Kristen and Todd’s $4,000 South Carolina Estate Wedding

Some couples dread the thought of rain on their wedding day, but not Kristen and Todd. The beautiful bride and her handsome groom both agree that the rain was one of the highlights of their wedding reception. We couldn’t agree more! Not only did the wet weather add a romantic touch to their day, it also made for some pretty incredible photos in the process.

Special thanks to Jessi Nichols for sharing those amazing photos with us today!

South Carolina Clubhouse wedding

Kristen, 25 & Todd, 23

Columbia, South Carolina

Wedding Date: August 2, 2014

Number of Guests: 55

Wedding Cost: $4,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Woodhill Estates Clubhouse

Wedding Reception Location: Woodhill Estates Clubhouse

Woodhill Estates pink rose wedding bouquet wedding ring shot close-up of bride's hands bride and groom kissing under umbrella bride and groom portrait bride and groom embracing

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We knew from the very beginning that we wanted to keep the day to ourselves and our love to remain the focus of our special day. The thought of a large guest list was overwhelming and we wouldn’t be able to enjoy ourselves if we had to worry about 100 other people.

bride getting her make-up done bride getting ready wedding dress hanging in doorway wedding shoes on windowsill mother helping bride with her dress profile portrait of bride

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

Of course, the main challenge was limiting our guest list. We also had difficulty finding a beautiful venue that did not overpower our small wedding, but also provided enough room for everyone.

groom buttoning vest groom in beige vest and turquoise tie mother pinning pink rose to groom's lapel

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Definitely! We appreciated that so many of our family and friends desired to be part of our special day. However, we did have to determine a guest limit to ensure that our day was what we truly wanted. To help us pare down the guest list we set boundaries, such as only invite family that are first cousins or closer and we each limited ourselves to five friend invites.

first look session first look session first look session bride and groom on front step of estate bride and groom portrait bride and groom embracing groom kissing bride's cheek bride and groom portrait under umbrella bride and groom kissing in the rain

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

Surprisingly, we did not have any issues with the small guest list from friends and family. We were very upfront with everyone and explained our reasoning for wanting an intimate wedding.

groom waiting at the altar bride walking down the aisle

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Standing at the altar, hand in hand, finally being able to seal our love for a lifetime.

clubhouse wedding ceremomy clubhouse wedding ceremony bride signing marriage certificate groom signing marriage certificate

What were the highlights of the reception?

We both agree that one of our favorite parts about the reception was taking photos in the rain. Sounds surprising huh? Something about the rain was so romantic and we got some really fun pictures. It was also our first alone time since the ceremony.

wedding card table Guest book sign groom talking to guests bride talking to guests

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Very low stress!

personalized champagne flutes wedding cupcakes bride and groom getting ready to cut the cake bride and groom cutting cake bride and groom eating cake

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

It is your special day and don’t let others make you feel guilty about what you want. Go for it!

brid and groom drinking champagne


Photographer: Jessi Nichols Photography

Catering: Southern Gourmet  

Cupcakes:  Pastry Place & Catering Co.

Dress: David’s Bridal 

Shoes: GB Shoe  

Groom’s Suit: The Black Tie

Flowers: Sandy Run Florist

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10 DIY Edible Favors for Fall

Apart from the crisp weather, beautiful colors in nature and a new season in fashion, fall offers an array of delicious food choices. So if you’re planning a fall wedding, your guests are in luck! Not only can you create a seasonal menu,

you can let the foodie fun continue with edible favors to thank your loved ones with. We’ve selected 10 tempting DIY treats that you can make for your guests.

1. Whipped Cinnamon Pumpkin Honey Butter

If you ever wanted autumn in a spreadable form, then you have finally found it. This butter has all of the flavors of fall and will be delicious spread on warm bagels and rolls. Just imagine how excited your guests will be to receive this packaged in mini jars. You can find out how to make it yourself over at The Kitchen McCabe.

2. Apple Cider Donuts

The donut of the season! Wrapping these in personalized brown paper bags is the ideal treat for the end of the reception. You can find the recipe for this delicious baked donut here.

3. Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup 

It seems that the beginning of fall is no longer signalled by the changing leaves but by the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Thanks to this DIY by House of Earnest, you can save your guests the endless trips to the coffee shop. Make a huge batch of syrup in advance then bottle them up as favors.

4. Candy Apples

Candy apples are the ultimate nostalgic treat for fall. Evoking memories of trick or treating and carnivals; they are also a fun project that your guests will love. We show you how to make them here.

5. Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle

With the abundance of pumpkin recipes that you’ll be indulging in, this brittle by Honestly Yum will help you use up any leftover seeds. You can box these up in cardboard boxes with stamped initials on the front.
6. Creamy Caramels

If you’re having a candy bar these soft caramels will make a great addition. A seasonal candy bar with brittle, bark, fudge and chocolate are great favors for your guests to take home with them. Find out how to make the caramels here on IW.

7. Candy Cashews

We’ve cooked up an addictive recipe for candy cashews. You can present them in jars or paper cones with a handmade label.

8. Caramel Corn

Yammie’s Noshery have a truly delectable recipe for crunchy caramel corn. Serve these up at the end of the night in paper bags, ideal for your guests to munch on the way home.

caramelcorn 6

9. Boiled Apple Cider Syrup 

We can’t think of a better way to thank your guests than this inspired syrup by Reading My Tea Leaves. This boiled apple cider syrup will see your guests through the season. If you want to make this yourself, recruit some helpers and make a large batch well in advance!

10. Trail Mix 

Trail mix is so good and so simple to make, making it a wonderful favor. Use this recipe by Will Cook For Friends for inspiration. You can prepare jars of the mix in advance to give to your guests or opt for a pick and mix bar of ingredients for your guests to create their own!
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Make Your Destination Wedding Amazing with Colin Cowie

Do you dream of sun, sand, and surf for your wedding day? Do you want luxury accommodations, a choice of lavish and innovative wedding packages designed by one of the world’s foremost authorities on wedding planning, and no hidden fees? Then look no further than The Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Hard Rock Hotel Wedding

Known for their quality guest service, tranquil surroundings, electrifying entertainment, and stunning event spaces, the All-Inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic have partnered with celebrity event designer Colin Cowie to make your destination wedding dreams come true.

Hard Rock Hotel Wedding

Starting at $1,500, each of the 9 Colin Cowie wedding collections include everything you need for your wedding day, and the hotel wedding specialists will coordinate every detail so you don’t have to.

Hard Rock Hotel Wedding

Newlyweds looking for the ultimate honeymoon experience can take advantage of the exclusive honeymoon collections, also inspired by Colin Cowie. Relax and indulge with a couples massage, breakfast in bed, champagne and so much more! And if you book a minimum 5 night stay at any All Inclusive Collection property within 24 months of your wedding, you’ll receive 2 additional complimentary room nights.

Hard Rock Hotel Wedding

To make planning your destination wedding and honeymoon even easier, Apple Vacations will take care of your travel arrangements and legal requirements, put you in touch with an experienced wedding planner, help you with your bridal registry and even find you great ways to save money.

Sponsored Post.

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DIY Jack O’ Lantern Fruit Cups

jack o lantern orange

These adorable Jack O’ Lantern Orange Fruit Cups would be perfect for a fall wedding! They’re healthy, inexpensive, and a cinch to make!

To make these Jack O’ Lantern Orange Fruit Cups, you will need:

  • an orange
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • other fruit of your choice
  • a knife

Gather your washed fruit.


jack o lantern orange

Cut the top off of your orange. We used a big and juicy naval orange.

jack o lantern cup

We cut the bottom of the orange too, so that the orange wouldn’t topple over. Don’t cut too much off or the juice will run out of the bottom.

jack o lantern orange cup

Cut out small triangles for eyes.

jack o lantern orange cup


pumpkin orange cup

Cut a small triangle for the nose and make a smiley mouth.


Use your knife to cut the orange away from the peel. We also cut it into four sections.

halloween orange cup

Scoop out sections of orange. Keep the sections to add to your fruit bowl.


This is how it should look when the orange has been removed.

jack o lantern orange cup

Add fruit.


How’s that for an easy and adorable fall wedding treat?

jack o lantern fruit cup


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Lewis and Niccola’s $5,000 Georgian Bay Cottage Wedding

Today’s couple, Niccola and Lewis, both work for NGOs in Africa, and witness poverty and struggle on a daily basis. Because of this, holding a large and lavish wedding didn’t feel right for them. Preferring a small and intimate affair instead, the couple were wed in a simple ceremony by the lake on the bride’s mother’s island in Georgian Bay while their immediate family (and dogs) looked on, and their two photographers, Jennifer and Hugh, captured every beautiful and emotional moment.

Georgian Bay Wedding

Niccola, 27  & Lewis, 36 

Dolphin Island in Nares Inlet, Georgian Bay, Canada

Wedding Date: September 1, 2013

Number of Guests: 14 (including bride & groom) + two photographers! 16 total

Wedding Cost: $5,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Bride’s mother’s Island in Georgian Bay

Wedding Reception Location: In the main cottage

wildflower bouquet

barefoot bride on the rocks

groom by bonfire

bride and groom in the woods

wild flowers

dog by the water

Private Island wedding

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

It was for a multitude of reasons. I have loved big weddings of my friends, but always knew I would have a small one. Part of it is my not having enough interest to plan a large wedding, part of it is not being convinced it would be a good use of our resources. My husband and I both work for NGO’s in Africa. We see, on a daily basis, poverty, disease, and struggle. We are so humbled by what we have and how lucky we are, I would have difficulty in justifying having a lavish wedding. It is not in our personalities. The irony of this though, is that Africans have HUGE weddings. It is the event of a lifetime, and no expense is spared.

wedding guests arriving by boat driving theboat private island cottage groomsmen arriving by boat pregnant bride sitting on bed bride hugging friend friend helping bride with headband bride's blue dress blowing in the wind bride on cottage deck

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

Very few, which was one of the highlights. We definitely underestimated how much time-intensive cooking would be required (it was a two day affair). It was more than we realized, and definitely added stress to the cooks (my brothers and mum) that we didn’t anticipate.

groom buttoning his cuff parents pinning boutonniere on groom groomsmen drinking beer

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Once we made the decision that it was only going to be immediate family members and their significant others, it became incredibly easy.

Georgian Bay Groom Georgian Bay bride bride and groom portrait group portrait on rocks

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

We did. Friends were of course very understanding because it was so clear-cut; just family. However, we had to stick to just immediate family because the island can only sleep so many people.

wedding guests walking on rocks bride and father walking arm in arm groom's parents embracing bride and father walking down rocks out door wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

There were too many to count. It was held at my favorite place on earth – at the front of my mum’s island, where the horizon and water stretch out as far as the eye can see. The gentle lapping of waves, combined with the occasional call of loons and seagulls creates an atmosphere I’ve never been able to match anywhere else in the world. There was nowhere else I would have rather been. I was barefoot, the dogs were running around hunting in puddles, and the most important people to me in the world were at my side – my parents, my brothers, and my husband. I started crying the moment it started, but so did everyone else. It was beautiful and such a happy time.

outdoor Georgian Bay wedding ceremony barefoot bride at wedding ceremony wedding ceremony by the lake georgian-bay-intimate-wedding-niccola-and-lewis-37 bride and groom at wedding ceremony tearful bride at wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the reception?

Our ‘reception’ was so casual. We all walked back from the front of the island to the main cottage, signed our marriage certificates, took communion, and then had champagne and hors d’oeuvres (foie gras on toasted baguette). We all just hung out in the late afternoon sun, incredibly happy, talking. It was perfect.

popping a bottle of champagne champagne toast bride and groom in cottage pouring champagne wedding guests on cottage deck

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

It was incredibly relaxed, with much less pressure to ‘make sure everyone is happy’ the way one worries at bigger events. You are able to spend time with everyone, and truly celebrate with everyone. People are more comfortable showing emotions and sharing stories.

Georgian bay cottage

cooking in the cottage

setting the wedding table

wedding guests sitting around cottage table

wedding guests at dinner

cottage wedding reception

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

Stand your ground – there will probably be people who wished it would be a bigger wedding. Have fun with the menu – small weddings allow you to put more thought into what you eat, as you don’t need to worry as much about the cost of each plate per head. If you plan on doing the cooking in-house, make sure you have a plan. It is very hard for one stove to produce a meal for more than 12 people without food going cold. Because you are probably doing everything yourself, make sure you have a few people ready to run errands at the last minute – there will be things you forgot (for us, it was ice).

toasting the bride and groom


Floral: The flowers were picked wild on the island by my brother’s girlfriend Sasha, who has a masters degree in botany. She made beautiful arrangements, including my bouquet and small wildflowers on the sweetgrass head piece I wore.

Food: The food was a collaborative effort, everyone helped in giving ideas on the menu and picking things up, and my brothers and my mum – who are fabulous cooks – prepared everything by hand. We focused on sourcing all of the food locally, from biodynamic organic farmers. For the wedding dinner we had local wild mushroom soup to start, followed by asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, with filet mignon, wild rice, roasted greens. All of the meat came from Marlon’s Meats, a fantastic organic butcher in Toronto.

Cake: The cake was a 3 tier lemon cake from Dufflet, served with local berries we picked up at the farmer’s market.

Photography: Jennifer Moher and Hugh Whitaker.

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