It’s true. I invited mine. He loved every minute of it, especially the leftover Chicken Zingara.
With a large secular wedding already planned for a Saturday in May, Sara and Thomas decided they also wanted to have an intimate, liturgical ceremony to honor the bride’s Episcopalian upbringing before the big day. They chose the Thursday before the wedding to secretly gather with their immediate family in the bride’s parents’ backyard for a spiritual and emotional ceremony followed by a quiet and relaxed family dinner at a local inn owned by family friends. It was a day filled with happy tears, laughter, and the joining of two families – all the makings of a perfect pre-wedding wedding day!
Special thanks to Shawn Marie for sharing Thomas and Sara’s truly intimate day with us!
Sara, 28 & Thomas, 30
Wedding Date: May 14, 2015
Number of Guests: 7
Wedding Cost: $800 – Budget Breakdown – Dress: $80; Photos: $500; Food: $100 – homecooked and paid for by parents; Flowers: $75: Rings: $40 (We spent most of our wedding budget on our larger wedding that following Saturday so we really kept this one quite inexpensive.)
Wedding Ceremony Location: Parents’ Backyard
Wedding Reception Location: The Red Gate Inn
Why did you have an intimate wedding?
Having been together for about five years and having gone through three years of the relationship long distance, along with the war in Iraq, sharing a goddaughter, and him moving here for me and school, we had a lot of people involved in our support team. I felt overwhelmed with the idea of sharing such an intimate moment with a large audience and in a fast paced setting. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to soak up all the details of the day and would miss some precious moments because of the hustle and bustle of a large wedding. Because I grew up Episcopalian and Thomas didn’t, we both agreed to a short 10 minute ceremony at a large wedding on a Saturday in May. I knew, however, I would feel like I missed something special if I didn’t have a liturgical ceremony at some point. After much discussion we agreed to a small Thursday before ceremony on a few conditions, one being that no one would know about it except a select few, and two, that I wouldn’t wear the same dress. Well, if all I had to do was buy two dresses, then here we go! We decided on just our immediate family with no exception. You know the drill, if you invite this person then you have to invite that person and so on, so we just decided on parents and siblings, period. As I was standing there in front of him at the altar, I thought about the hardships and triumphs we had been through and I knew we had made the right choice. We were all able to enjoy every moment of the day and evening with each other and feel nothing but love and peace. I don’t think there’s ever been a more calm bride on the day of her wedding than myself on that day.
What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
The biggest challenge was keeping it a secret. The few people that knew weren’t quite understanding why it was a secret and that led to a lot of repeat discussions. We could have easily told everyone and just let it happen as it will, but we decided to respect that some people might be offended and we didn’t want to deal with it that week. To this day, it is still not a known event and we haven’t decided when we will be sharing it with our families. I will say that afterwards, every single person that was there came to me and said they are so glad we did it this way; it was incredibly special and involved for every family member there.
Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
It was extremely difficult. We had a lot of family and friends actually flying in that day, and we had to be careful what we said and how we said it. There were a few that knew and respected our decision completely though, which was comforting.
Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?
Our families generally agreed to most of it once I explained the vibe of the night that we were going for. There were a few confused looks at first and a few “why can’t grandma come?” questions, but all went well in the end. The only downside was that my brother wasn’t able to attend until that weekend, because even though he was stationed locally, he didn’t get off work in time.
I addressed the issues by explaining that it was important to me to have a liturgical wedding, and considering 98 percent of our friends and family aren’t Episcopalian, I wouldn’t want them to sit through something so long outside in the heat. Nothing sounded better to me than to just have our biggest supporters/immediate family there to experience such an intense and deep moment in our lives. Some understood and some didn’t, but afterwards they ALL said it was worth it and were glad we had made that choice. There wasn’t a dry eye there the entire ceremony and it made it that much more amazing.
What were the highlights of the ceremony?
The highlight for me personally was being able to look over and see everyone was right there smiling at us. We were able to joke around a bit and be super relaxed the whole time while performing a very ancient ceremony. My groom was very teary (much to his surprise) and I loved that it was such a moving experience for both of us.
What were the highlights of the reception?
We had a family cooked meal afterwards at a local inn owned by my parents’ friends. His parents surprised us with a carriage ride over there and the rest of the evening was spent laughing and eating. His mom made his favorite and my mom brought my favorite dessert. We are so lucky that our parents enjoy each others company, and it felt like a real “knitting” of the two sides together.
What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?
The memories we have of that night are crystal clear, slow, and peaceful. I can remember every moment and every emotion. I don’t think many couples would be able to say that.
What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?
Do it. Hands down, just do it. When you are standing there at the altar with your groom, no one will be thinking of “that thing” that they had asked you to include or do. The day will go by so incredibly fast and you will wish you could remember every detail, but you can’t, unless you slow it down. For us, the only way to slow it down was to have a completely normal day and a tiny wedding that night. We loved having that day to just be with our immediate families and prepare for the crazy weekend ahead. We had a little twinkle in our eyes at our Saturday ceremony, which only made it that much more special. Remember, it’s YOUR show; you’re the one that has to walk away at the end of the night feeling good about it, so make it your own.
Flowers: The Stalk Market
Photography: Shawn Marie Photography
Wedding Dress: Lulu’s Boutique
Groom’s Jacket: Zara
Officiant: Bishop Kenneth Myers
Reception Dinner: The Red Gate Inn
Dessert: Emporium Pies
With their creative input, event planning and nights of assisting with DIY projects, your bridesmaids definitely deserve a fab thank you gift. We’ve trawled Etsy to find 10 gifts to show your bridesmaids how much you care!
* This post includes Etsy Affiliate links.
In the world of fruit, figs are having a moment. Not only are they a delicious option to include in your wedding menu, but they look great when incorporated into different decor elements. With Marsala hailed as the color of the year, figs will work very well with that palette. If you’re struggling with the idea of using figs for anything other than eating, then we’ve picked out 10 ways that you can use them.
1. Mixed Display
To add something extra to pink floral arrangements, mix in blackberries and figs for a dash of deep color. You can use this display as a table runner for long tables or with gold vases or bowls for a centerpiece.
2. Mini Cheese Table
Take the cheese board to another level, with these beyond adorable tables. If you’re looking for a post-dinner treat or to give your guests something to nibble on during your photography session, this is a lovely idea. Pile up some cheese, focaccia bread, figs, olives and berries for a mini feast.
3. Sangria with Apples, Pomegranate and Figs
How delicious would this be for a signature drink? Give a traditional sangria recipe a little twist by adding apples, pomegranate and figs. The stunning rich color of the drink will look perfect in a similar color palette.
4. Fruit and Florals
Using fruit in your wedding decor is a great way to add some depth and to bulk up your flowers in an inexpensive way. The dark tone of the figs works well with cream blooms and dark green leaves.
5. The Cheese Cake
If you don’t have a sweet tooth or simply want a wedding cake alternative, cheese cakes are a delicious option. Figs and berries are the ideal decoration, surrounded by greenery.
6. Place Card
A single fig used as a place card has a simple yet effective look for a dramatic table.
7. Fig Crate Centerpiece
A wooden crate or box is another way to display your floral centerpieces. Sometimes a vase just won’t do. Complete the setting with a combination of plums and figs.
8. Naked Cake
Naked wedding cakes need very little decoration. Some carefully arranged figs are all you need.
9. Hanging Fruit
Forget lights and hanging lanterns, if you have a bright and open space then hang fruit instead! We love this interesting way to display figs and it will really had a twist to your decor.
10. Fig, Rosemary, & Goat Cheese Tartines
For a family-style dinner or as passed hors d’oeuvres these fig and cheese tartines are the perfect flavor combination.
Photo one: onelove-photo.com; Photo two: stylemepretty.com; Photo three: heatherchristo.com; Photo four: bashplease.com; Photo five: paulaohara.com; Photo six: southernweddings.com; Photo seven: 100layercake.com; Photo eight: polkadotbride.com; Photo nine: anushe.com; Photo ten: willcookforfriends.com
We’ve seen ombre details applied in so many ways for wedding decor and attire. From tablecloths and napkins to dresses and hair, this is a trend that is sure to stay around. We love the idea of using ombre flowers to elevate floral arrangements.
Can you think of anything more romantic than saying your vows in front of a dreamy floral backdrop? The fuchsia blooms cascade into cream flowers and will really transform your ceremony space.
A wedding cake with blue ombre sugar flowers is a great way to incorporate this trend.
Add some interest to your bouquet with an ombre effect in classic colors.
You can add some romance to any venue space by placing rose petals down the aisle. Go for gradient colors for an ombre look.
Abundant floral centerpieces will wow your guests, especially when they see the color palette. Roses are a lovely option for an ombre arrangement, in three strong colors.
For an outdoor wedding, a stunning hanging decoration will create a lovely backdrop for photographs or the ceremony.
A simple tiered cake can be transformed with ombre sugar flowers. You can experiment with different blooms and textures as well as adding in some black and white anemone, for a modern look.
Take your escort cards to the next level, by arranging them on a bed of ombre blooms for your guests to collect.
If you’re going for a bold jewel tone such as dark purple, you can lighten up your settings with an ombre effect.
If you prefer subtle tones, an aisle runner that starts with a light pink and goes into white is a great option for a classic color scheme.
Photo one: greylikesweddings.com; Photo two: stylemepretty.com; Photo three: sarahasstedt.com; Photo four: rebecca-arthurs.com; Photo five: harwellphotography.com; Photo six: kaitiebryant.com; Photo seven: stylemepretty.com; Photo eight: frostedpetticoatblog.com; Photo nine: theeverylastdetail.com; Photo ten: leilabrewsterphotography.com; Photo eleven: ruffledblog.com; Photo twelve: onelove-photo.com