Tiny home reception


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Wedding addict

We just got engaged and are thinking of how to get married on a budget. Our church is a 5 min walk away, and we want only a handful of guests (around 25-30). We live in a terraced house, with a backyard that's shared. 

What would people think if we held an at-home reception in our tiny terrace? We're thinking of a 'cocktails and cupcakes' do, with a set time limit of a couple of hours, so we can then kick everyone out and go on our honeymoon! 

We'd invite our neighbours, especially as we'd pop up a gazebo in the yard most likely (thinking of a summer wedding but you need a backup if the weather goes wrong!). We have like our little gazebo-sized yard that opens out onto the common shared area without any fences or anything, so it'd be easy to create enough space for people and as it's not a through road would be safe for 'people spillage' haha.

We want a marriage, not a wedding, and initially planned to elope. However, we wondered if a small wedding like this with a short reception at home could work, on a budget, or if people would feel like we were doing things 'on the cheap'? (Which we are, but only because we don't think we should be spending a lot of money we don't have on a group of people who are mostly sceptical about our marriage in the first place!).

Would love your thoughts on this, and any ideas you might have to improve the feel of the at-home reception in a tiny two-bed terrace!

Thanks :) 


We plan to do something similar, but keep in mind, if you are asking guests to take time out of their lives to come to your wedding - thereby incurring travel costs, the cost of an outfit, possibly the cost of a sitter, and definitely the cost of a gift - that you still need to make the experience worth their while. Otherwise, it does rather leave a bitter taste in a guests' mouth and comes across as though you are fishing for gifts/ money.  A marriage/ ceremony is about the two of you, but a "wedding" is a party that's for your guests' enjoyment and comfort as much as yours.

I was recently at a wedding in a small hall that the bride cut all costs possible. Between the cost of my dress, travel, and her gift, I was easily out £250.  And this wedding was in town. Her cost per head was CLEARLY no more than £35. The food was buffet and awful. The band was a couple of guys the bride knew that used to play together. The decor was some tiny jars from Poundland filled washed gravel and a faux tealight. The "cake" were mini cupcakes that were stale. Needless to say, almost everyone left early and no one was too pleased.

We plan to rent two large white tents, one for dining and socialising, the other for dancing and entertainment.  The tentative meal will be BBQ and the entertainment will be a DJ, lightshow, and bouncy-house. As it will be a small group of guests, I also want to go all out on the flowers and have a dessert bar with loads of different cakes. Because we are "going small", we can really focus on doing everything well and making sure our guests feel as though attending was a great experience.


If these people are sceptical about your marriage in the first place and you don't want to spend money on them, why are you inviting them? Maybe think about something even smaller that just involves close family/friends, and then you can treat them to something nice before going off on honeymoon.

You don't say how distance/travel might factor in for your guests too, or whether your proposed party involves children - these things would also make a difference. A short daytime event might be perfect if you've got friends or family with children who don't live far away, but less so for a group of couples who live far away.

Wedding addict

I totally, utterly see what you're saying :D

However, we're not intending on putting people out - there's nobody coming for a big trip (everyone lives within a 25 minute drive), and we're going to make it clear on the invites that it's a "come as you are" deal - no dressing up, no gifts, no money. Our family and friends know we're incredibly low-key as a couple - so yes, a quality low-key afternoon event is what we have in mind, rather than a cheaped-out-because-we-couldn't-afford it type thing. One of the reasons we're not having a big thing is because I'd want to make guests feel valued - because you're perfectly right about how they put themselves out, I know that for my SIL's wedding we were down £700 and weren't even part of the wedding party, and there's no way we can afford a big shindig. Also, it's just not 'us'! 

There won't be a band or anything - it really will be a 'cocktails and cupcakes' deal, in the middle of the afternoon, as it's easy for everyone to get public transport or taxis home (if they want to drink) without it costing a lot, as they're all so local. (there's one couple who'd come from Glasgow but we're paying their flights and hotel in town so they can spend a few days in our area catching up with our other friends too).

I was even thinking of including a 'service at Xpm, cocktails and cupcakes at Ypm - Zpm' on the invites so everyone knows what to expect. Do you think that could work in avoiding disappointed people? I'm also hoping that, by having it at home, they'll get that it's not a fancy do! Haha. 

Small, quality, simple, intimate - that's our aim :) 

I like your idea of renting tents, that sounds amazing! 


Hi, congratulations on your forthcoming marriage. We had our marriage blessed a few weeks after our wedding and it was small and low key 25 including us.

We had a full on church blessing, 3 course pub meal and then back to ours for drinks and nibbles. I decorated the house and garden with pom poms, fairy lights and candles. We also brought the flowers back from the pub and brought two large bouquets to fill vaaes. I used M&S party food which was all ready to eat and brought alcohol from Tesco when they had there 25% off 6 bottles offers and beers. We did wine, beer, mojito and lemonade as the soft option.

The feedback on the day and after was great with many of our guests saying that they had a wonderful time and it was one of the best 'weddings' that they had been to. Relaxed, fun, didn't go for ages with boring gaps in between. 

It was a great way of keeping costs down as well. I think we spent about £3k or there abouts.



One of the best weddings I have been to was a small wedding of 20 people, we had dinner at a hotel afterwards and we paid for our own meals so could choose 1, 2 or 3 courses (£25 max for the 3 courses). It was so relaxed and such fun.I think for me I would pick a cheap hall or pub away from home so I didn't have to clear up and then I could leave people rather than be at home and people stay longer than expected but that's very much a personal choice.  The best weddings are the ones that fit the bride and groom perfectly. Go for it. Let us know how you get on.



My planning thread


You can totally do this, although I would definitely make sure there are plenty of drinks and food. You could even ask people to bring a dish or bake a cake etc. I doubt anyone would see that as an imposition and it would make for a mega relaxed way to celebrate your marriage.

My mum and dad got married like this - my parents were super young (18 and 24) and had no money so they had a church wedding and the reception was at the local working men's club where everyone provided something for the buffet. They had a great time.

My mum also talks about the best wedding she's ever been to, where the B&G were also on a small budget. They got married at and afterwards everyone decamped to a pub for drinks and a barbecue.

I agree with an above poster though that it might be worth sourcing a room or something so that you don't have to tidy up afterwards (unless you have people that are willing to pitch in).


Sounds great and totally doable, but I would make sure people are well fed. From experience, being hungry at a wedding is my biggest no! Especially if you're planning things around the time of a meal, ie. if your celebrations will be over lunch time you have to give people proper lunch I reckon. Thoughts said above, I think "bring a dish" could be a great shout. X

New bride

My husband and I organized a reception at our friend's house and our moms did all the cooking. I was lucky because my mom decided to cook for us so we bought her a new Electolux dishwasher ( to wash all the dishes afterward. You can also do that, just ask your friend and family to cook something and you'll have plenty of food for your reception. Trust me, they all want to help you.

Wedding addict

I think you should do exactly as you please... and as you would want your day.,.

why dont you have a 'farewell drink' before going on honeymoon? Get married just the two of you or famil etc and invite people to see you off right before you go away... in that way they can see you as a married couple, congratulate you... you can provide some bubble and snacks and when its time to catch your flight, you kick everybody out and leave.... very low key without the expense etc....


Wedding addict

Thanks ladies! You may have seen from the update on my planning thread that the planning got out of hand - we were envisioning hog roasts and summer picnics and realised it just wasn't what we wanted.

So we're back to the "very small and intimate" wedding, no more than 10 invitees plus some church congregation (the old ladies love a good wedding and who am I to deny them?!) and then coffee and cakes in the attached church hall. 

Easy to set up, stress-free, and we just know that the church people are going to volunteer their help whether we want it or not! :D

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