How to Make a Large Wedding Venue Feel More Intimate

You: I dream of an intimate, relaxed atmosphere for my wedding, with a small guest list, a cosy venue, and plenty of time to spend with the people I love most.

Also you: Is that giant castle available on October 10th? …and to live in forever?

If you’ve fallen in love with a beautifully epic wedding venue – and you’re worried it’ll feel empty and cavernous for the small guest list you’ve so lovingly chosen – don’t worry! There are lots of modern, organic, seamless ways to make a larger space feel more intimate. I’ve listed some suggestions and ideas below, and included some beautiful visual examples to inspire you too! Of course, which of the below will work best for you depends on the nature of your venue, and on the style of wedding you’re envisioning of course. If you’re unsure and would like to brainstorm together – don’t hesitate to get in touch! Also, do speak with your wedding vendors – they are experts at what they do, and will be an invaluable source of anecdotes, suggestions, and ideas.

Ok, let’s start!

TIP #1. If the room you’ve chosen for your dinner or ceremony is tall and wide, you can opt for hiring in trees to divide and fill a large space in an organic way, and create a cozier environment. Big branches can also work really well for this, which your florist can incorporate these in your arrangements. You can add large branches or voluminous greenery to hanging installations, or clusters around any key features (like columns, doorways, etc) to make the room feel more full and inviting.

TIP #2. Gone are the days of stiff, plasticky drapings – textiles can be used creatively to section a room and fill tall ceilings. Her in the UK, the ladies at Boomting Bunting are immensely talented at coming up with ideas on how to use fabric to decorate a space in a modern way, so definitely have a little browse through their portfolio and services.

TIP #3. One of my favourite ways to make spaces feel cozier is to suspend things from the ceiling, which has a huge impact on making a room feel smaller and more intimate – you could suspend floral arrangements, fabric, chandeliers, candles, signs, paper installations, and so much more. There is no limit to how creative you can get with this idea! If you like the idea of hanging and suspended floral arrangements, have a browse through this dedicated Pinterest board I’ve curated.

TIP #4. If your venue isn’t one where you can easily or safely suspend items from the ceiling, another option for making your dinner room feel smaller is to ask your florist to create tall table arrangements which make their way up towards the ceiling. This will fill the space at and above eye level, thus creating a sense of intimacy and cosiness. Another option is to hire wooden structures that you can use to suspend items safely from – and frame the area where your guests will be sitting.

TIP #5. If the number of tables you need for your guests doesn’t fill the room you’ve chosen for dinner, one option is to mix round and rectangular tables. As these don’t “pack” in an efficient way, you’ll end up needing to use more of the space, without it feeling forced or clunky. Space the chairs on your tables so everyone has plenty of room, and think about adding tableware that will fill up space on your tables – like big, beautiful charger plates.

TIP #6. Dim lighting and natural candle glow can make a room feel so magical and intimate, no matter the size! Canopies of fairylights can really help with this, and allow you to pull focus to just one area of the room you’ve chosen.

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Sometimes simplicity wins. I have been wishing to do this for a long time: no flowers, no greenery, only candles as a centerpiece. Hundreds of candles, a beautiful mix of modern and antique brass candlesticks, the pillar ones and tea lights, for a wow effect and an intimate atmosphere ✨ We realized this for Reb and Greg’s welcome dinner, last September at #chiostrodipienza and it was simply magic 💫 A volte vince la semplicità. Ed era da tempo che desideravo farlo: niente fiori, niente verde, un centrotavola fatto solo di candele. Centinaia di candele, un bel mix di candelieri di ottone antichi e moderni, pillar, e tea lights, per un effetto wow e un'atmosfera intima ✨ Lo abbiamo realizzato per la cena di benvenuto di Reb e Greg lo scorso settembre al Chiostro di Pienza, ed è stato semplicemente magico. Designed by @biancoantico + @laurabravievents + @ninaeifiori Photography @cinziabruschini Graphics @shhhmydarling #bridesrealweddings #weddingcandles #tablesetting #tabledecor #tablescape #weddingdecor #brides #weddingdetails #italyweddingplanner #italywedding #chicwedding #luxurywedding #destinationwedding #exclusivewedding #destinationweddingplanner #instawed #weddingdestination #exclusiveweddinginitaly #weddinginspiration #tuscanyweddingplanner #umbriawedding #weddingplannerumbria #sinspirersemarier #getmarriedinitaly #weddingplannerroma #italyweddingplanner #destinationweddinginitaly #destinationweddingplanner #biancoanticowedding

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TIP #7. Separate the room into areas – for example use part of the room for dining tables, and part of it to create a little lounge area with armchairs, sofas, coffee tables, and so on. These small nooks also encourage socialising in smaller groups, which is great for giving your guests opportunities to spend quality time together.

TIP #8. Opt for dark, matt colours – as a general rule, white and light colours makes a room feel more roomy, while dark colours make it feel smaller and cosier. Dark tablecloths or crockery, wooden tables, or accents in darker colours can help a lot with this! Using thicker, more textured fabrics like velvet can also make a tablescape or room feel instantly more snug and inviting.

TIP #9. Instead of having waiters serve food, you could use part of the room to set up food stations – it’s more interactive, more experiential, and requires more space! Drink stations are another really entertaining and immersive way of using up space and giving your guests ways to participate in and personalise their experience.

TIP #10. Balloons are a great way to take up space! It’s a love or hate thing, so you may not like the idea – but there are some very talented balloon artists these days that can make awesome installations – here in the UK, check out the work of Bubblegum Balloons.

TIP #11. Adding rugs can also make a large space feel more inviting – though of course this may not work with every wedding style, as it can feel a bit “rustic” or “boho”, so it depends on the vibe you’re going for.

TIP #12. You can corner off a section of the venue to create a photo backdrop for a photobooth – this could be a flower installation for people to pose in front of for example, and a “flower moment” for guests to take photos and selfies.

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So excited to be working with awesome Kai from @myladygarden again this year for a wedding in Spring! Last time we partnered up she created this flower moment by the piano – which was nothing short of magic 💫 A key technique for giving a space character and making it feel inviting, especially if you're starting from a blank canvas, is to pick a focal point (or a few, if your room is very large) – areas throughout the guest journey that draw their eyes and convey the vibe and style you want. You can highlight existing features of your venue – like windows, fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, or walls with arches or interesting angles – or create your own with accent walls, statement furniture, or standalone installations. Consider how this focal point will be lit, what textures you can add, and also what design elements you can use to subtly frame the area – don't forget you have the ceiling and floor to play with too! This lounge was one of the rooms we designed for the @maidwithstylelondon Bridesmaids Brunch showcase we held at @theministryse1 last November – we wanted to create spaces that allowed for unimpeded flow but also encouraged socialising in relaxed, intimate clusters 💘 The day was captured by the lovely @elenapopa and @finnarion, and you can see here furniture and pink piano from @hallandcoeventdesign, signs by @youhadmeathelloltd and neon by @softsigns 🌟 #weddinginspo #londonweddingplanner #ukweddingplanner #radstorytellers #loveandwildhearts #loveauthentic #authenticlovemag #elopementcollective #destinationweddingplanner #radlovestories #elopementlove #destinationwedding #elopementplanner #elopement #weddingelopement #ukawpmember #junebugweddings #belovedstories #elopementwedding #isaidyes #modernbride #londonbride #bridalinspiration #engagedaf #engagedlife #weddinginspo #modernwedding #weddingflowers #weddingvenue #underthefloralspell

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I hope this has helped in finding some exciting and constructive ways to transform your venue and create a magical space for your intimate celebration.

If you’d like some support in planning this wonderful experience, I’m your person – so don’t hesitate to get in touch.