An intimate wedding is usually defined by the number of guests attending. Couples will often invite only their nearest and dearest, meaning that only 40 or so guests will share in the enjoyment of their special day. The smaller your guest list, the more intimate your day will feel, but for larger weddings you can still make the wedding venue feel intimate.
It is important before your wedding venue search begins to know what your approximate guest numbers are; you don’t really want to celebrate your wedding day at one end of a very large room. So, choosing your venue wisely is vital in achieving the right atmosphere for your wedding.
Many wedding venues offer the possibility for an intimate setting, based on either their size or perhaps the room layout. Once you have chosen your venue you can help achieve an intimate setting by decorating your venue appropriately. Soft, subdued lighting such as tea-lights, candles and vases with LED lights will all help make your wedding venue feel romantic, cosy and intimate.
Another consideration is to avoid certain traditional wedding customs. Whilst many couples choose to be announced into the reception as Mr and Mrs, turning this around and welcoming your guests as they enter the room would make this part of your day more personal and intimate. Choosing to sit amongst your guests rather than separated on a top table will also allow you to interact more with your friends and family on the day.
I have selected a few venues which I feel are perfect for an intimate wedding.
The Curradine Barns, Worcestershire
The Curradine Barns is the perfect choice for those looking for an intimate wedding venue. This delightful collection of linked red brick barns is set around a pretty courtyard in the picturesque village of Shrawley.
Licensed for civil wedding and partnership ceremonies, the atmospheric Granary Barn has the feel of a medieval chapel. Its beautiful high-vaulted ceiling, oak beams and impressive chandelier create an elegant space. Sunlight filtering through the diamond shaped window creates a romantic setting for the most special part of your day.
The Barley Barn seats between 50 and 110 guests for dining. Although suitable for larger numbers, smaller, more intimate weddings are perfect for this beautiful barn. Its warm, neutral décor with exposed oak beams is snug and inviting, especially when beautifully lit with candles. Before and after your wedding breakfast, you and your guests can enjoy the Bar and Lounge area with a real fire and comfy seats.
The Granary Cottage provides luxurious accommodation for the couple on their wedding night. The cottage consists of a charming breakfast nook, kitchenette, dressing room and a luxurious bedroom and bathroom, perfect for getting ready before your wedding and spending your first honeymoon night.
The in-house Events Team from Galloping Gourmet will work with you to co-ordinate your day and ensure that it runs smoothly, so that you can enjoy it without stress or worry. Specialising in modern British cuisine, Galloping Gourmet provides a superb dining experience and offers some really special and unusual menu choices, as well as family favourites.
Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico
The classic choice for those searching for an intimate wedding venue. Jump on a plane and fly to a beautiful location abroad, just the two of you or with only a handful of your very close friends and family.
This luxury resort is set on the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, Palmilla is a dream choice. Mountainous desert, sandy beaches and shimmering waters provide a stunning backdrop to your wedding photos. With its red-tiled roofs, whitewashed walls, and exquisite fountains nestled amongst tropical palm trees, Palmilla exudes the style of old Mexico.
Ceremonies at Palmilla can take place on the beach or in the beautiful historic chapel. Located on a hill overlooking the resort and beach, the chapel is a magical setting for your ceremony and photos. You and your guests can later retreat to the beach for your wedding breakfast.
Staff at Palmilla will help you plan your day and guide you with all the finer details, including legal requirements and documentation, organising wedding suppliers and co-ordinating your special day to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Dodmoor House, Northamptonshire
Consisting of two barns set around a courtyard, Dodmoor House is licensed for civil wedding and partnership ceremonies for up to 100 guests. Full of character with a flagstone floor and exposed rafters, the Courtyard Barn is a beautiful space to exchange vows. Natural light pours through the patio doors lighting up the room.
A few steps away the beautiful Catesby Barn is a double-height Grade II listed barn with floor-to-ceiling entrance doors and a stunning ‘Juliet’ mezzanine balcony that leads to a licensed bar at first floor level. Seating up to 90 guests for dining, The Catesby Barn provides an intimate setting for smaller or more informal weddings.
The romantic Honeymoon Suite, with its four-poster bed and en-suite with roll-top bath, is complimentary for the wedding couple to use for getting ready before the wedding and the wedding night. Local hotels offer great deals and free transport for guests.
Polhawn Fort, Cornwall
Intimate wedding venues don’t always have to consist of small rooms and low ceilings. Polhawn Fort in Cornwall is a beautiful wedding venue located on the western tip of the Rame Peninsula, with views over Whitsand Bay and the rugged coastline only feet away. Exclusively yours for the day in a secluded cliff-top location, your wedding will be more private and intimate than any.
Licensed for civil ceremonies, Polhawn Fort seats up to 120 guests in the Grand Napoleonic Hall, with smaller weddings of up to 30 guests perfectly accommodated in the Emperor’s Room. With exposed brick work and arched walls, both rooms create a romantic setting for your ceremony and wedding breakfast. For winter weddings, the venue’s log fire will also help create that intimate, cosy feeling.
Weddings at Polhawn Fort can also take place outside, so why not make the most of Cornwall’s well-known sunny weather and enjoy your wedding on manicured lawns overlooking the sea? Exchange your wedding vows with the sound of waves crashing on the beach below. Then, later on, you and your guests can venture down to the shore to capture some amazing beach wedding photos with no one else around.
Trafalgar Park, Wiltshire
When looking for small and intimate wedding venues, a Grade I listed mansion doesn’t always spring to mind. However, even the grandest mansions can be homely, and at Trafalgar Park the reception rooms are elegant, welcoming and warm. This exquisite country house is ideal for an intimate wedding.
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, Trafalgar Park consists of several fabulous reception rooms, and all are yours exclusively for the day. You may wish to use the various rooms for different parts of your day, such as a room to greet your guests and enjoy Champagne and canapés, a room for dancing, to store gifts or perhaps to take photos; the options are endless.
There are two rooms in the south wing that are perfect for your wedding breakfast. The Dining Room can seat up to 80 guests, whilst the adjacent Billiard Room can seat up to 50. After dinner the Billiard Room is available for your evening reception and dancing.
Civil wedding and partnership ceremonies often take place in the magnificent Baroque Hall, with its original 18th century plasterwork. However, smaller ceremonies may take place in either the Saloon for up to 50 people, or the Cipriani Room for up to 15 guests.
Trafalgar Park will feel like your ‘home away from home’. You can enjoy your wedding day in the seclusion of this private home, making your day feel intimate and special.
Guest post by Tania Barnes of Country House Wedding Venues
The Curradine Barns: TH Photography
Palmilla: One and Only Resorts
Dodmoor House: Aaron Collett Photography
Polhawn Fort: Provided by Venue
Trafalgar Park: Paul Roland Williams