that the budget isn’t an issue, however neither of us are completely comfortable with being the centre of attention all day and would prefer to relax and enjoy the occasion.

We have a late afternoon church service and are currently considering holding our meal in the private dining room of a nearby hotel for say 20-30 close family members. At some stage in the evening we plan to move to a private bar area in the hotel where we will extend the evening invitation to a further small group of close friends and family to join us for drinks. My main worry is that given the small numbers there may be a bit of a lull during the evening. I am not sure whether it would be fitting to have a DJ either, given the small numbers people may feel obliged to dance and if there aren’t enough people dancing it may look odd. Perhaps it’s better to just have music and the emphasis be on people drinking and mingling? I should mention that we are in our early 30’s and whilst we do have some big characters amongst our family & friends I worry that the evening may be a little dull for everyone.

If anyone has any advice or feedback on a similar weeding reception it would be much appreciated! Thanks


  • Must admit that I've been having the same concerns. We will be about 40 at our main reception which is a formal sit down meal, but then we are having the evening "do" in a marquee at our house. We may have a few extra in number there, but not many more. We have got a singer/saxophonist for entertainment.  I'd really like to think that some people will dance.... But I can also imagine that they won't!! Also, I'm worried that the garden and house(although I shall discourage use of house other than for bathroom purposes) will mean there's space for guests to drift away from the music. If it's cold and raining then I have this image of everyone heading for the house and the guy singing to himself in a soggy marquee with just me listening to him! image  However, let's hope that doesn't happen.....I'm thinking that this type of entertainment means that people can watch/listen/comment/strum their fingers etc and it will provide some entertainment that can either be full on if people are up for it or more in the background if they aren't. 

  • LeaBLeaB Posts: 1,706

    I am hoping to have an intimate and relaxed wedding. Even though we are getting married abroad, I have only invited family and having nothing formal.

    Our ceremony will be at 4pm, then cocktail reception and canapes followed by a BBQ at 6pm with no table plans or seating arrangements. People can sit where they like.

    In the evening we are having a band, and people can dance if they want. We aren't having a dj or anything. We want everyone to mingle and relax. We dont really want to be  the centre of attention just want everyone to have a good time image


  • Thank you both for your responses, it's great to hear from like-minded brides to be!

    Songbirdsings - I like the idea of a singer rather than a DJ for the reception. I hope the weather stays dry and warm for you, but I am sure it will be fantastic either way!

    LeaB - Sounds like a very relaxed and enjoyable reception, exactly the atmosphere we would like for our guests.

    Thank you



  • Hi, I got married last year and we had, including us, 26 people at the ceremony and about 35 in the evening (not sure excatly lol!) and we had a BRILLIANT time! We decided to go with a DJ, i had half a dozen school friends (we are in our early 20's and love dancing) so I knew there would at least be a few of us dancing, but I was really surprised. A lot of people had enjoyed their drink lol and lost their inhibitions, especially as the night wore on, and though the dancefloor obviously wasnt packed all of the time, it was well worth us getting the DJ. When he was packing up, he commented there would be "some sore heads in the morning" - meaning all the drink and stupid dancing lol.

    Plus one of our older guests (family friend in her 60's) commented to DH's mum it was the best wedding she'd ever been to, including her own daughters. She said that was due to the fact it was smaller and most people already therefore knew one another and you could "let your hair down" more. Plus, me and DH were able to spend quality time with everyone throughout the day, something which would have been extremely difficult had we have had lots of guests.

    Our family was invited to a wedding reception, about 12 of us in total, and there were about 200 guests. I have nothing against big weddings, but we ended up trying to scrounge chairs and only space we would find was to sit in a row at the back of the room where we couldn't hear the music and no-one spoke to us. After giving gift to bride/groom we didn't see them again, and in fact we all left early and no-one noticed. I'm sure the bride and groom had an amazing day, but I really didn't want our wedding to be like this. IMHO fewer people means you can spend quality time with all your guests, especially if friends/family are travelling a long way and you don't often get to see them.

    Hope I've kinda helped lol - even if we had an unlimited budget, I'd have still have had a small wedding for this reason!! xx

  • Hi to you all. My opinion as a Singer/DJ is that my favourite weddings are the small ones. From my point of view they are much nicer, much more intimate and The entertainment will have a much better chance to get to know you and your party personally. This will be such a huge ice breaker that relaxes the whole evening so that everyone can really enjoy the rest of the evening. I hope that this helps you and I hope you have a fantastic day x

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  • BexgreenBexgreen Posts: 505
    I actually went to this kinda wedding lsst week - church service was at 2 and then we went to a room in a cosy village pub where there was about 20-30 people and honestly it was one of the best weddings ive ever been too x
  • I am planning a similar wedding. Only 14 of us, one 8 and one 15 year old. We have booked a manor house for us all to stay in. Not sure what to do after meal before buffet type meal in the evening. Wedding is in December so thinking we can chill by the fire etc...

  • MrsTaylorMrsTaylor Posts: 500

    Pinklady1203 - I've just read your reply and it's helped me so much! Just like the op I am having about 30 people at the wedding, and we've booked a DJ but I am having the same panicky thoughts that it will be out of place and no one will end up dancing! So I've been quite worried, so thanks for giving us your experience image xx

  • 2012Bride2012Bride Posts: 318

    Hiya, we got married almost 2 years ago (time flies!) and we had a very small wedding, there were 17 of us in total. It was great.

    I was very worried about making sure our evening was entertaining and that people weren't bored, but we also didn't want to make a huge circus out of hiring DJs and all sorts for smaller numbers. In the end we went for a Jazz band after the meal, they played for 90minutes in the lounge area - people were able to mingle & drink, or dance if they wanted. Then later in the evening we switched to an iPod disco of sorts. I'd also assembled a bit of a dress up box full of silly things (hats, masks etc) and people got very into playing with that (we got some great photos of that too - always make me laugh). We finished the night with a small group of us and our friends playing trivial pursuit (owned by the venue). It was a little odd and wouldn't work for some people but for us it was perfect. 

    We still get a lot of positive comments on our wedding even all this time later. People enjoyed the smaller numbers of guests and us being able to spend time with them.

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