Creative Ways to Make a Big Event Space Feel Intimate for Your Small Wedding

small wedding

Hiring a stylish and picturesque event space is a must for a perfect wedding. Experienced staff, excellent facilities, access to trusted local vendors, and a range of on-site equipment will all make planning your special day more manageable. But, what should you do if you want the expertise and options of a streamlined large event space, with the intimacy of a small wedding?

According to a Zola survey, 40% of couples said that planning a wedding is “extremely stressful.” Finding the right venue can go a long way in easing those problems. 

Couples often see a space they love but believe it’s too big for their intimate wedding. However, with a bit of ingenuity and creativity, you can still capture that close-knit aesthetic, even in bigger places. 

Let’s look at some creative ways to make a big event space feel intimate for your small wedding. 

Make Space Inside the Space

If you have 50 guests or less, you might think that a larger room will feel too big and open. However, there are several ways to keep the feel of an intimate wedding in spaces that can house even hundreds of guests. 

Dividing areas for the different parts of the day, like the meal, ceremony, or dancefloor, can work wonders. One way to achieve this effect is to break up the room into smaller “districts.” For example, you can partition the space with trees, plants, and shrubbery to create a more intimate feel for each separate area.

Judicious placement of trees or plants can act as walls to enclose a space. If you’re going for a boho-style wedding, the addition of plants will create an earthy, organic look.

Of course, splitting a room into districts is just one approach. You can also line the perimeter walls with lots of plants, flowers, and other trees. These arrangements will enclose the space by taking up a vast amount of the excess square footage. When done right, it can create rooms that look green, organic, and far more enclosed. 

Use Fabrics to Shrink the Space

Instead of using plants, you can use fabrics or textiles to partition spaces. Suspending drapes from the ceiling allows you to artificially lower the ceiling heights and create split rooms or districts. This effect will not just look spectacular; it can also make very intimate rooms. 

Drapes can also act as pillars that help enclose a space. For very intimate weddings — aka micro weddings — using drapes helps event planners have a good amount of control over each area — shrinking your space down to the perfect size. 

Suspend Decorations From the Ceiling

A number of venues may allow you to suspend more than just textiles from the ceiling. Some of the other things you can hover over a room are flower arrangements, lanterns, fairy lights, drum shades, or more. All of these decorations allow you to reduce overhead space considerably. 

Fill the Space Overhead with Vibrant Arrangements

Of course, hanging items from the ceiling won’t always be possible. Most venues can’t accommodate drilling fixtures into overhead beams that will damage plasterwork. 

However, there are several other solutions where the only limit is your imagination. We’ve seen stylish columns supporting overhanging plinths that can hold flowers, fabrics, and more to make high ceilinged areas far less intimidating. 

Another great solution is to build an on-table flower arrangement that stretches vertically toward the ceiling. By filling the space both above and at eye level, these configurations can make any room seem very cozy and enclosed — plus, it looks great. 


Use Lighting to Dictate and Shape the Space

You can use lighting to manipulate space by controlling what your guests can or can’t see. This technique is at its most effective in the evening when you can set spotlights and other lighting sources to emphasize specific areas while leaving the unused spaces in darkness. 

Of course, the type of lights can help you achieve the effect. Candles or low-energy light sources will cast a lower amount of light. Additionally, you can also use fairy lights too. 

Overall, these types of lighting are a fantastic way to create a boho feel for your wedding. Diming a space down and relying on candles or fairy lights can produce a really magical atmosphere, no matter what size room you choose. 

Use Creative Seating Arrangements to Control the Space

COVID-19 forced many wedding designers to rethink how they used table arrangements. This process led to layouts that incorporated a mix of different tables that could provide social distancing. Some of these formats worked so well that they’ve been adopted into the general wedding design.

While the pandemic enforced creative redesign of table arrangements, you can use some of the same ideas to fill out an ample space. For example, a mix of round, square, and rectangular spacing isn’t the most efficient use of space — which is perfect when you have too much of it.

Different shaped tables don’t pack so well together. And you can use this to your advantage by spacing them out in a way that feels and looks organic.

Another thing that you can do is to give each chair a bit more room. This means that you’ll have fewer people at each table, which also works for filling up extra space. Of course, you can use creative design elements to counteract this extra elbow room. Things like candles, flowers, ornaments, bowls with dried fruits or conifers, etc., will do the trick. 

Create Districts That Allow Guests to Relax and Socialize

Having a little extra space allows you to create custom areas that your guests will appreciate. For example, you build a little lounge area with sofas, armchairs, and little coffee tables. These spaces will let you create sites that your guests can visit to catch up one-on-one or in smaller groups. 

A wedding can be long and involve a lot of talking and socializing. While some people feel energized and in their element, others will enjoy finding a quiet area to relax and take a break. 

Additionally, weddings are an opportunity for people to catch up; a lounge area can provide a private place to chat and unwind. 


Use the Right Color Palette

Many couples will have a color palette or theme for their wedding. While light colors — like white and cream — are eternally popular, they can make a space seem large. 

Following the principles of interior design can help you subtly manipulate your guest’s perception of space. Darker colors can do a lot to make a space seem far smaller than it is, which is one of the reasons why interior designers typically advise against painting a room black or very dark.

Of course, a very dark color is relatively unconventional for a wedding. However, there are a few tricks that you can use to make your space still look smaller without sacrificing the traditional wedding aesthetic.

For example, you can explore matte colors of any type and combine them with wood or similarly dark accents to shrink the perception of space. Likewise, you can use bold patterns with contrasting patterns or lines to alter how an area looks. 

A lot of these principles will be familiar to fashion aficionados. Certain types of colors, patterns, and combinations have a slimming effect. At the same time, others can work to make you seem bigger. Use these to your advantage to bulk out your space. 

Use Helium Balloons

Not everyone likes balloons at a wedding. For some, they can conjure up images of a children’s birthday party. However, there are a lot of balloons that are made for weddings and other special occasions that can provide a decorative element while crucially filling up overhead spaces and corners. 

Flesh Out the Areas With a Variety of Creative Stations

Traditionally, wedding food has generally been a rigid, sit-down affair where waiters and servers would bring food to the guests. This setup is a classic for a reason: it works. 

However, more recently, people have begun to rethink how guests can eat. Food stations serving banquets can work for a wedding. Guests can get up and circulate around the room, choosing some food items when they want. Setting up several tables or stations in different areas can shrink the space and make it seem more intimate. 

Additionally, you can use one corner of the room as a stunning backdrop for photo moments. Choose whatever motif that fits your wedding: a floral, boho backdrop or something more modern can work equally well. 

Either way, you can shrink the space and provide a place to create memorable and unique photos. 

Think Small by Thinking Big

If you find the perfect venue, don’t be discouraged because you think it’s too big for your small wedding. With the creative use of plants, fabrics, and other decorations, you can strategically fill the extra space to look and feel exactly as you’ve envisioned. On top of this, you can pick layout, colors, lighting, and seating arrangements that heighten the intimate, romantic aesthetic. Vuka offers two beautiful, elegant venues in Austin that allow enough versatility for weddings of any type or size. Get in touch today and consult with our expert staff. Let us advise you on how to personalize our spaces for your perfect day.