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  • Writer's pictureAmy Katz

6 Ways to Make Your Small Wedding Feel Extra Special

Photographer: Fred Marcus Studio

Whether you’re reimagining your grandiose wedding due to the pandemic or have dreamed of an intimate wedding for as long as you can remember, small weddings are a trend that is surely here to stay. Sometimes referred to as minimonies, micro weddings, or tiny weddings, these small wedding celebrations are perfect for those who want to celebrate this new stage in their lives with their closest friends and family by their side. In between an elopement and a big wedding bash, small weddings have so many opportunities for customization and delightful personal touches that tell your story as a couple.

After planning hundreds of small weddings, our AKE team has seen so many special moments brought to life between couples, families, and friends. Here are a few of our favorite ways to make your small wedding special…

Select a Unique Venue to Host Your Small Wedding

When you have a ton of guests, your options for venues are usually dictated by the amount of space required to host everyone. You don’t have this restriction with a small wedding!

If you’re in search of dramatic city views or distinctive ambiance, here are some of our favorite NYC venues for small weddings:

  • Take advantage of sprawling views of the NYC skyline and Hudson River from The Press Lounge.

  • Go glam with an elegant architectural backdrop like The Beekman in the Financial District.

  • Design a magical rooftop garden wedding in the middle of the city at 620 Loft & Garden overlooking Rockefeller Plaza.

  • Soak up dramatic views of the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the Hudson River from The Skylark, whose rooftop literally has you feeling like you’re flying in the sky!

  • Gaze over the gorgeous Hudson River from the elegant Current at Pier Sixty.

  • And last but certainly not least, embrace chic historic charm and the cozy romantic vibes at the iconic The Bowery Hotel.

Typically, these intimate and exclusive venues are off limits for large groups, but they are ideal for small weddings! No matter what city you’re getting married in you’ll be able to uncover exclusive and iconic locales like these for you and your guests to celebrate in style.

You can also consider personal options like a family home, a property rental in your favorite place where you got engaged, or even a destination wedding that brings you back to your roots in magical locales like Greece or the Caribbean!

Splurge on Other Areas of Your Small Wedding

When your guest count is lower, you can likely spend a little more in other areas of your wedding like the catering or entertainment. Go all out with a luxurious multi-course meal with specialty pairings, serve those wagyu beef sliders your fiancé loved at the tasting, or add the icy intermezzo between the appetizer and dinner for an elevated dining experience. Then, hire the band or DJ (with a couple of live pieces) you’ve dreamed of dancing to all night long for the ultimate small wedding celebration.

Photographer: The Day Collective

Photographer: Fred Marcus Studio

Photographer: Fred Marcus Studio

Photographer: The Day Collective

You can also consider options like creating a custom invitation suite with a stationary designer, incorporating calligraphy and hand drawn maps to highlight the features and locations of your big day, or hiring that vintage Rolls Royce for first look photo ops and your getaway car after the ceremony. These little details will go a long way… which leads us to the next way you can make your small wedding special!

Personalize with Special Details & Décor

With small weddings there are so many opportunities to customize whether it be through your décor or special little details to make things more personal. A few ideas we love are:

  • Place cards with a “message in a bottle” theme with personal, handwritten notes to each guest and tables and names hand scripted on the outside of the bottle.

  • Design an interactive favor station where guests can get involved, whether it’s creating their own blend of wine to take home with the on-site sommelier or making their own candles with scents chosen by you and your fiancé.

  • Incorporate small photos of you and your guests with elaborate frames as décor. They’ve been the ones with you along the way celebrating your love story, so show how much you love them in return!

  • Have the florist create floral chandeliers to accent the king’s table – these are such a spectacular addition!

Photographer: Fred Marcus Studio

Photographer: The Day Collective

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg though, there are so many creative ways to personalize your small wedding for both you and your guests… nothing is off limits!

Have Fun with Small Wedding Seating Arrangements

With fewer guests, you have less restrictions on how creative you can get with seating options! Starting with the ceremony you can create a magical circular floor plan with your friends and family surrounding you as you proclaim your love for the first time as a married couple. For cocktail hour, consider creating a dreamy lounge space with gorgeous draping and chic lounge furniture that will allow people to cozy up with their bubbly while they catch up before the reception begins. Then moving on to the main event, the reception, you can host everyone at one long king’s table that not only brings everyone together, but really creates a stunning statement that wows!

Photographer: Danny Weiss Studio

Make it a Weekend-Long Celebration

Why not keep the celebration going for more than just one night? Welcome your guests with a personalized welcome bag, carefully curated with fun items that fit the weekend theme. Get together after your rehearsal dinner for a welcome reception with delicious locally made wine in the Barrel Room at Brooklyn Winery, have an after party near the reception venue, and then close out the weekend with a luxuriously relaxing private brunch at The Plaza Hotel. No matter where your wedding is taking place, think about those unique experiences in your destination that guests wouldn’t typically have and turn it into a little vacation celebration for everyone attending. Plus, then you get to spend more time with your loved ones before jetting off on your honeymoon as husband and wife!

Photographer: Anna Eli Photography

Hire a Wedding Planner for Your Small Wedding

Some couples think because the wedding is smaller it will be easier to manage, but that isn’t always the case. The last thing you want to do the week before your wedding is realize you’ve missed a detail or rush through stuffing customized welcome bags because you didn’t have help putting them together. You also want to be able to sit back and enjoy the company of your carefully curated guest list. These are going to be the most important people in your life, you deserve to sit back and enjoy your big day with them, not be running the show. Plus, wedding planners know exactly how to uncover the most gorgeous and exclusive small venues in your destination and will be able to craft unforgettable experiences for you and your guests that you may not have thought of.

If you want to start dreaming up the small wedding you’ve always imagined in New York City or beyond, the AKE team is here to hold your hand every step of the way. Let’s chat to uncover what your perfect small wedding looks like and how we can bring it to life!

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