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Small Luxury Weddings: Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

Two tier handmade buttercream wedding cake filled with handmade Autumnal sugar flowers and leaves. Placed on a grey marble cake stand on a rectangle table with petals scattered across the table. All of which is placed against a window with views across the London skyline

All weddings are special, but there’s something about those that are indulgently intimate that really says ‘you can have it all!’. Small luxury weddings with guest numbers between 10-50 people have remained popular in recent years, with more and more couples choosing to craft an exclusive guest list of only their closest loved ones – petite, but perfectly formed. We’re going to show you how to design a wedding that exudes high-end style despite (or perhaps because of) its size, not forgetting the all-important question of what to do about a wedding cake!

Trio of small luxury wedding cakes from a teeny white 3 tier to a cherry blossom designed single tier
Small wedding cakes by name only…petite but perfectly formed!

What Exactly Are Small Luxury Weddings?

When we refer to weddings that are small-scale yet sumptuous, we are usually talking about a guest list below 50 people with no delicious detail spared. Small by name but not by nature, if you like. Most of the time when we work with a couple having an intimate wedding, they budget a similar amount to those hosting a celebration of a ‘standard’ size. The difference is their ability to prioritise spending on those elements that are really important to them, and allocate a larger proportion of the budget to each guest. Here’s how you can do the same at your own small yet luxurious wedding…

Choosing Your Intimate Wedding Venue

It’s important to choose a wedding venue appropriate for the size of your guest list. It can be the difference between a magical, comfortable atmosphere and one that feels cool and impersonal. City wedding venues can work particularly well for small luxury weddings, and we have a couple of London favourites we’d like to share with you.

Carlton House Terrace

For maximum grandeur housed within Grade II listed Georgian townhouses, Carlton House Terrace was the venue of dreams for our couple Zahra and Philip. Their intimate wedding was designed around a summery colour palette, and our jaws were nearly on the floor when we saw the spot they’d picked out to show off their wedding cake. We added cascading focal sugar flowers, hand painted details and hints of gold that echoed the showstopping ceiling above, creating a design that was worthy of the fact that they’d invited some guests specifically to watch the cake cutting!

When it comes to choosing your intimate wedding venue, we really advocate for those that have a dreamy spot for your cake to take centre stage.

Cake cutting moment at Carlton House Terrace. Bride and Groom cutting their 3 tier wedding cake in front of a gold inlaid alcove

3 tier marbled wedding cake finished with handmade Autumnal sugar flowers in purples, ivories and peach tones
Zahra and Philip’s small luxury wedding at Carlton House Terrace in the heart of London

Enjoy more about Zahra & Philip’s London Wedding Cake at Carlton House Terrace – The Crème de la Crème of luxury London wedding venues

The Landmark Hotel

The Tower Suite at the Landmark was the perfect choice for Susan and Andrew’s small luxury wedding, but their wedding cake was anything but understated. Finished with opulent gold details, they opted for three tiers to ensure everyone present could taste and take home a slice.

They really embraced the intimate wedding vibe by making it feel more like a fine dining dinner party than a wedding, with the cake on full display throughout as a seamless element of the room decor rather than an add-on. Which leads us nicely onto how you can modify the classic wedding breakfast experience for a smaller wedding to completely change the feel…

Susan and Andrew’s centrepiece wedding cake design had three tiers to ensure every single guest could taste and take home a slice

It was a real pleasure to work on Susan and Andrew’s Landmark Hotel wedding cake and you can read more about it in all its golden glory here.

Dining At Small Luxury Weddings

A traditional wedding breakfast set up of separate tables just doesn’t work as well with smaller guest numbers. We love the idea of creating something of a fine dining experience, using a set up with one large table to bring everyone together. You’ve finessed your guest list carefully, so why not take this chance to sit with all of them at once and share wonderful food and great conversation? The result is a relaxed, cosy feel that is reminiscent of a dinner party – only more magnificent!

The Tower Suite at The Landmark Hotel in London set up with a dinner party style reception table with a white wedding cake with pink sugar flowers on a cake table in the background
Small luxury weddings mean you can create something of a fine dining experience, using a set up with one large table to bring everyone together. The top trio of photos are from Claire and Paris’s wedding at The Ritz, London and the dining room directly above was at Yewande & Harry’s wedding reception at The Landmark Hotel, London.

Curating your guest list in this way might mean you can spend more ‘per head’, enabling you and your loved ones to enjoy a decadent, indulgent dining experience. Of course, your luxury wedding cake really comes into its own at dessert time.

You can also really go to town with your table settings, choosing considered style on a small but well thought out scale. Abundant florals, floods of candles, unique tableware and stylish stationery can all come together to create something truly stunning.

For more inspiration of fine dining at your luxury small wedding, read about Claire Chanelle’s exquisite wedding at The Ritz Hotel, London here.

The CAKE!

Now let’s get into the really fun part, and talk about how to choose your cake for your perfectly petite wedding. We’re rather fond of making wedding cakes for smaller guest numbers, particularly when our couples really want a standout design that will become an eye catching part of the day. You have a couple of different options when it comes to your intimate wedding cake design: go small yet showstopping, or big and beautiful if you and your guests are real cake lovers.

2 tier Spring buttercream cake filled with Spring sugar flowers in blush pinks and sage greens displayed at the Inner Temple, London
Spring two tier design for Rebekka and Akaash’s wedding at Inner Temple, London – buttercream wedding cake filled with handmade sugar flowers

Small but mighty wedding cakes are some of our favourite designs to make, and you have an opportunity to get deeply creative and seriously stylish. You could choose to add an abundance of statement sugar flowers, tantalising texture or artful hand painted designs.

For inspiration for your small wedding cake with big wow factor, take a look here.

Trio of wedding cakes that each have an illusion tier so that the top tier appears to float above the rest of the wedding cake. Cake 1 - white on white with an acrylic see through tier; cake 2 - bright and bold sugar flowers; cake 3 - traditional white wedding cake with a modern twist of floating tier.
Illusion tiers are perfect for weddings where the guest numbers are smaller and so less cake is needed, but a spectacular design is still important

There’s also a secret third option…the perfect amount of cake for your guest numbers, with a design that increases the grandeur using ‘floating tiers’ or acrylic spacers.

You can find out more about making your wedding cake taller by defying gravity when reading our blog here.

Emotional Impact of small luxury weddings

Small luxury weddings that really deliver on guest experience, emotional impact and memorability are some of our absolute favourites. If you’re planning one and need some support to craft something truly special, we’d love to chat to you about a wedding cake to match the panache of your petite day. We’re rather au fait with creating designs that blend high-end with home-baked, after all – do come and say hello!

Erica and Charlie signature

Photos: Fiona Kelly Photography, Rebecca Douglas Photography, The Unbridled, Life is in the Detail, Paul and Nanda

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