If you're having a small reception you don't have to forgo a tiered cake. Smaller diameter tiers will give you a two to three-tiered look that definitely says "wedding" but won't leave you with way more cake than you need.
So don't feel like you're stuck with a typically-sized, white wedding cake if that isn't what you want or need. There are other options that you can have to get a cake that you really want, not something that you think you're "supposed" to have.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com