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Small Weddings – How To Choose The Perfect Entertainment

Last updated on September 5th, 2021

Why have a small wedding reception?

For obvious reasons at the time of writing this, having a small wedding is currently the only option available to couples hoping to tie the knot soon. If you’re planning a wedding for the near future, then having a smaller wedding is a wise choice while restrictions remain uncertain to give you the best chance of your wedding going ahead as planned (and helping you to avoid the awkwardness of trimming down your guest list!)

However, even when social distancing is a thing of the past and we’ve put away our masks, there are still plenty of reasons why having a small wedding reception is an amazing option.

One of the most important reasons, in our opinion, is the guests – having a small reception means you get to enjoy an intimate celebration with your nearest and dearest, and having a smaller guest list means you will have more time to spend with each of them.

Another reason many couples opt for planning a small wedding is to save money. Fewer guests typically means lower costs, meaning you can afford a bit of extravagance on the things that matter to you as a couple and make your reception unique! This often means entertainment gets more of a focus at small weddings – for many couples, this is really important to get right as it can set the tone for the whole day.

With small weddings looking to be a popular choice for many couples, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to planning the entertainment for your small wedding, complete with some inspiration to get you started!

Should your small wedding reception be indoors or outdoors?

Before even choosing your venue, it’s important to consider where you would like the majority of your reception to take place. This decision is likely to depend mostly on the time of year you’re planning on getting married. If your date is set in winter you may find it more convenient to opt for an indoor space to keep the cold at bay, but don’t feel like you’re limited – many marquees have plenty of room to host your entertainment and can be great for a cosy, festive reception, and if you’re lucky enough to get some snow it can make for some beautiful pictures.

However even in summer the great British weather can get the better of us, so any entertainment you book will need a sheltered place safe from the elements! For weddings ay time of year, but particularly summer, you could also hold part of your reception outdoors before moving indoors for the main event, giving you time to enjoy the sun but with a dry place to continue the party in case the weather doesn’t co-operate!

From May 17th, weddings and receptions with up to 30 people can take place in a COVID-19 secure indoor venue, or outdoors. While you can hold your reception indoors, you need to allow for space for social distancing both for your guests and for any entertainment performers you may hire.

It’s also wise to factor in other aspects of your reception into your decision. Are you hiring a food truck or playing lawn games? Or do you want an all-out dancefloor complete with disco lights? Many types of entertainment can be well suited to either outdoor or indoor receptions, however it’s worth considering your overall vision for the evening when planning your wedding entertainment ideas.

If you choose to host your reception outdoors, we recommend checking out our full outdoor wedding entertainment guide.

Four piece wedding band in a marquee

The Glowlights

What type of venue is best for small wedding entertainment?

Once you’ve decided on an outdoor or indoor reception, the next step is to find a venue that best suits your needs. With small weddings, it’s important to strike a balance with the size of the venue – too big and your reception will feel empty, but too small and your guests will feel cramped.

Depending on the type of entertainment you choose, you also need to ensure there is plenty of performance space as well as room for any necessary equipment. If you’re hiring a live music act, you also need to make sure you have the correct permissions from the venue to host live entertainment, along with the practical requirements such as ensuring there is access to a power supply.

Should your wedding guest list influence your entertainment choice?

Absolutely! One of the great things about having a small guest list is that you can personalise your wedding entertainment to perfectly suit your guests’ tastes. By finding the right fit for yourselves and your guests, you can be certain that everyone has an amazing day and will remember your wedding for years to come!

Wedding party posing on dancefloor with the wedding band

Dance Floor Fillers

How can entertainment help you plan your small wedding’s theme?

In addition to keeping your guests happy, choosing the right entertainment can also help make your reception match your wedding day’s theme.

Smaller weddings give you the opportunity to personalise your wedding to a greater extent and many couples use this chance to create a theme for their wedding unique to their personalities. Whether you’re globetrotters wanting to bring a touch of the exotic to your special day, or if vintage chic is more your style, choosing the right entertainment to match this can really elevate the atmosphere of your big day to the next level. It’s your day – make sure you will have fun!

Alternatively, if you haven’t yet landed on a theme, then starting with an act you like first may help you build up more ideas for how you want to your reception to look.

Additionally, if you’re planning on hiring a live music act as part of your entertainment, there are certain styles that suit smaller weddings. Acoustic acts are likely to be your best choice, as they need less equipment and will be able to keep the celebration exciting without overwhelming your smaller party.

Many acts do offer reduced line-ups so if there is a particular band you love, get in touch to see if they are able to make modifications for a more intimate performance.

Acoustic duo with guitar and female singer outside on a patio

Strawberry Champagne

How do you fit entertainment into a small wedding budget?

As you will likely be saving on costs such as catering, planning a small wedding means you can afford to be pickier with your entertainment choices. Whether you’re looking to hire a live music act or are considering some alternative wedding entertainment ideas, it’s important to keep this in mind when planning the budget for your wedding – if you’ve already found the perfect entertainment then you don’t want to miss out because you’ve splashed out too much elsewhere! Alternatively, if you don’t already have your entertainment picked out then your budget can help to guide your decision.


Small Wedding Entertainment Ideas

With the practicalities out of the way, you’re now free to finalise your choice in entertainment. There are so many options when it comes to wedding entertainment, but we’ve narrowed down a few recommendations that we think best suit small weddings:

Wedding bands

One of the most popular entertainment choices for a reception of any size (with good reason), a live wedding band can bring new life to your favourite songs and create a memorable atmosphere for your big day. With so many genre-spanning acts to choose from, you’re sure to find the right band to bring energy and joy to your wedding day.

Professional DJ

Having a smaller guest list means your loved ones can make requests so you can all enjoy your favourite tunes without compromise and keep the party going! A professional DJ will tailor their performance to keep your guests in high spirits for an all-out celebration.


If your guests are more the type to want to put on a show themselves, then karaoke is an excellent choice to let them really let loose and celebrate – you can even hire bandeoke bands to help you feel like proper rockstars!


With fewer guests, there’s more opportunity for everyone to get involved in the magic! Consider bringing a touch of whimsy and mystique to your reception with a wedding magician who will keep your guests engaged with plenty to talk about all evening.

Wedding magician with a shocked group of male guests

The Mind Tapper


A smaller wedding party means plenty of time for all of your guests to get their likeness hilariously captured by a wedding caricaturist. Not only are these professional pieces a great conversation-starter, but they also serve as a personal keepsake of your special day.


Wow your guests and end the night with a bang (sorry…) with an exclusive display for your VIP guests.


Whether you want to hire a cocktail bar complete with your own signature cocktail, or put on a cocktail class for yourselves and your guests, personalising the drink choices are sure to make your night stand out – you can even bring out the recipes on your wedding anniversary!

Singing Waiters

If you enjoy keeping your friends and family on their toes, why not surprise them with a singing waiter act? Bound to bring some excitement and laughter to your mealtime, these multi-talented performers know how to get a party started!

Lawn Games

Lawn games are ideal for an outdoor summer wedding – low cost, convenient to set up, and fun for guests of all ages, classic games such as giant Jenga and croquet are sure to bring summer fair vibes to your outdoor reception.


Quizzes are perfect for intimate weddings as you can make them as personal as you like! Either go head to head with your spouse, or put your friends and family to the test. How good is their knowledge about you and your partner?


Our team of experts are here to help

If you have any questions at all regarding your wedding day entertainment, our friendly advisers are on hand to answer any queries and offer their advice. Simply get in touch using the LiveChat button in the bottom right corner of the site, via, or give us a call on 0800 53 000 35.


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