For Allison and Tim, who already have a son together, hosting a large, lavish wedding simply wasn’t a priority. They chose, instead, to have a casually elegant family-only wedding at the Ocean Course Kiawah Island Golf Resort that was relaxed and love-filled, fitting the laid-back newlyweds to a tee. They both agree that they couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate!

Special thanks to Brittany Callahan at Riverland Studios for sharing Allison and Tim’s wedding day with us.

South Carolina Wedding

Allison, 36 & Tim, 54

Kiawah Island, SC

Wedding Date: September 26, 2014

Number of Guests: 21 (including the bride and groom)

Wedding Cost: $10,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: The Ocean Course, next to the 18th green

Wedding Reception Location: The Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course Club

Ocean Course Golf Club sign

wedding invitation

bride portrait

wedding rings on star fish

bride and groom on golf cart

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom portrait

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

We’re both very laid back people and neither of us likes big parties, so a large wedding just wasn’t for us. We’re also a bit older than the typical first time bride and groom and we have a young child, so I think our priorities are different from what they would have been had we married in our twenties. We knew going into it that we didn’t want wedding planning to take precedence in our lives.

golf club house

wedding dress hanging on door

white wedding shoes

bride getting dressed

bride getting her dress zipped up

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

It’s hard not to get sucked into the wedding industry marketing machine and think that you need to mimic every detail you see in wedding magazines in order to have the perfect wedding. That can be overkill for a small wedding. So when I saw something I liked, I had to force myself to think long and hard about whether it was a good “fit” for our intimate wedding. Some of the best decisions I made were things I decided “not” to include.

pearl wedding necklace

mother of the bride putting bride's necklace on her

doing clasp on bride's necklace

bride getting ready

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

It was hard. We worried initially that there would be hurt feelings, and we did have moments early on where we second-guessed ourselves, but we realized after the wedding that our decision to invite just immediate family (plus one family we’ve adopted as our long lost siblings) was absolutely right because the entire day felt perfect.

bride portrait

groom portrait

bride and groom embracing

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom on the beach

bride and groom at the beach

bride and groom kissing

bride and groom portrait at the beach

bride and groom head to head

bride and groom walking up to club house

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

We really didn’t. Our friends and extended family have been kind and gracious. They understood why we wanted a small wedding and seemed to respect our decision.

Golf Course clubhouse

golf course wedding ceremony set-up

white folding chairs with flowers

sand ceremony jars

groom waiting at the altar

bride walking down the aisle

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

Hearing my sweet husband say his vows and being able to say mine to him. Also, hearing laughter from our guests during a few humorous moments and being able to recognize every voice. That was an unexpected nice touch.

golf course wedding ceremony

golf course wedding ceremony

bride and groom pouring sand during ceremony

wedding sand ceremony

bride putting ring on groom's finger

bride and groom first kiss

bride and groom walking down the aisle

What were the highlights of the reception? 

Just being able to relax and share a wonderful meal with the people we love. No pressure to make the rounds and shake hands with people we barely knew. Just a lot of laughter and sweet words from our toastmasters.

sweetheart table

blue wedding flowers

intimate golf course wedding reception set-up

wedding table setting

white wedding centerpiece

wedding candles in sand

wedding table setting

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

I won’t say it was “no stress”, but it was definitely less stress than I would have experienced with a large wedding. The morning of the wedding I played with my son on the playground. There was no rushing around and no frantic scramble to get out the door.  It was so peaceful and so perfect. I also got to hand make many of the details – invitations, place settings, gift bags – and that would have been impossible with a big guest list.

wedding menu

pouring champagne

raised champagne glass

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

Go with your gut instincts. If a small, intimate wedding was the first thing that popped into your head when you decided to get married, you’ll regret doing it any other way. The day really is about the two of you and you should celebrate in a way that feels natural.

wedding reception dinner


Photography: Brittany Callahan at Riverland Studios

Venue: The Ocean Course