Josh and Christy’s Montecito Vintner’s House Wedding

Having both moved from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles back in 2008, and with friends and family spread across the country, Josh and Christy wanted to make sure they were able to spend as much time as possible with all of their out-of-town guests. To do this, they limited their guest list to just 35 people and included many of their friends and family in their wedding day preparations.

With an air of old Hollywood glam to the whole affair, the couple exchanged their vows at the Babcock Vintner’s House in Montecito, and celebrated their nuptials in style with a romantic outdoor candlelit reception – all beautifully captured by La Rousse Photo.

intimate California wedding

Christy, 36 & Josh, 40

Montecito (Santa Barbara), CA

Wedding Date: October 12, 2014

Number of Guests: 35

Wedding Cost: $6,500 wedding day; $12,000 total (includes wedding day, rehearsal dinner, and 4 day rental of location as lodging)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Babcock Vintner’s House

Wedding Reception Location: Babcock Vintner’s House

Montecito house black and white ring shot bridesmaid holding bouquet flower girls looking out window black and white portrait of bride bride walking out of house


Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Josh and I both separately moved to Los Angeles in 2008. We met in 2010 and discovered we were both originally from the Pittsburgh area. When it came to planning the wedding, we both agreed to being married in California. California is our home and where we plan to spend our lives together. With that being said, our friends and family are scattered around the United States, not just the Pittsburgh area. Even though it was not a destination wedding on our end, it would be for the majority of our guests. Having attended so many larger weddings myself, I did not want to jeopardize time spent with our immediate family and closest friends. It was my main objective to, not only celebrate the wedding, but also to spend as much time making memories with those traveling so far.

gold oval frame wedding dress hanging up bride's accessories bride's shoes bridesmaid helping bride get ready bride's reflection in mirror chair with faux fur pillow bride holding clutch black and white portrait of bride

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

The biggest challenge in planning the wedding was with myself. I would have moments of anxiety about getting everything finished, ordered, booked, etc. At those moments, I would tell myself, “It is 35 people, what are you doing?” Once I talked myself down from that, things began to come together. It is sometimes difficult to realize you are making things bigger than they actually are. I started planning things minimally (for example, the party rental equipment) and then adding as needed. I find it is easier to start with the basics, see where that leaves you per the budget and then add, opposed to starting big and having to scale back. It’s harder to let things go than it is to add something you did not plan.

Also, being that the wedding was such a small size, it was difficult to find vendors that fit the appropriate price range. I went through a few caterers. Hearing that it was a small group, they would quote me at their highest price per plate. I was very fortunate to finally find Martino’s Catering in Oxnard, CA. They took the time to work with my budget and with what I wanted and made it happen. They exceeded our expectations!

tying bridesmaid's sash laughing flower girls flower girl looking out window

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

Again, this is a situation where I caused myself more stress than needed. Our preliminary guest list did not change much from start to finish. The closer we would get to the actually day, the more stressed I would get about those not invited. I really did not want anyone to feel excluded – another example of making things bigger than they are. The easiest thing to forget about family and friends is that they love you and are happy for you (whether in person or not). Those who were not there wished us the best and sent us their love.

vine covered window bride outside house bride and bridesmaid bridal party holding bouquets in front of faces bride with parents wedding family portrait

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

The biggest issue from having a small guest list was imposing the importance of the RSVP. Having such a limited amount of guest space makes it imperative to track how many will be in actual attendance. If someone sends regrets, that may open space for another guest. We did have a few communication gaps with the RSVP, but it ultimately worked out. Communication with your guests is key to an intimate wedding. For some reason, a low number of guests translates as low-key to some. Yes, we wanted a relaxed atmosphere, but we also needed the appropriate responses to gauge our next steps in the invite process. The mistake I made was not following up. Communication is only effective when it goes both ways.

bridal party walking down aisle bridesmaids walking down aisle bride walking down aisle wedding guests watching ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Our ceremony was highly personal. The actual ceremony was written by the groom, Josh, and the ceremony was performed by my cousin’s partner. Having such a close and important person in our lives join us together really made it that much more sentimental. It was a very easy process to have him ordained and legally allowed to perform ceremonies in the state of California.

outdoor wedding ceremony groom looking at bride during ceremony guest photographing ceremony bride putting ring on groom's finger bride and groom facing guests at ceremony

What were the highlights of the reception?

The venue supplied such a secluded atmosphere. It was beautiful and mostly candlelit at the tables. My mother, who is a florist, did an amazing job of bringing my vision of candelabras dripping with flowers, candles, and jewels to life. I loved being able to enjoy the beauty of everything with everyone. I never felt pulled in too many directions or unable to be where I wanted to be.

outdoor wedding reception set-up copper plate chargers simple lily centerpiece wedding table setting

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

The best part of having an intimate wedding in the way we did was that everyone had a role. My immediate family and the majority of the wedding party actually stayed at the venue. The days leading up to the wedding were spent in a chaotically fun build-up to the actual day. We did all of the lighting and decorations ourselves. My mother bought the flowers locally and designed in a little room off of the kitchen. We had a lot of laughs and a lot of time to share together. It was just as I had hoped it would be!

bride and groom walking to ceremony outdoor wedding reception at night


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

Whether it be an intimate wedding or a larger scale wedding, just remember, this day only happens once. Do it exactly as you want because you are the one who will hold the most memories of your wedding day!

bride and groom dancing


Photography: La Rousse Photo

Hair & Makeup: Desiree Falcon

Bride’s Gown: Shareen

Floral Design: Nancy Mele

Bridesmaid Dresses: LaceMarry

Catering: Martino’s Catering

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Merry and Bright: 5 Christmas Color Palettes

Tis the season, as they say, and in honour of December 25, we wanted to do something a little different for our color post this week. In place of sharing 5 color palettes based on a single color, we thought we’d give you five Christmas-inspired palettes instead – from traditional to modern and everything in between – to help get you into that holiday spirit!

For the traditionalist, we think this rustic red, white, and green palette is a no-brainer; after all, you can’t get much more classic that, now can you?

Christmas Color Palette

If the above palette just isn’t rustic enough for your tastes, this earthy, neutral color scheme should fit the bill nicely.

Christmas Color Palette

For a more contemporary and sophisticated Christmas palette with a slightly rustic bohemian edge, we love this color scheme of earthy, neutral tones paired with a deep almost black shade of blue and pale sage green.

Christmas Color Palette

For the non-traditionalists, this sparkly and fun color palette still incorporates traditional Christmas colors – white and green – but puts a fresh and cheeky twist on them.

Christmas Color Palette

And lastly, if you’re looking for something really outside the box, this pink, gold, and green color scheme is unconventional, but beautiful, and perfectly festive nonetheless.

Christmas Color Palette

Photo one:; Photo two:; Photo three:; Photo four:; Photo five:

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You’re Engaged! Now … About that Ring

engagment photos

Your sweetheart just popped the question (or maybe s/he is just about to). Congratulations! You are about to begin the wild and wonderful adventure of planning a wedding!

Before you start your journey, there’s no doubt you’ll want to show off that gorgeous ring of yours to all your friends on social media. After all, your engagement ring is a pretty big deal. It’s so much more than a monetary investment or the largest carat that can fit on your finger; it is a tangible symbol of a special moment in time. It represents your unique and enduring bond with another person.

After you’re done snapping and sharing, and the ooohs, ahhhs from friends and family have subsided, you might be a bit worried to wear your ring every day in case something happens to it. That’s where insurance comes in.

One hundred year-old Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company offers Perfect Circle® Jewelry Insurance, which provides worldwide protection against theft, loss, damage, and mysterious disappearance, so no matter where you are or what happens to your ring, you can have the peace of mind that they’ve got you covered.

If something does happen to your ring, Jewelers Mutual® encourages you to work with the jeweler you prefer and strives to replace your piece with “same kind and quality”, making sure your new ring is virtually indistinguishable from the original. As you can imagine, this is especially important if you have name-brand jewelry.

With this kind of protection, there’s absolutely no reason to lock your ring away in a jewelry box. Instead, you can wear it every day knowing that you’re covered.

To find out more and to get a free quote, check out


Photo one: nycoletalina; Photo two:; Photo; Photo four:

Sponsored Post

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Kelsey and Ryer’s Backyard Farm-to-Table Michigan Wedding

When it came to planning their wedding, Kelsey and Ryer chose quality over quantity, opting to have a small backyard wedding with just their immediately family in attendance. While the bride briefly worried she might regret not having a bigger wedding, the couple couldn’t have been happier with the stress-free planning, and the personal and memorable nature of their intimate nuptials.

Wanting to share their joy and the memories of the big day with their extended family and friends that couldn’t be there, the couple hired Jillian Bowes to capture every last moment in gorgeous detail.

Michigan at home wedding

Kelsey, 27 & Ryer, 36

Ada, Michigan (Grand Rapids)

Wedding Date: September 7, 2014

Number of Guests: 30

Wedding Cost: $7,500 (not including attire or rings)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Groom’s Mother’s Home

Wedding Reception Location: Groom’s Mother’s Home

bride portrait bride's dress detail bride adjusting dress groom holding bride's dress as the walk bride and groom holding hands bride and groom dancing bride and groom kissing

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We’ve always been quality over quantity kind of people. Neither of us ever envisioned a large wedding; a small wedding made more sense for us as a couple, and people really seemed to understand that. We wanted to enjoy all of our guests and each other instead of running from table to table all night trying to make sure we didn’t miss someone.

wedding dress hanging up strappy wedding shoes bride getting dressed groom tying bow tie groom putting on jacket

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

My parents were unhappy with the decision at first and did their best to try to convince us otherwise. Understandably, they wanted their families to be a part of the day. I also struggled with leaving our extended families and friends out, but knew that we could not have the wedding we wanted with 150+ guests.

groom portrait bride portrait bride and groom with linked arms bride hugging groom from behind

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

We decided on immediate family only, so that made things pretty easy.

bride and groom hugging bride and groom touching noses bride and groom kissing

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

Luckily there were no issues; our friends and family were very supportive and understanding!

flower girl walking down aisle ring bearer walking down aisle ring bearer walking down aisle bride walking down aisle emotional groom at the altar

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

We didn’t plan on writing our own vows, but the morning of our wedding we felt like it would be a huge mistake not to. We wrote them together that day, and I am so glad we did. It made our ceremony extra special. I tried to kiss Ryer after he read his, and that really lightened things up!

backyard wedding ceremony backyard wedding ceremony bride and groom first kiss

What were the highlights of the reception?

Having the people we love the most enjoy an amazing farm-to-table meal, great wine, and each other was just the best! My dad and sister also gave some pretty incredible toasts…and the impromptu dance party was so, so fun!

hanging candle lanterns hanging rose backyard wedding reception set-up backyard wedding reception set-up wedding bar wedding menu wedding buffet bride with Mrs. sign on her chair father of bride giving speech bride and groom at wedding reception bride and groom kissing at reception little girl dancing at wedding bride and groom cutting cake groom feeding bride chocolate covered strawberry

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

The best thing is that it was exactly what we wanted; it was a celebration of our love and the people that love us. It was perfect!

at-home outdoor reception s'mores station outdoor at-home reception wedding guests with sparklers bride and groom with sparkler send-off

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

It was the best decision we made! At one point I thought I might regret not having a bigger wedding, but I couldn’t be happier we had a small one. The overall planning experience was enjoyable and not stressful at all. And the day itself was the same! It was so laid back and so full of love. Everyone had a wonderful time; it was very personal and memorable. I could go on and on…just go for it!

On a side note, I highly recommend investing in an amazing photographer, like Jillian, to capture the day. The money you spend is more than worth it! Many friends and family have told me it felt like they were there too, just from seeing the photos.

bride and groom kissing


Photographer: Jillian Bowes Photography

Caterer (Dinner & Desserts): Kangaroo Kitchen & Catering

Flowers: Spring Sweet

Dress: Carol Hannah via The Gown Shop Ann Arbor

Hair & Makeup: The Pearl Lyon – Ashley Amaya

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Brittany and Daniel’s Italian Castle Wedding in Milan

When you and your partner’s families live in different places, choosing where to have your wedding can be challenging. When your fiancé’s family lives in Italy, however, we think the decision is a no-brainer!

For Brittany and her Italian-born fiancé Daniel, it was important to get married in Milan where he grew up and his family still lives. Despite being forced to limit the guest list due to the distance of their destination wedding, the couple still managed to celebrate their nuptials with those closest to them, making it an incredibly special and magical day for everyone involved!

Special thanks to MouMou Photography for capturing Brittany and Daniel’s special day and sharing it us!

Milan destination wedding

Brittany, 28 & Daniel, 32

Milan, Italy

Wedding Date: June 20, 2014

Number of Guests: 50

Wedding Cost: $12,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Comune Di Milano – Palazzo Reale

Wedding Reception Location: Castello di Corneliano Bertario

bride standing through sun roof of tiny italian car bride and groom taking selfie bride and groom sitting groom looking adoringly at bride smiling bride bride and groom portrait in italy bride and groom kissing in Italy

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

It was important for us to have our wedding be shared with our immediate family. We wanted it to be intimate so we could create more memories with our family and close friends. With the unique location and being so far from home, we wanted it to be low-key and it was truly romantic and magical!

bride getting ready bride having her make-up done wedding dress hanging on custom hanger bride getting dressed bride having her dress buttoned up bride getting dressed

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

It was less of a challenge planning an intimate wedding than planning a destination wedding where you don’t speak the language. Luckily, his parents helped with the majority of the planning!

bride putting on her necklace bride and mother having photo taken bride getting ready bride having her veil put on

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

It is always hard when some of your extended family or close friends are missing from an important day in your life, but with the location being so far away, we did not expect many to make the trek. We also got to have our celebration with those that mean so much to us, so that was really great.

bride and groom embracing bride and groom in Italy bride and groom looking up black and white wedding portrait bride and groom portrait against brick wall wedding portrait

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

We didn’t have any issues which was great. I think everyone understood why it was so special for us to get married where Daniel grew up and where his family lives.

outdoor Milan wedding ceremony bride walking down aisle with her father groom shaking father-in-law's hand

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

The ceremony was very unique and different, so it was not a typical American wedding as everyone might have expected, which made it fun. Our vows were my highlight; we wrote personal vows to each other which we read for the first time at the ceremony. It felt surreal to have our family and friends from both countries there in one place.

bride and groom at the altar bride reading her vows bride and groom holding hands during ceremony bride putting ring on groom's finger bride and groom processional bride and groom hugging guests milan-italy-destination-wedding-brittany-and-daniel-52 groom hugging father-in-law wedding guests chatting bride chatting with wedding guests

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

I feel that I got to spend an intimate time with each and every person that was there. We didn’t feel overwhelmed at all, and it felt relaxed.

Milan wedding reception Milan wedding venue milan-italy-destination-wedding-brittany-and-daniel-85 italian wedding cake milan-italy-destination-wedding-brittany-and-daniel-66 bride and groom cutting the cake bride and groom cutting the cake bride and groom taking a selfie laughing wedding guest groom dipping bride

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

Have the wedding that you and your fiancé want to have and talk with your parents about the type of wedding you are hoping for to ensure they are onboard. It is a day for you and your family, so it should be suited to what you want instead of worrying about everyone else. If you want an intimate settting go for it, you won’t have any regrests!

bride and groom dancing


Photography: MouMou Photography – they were amazing!

Food: Caterer was a part of the Castello – Top Parties

Bride’s Dress: Theia Couture

Groom’s Suit: Suit Supply

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