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Trend Alert: Unique Venues for Intimate Weddings

As guest lists have grown shorter due to the pandemic, couples and industry pros alike are getting creative with their venue choices. Micro weddings are a natural choice for those looking to limit the risk of viral spread at their weddings, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be at home or in a stuffy conference room.

Instead, this year’s weddings (and likely next year’s) are taking place at small-but-significant locations that are as safe as they are beautiful. For couples, this means they don’t have to sacrifice their design ideas for a shorter guest list. Here are a few venue trends we’re seeing amid the rise in intimate weddings.

Outdoor Spaces

Many couples have moved their wedding receptions outside to reduce risk of COVID-19 and, now, we’re seeing more ceremonies moving outdoors as well.

Heather Jones, Catering Sales Director for Wente Vineyards, shares: “We are seeing wedding couples gravitating towards venues with outdoor spaces, looking to have their ceremony, reception, or both portions of their wedding outside. As more and more of our clients find themselves working long hours in corporate settings, the appeal of marrying outdoors is growing—specifically for our adventurous couples!”

Photo courtesy Stephanie Yonce Photography

Open-air spaces will be safer than indoor areas, but outdoor events naturally come with their own set of challenges, particularly in terms of catering. If clients are shifting their weddings outside, be prepared to take all precautions to keep guests safe and healthy.


With botanicals and blooms taking the spotlight in wedding design, greenhouse weddings align perfectly with the lush nature of this year’s floral trends. 

“Orangeries and botanical styling go hand-in-hand for 2020,” says Sam Lloyd, Owner of The Wedding Owl. “Everyone is excited about how bright and light these beautiful glasshouses are, as opposed to dark barns. They are perfect for romantic ceremonies and more modern and relaxed wedding breakfasts.”

Photo courtesy Kaysha Weiner Photography

The beauty of greenhouses is the ability to embrace an outdoorsy feel without being concerned for weather. Cold temperatures and inclement weather may be an issue for outdoor weddings, but glasshouses make for a stunning venue through every season.

Unique Destinations

Couples are losing interest in typical wedding venues, like hotels, estates, and churches. Instead, they’re seeking unique properties that provide a fun and vibrant energy for their celebration.

“Inspired by the dream of creating a personal wedding design, clients are looking for spaces to add style, theatre, and a never-been-seen-before approach to their special day,” suggests Pamella Dunn, Creative Director and CEO of Pamella Dunn Events. “There has been a flurry of theatres, cinemas, bars, and restaurants launching fresh new wedding venue options. Renting a private house where guests have the luxury of onsite accommodation, the exclusive use of the gardens and surrounding land for a marquee or a teepee, is growing in popularity.”

The key with unique locations is to get creative and consider local spaces that wouldn’t normally be used for weddings and events. Visit your favorite art gallery, open-air farmers’ market, botanical garden, history museum, or historic theatre. Look out for details like distinctive architecture, a unique location, or a breathtaking view.

Eco-friendly Properties

While not a specific type of venue, couples are increasingly prioritizing sustainability when planning their wedding and it would do all properties well to get onboard.

Lily Lubowitz, Group Venues Manager for The Concerto Group offers: “Sustainable venues will lend themselves to be a perfect setting for couples that are environmentally conscious. Catering is always a huge part of any wedding day; venues that can provide sharing/grazing platters, vegan options, and interactive food stations will stand out.”

Going green is not a fad; it’s a trend that is here to stay. Consider swapping out single-use disposables with environmentally-conscious alternatives, updating your menu with inclusive options, and committing to reduce waste in 2020 and beyond.

Intimate weddings might not have the lengthy guest list and the packed dance floor, but that’s part of the charm and beauty of these smaller celebrations. Instead, couples are surrounded by their closest friends and family as they honor their love—and you don’t need a massive venue to make memories and to say ‘I do.’ 


Kylie Carlson

Founder / CEO, The Wedding and Event Institute
Kylie Carlson is the owner of ...