Célèste and Ryan’s Cincinnati Winter Barn Wedding

We love weddings with a whole lot of heart, and you can’t get much more heartfelt than Célèste and Ryan’s big day. The winter-loving couple exchanged their vows on their 5th anniversary and paid homage to the season in which they fell in love by creating a cozy, snow covered space for their guests that not only set the mood, but also evoked memories of their first date. They even included a handmade evergreen ceremony chuppah reminiscent of the snow-covered trees under which the couple shared their first kiss. And while the bride may have, in her own words, ugly cried all the way down the aisle, it only makes us love this wedding (and this couple) even more!

Special thanks to Cameron and Mindy of Braun Photography for capturing all the beautiful moments – tears and all – and sharing them with us today!

Winter wedding

Célèste, 25 & Ryan, 32 

Cincinnati, OH

Wedding Date: January 24, 2014

Number of Guests: 50

Wedding Cost: $20,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Centennial Barn

Wedding Reception Location: Centennial Barn

wedding invitations wedding rings on book arrow case bride and bridesmaids holding bouquets bride in flower crown and fur coat bride and bridesmaid in boots and socks bride and groom kissing in the snow

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

Intimacy was our number one priority for our wedding. We got married on our 5th anniversary after living together for several years and considering carefully what marriage would mean to us, and we wanted to be very purposeful with every wedding decision we made.

Neither of us is religious, but we wanted our ceremony to have the same deeply meaningful resonance of a religious one. So, we created a ceremony from scratch, borrowing from several traditions, making up some new ones, and incorporating both traditional vows and vows we’d written ourselves. Because our ceremony was so personal, we decided to share it with a small group of trusted friends and close family. I don’t think I would have felt comfortable reading the vows I wrote in front of hundreds of people.

It worked out well because I cried a lot. You always picture yourself walking down the aisle, looking the most beautiful you’ve ever looked. Instead, I ugly cried the whole way down. I kind of wish I had a pretty picture of myself walking down the aisle (I do have one from the rehearsal at least), but that’s just the unpredictable nature of love I guess. At the moment I felt myself physically moving toward my future, gazing into Ryan’s eyes and seeing the look on his face, it all became so real and I felt a rush of gratitude for him standing there, for my father walking next to me, and for all the loved ones surrounding us. There aren’t many opportunities to physically do something that represents a big change in your life, and I think ceremonies can be very powerful. It’s like when you graduate and you think, What’s the big deal? Maybe I’ll just skip the ceremony. It’ll probably be boring. But then the act of moving that tassel from one side of your mortarboard to the other just feels so momentous, like in that one gesture you’re cementing all the hard work of the last four years.

wedding dress on custom hanger wedding boots bride having dress buttoned up bride lacing up boots bride hugging mother bride putting on flower crown groom adusting shirt groom putting on jacket groom buttonin jacket

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

The biggest challenge was finding a venue that was right for us. We actually found Centennial Barn, which ended up being perfect, because someone at a larger venue recommended it. She basically said, “Our venue is way too big for you, but, if you like exposed brick, you should check out this place.” The barn ended up being the perfect size to hold our ceremony and reception all in one place, and I loved how guests could hang out in the loft and look down on the dance floor.

room waiting to see bride bride and groom first look bride and room hugging bride and groom huggin

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

We are introverts by nature and we tend to prefer spending time with a small circle of close friends, so the guest list actually came together pretty organically. There were certainly groups of people (extended family, coworkers) whom it would have been easy to add, quickly doubling the number of guests, but we found a natural place to draw the line and we felt good about it.

groom and groomsmen in the snow bride and bridesmaids in fur coats bridal party portrait bride and groom huggin wedding portrait in the snow wedding portrait in the snow wedding portrait outside barn

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

I knew that excluding extended family might rub some people the wrong way, but I didn’t feel it was worth compromising the inherent nature of the kind of ceremony we wanted to have just to please other people.

Paradoxically, I think having a very small wedding lets you off the hook when it comes to perceived “snubs.” When you invite hundreds of people, there can still be people who feel left out, but when you only invite 50 people, most understand that you’re going for intimacy and don’t take it personally that they didn’t get an invite.

ring bearer carrying book ring bearer wearing here comes the bride sign bride walking down the aisle

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

We wrote our own vows, and a big highlight for me was hearing Ryan read his. I had no idea what he was going to say, and he absolutely blew me away. I also really loved all the special ways our families participated in the ceremony.

rustic wedding ceremony bride smiling at groom during ceremony groom at wedding ceremony bride and groom first kiss bride and groom first kiss

What were the highlights of the reception?

Just after the ceremony, Ryan and I snuck into the stairwell as guests filed out of the ceremony room and began cocktail hour. We took about ten minutes to just revel in the emotion of the moment and look at the secret inscriptions we’d each had engraved in the other’s ring. It’s hard to put into words the feeling of those ten minutes, but they were definitely the happiest of my life.

The overall look of the space also sticks out as a highlight. We worked hard creating DIY decor with the help of family and friends to give our wedding a personal touch. Ryan and I fell in love in the winter. Our first date was sledding, we said I love you in a snowstorm, and all our favoring memories of that time involve snow. So, we knew that we wanted our wedding to be cozy and snow-covered to evoke the mood of that time and place. When it came time to plan our wedding, the first idea that came to me was that we could say “I do” on our fifth anniversary and kiss under an evergreen chuppah to remind us of the snow-covered evergreens we shared our first kisses under. My incredibly devoted parents took on the challenge of creating the chuppah I had in my mind and it set the stage for the rest of the decor, which streamed from the ceremony room out onto the barn’s loft and down a candlelit stairway to the dance floor.

chalkboard sign favor table tree favors lavender toss bags his and her cocktail chalkboard sign wedding menu antler and mason jar candles

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Although we chose an intimate guest list primarily with the ceremony in mind, it ended up making for a really great reception as well. The mood was reminiscent of holidays spent with family and we were actually able to spend some quality time with everyone who came.

chicken and waffles appetizers wedding dessert table wedding lemon tarts antler cake knife bride and groom cutting cake groom feeding bride cake champagne toast bride and groom drinking champagne guests dancing at barn wedding bride and groom first dance bride and groom first dance

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

It was easy for us to pare down the guest list because an intimate wedding was what we both sincerely wanted. I think you can always tell if you’re on the right path just by asking yourself if it feels right. If it doesn’t feel right, you can re-examine what you really want and go from there.

Being on the same page as your spouse is the most important thing. If your desires don’t align at first, discus how you can compromise. Once you are both on the same page, you can represent a united front when discussing your plans with family and other concerned parties.

When it comes to people who want you to invite more guests, it’s important to be direct yet polite. Remember, they’re happy for you and they just want to share your happy day with more people.

bride and groom first dance


Venue: Centennial Barn

Caterer: Eat Well

Coordinator: Jen Weber of The Love Riot

Photography: Braun Photography

Videography: Studio Z Films

Decor: DIY

Favors: Green World Project

Invitations and Stationery: Five Dot Design

Bridal Gown: Catherine Deane for BHLDN

Bride’s Accessories: fur coat, vintage (borrowed last minute from bridesmaid’s mom) // boots, vintage // tights, Topshop // clutch, Kate Spade // necklace, designed by bride and made by mother-of-the-groom // bouquet and floral crown, Inspired Floral Design

Groom’s Attire: suit, shirt, and tie, Indochino // boots, Asos // boutonnière, DIY

Bridemaids: gowns, BHLDN // fur coats, vintage (borrowed last minute from bridesmaid’s mom) // necklaces, Bauble Bar // bouquets, DIY

Special songs:

Processional: “The Book of Love” by The Magnetic fields (bridal party), “How Deep is Your Love” by The Bird and the Bee (bride)

Recessional: “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy” by The Kinks

First Dance: “Love Letter” by The Wannadies

Father/Daughter Dance: “Find Love” by Clem Snide

Wedding Video: “January Wedding” by The Avett Brothers

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11 Wonderful Winter Tablescapes

The time for snuggling up with steaming cups of hot chocolate and warm plaid blankets is getting closer. There’s a romantic mood in the air when it comes to wintertime, and the decor ideas for a winter wedding are plentiful. Be inspired by the festivities and colors of the season by incorporating them into your table settings. Winter tablescapes can be really stunning, and give your guests that celebratory feeling.

Dark reds are a quintessential color for the holidays. Pair red blooms with some greenery, candles and frosted silver accents. If you’re having a rustic themed wedding in a barn or cabin, play up to your surroundings in your table settings. Tree rounds with leafy garlands contrast with polished candlestick holders.

http-::ruffledblog.com:ruffled_galleries:lake-placid-winter-wedding:lake-placid-winter-wedding20121220_13: http-::www.elizabethannedesigns.com:blog:2014:02:03:elegant-rustic-winter-wedding-inspiration:greenery-garland-tabletop:


Bare wooden tables are a great canvas for an elaborate tablescape without making the elements seem overwhelming. An all-white table is softened by touches of burlap and crystal decorations.

http-::www.stylemepretty.com:gallery:picture:2181249: http-::www.pinterest.com:pin:572027590144245538:

Give traditional ideas an unexpected twist, such as using sheets of Christmas carol music as placemats. Also, using heavy tree branches as a table runner with cut outs to insert candles. Get the celebrations started with a sequin and chevron table runner; we all know that sequins are a cue for partying.

http-::www.simplebites.net:my-christmas-dinner-tablescape-neutral-and-natural:comment-page-1:#comment-88344 http-::www.stylemepretty.com:gallery:picture:2008973:

Use classic color combinations on your table with white, green and red and include clear blue glasses. We love the unexpected aqua candles on this winter table, with the complementary matte silver tableware. Runners can really transform your table, especially when they are full of seasonal greenery and baby’s breath.

http-::www.stylemepretty.com:gallery:picture:2104596: http-::emilydelamater.com http-::www.stylemepretty.com:gallery:picture:2162514:

A simple winter tablescape can be easily created by starting with a stunning tablecloth.


These gold charger plates work well with the bare table and lace runner. The look is completed with these amazing gold candles and an abundant floral centrepiece.


Photo one: treelifefilms.com; Photo two: elizabethannedesigns.com; Photo three: weddings.torywilliams.com; Photo four: pinterest.com; Photo five: simplebites.net; Photo six: carriepellerin.com; Photo seven: rebeccahollis.com; Photo eight: emilydelamater.com; Photo nine: carolinefrostphotography.com; Photo ten: landonjacob.com; Photo eleven: jessicalewisphoto.com

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James and Jemma’s Casual New Zealand Cafe Wedding

After attending many weddings as both a professional hairdresser and as a guest, Jemma knew she didn’t want to be the kind of stressed out bride that couldn’t enjoy her own wedding day. So, to avoid the stress that comes with planning and having a large wedding, she and fiancé Kase settled on a casual café wedding for 40 guests instead. Their lunch reception, while unconventional, kept costs low, and more importantly, allowed the couple to connect and celebrate with all their guests in a relaxed and fun way – completely stress-free!

A huge thanks to Natalie McNally for giving us the opportunity to share their special day with you.

Intimate New Zealand wedding

Jemma & James (Kase)

Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Wedding Date: October 24, 2014

Number of Guests: 40

Wedding Cost: $12,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Christ Pukehou Church, Central Hawkes Bay

Wedding Reception Location: The Paper Mulburry Cafe

rustic wedding sign pink and purple wedding bouquet bride portrait bride and groom hugging bride and groom hugging in church bride and groom exiting church bridal party walking away from  chapel

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

A few reasons – firstly, Kase is from such a big family and we couldn’t bring the guest list down enough for any of the venues we liked and include everyone. Secondly, we wanted our day to reflect us, not be a big performance. Lastly, because I’m a hairdresser I have been involved in many weddings as well as attended as a guest and I didn’t want to be that bride who is so stressed she didn’t enjoy her day. So we kept it intimate and simple, which for us was perfection.

wedding dress hanging up bride's floral wedding shoes bride getting her makeup done bride getting her makeup done bride getting dressed bride getting dressed bride putting on veil bride getting in car

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

Nothing that bothered me really! I loved how easy it was to plan. It was casual and fun. I loved every moment.

first look session first look session groom excited to see bride for first time first look bride and groom hugging outdoor wedding portrait

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

No, not at all. It was actually easier to cut it down to 40 than 120. Everyone at our wedding loved us both as individuals and have watched us grow to be the couple we are today. It made it feel really special.

bridal portrait bride and maid of honor groom andbest man bridal party portrait bride and groom holding hands in the woods bride and groom kissing bride and groom walking outdoors bride and groom walking in the woods wedding portrait intimate wedding portrait black and white wedding portrait

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

We had a lot of issues from both friends and family! The rule was “if we don’t agree, they aren’t coming” which was great because we both loved everyone there. I think the thing that got us through all the complaining from people who weren’t invited, was remembering if they loved us they would be happy for us.

bride walking down the aisle emotional groom at the altar bride wiping away groom's tears

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Walking down the aisle and seeing Kase in tears; it re-enforced for me the love he has for me and why we were standing there.

bride and groom holding hands at altar


bride and groom first kiss


What were the highlights of the reception?

Just being able to have a good chat with everyone and seeing people who hadn’t met come together like they had known each other for years. I feel like that wouldn’t have happened with a bigger wedding.

bookshelves mason jar centerpieces on mantle cafe wedding reception purple flower centerpiece jam wedding favor vinyl wedding chairs

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

How magical it felt. Just having people surrounding you that love and are so happy for you made our day. Also, the fact that we had some amazing people help put it together who understood how casual we wanted it to be made us feel so special.

wedding wine bottles wedding buffet chocolate wedding cake topped with strawberries wedding guests at cafe reception wedding guests at cafe reception laughing wedding guests

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

Do it!! You won’t regret it. We are still so in love with the day and wish we could relive it over and over again. Also, the lunch reception was a big discussion point for us, but we feel as though this made it so much more causal and fun, and it was the best decision ever (it also kept costs down).

bride at wedding reception


Photography: Natalie McNally Photography

Dress: Grace Loves Lace

Make-up: Candice Dear – Embellish Me

Hair: Morgan from Hair@88

Flowers: Magdalen Hill

Celebrant: Karen Callaghan

Venues: Christ Pukehou Church and The Paper Mulburry Cafe

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Candy Cane Fudge Recipe: DIY Favors

peppermint fudge

If you are a big fan of pairing chocolate with mint, you will love this Candy Cane Fudge Recipe. This fudge is not only a wonderful treat for the holidays, it’s the perfect wedding favor! Simply wrap two or three pieces  in a box and you are good to go.

This recipe is ideal for anyone who wants a simple treat that doesn’t require a heap of ingredients – or effort.


You will need:

  • 3 cups  white chocolate chips
  • One 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract or a few drops of peppermint oil
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Line an 8″ x 8″ baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Grease the foil or parchment paper. Combine the white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat.

peppermint-fudge-1 peppermint-fudge-2

Stir frequently until almost melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. When chips are completely melted, stir in the peppermint extract and crushed candy canes. (Set aside some of the crushed candy canes to sprinkle on the top later on.) Stir well.


Pour mixture onto baking pan. Spread evenly.


Sprinkle in chocolate chips and swirl them into the mixture with a knife.


Sprinkle top with crushed candy canes.


Place in fridge for three hours. Cut fudge into squares.


Wouldn’t this look lovely on a holiday treat table?


Bet you can’t eat just one!

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Curate the Perfect Wedding Registry with Crate and Barrel

We think most people will agree that one of the best parts of planning a wedding is picking out your registry items. Compared to the stress and many tedious aspects of the planning process, registering for gifts is a much welcomed and fun task for many couples.

While it can be tempting to go hog wild when it comes to making your registry selections, adding anything and everything your heart desires is not the best approach- unless, of course, you want to end up with a random assortment of items that don’t really work together.

To curate the perfect wedding registry, first consider the look and aesthetic you’re going for in your home. Do you prefer modern, rustic or traditional design elements? Do you have a color scheme? What type of materials are you drawn to: wood, stainless steel, granite etc.? It’s not necessary for all of your rooms to have exactly the same colors or aesthetic, but it is a good idea to have a cohesive design in mind for your home before you get started. Once you’ve figured out the exact look you’re going for, find some examples online that you can easily reference to keep you on track. Now the fun part! Go on a treasure hunt (within the parameters you’ve just set, of course) and start adding gifts to your registry!

To give you an example of what curating a great registry looks like, we’ve put together our own dream kitchen/dining registry with some amazing items from Crate and Barrel.  Since warm metallics are super chic right now, we started with some gorgeous copper pieces and chose to mix them up with some dark wood elements and white marble details for the perfect blend of  industrial elegance, rustic charm, and sophisticated luxury.

We had so much fun putting this registry together, it makes us want to get married all over again! Creating your own Crate and Barrel registry is easy, just click here to get started. Or better yet, why not attend one of Crate and Barrel’s Wedding Party Events for exclusive store access and helpful tips from their registry experts?

Crate and Barrel registry

1: Woodsy Candle Holder; 2: Wood-Marble Square Platter; 3: Schmidt Brothers 7-Piece Zebra Wood Knife Block Set; 4: Orb Copper Shaker; 5: Montana Acacia and Glass Jars; 6: French Kitchen Mortar and Pestle; 7: Copper Salt & Pepper Mill; 8: Marble Top/Elm Base Dining Table; 9: Teak branch forks; 10: Calphalon Contemporary Tri-Ply Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set

Sponsored Post. 

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