By Kieran O'Brien Kern

Looking to have a wedding without the big cake, bigger dress and even bigger guest list? Intrepid engaged couples can take heart - Houston has ideal venues for smaller weddings that make a big impact.

The Bell Tower on 34th

Among the breathtaking, detailed architecture reminiscent of exclusive Italian villas and luxurious haciendas of the Bell Tower, fairy-tale weddings can be any size. They have hosted weddings for as few as four people in the bridal garden. For time-conscious romantics, the KISS Package offers a 60-minute Vegas-style wedding in the Contessa. Available Saturdays from midmorning to midafternoon, this celebration includes a Champagne toast, an attendant and optional use of a unity candle and background music. This is just one of the options The Bell Tower on 34th event producers can tailor to your needs. "My favorite wedding was a private candlelit wedding for just 12 guests held in our chapel. It was fantastically decorated with unbelievable flowers and décor. So romantic and super intimate," explains Roger Igo, president and CEO of Bell Tower Group. Indoor or outdoor, day or evening, the Bell Tower can deliver an extraordinary wedding day that exceeds your expectations.

The Petroleum Club of Houston

With unparalleled views of Houston from the 35th floor of the Total Plaza, The Petroleum Club is a premiere destination for couples looking for a conventional feel free of stuffiness. It's ideal for a smaller celebration melding elegance with exuberance. The Wyatt/Aramco Room accommodates 50 friends and family members toasting the happy couple. The Petroleum Club's professional and experienced staff can help couples tailor menus ranging from traditional to truly opulent creations from their expansive kitchen. No request is too big: From a Champagne suite for the bride or whiskey bar for the groom to a drool-worthy doughnut wedding cake that would make The Simpsons patriarch put on a suit and tie, their team will go the extra mile for those personal touches.

Bernhardt Winery

When Texas hospitality and Tuscan-inspired surroundings fuse, beautiful unions ensue. Bernhardt Winery weddings take place on 12 acres of lushly landscaped vineyard grounds. Ceremonies are held outside in the shade of century-old native pecan trees overlooking rolling hills and valleys or within the winery surrounded by barrels and wine tanks lavishly decorated with flowers and plants. For the couple that only needs each other, there is an elopement package including a half-hour ceremony, a minister, a bottle of the winery's finest and an overnight stay at The Loft, one of their bed-and-breakfast suites. The Intimate Package includes an hour long ceremony, up to 10 guests, an officiant and a wedding toast. Additional packages can host up to 100 attendees for a three-hour ceremony and reception with everything from servers to table linens. These packages may include rehearsal time if needed and an hour before the event for photos. Whether a lush getaway for two hearts or a celebration for the whole family, Bernhardt Winery is the perfect destination for a perfect day.

The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Looking for a venue that embraces outdoor enchantment? The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center's parkland beckons wedding parties to slow down and celebrate the peaceful beauty that surrounds them with several options. The Overlook Deck accommodates 50 and is a lovely setting to speak your vows for the future while flanked by tall pines and oaks. Embrace the waterside bliss of the Meadow Deck, and exchange rings by the one-acre pond. Couples have the option for either indoor or outdoor receptions with furnishings, linens and place settings included. Parties are invited to bring their own caterer and bar service. Enter into wedded bliss in nature's cathedral for an intimate experience.

The George Ranch Historical Park

Couples looking to hearken back to days gone by need look no further than the George Ranch Historical Park. Among the wide expanse of park, there stand two unique venues fit for the coziest of country weddings. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the Beasley Post Office can hold 50 guests. Inside, find wood floors and a large wood counter ideal for serving. The Tree House Yard is the ideal spot for a bucolic celebration. For a ceremony or reception, the Tree House serves as a playful location to celebrate your union. The packages offered to brides and grooms include the supportive amenities that make a wedding seamless while preferred outside vendors provide food and music. Move away from the expected and host your special day at the George Ranch Historical Park.

Whether traditional, nature-based or country chic, tailor your biggest life experience to fit your personal style. Find the venue perfect for your day at