Sarah and Richard’s $5,000 Pennsylvania Inn Wedding

It’s a well known fact that planning a wedding can be stressful and tedious at times, so we’re sure it will come as no surprise when we tell you that many couples really don’t enjoy the whole planning process. Sarah and Richard, however, loved every minute of it, finding it to be a completely stress-free affair – definitely not something you hear every day!

If their worry-less planning process doesn’t have you green with envy, their small budget certainly will. For only $5,000, these two pulled off a stylish and elegant outdoor ceremony, and an intimate and romantic wine cellar reception complete with awesome gifts of wine and Crate & Barrel carafes for all their guests.

We’re so thankful that Sarah and Richard’s lovely photographer Nicole chose to share their envy-worthy big day with us!


Sarah, 26 & Richard, 29

Kimberton, PA

Wedding Date: October 11, 2014

Number of Guests: 18

Wedding Cost: $5,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: The Kimberton Inn

Wedding Reception Location: The Kimberton Inn

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Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We went back and forth whether we should do a wedding in Illinois (where I am from) or in Pennsylvania (where Rick is from). We both have very large families and could not cut anyone out. It was an all or none type of decision. We decided to keep it small and have it in PA since that is where we were living. One of our favorite places to go for dinner is at the Kimberton Inn. When we discovered they did weddings and were told we could have the reception in their Private Wine Cellar we knew it was the perfect place.



073A0932 What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Honestly, minus breaking the news to our family and friends we did not face any true challenges.

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Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Absolutely! We did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings so we decided to invite our immediate family members and the individuals we would have asked to be in our bridal party (had we went for the large traditional wedding).

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Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

We did. Rick and I are very close with our family and friends. There was disappointment because they wanted to be able to share the moment with us. After explaining our debate on location and then setting, everyone was very understanding.

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What were the highlights of the ceremony?

The ceremony took place outside the Inn and their property includes a beautiful pond. Mid-ceremony there must have been a disruption in the water and hundreds of geese abruptly took flight and circled above us for what seemed like an eternity. They were so loud the Pastor stopped talking and everyone burst into laughter gazing at them circling miles above us (luckily there were no accidents).




What were the highlights of the reception?

The highlights of the reception were being able to enjoy good conversation with everyone who attended during a private cocktail hour at the bar and dinner at a family style table. The best thing about keeping it small was that Rick and I were able to have everyone close together for great conversation, speeches and toasts. A special moment with Rick and his mother was the promised celebratory shot of Jack Daniels on his wedding day (which was quite the exciting moment for his mom who had never taken a shot, ever!).

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What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the planning. During the entire experience, from the start of planning to the actual wedding day, there was no stress or worry. We set up the wine cellar ourselves for the reception and I made all the floral arrangements including the bouquets for me and my maid of honor. Given the small number of people, we were able to get unique wedding gifts for everyone who was able to make it, which included a bottle of wine with a personalized label, and Crate & Barrel wine carafes (to enhance the theme of the wine cellar).

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What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Stand firm in your decision to capture the feeling of the intimate setting. It is the one day that gets to be all about you and your husband and getting to share the romantic and magical moments with everyone around you. The next day Rick and I talked about how we couldn’t have imagined having our day any other way!




Venue: The Kimberton Inn

Photography: Nicole Marie Photography

Make-up Artist: Glam by Ashley Marie

Brides Dress: Rent the Runway

Groom’s Suit: Nordstrom

Dessert: Groom’s mother and aunts

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Dip Your Decor

Give your wedding some oomph with the addition of dipped details. This is a great way to go for a two-toned or metallic effect and also adds some color. There’s no limit to what can be dipped; napkins, food, dresses and flatware can all get the treatment. You can transform many thrift store finds with the help of some glitter and paint.

Glass bottles and jars look lovely enough as they are, but glitter-dipped bottles and jars look really stunning. You can use the bottles for table numbers too. Feathers are great additions to bouquets, or scattered on the table. Dipping them in gold glitter makes them a little more festive. White tapered candles are inexpensive and easy to find but a metallic makeover is always welcome.

These pears are an easy DIY wedding dessert. They will work well on a dessert table or even used as an edible decoration. All you need to do is dip them in some delicious caramel and roll in sugar or nuts. Likewise, color dipped marshmallows make for cute favors or additions to a candy bar.

If you’re looking for ways to repurpose antique or tarnished flatware, this is just the thing. You can either dip the ends in the paint of your choice or dip the entire thing in a matte gold paint too. Balloons are not reserved for children’s birthday parties alone; brushed paint gives them a distinctly grown-up look. Your guests will appreciate a steaming mug of hot chocolate during a winter wedding. These chocolate stirrers with edible glitter are a nice decorative touch.

We love the vibrancy of the flatware here, showing that you can really experiment with the color paint that you use. If you’re a fan of color, a dip-dyed wedding dress is a real statement. How gorgeous would this dress look for a destination wedding?

White chocolate and cherries are a winning duo, and a delicious sweet treat for your guests to nibble on. If you’re having a small crowd and have a bunch of plain white napkins, dip them in some blue dye instead of buying new ones.

Floral arrangements and centerpieces don’t have to be extravagant. You can fit them into your budget and style by making a few adjustments to inexpensive decorations. Recycle your glass bottles and jars by dipping them into gold paint in a variety of ways. Add a few fresh blooms and there you go!

This tablecloth has a subtle amount of color to add some more interest without taking the attention away from the flowers.

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What color perfectly epitomizes winter for you? For us, it absolutely has to be Pantone’s aptly named winter white. Other shades of white can be cold and austere, but with just a hint of warmth and slight grey undertones, winter white evokes a cozy feeling that makes us want to bundle up under a wool blanket with our sweetie and snuggle in front of the fireplace – perfect for a romantic winter wedding, don’t you think? We’ve put together 5 winter white palettes to inspire you, because after all, in the words of Billy Idol, it’s a nice day for a (winter) white wedding.

We happen to think all-white weddings are perfect for winter. It might sound a little boring, but this all-white wedding palette uses 3 different shades of white to add variety and interest to the monochromatic color scheme.

Winter White color palette

Also perfect for winter are icy blues and steely grays which happen to pair beautifully with the slightly warmer winter white without overshadowing it.

Winter White color palette

Pink isn’t a color we usually associate with winter weddings, but this pale shade blends in beautifully with the wintery white and grey tones of this palette.

Winter white color palette

Earth tones are perfect for rustic winter wedding, but can feel a little drab at times. Adding lots of winter white, however, gives them a much needed pick me up and makes for a sophisticated palette.

Winter White color palette

Now, if all these muted tones just aren’t your thing, this high contrast white, gold, and charcoal color scheme is the perfect way to glam up your wedding day and banish those winter doldrums for good.

Winter White color palette

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe: DIY Favors

pumpkin spice latte syrup

I tried my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte the other day and that’s what inspired me to hunt down this amazing l’il recipe.

I love pumpkin (any time of year!) and I love Starbucks coffee, so I was greatly anticipating my first Pumpkin Spice Latte. After all the hype about this Starbucks treat, I was sorta expecting to be blown away. Well, my friends, it fell short. I was completely underwhelmed. But I’m grateful; Pumpkin Spice Lattes could be an expensive habit! Unless, of course, you make your own – and that’s exactly what I did.

Not only does the homemade latte taste much better than the Starbucks version, it’s made with natural ingredients. You won’t find caramel color or artificial flavor in this syrup! But you will find real pumpkin!

If you are getting married, make up a batch of syrup and bottle it up to give to your guests as favors.


pumpkin spice latte

Here’s how to make Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup Favors: (Adapted from Good Housekeeping)

Ingredients: (Makes 4 cups syrup)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 pure pumpkin (we used organic canned pumpkin)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice


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In saucepan, simmer ingredients, whisking 10 minutes. Strain mixture with cheesecloth twice.

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Pour syrup into small bottles and add tag if giving as favors.

pumpkin spice latte recipe

Mix 2-3 tablespoons with coffee and warm milk to taste. Top with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. Yum!

pumpkin spice latte syrups
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Kelly and Lee’s Boho San Francisco City Hall Elopement

Free-sprited couple Lee and Kelly met in a Paris hostel while travelling, and have spent most of their relationship flying back and forth between her home in the U.S. and his in the U.K. before choosing to settle down together permanently in the United States. Faced with the overwhelming logistics of organizing a wedding for all their international family and friends, they opted to elope – just the two of them – instead.

With few expectations of how things should go and minimal planning, save for their city hall time slot, they let their wedding day unfold organically as they roamed San Francisco’s beautiful city hall with their photographer Clara Rice in tow, and celebrated their newlywed status with a champagne toast!

San Francisco City Hall elopement

Kelly, 28 & Lee, 26

San Francisco, CA

Wedding Date: October 23, 2014

Number of Guests: 0

Total Wedding Cost: $1,049

Breakdown of Costs: Bride’s outfit – $70 dress (BCBG shoes and jewellery already owned); Groom’s outfit – $45 for jacket, shirt and shoes (trousers and belt already owned); Bride’s ring – $250; Groom’s ring – $147; Flowers & flower crown material – $23; Props (vintage suitcase and iron Eiffel tower) – $14; Travel/transport – $300 ($240 rental car + $60 gas); City Hall parking – $5; Paperwork (marriage license and registry costs) – $164; Photographer – $0 (exchange of services – Lee traded his graphic design work in exchange for 3-4 hours of photography. Our photographer was also our only witness and signed our marriage license!); Champagne! – $35

Wedding Ceremony Location: The Rotunda, San Francisco City Hall

Wedding Reception Location: No reception

Passports Wedding rings bride outside city hall groom outside city hall Bride and groom outside city hall Couple in San Francisco City Hall Black and White Elopement portrait

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Lee is from England and Kelly is from Santa Barbara, California. We met each other in a Paris hostel while both traveling Europe. After endless flights back and forth between the EU and the US, we eventually decided to remain State-side and so the logistics of planning a big wedding here with both families and all of our friends seemed too large of a task to take on at this point. We opted for an intimate “just you and me” wedding as we knew not everyone would be able to make the trip with short notice and we didn’t want to leave anyone out. Based on the intimacy of how we met and the way our lives have been together so far, we wanted to share this special moment with each other only and not have to worry about all the other details that come along with a large scale wedding. We plan to have a full family/friends celebration on our 1 or 2 year anniversary which we will then also try to keep fairly small and intimate, just focusing on the important things like great company, food, wine, and a special atmosphere.

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What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

The main challenge for us, as well as a lot of other people in a similar situation to ours, is trying to explain to family that they will not be there! And also explaining why we are not following traditions. It can be tough to make them understand, but you have to remind yourself that this day is about you and your significant other.

bride and groom inside San Francisco City Hall Boho bride in rose flower crown elopement portrait inside San Francisco City Hall bride sitting on vintage suitcase groom kissing bride's hand boho bride portrait groom kissing bride's cheek

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

No, it was a breeze as we chose to have no guests.

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Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Not yet!

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What were the highlights of the ceremony?

The whole day of our ceremony was one big rush! But it had a very fun, exciting feeling to it; it was not stressful at all. From morning coffee, to buying materials for the flower crown, bouquet and boutonniere which Kelly finished making just 1 hour before our City Hall time slot!; to hopping in the car and driving into SF, meeting our photographer, going through City Hall security and seeing the inside of such an amazing building for the 1st time – which reminded us a lot of where we met in Europe – everything had a special aura about it. We knew that this was exactly what we wanted. The main highlight for us, if we had to pick just one would be roaming around this beautiful building as if we were in a magazine photoshoot with our vagabond style props and incredible photographer Clara who captured the vibe of the day perfectly.

elopement ceremony in the rotunda at San Francisco City Hall bride and groom with marriage certificate

What were the highlights of the reception?

There was no reception! Just a champagne toast afterwards.

bride and groom in San Francisco City Hall bride whispering in groom's ear San Francisco City Hall Portrait bride and groom hoding hands on second level of San Francisco City Hall bride and groom walking down city hall stairs bride and groom leaving city hall bride and groom in city hall doorway

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

No worries! We literally just had to show up and take it all in. There was no pressure to make sure that everything was going as planned because there was no plan! No expectations = a great time. Having an intimate wedding made the whole thing a lot more special and personal for us.

bride and groom portrait bride and groom walking up San Francisco street bride and groom climbing stairs bride and groom walking down San Francisco street

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Firstly, don’t plan too much! We told our photographer to just document our day as it unfolded and to do whatever felt right. So the main thing for other couples, is to do whatever feels right for you. Know that you are not trapped by traditions and people will always chirp in to give you their two cents on what they think is right, but it is YOUR small big day and you can choose to celebrate it however you wish. If you remain positive and up-beat about it, keeping everything fun, you will have a very rewarding day of memories. If it feels right, just do it, you don’t need a reason.

polaroids of bride and groom


Bride’s Dress: Tua Tua from Lovebird boutique

Flowers: Trader Joes

Grooms Outfit: H&M (jacket, shirt), Zara (trousers), Bufalo exchange (shoes)

Bride’s Ring: Etsy

Groom’s Ring: Etsy

Photographer: Clara Rice

Vintage Suitcase: Thrift store (hand painted by Lee)

Iron Eiffel Tower: World Market

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