Planning a Small Wedding? Here Are 10 Real (Small) Weddings That Will Inspire You

From intimate ceremonies to romanic elopements, we've rounded up a few of our favorite small weddings

Photo by Eli Turner

Small weddings and intimate gatherings, or micro-weddings, seem like the foreseeable future right now as we make our way through this uncertain time. However, just because gathering sizes may be cut down, doesn’t mean that a smaller scaled celebration can’t be just as magical as a larger event. In fact, long before the Covid-19 pandemic hit our area, we were seeing (and loving!) a rise in small weddings in the DMV area, from intimate garden ceremonies to romantic sit-down dinner receptions. So, whether you’ve pushed back your big celebration but want to honor your original wedding date, or you’ve simply set your sights on an intimate affair, here are ten small weddings filled with ultra-personalized ideas that are fit to inspire.

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Photo by Jenn Manor Photo

Kim and Elliot’s DC Rooftop Wedding

Only 12 guests were invited to celebrate this couple’s wedding at the Line Hotel. “[We wanted] the focus [to] be on sharing this milestone with the people who’ve been an integral part of our journey,” the couple says. So, they exchanged vows overlooking DC and then held a romantic sit-down dinner party to follow. To learn more about how they planned their meaningful, minimalist-chic celebration, check out their wedding here.



Photo by Katherine Elizabeth Photography

Ellen and Trevor’s Foodie Wedding

This DMV couple knew that they wanted to create an experience at their wedding where their families could easily get to know one another. They knew that it would be rare for their families to ever be in the same place again, so they decided to keep things small and focused on an intimate sit-down dinner for their reception. The bride, Ellen, is the daughter of a chef, so naturally they splurged on their cuisine. Family friend, and notable chef Edward Cummings, offered to cook a one-of-a-kind dinner, which also doubled as a wedding gift to the couple. See what they served at this George Washington themed-wedding here.



Soraya and Michael’s Low-Key Wedding at DC War Memorial

This couple’s theme for their big day was ‘just about the important things,’ where they focused on their love and decided to forgo a traditional cake and first dance. Soraya and Michael’s relationship had always been revolved around the simplicity of things, which is why they knew they wanted a minimalist wedding. Originally they thought about eloping, but decided on inviting their nearest and dearest to be present when they exchanged vows. After their private ceremony, the party moved to Ambar where guests toasted the happy newlyweds. Learn more about their ultra-private wedding on the National Mall here.



Photo by Lisa Blume Photography

Katie and James’ Intimate Springtime Wedding

Katie and James decided to invite just 60 guests for their relaxed wedding at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland. They kept the bridal party small with two bridesmaids and two groomsmen, then opted for a cocktail-style dinner with various food stations and lounge seating to evoke a personal vibe for their reception. The couple, who aren’t big dancers, also decided against a band or deejay and instead opted for a single musician to play throughout the evening. Check out their laid-back wedding here.



Photo by Luck & Love Photography

Emmy and Chris “Just Love, No Fluff” Wedding

This couple married on Father’s Day and said that they wanted their wedding to be “categorically simple” with lots of sunshine and lots of delicious food to be enjoyed by close friends and family. The ceremony setting was the groom’s mother’s house in Chevy Chase and after vows they had dinner al fresco on the backyard’s patio.  The couple invited just 17 guest, skipped sending out paper invitations, elaborate entertainment, a big bridal party, and a bakery cake. It was exactly what they wanted it to be and more. See more of their offbeat wedding here.



Photo by Ken-Won Miller, A Father’s Lens Photography

Niketa and Shane’s DC Elopement in Georgetown

This couple decided to elope rather than deal with the planning aspect of throwing a big celebration. “We wanted the magic of a wedding and to share that moment with our loved ones,” says Niketa, “but without the big deal.” Niketa and Shane applied for an April-afternoon civil ceremony at the DC courthouse and invited just a few friends and family to witness. After the courthouse wedding, the couple posed for portraits throughout DC in Palmer Alley and Georgetown’s waterfront. Guests then met the newlyweds for an intimate celebratory dinner Farmers Fishers Bakers. Here’s more of their DC elopement.



Photo by Hyon Smith Photography

Christine and Joe’s Covid-19 Wedding

Christine and Joe actually just got married and decided to postpone their bigger celebration for a later date. Even with the pandemic, the couple wanted to still honor their original wedding date, so they tied the knot in a ceremony that met all of the local orders and CDC guidelines. They tied the knot at Basilica of Saint Mary with just four immediate family members and their photographer in attendance. Learn more about their postponement and how they held an intimate marriage ceremony here.




Dawn and Zach’s Surprise Wedding at DC’s Rental Company, Something Vintage

This wedding industry couple decided to throw a small surprise wedding in lieu of a big celebration—and it was totally unique and memorable. Guests thought they were invited to a warehouse launch party, but instead showed up to Dawn and Zach’s heartfelt nuptials. “I wanted it to be creative, beautiful, and an intimate party,” says Dawn, “but I didn’t want to spend two years planning it!” Check out their full wedding here.



Photo by Eli Turner

Jeanine and Gregory’s Indoor Tuscany Garden Party

This couple held an intimate August wedding at the Top of The Hay Adams and invited just 35 guests for Tuscany garden party-themed celebration. Event planner Elizabeth Duncan and Amaryllis worked their magic and brought a Tuscany-inspired celebration to life by building a custom 25-by-26-foot suspended pergola. The photos are ahhhmazing. See for yourself, by reading about their DC hotel wedding here



Photo by Lauren Balingit

Sara and Pete’s Long View Gallery Wedding

The couple married at the bride’s parents’ house with a reception that followed at Long View Gallery. They invited just 30 guests to the ceremony and hosted a larger celebration that followed at the gallery. The couple lived in Singapore, so it was important to them to be able to spend time with their close friends and family. Check out more of their intimate ceremony here.

Assistant Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Jacqueline comes to Washingtonian with close to five years of digital content experience and SEO best practices. She previously was a senior editorial associate at WeddingWire, specializing in wedding fashion, and before that, an assistant at Vow Bride. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, she now lives in Columbia Heights.