Wedding Reception Ideas for Small weddings during Covid

Hail to Weddings! 

Despite all the odds, and everything that this pandemic has thrown at Brides and Grooms near and far, there are still so many couples who are going ahead and getting married this spring! It's AMAZING !! The determination we are seeing is on another level and we have been humbled and privileged to be part of these momentous occasions.

We can finally see some light at the end of this VERY long tunnel and as of April 12th 2021, wedding receptions for 15 can commence (but sadly only outside).  Then, from May 17th wedding receptions for 30 guests will be allowed.  All being well, we'll be back to normal with big weddings as we know and love from pre-covid times, from 21st June. 

It can't come quickly enough!!

Groom at Devon Rockbeare Manor

Last month we shared a Real Wedding During Covid - it's a must read for those either getting married in the next few months, or thinking about going ahead with a small wedding reception this Spring or Summer. 

Making your small wedding stand out

Just because there is less people it absolutely does not mean that it will be any less fun!! Don't take our word for it - many have done it and never looked back and our past brides and grooms have lots of advice to give.

But, we also have some helpful tips that we hope will help make your big day even more memorable so read on for lots of covid wedding reception ideas.

Frustratingly, industry specific guidance from the government has not been forthcoming for covid secure weddings in April and May 2021, and so our ideas and suggestions below are based on restrictions being as they were during summer and autumn 2020. 

Let's get started... 


Example Wedding Day Itinerary 

The beauty of a small wedding is you have a lot more flexibility than time might not ordinarily allow - so relax and soak it all up at your leisure. As far as we know at the moment, dancing or a party is still not permitted, but do not's an example of how your can make best use of the extra time that you have...  

11.30am - Arrive at your wedding venue for pre-wedding preparations

Getting ready at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

12.15pm - Light lunch served to the Bridal Party (you mustn't forget to eat!)

2pm - The wedding ceremony

2.20pm - Drinks reception, outside ideally where your photographer can capture some beautiful couple shots

            - Entertainment such as a caricaturist or background musician would be perfect at this point

Pianist at Rockbeare Manor

4pm - Guests take their seats for the meal 

4.15pm - The wedding breakfast is served

5.50pm - Charge your glasses!

Champagne at Rockbeare Manor

6pm - After a leisurely meal the speeches commence!

6.30pm - Freshen up, sunset or early evening couples shots

7.00pm - Cocktail hour (or two) and Quiz with chilled background music

9pm - First dance following by card and present opening

9.30pm - Evening food to keep you going such as cheeses, pasties or pizza 

10pm onwards - drinks, games and laughs

Midnight - Bar closes 



For the perfect wedding favour idea which doubles up as fun entertainment, why not hire a caricaturist who will create hilarious caricatures for you and your guests, there and then!  It would make the perfect addition to your drinks reception and would really set the tone for a great wedding ahead. Chrissy at Sensible Pencil has a micro-weddings package - he's a very personable and talented chap who will create brilliant works of art just like this...

Caricature at Rockbeare Manor

Caricaturist at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Cocktail Hour

Naturally, the itinerary for a wedding during covid restrictions will vary a little bit from the norm, but that’s the perfect opportunity to use the extra time to really put your own personal touches into the day. 

Cocktail at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

It’s quite likely that you will find yourselves with lots of available time after the wedding breakfast and speeches have come to an end and so why not host a cocktail hour (or two!) where you and your guests can sit at occasional tables, chat, laugh and reminisce, whilst being served mouthwatering cocktails.

 Barman at Rockbeare Manor wedding venue in Devon

You could pick a selection of your favourite cocktails, and create personlised menus to display in a cosy lounge or room, decorated with fairy lights or flowers, with your own choice of background music to set the scene.

Or, if you really want to push the boat out, you could hire a musician such as a saxophonist like Carlo or a talented pianist such as Bill Young to play some upbeat tunes as you all relax into the evening. It will have more of a wine bar vibe – and who doesn’t love a good wine bar!!

 Cocktail menu at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Food and Drink to remember

For any wedding, the food is so important. It’s one of the main things that your guests will remember – hopefully for all the right reasons and so it’s important to get it right.

Cheese and leek tart at Rockbeare Manor wedding venue

If having a smaller guest list means you have more budget available, the food (and drink!) is a worthwhile place to start.  Instead of a traditional three course menu, you could add an amuse-bouche or extra course to your menu which will be a real treat for you and your guests.

Sirloin of Beef

Time constraints are unlikely to be an issue as they may be for a wedding in ‘normal’ times so it’s an opportunity not to be missed, and one that will make your day completely unique.  For wine lovers, a wine flight will add a touch of indulgence and compliment your carefully chosen courses perfectly.  

 Chocolate fondant dessert at Rockbeare Manor

Shared gift and card opening  

Ideal for the evening part of your wedding, the newly-weds could dedicate some time to open their cards and gifts in front of their guests who will love to share in the joy and excitement. Why not follow that with a game of Mr and Mrs or a quiz of some kind?

 Bride and groom opening gifts at wedding

Sparkler send off ! 

After a day of celebrating with the love of your life, surrounded by your very nearest and dearest friends and family, the perfect way to end your wedding reception is with a sparkler tunnel outside in the moonlight.  

If you would like your photographer to be able to capture it, you may need to arrange the timings to suit them as well - the photos will certainly tell an amazing story of your unique and fabulous wedding day.

Our Event Managers are pro's when it comes to co-ordinating a sparkler tunnel and will make sure that all the sparklers are lit simultaneously to give you the best opportunity to capture the perfect shot. 

 Bride and groom celebrate with sparklers at Rockbeare Manor

We hope that you found these covid wedding reception ideas helpful and we wish you a wonderful wedding day!!!

More on this subject...

More blogs like this:

Getting Married During A Pandemic

Real Wedding During Covid Restrictions


N.B some of the images used are pre-pandemic.

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