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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The Modern Minimalist: Wedding Trend

Minimalism doesn’t have to be focused on a stark white look. The modern minimalist trend has an emphasis on clean lines, different textures and sculptural details. Touches of brass and wood add some interest and prevent the look from becoming too clinical. Don’t be afraid to use pops of color in your fuss-free floral arrangements with wild blooms and greenery.

When it comes to thinking of simplistic silhouettes for your wedding dress, there’s an array of minimalist styles out there. The focus should be on the construction of the dress, so look out for interesting pleats or cuts. A subtle open back like this is ideal for the theme.

Brass candlesticks with white candles bring the romance and mood lighting.

A set of calligraphed invitations are a classic touch for your wedding stationary.

Glass vases filled with yellow acacia will provide you with a subtle inclusion of color that doesn’t look overdone. As they are so easy to arrange, this is a great DIY project that will save on your budget for flowers. Likewise, recycle your glass bottles or head to a thrift store to pick some up and these too can be used as centerpieces.

A bouquet of white lilies is a lovely idea as the shape of the flowers really adds a sculptural element that would complement a draped dress.


An all-white wedding cake gets an update with a tiled pattern and glossy stand.

If you want to incorporate some wooden or rustic elements, then a hanging macrame decoration will set the scene. With a clean backdrop you might be in need of some nature.

A green centerpiece works well with a simple white tablescape.

If you prefer the style of only having white flowers, then give it a little twist by using different stem lengths and types of flower.

The days of the plastic bride and groom cake toppers are long behind us. There are so many ways to decorate a simple cake and change its entire look by simply adding a topper. This one fits in with the modern minimalist look with its elegant and uncomplicated design.

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It may be a little old fashioned and even a little cliché, but pale shades of pink will always have our hearts. Today’s pink, mellow rose, is a little darker and a little dustier than its popular blush pink cousin, but it has a regal lady-like quality to it that makes it just as pretty and perfect for your wedding day. Even if pink isn’t typically your thing, we think these 5 palettes will have you seeing the color in a whole new light!

We love this unconventional pairing of pink, dark mustard,and grey. It would make a wonderful and daring fall color palette, don’t you think?

Mellow rose color board

Another beautiful and non-traditional fall palette full of muted shades of pink and purple and just a hint of yellow.

Mellow rose color board

Perfect for spring or fall, this color scheme uses mellow rose as a neutral accent color to play off the brighter shades of orange and add an interesting contrast to the palette.

Mellow rose color board

Pale pink and mint have always been a great color combo, but here the dusty wash of the colors and the addition of deep orange to the pairing elevates this color scheme to a whole other level of sophistication in our eyes.

Mellow rose color board

Another classic color combo – pink, black, white, and gold –, this palette works just as beautifully with mellow rose as it would with blush pink.

Mellow rose color board

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10 Winter Wedding Favors

Winter wedding favors are a great way to continue the festive spirit and thank your guests with seasonally-appropriate and useful gifts. Edibles are always welcome around this time of the year with sweet drinks and warming brews. Keeping your guests warm throughout the day is another thoughtful way to show your appreciation, as well as decorative touches that they can take home for the holidays. We’ve picked out 10 favors for your winter wedding, many of which you can make yourself.

1. Homemade Eggnog

You know it’s time for the holidays when the grocery store shelves are lined with cartons of eggnog. Coffee shops start adding eggnog to their lattes, and finding an eggnog ice cream becomes your new mission in life. But can anything really beat the taste of homemade eggnog? Make a large batch for your guests (and yourself) then turn them into bottled favors.

2. Mittens 

If some of your winter wedding will be outdoors, keep your guests warm by gifting them with a pair of mittens. They’ll be very grateful and will also be useful for the rest of the season. Warm hearts, warm hands…

3. Pinecone Fire Starters

This is such a great way to use dry pine cones and turn them into something wonderful. Candles are always a lovely gift in the colder months and this one is especially festive.

4. Peppermint Lip Balm

Everyone wants a favor that they will actually use. A key ring photo of the happy couple, not so much. We can all use some soothing lip balm in winter, especially a seasonal minty one. These lip balms are quick and easy to make and your guests will love the homemade touch.

5. Festive Ornaments 

Individual boxes of ornaments make for a great festive favor. Start early and look for them in thrift stores, winter markets or make your own.

6. Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is a kitchen staple and a key ingredient for many holiday recipes. Give your guests a helping hand with these lovingly made favors. Bare in mind that the extract takes 4-6 weeks to infuse, so start ahead of time. You can also try different flavors such as peppermint too.

7. DIY Candy Cane Fudge 

Instead of handing out candy canes, be extra naughty by making candy cane fudge instead. This addictive recipe is a winter winner. Box a few of them up and give them out as favors or include them in a candy bar.

8. Candied Walnuts 

Delicious candied nuts in sparkly packaging is a winter wedding must-have. Another easy to make recipe, if you don’t eat them all while your making them.

9. Tree Saplings

Make a display with these tree saplings for your green fingered guests to grab. They can grown their own evergreen or pine and they make for a great winter decoration too.

10. S’mores Kit

A winter wedding really isn’t complete without s’mores. You can package these kits for your guests to enjoy when they get home or if you’re having a bonfire at your reception they can be used there.

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Ross and Mallory’s Colorful Boho Mont Alto Wedding

For Ross and Mallory, the best thing about having an intimate wedding was the freedom to go off the beaten path and do things their own way –  and go off the beaten path they did! With rainbow colored cakes, thrifted and handmade decor, a dress fashioned from doilies and vintage tablecloths, and a ceremony filled with references to Lemony Snicket and Doctor Who, this fun couple’s wedding was about as far from conventional as you can get – and they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

Special thanks to Sara Lynn Paige, who traveled all the way from Canada to photograph Ross and Mallory’s big day, for sharing it with us today!

Boho Wedding

Ross, 30 & Mallory, 27

Mont Alto, PA

Wedding Date: March 22, 2014

Number of Guests: 65

Wedding Cost: $3,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: The Dance Pavilion at Mont Alto State Park

Wedding Reception Location:  The Dance Pavilion at Mont Alto State Park

wedding pinwheels multi-colored wedding cakes bride wit DIY heart garland bride's hand on top of groom's bride and groom looking up wedding portraits bride and groom kissing

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

My husband and I both consider ourselves somewhat reserved people, and neither of us liked the idea of having a large wedding; we’ve always been more comfortable in small groups. Our goal was to represent us as a couple, and in doing that, we felt it made more sense to keep the celebration small, so we could focus on aesthetics and mood. We knew from the start that what we were setting out to do was a bit off the beaten path, and that not everyone was going to understand it, but this was something we were only planning to do once, and we wanted to do it right.

wedding dress fabric bride getting dressed

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

Finding a venue was certainly a challenge. We wanted something that felt personal but open, and I spent several months online digging through possible locales. I turned to searching state parks when I realized they would offer the kind of backdrop we wanted at a price point we could afford, and the minute I saw the picture of the pavilion (which was formerly a carousel), I was enchanted. My sister and I wound up driving through a blizzard to see it in person, and even through the snow, I could tell it was the perfect place.

groom with colorful boutonniere bride portrait

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

At first, we struggled a bit with deciding who to invite. The original guest list was somewhere between 150 and 200 people long, and that felt unwieldy. In the end, we realized it was more important to make ourselves happy than anyone else, and we decided to pare it down to only those people we felt closest to. This helped to take the stress out of the entire planning process, and I’m so glad we did it.

wedding guitarist outdoor boho wedding ceremony

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

Luckily, our families were pretty understanding about our need to keep the guest list manageable. My pool of relatives is extremely large, and there was no way we were going to be able to include everyone, so in the end, we included just our immediate families as well as a few extraneous cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.

boho outdoor wedding ceremony bride and groom reading vows

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

For me, the biggest highlight of the ceremony was the music. My friend Micah drove down from upstate New York, and his acoustic performance really helped create the relaxed environment we were looking for. My other favorite part was that we were able to include references to some of our favorite literature and television shows. Lemony Snicket played a large role in our vows, and the wedding wouldn’t have been complete without a mention of Doctor Who.

hand tying ceremony brideand groom hugging bride and groom first kiss bride and groom kissing bride and groom hanging dream catcher bride and groom looking up bride and groom with garland

What were the highlights of the reception? 

The highlight of the reception was definitely having all of our favorite people in one place. We had friends in from all over the country (and our wonderful photographer and my dear friend, Sara Lynn Paige, came all the way from Canada) to help us celebrate, and this made the whole experience that much more wonderful.

wedding initial garland fabric wedding garland guest favors sheet music wrapped guest favors typewriter and globe wedding decor suitcase card box flower girl rainbow wedding cakes colorful homemade wedding cakes diy wedding decor colorful boho wedding reception book wedding decor mismatched table settings book wedding decor diy wedding centerpiece guest at wedding reception diy wedding centerpiece

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

Having complete control over it! We were able to handcraft everything ourselves: the bunting, centerpieces, dreamcatchers, and assorted table décor, just to name a few. My husband and I are both thrift store junkies, so we gathered all of our plates, glasses, and linens from our local Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Community Aid, and a few yard sales along the way. We even wrote our entire ceremony from scratch. We also weren’t locked into the rules that a lot of conventional venues set out, and this allowed us to really express ourselves.

bride and groom at wedding reception bride cutting cake with flower girl guest eating cake

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

I know this is everyone’s advice, but I would say: stay true to yourself. There were certainly instances where it would have been easier to hand the reins over to someone else, or to simply give in to other people’s opinions of what a wedding should be, but we stuck to what we wanted, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

bride and groom at wedding reception


Photography:  Sara Lynn Paige

Music: Micah

Venue: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at the Mont Alto State Park

Wedding Décor: Everything was either made handcrafted or sourced at thrift stores and yard sales in or around York, Pennsylvania. We spent a lot of time digging through bins and shifting things around on shelves – and then even more time at home washing and matching dinnerware, but it was worth it.

Books: Purchased second hand from the East Shore Area Library

Vintage China & Tableware: Resource York

Dress: My sister and I crafted it from a vintage corset, doilies, tablecloths, and lace scraps.

Food: My dad cooked dinner for all of the guests, and my sister was kind enough to make me seven different cakes, one in each color of the rainbow.

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