Small Weddings Big on Charm: Five Unique Wedding Venues to Say ‘I Do’

I'm so happy to have Christina, author of Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style with us today. She has written a great article on how to have an intimate wedding that is BIG on charm. If you're planning a small wedding, please leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

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Good things come in small packages, and that's especially true for weddings. Not only do couples save big bucks by having a small wedding, scaling back the guest list makes it easier to create the "wow" factor. When you've got fewer wedding guests, you can splurge on the things that really matter to you. For some that might be an out-of-this world dinner, for others it might be a five-piece jazz band or a designer wedding gown. Aside from your ability to really splurge on the things that matter, a small wedding opens up the doors to a variety of venue options. What better way to have a 'wow' wedding than in a charming setting? Here are five intimate wedding venues that are sure to charm:

Restaurant - Are you a foodie? Do you have a favorite bistro, or fine dining restaurant? Why not find out if the venue can host your wedding? Restaurants and lounges are becoming an increasingly popular choice for couples looking for small wedding venues. Although all restaurants are different, many have intimate surroundings that are ideal for small guest lists. And they can save you money. Having a restaurant reception means not having to rent tables, chairs, tableware and glassware. Some venues will also provide linens. And as far as convenience goes - there's no need to hire a caterer. The chef is already in the house!

Inn or Bed and Breakfast - Inns and bed and breakfasts are ideal small wedding venues. Whether you want a small decadent indoor wedding or a simple garden wedding on a budget, there's sure to be an inn or bed and breakfast to suit your needs. Although many couples choose inns that they have previously stayed at to get married, some couples choose small wedding venues they've never visited. It might be an inn just a few blocks away, or one on the other side of the country - or even the globe.

Art Gallery - Are you an artsy type? Why not have your wedding reception at an art gallery? A few years ago, art gallery weddings were about as fringe as Mohawk hairdos. But as popularity of more personalized and intimate weddings has risen, so has the need for unique venues. Art galleries across North America have quickly caught on and many are now marketing themselves as ideal places to hold a wedding reception. Both large and small galleries offer rental space for weddings - and many offer full blown wedding packages. If you are more the DIY wedding type, there are plenty of galleries that will let you 'have at it' for your wedding day. Winery - Miles of rolling hills strung with lush green grapevines that are ripe with plump, sweet grapes. It's no wonder that so many brides and grooms head to wine country to tie the knot.

A vineyard is a gorgeous setting to say 'I do.' Whether you are looking for an outdoor ceremony amidst the vines, or an intimate wine themed reception indoors overlooking the vineyard, wineries are ideal small wedding venues for couples wanting to add the splendor of nature to their nuptials. Wineries not only provide a picturesque setting, many are equipped to meet a couple's wedding day needs from start to finish.

At Home - The words wedding and home don't always go together, especially if you are having a big guest list. However, if you have opted for a small wedding the two can be a match made in heaven. At-home weddings are becoming increasingly popular, especially for couples who want to add a personal touch to their weddings. With 60 percent of couples living together, many already own homes and love the idea of tying the knot there. Others couples may choose to get married at the home of a relative or friend.

Remember that just because you choose to have a small wedding, doesn't mean that you shouldn't start your search for a venue early. Places can book up over a year in advance - especially if they're high on charm. So go ahead, sit down with your spouse-to-be and make a list of potential sites. Is there a place that has special meaning to you? Maybe it's the bed and breakfast you stayed at last summer or the restaurant on the corner. Or maybe it's your own backyard.

Christina Friedrichsen is the author of Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style. For more small wedding ideas please visit The Intimate Weddings Blog.

Thank you Christina for taking the time to write this superb article for my readers.

Above images courtesy of Brides.com: Restaurant Reception {15 guests} at 212 Restaurant & Bar, NYC, Outdoor Garden Wedding at the Richmond House, TX, Art Gallery Reception at Hamilton Building, PA, Vineyard Wedding at Firestone Vineyard, CA from Brides, Backyard Wedding, Outdoor Wedding {85 guests} at Wild Horse Inn, CO