Wanting to keep the focus on why they were getting married, rather than how they were getting married, Megan and Zsolt first determined the things they couldn’t live without on their wedding day – a ceremony, dinner, and Zsolt’s parents being there – and cut out everything else. As cost also played a huge part in their planning and decision making process, the couple chose to keep their actual wedding day guest list to immediate family only, and celebrated their nuptials with friends and extended family at an informal beach party the next day.

A big thank you to Annie Hall for generously sharing Megan and Zsolt’s wedding day photos with us.

intimate santa barbara wedding


Megan, 26 & Zsolt, 29

Santa Barbara, CA

Wedding Date: June 6, 2014

Number of Guests: 25

Wedding Cost: Our out-of-pocket cost for the all-things-wedding was around $11,000. We had several family members graciously help us by taking care of the flowers, rental chairs for the ceremony, and our unity tree.

Wedding Ceremony Location: Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

Wedding Reception Location: Olio e Limone Ristorante – everything about this place is excellent!

santa Barbara wedding venue engraved wood bride portrait bride walking down stairs aerial view of garden wedding ceremony bride and groom planting tree bride and groom walking

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Cost was really the main factor, and as we got further and further into the planning process, we realized that it was a perfect way to honor our family members who have been with us from the beginning, instead of making a huge, dramatic spectacle out of the whole thing. We were really able to focus on why we were getting married, and much less on how.

wedding dress hanging up bride getting make-up done groom getting dressed

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Once we made up our minds, it was relatively easy to keep it to immediate family only. We are still sad that we couldn’t have more close friends there, especially since many of them have seen our relationship develop from the start. As a compromise, though, we had a very informal party at the beach in Carpinteria the next day. I think almost 200 people showed up for that!

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

I think sincere disappointment is a better word for this than “issues.” We have wonderful close friends, and it was painful to have to let them down. We’re all in similar positions, though, so when we told them that cost was the driving factor, it was easy for most everyone to understand. Also, our friends and extended family seriously rock, so it would have been surprising to see any of them freak out over this.

groom walking down the aisle groom waiting at the altar bride walking down the aisle

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

So many! It meant the world to us that Zsolt’s parents could be there. Zsolt translated the whole ceremony in Hungarian for them. Our roommate, who is my best friend from college, performed the ceremony. That was very special.

Santa Barbara outdoor wedding ceremony bride reading her vows garden wedding ceremony bride and groom first kiss outdoor wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the reception?

The toast my dad gave was amazing. I wish we had recorded it – he did it completely off the cuff. The food was also fantastic!

bride and groom walking to restaurant bride and groom walking to restaurant restaurant awning bride walking into restaurant guests walking into restaurant

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Staying realistic and true to our priorities.

restaurant reception table setting antipasto platter pouring wine restaurant wedding reception guests at restaurant wedding reception restaurant wedding reception bride wiping away tears at reception bride giving speech restaurant wedding reception

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

Just think about the things you can’t live without, and cut everything else. For us, we knew we had to have a ceremony, a dinner, and Zsolt’s parents absolutely needed to be there. That was pretty much it, and drove all our decisions.

bride and groom kissing at reception


Dress: J.Crew (it’s actually a bridesmaid dress that I got on sale)

Suit: Indochino

Hair & Make up: Noelle from Chateau Belle

Photography: Annie Hall Photography

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With all this dreary winter weather we’ve been having lately, the thought of saying I Do on the beach with the sand between our toes and the warm tropical sun on our skin sounds pretty dreamy to us right about now. Being able to do it on our own private beach, however, sounds even better. At the Dreams Villamagna and Dreams La Romana, you can do just that!


With their gorgeous tropical destinations, their intimate venue settings, glamorous luxury amenities, and their ultimate wedding package – providing you with everything you need and more for your wedding day – we think Dreams Resorts is the perfect spot to tie the knot.

Dreams Resort wedding

Best of all, once you’ve said your I Do’s, get ready to be pampered with their complimentary Newlywed and Anniversary package featuring a romantic breakfast in bed, a discount on spa treatments, and special turndown service.

apple vacations intimate weddings

Now, if planning your Dreams destination wedding seems overwhelming, Apple Vacations is here to help. A one-stop-shop for all your planning needs, Apple Vacations will take care of your travel arrangements and legal requirements, put you in touch with an experienced wedding planner, and find you great ways to save; they’ll even help you with your wedding registry!

Dreams Resort wedding

And with their Group-Ease program, you can enjoy great promo-code discounts for groups as small as ten guests! Book 10 or more rooms, and get airfare credits on exclusive vacation flights and a free hotel stay. What more could you ask for?

Sponsored Post.

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Marsala: Wedding Inspiration

Pantone has released their Color of the Year for 2015 and we think it’s a perfect wedding color!

Marsala is described as a “naturally robust and earthy wine red.” It’s a statement color that will look great on its own or paired with other colors as an accent. It’s reminiscent of fig, burgundy and wine tones; complementing clay and champagne decor as well as different shades of green.

Combining different earthy reds on your table creates a unique look, from berry to burgundy you’ll really capture the essence of the marsala color.


Mix deeper hues with light pink and white for a classic look, with the addition of antique silver.


You can’t go wrong with a red velvet cupcake, not only will it make a delicious dessert but will add a bit of a brighter red to your color palette.


This is such a wearable color and looks just as good on a tie as it will in your table settings.


We’ve established that white is definitely not the only way to go when it comes to wedding dresses. This dress is unbelievably romantic and a real statement piece.


Oversized floral arrangements with dark green leaves emphasize the jewel tones in the bouquet.


Poaching pears in a deep red wine is a wedding-worthy dessert that your guests will love. Taste aside, it will also look amazing with your color scheme. Including fruit in your decor adds another interesting element, stick to the theme by using red grapes, figs and plums. You can also use them to decorate a naked cake.

http-::mygoldenpear.com:2013:12:27:poached-pears-2: http-::www.stylemepretty.com:gallery:picture:1348935:



Colorful wedding shoes are such a fun idea. If you’re wearing a short dress, they’re even better. These shoes are an elegant way to work this trend on your day and long after.


A Marsala inspired bridesmaid dress is another way to include this color in your wedding.


Photo one: stylemepretty.com; Photo two: kinawicks.com;Photo three tumblr.com; Photo four: chicvintagebrides.com; Photo five: emilia-jane.com; Photo six: magnoliarouge.com; Photo seven: mygoldenpear.com; Photo eight: onelove-photo.com; Photo nine: polkadotbride.com; Photo ten: elizabethannedesigns.com; Photo eleven: josevilla.com

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Grapefruit Soda Syrup Favors with Free Printable Labels

grapefruit soda syrup


If you love grapefruit as much as we do, you are going to be seriously smitten with this Grapefruit Soda Syrup! It has made our recent SodaStream purchase worthwhile! This soda syrup is a breeze to make, and uses only a few ingredients.

With so many soda makers out there, this syrup makes for a perfect wedding favor.  Even if your guests don’t have a SodaStream, they can mix the syrup with bottled carbonated water.

We’ve sampled some of the syrups that come with the SodaStream and we find them too sugary for our taste. This syrup is 100% natural, and makes for refreshing beverage that isn’t overly sweet. We think if it as a sophisticated alternative to traditional pop.

grapefruit syrup


How to Make Grapefruit Soda Syrup (from Martha Stewart)


  • 2 cups sugar
  • zest of two pink grapefruits
  • juice of one pink grapefruit
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • two cups water


Gather your ingredients.


grapefruit syrup

Use a grater to zest both grapefruits.


grapefruit syrup grapefruit syrup


In a small saucepan, combine sugar, grapefruit zest, lemon juice and salt with two cups of water.


grapefruit syrup

Bring mixture to boil over medium high heat. Stir.

grapefruit syrup

Remove mixture from heat and let steep for an hour. Once it has steeped, strain the mixture.

grapefruit soda syrup

Print our the free Homemade Grapefruit Soda Syrup labels:



custom grapefruit labels

Adhere labels to bottles.

grapefruit soda syrup

There you have your gorgeous Grapefruit Soda Syrup Favors! Simply add 3 tsp (add more or less syrup to your liking) to 8 oz. carbonated water. The syrup will keep in the fridge for two weeks.

grapefruit syrup soda


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Styled Colorado Elopement

Today, we’re sharing a gorgeous styled elopement shoot by the talented Q Avenue Photo. This styled shoot, which took place in the Colorado mountains, just might have you scrapping your traditional wedding plans for a simple, stunning, wilderness elopement.

Here’s what photographers Brad and Jen from Q Avenue Photo had to say about the shoot:

You know when you have a vision in your head?  And you see it…and it’s beautiful…and perfect in every way?  This was our vision.  And it couldn’t stay in our heads anymore.  So we flew to Colorado, and hiked two miles into the wilderness, dodged hail, mountain lions and found ourselves resting on the crest of a vista.

 We teamed up with a select few creatives. They are people we’ve admired for a long time now. We gave them creative freedom, and an outlet for everyone involved to dare to create something great.

 The whole shoot was centered around mountains.  Daring, risky, jagged, imperfect –  but so majestic and beautiful. Everything about the shoot reflected just that: blackberries in the boutonnière; a horn to hold the bouquet that was full of cacti; wildflowers crafted into a crown; jewelry made of bronze, metal, and stones.

 Our hope was to show those who love nature and the outdoors that anything is possible.  We were made to conquer mountains. And the only thing that a ‘wedding’ needs is two people in love and a place to remind them how lucky they are to have found one another.

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colorado-styled-elopement-jess-matt_0242 colorado-styled-elopement-jess-matt_0174

colorado-styled-elopement-jess-matt_0208 Photographers: Q Avenue Photo

Flowers: Lale Florals

Dress: a and be bridal shop

Hair + Make Up: Jessica Eden

Jewelry: Christina Nicole

Location: Indian Peak Wilderness // Colorado

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