Nicole and Adam’s Philadelphia Magic Gardens Wedding

When Nicole and Adam realized they couldn’t afford the wedding they wanted and invite everyone they knew, they came to the conclusion that an intimate wedding was the only way to go. While it was difficult to cut out so many people that they loved, limiting the guest list to 45 of their closest family and friends, was the only way to get the kind of personalized and awesome wedding they were looking for – one full of good food, good drink, lots of special details, two amazing venues, and plenty of time to spend with their guests. Both the bride and groom agree they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

Special thanks to Adachi Pimentel for sending over all the photos so we could share them with you today!

Philadelphia Magic Gardens wedding

Nicole, 34 & Adam, 37

Philadelphia, PA

Wedding Date: November 15, 2014

Number of Guests: 45

Wedding Cost: I’m not totally sure! We made the (financially irresponsible, I’m sure) decision to avoid sticker shock and sort of close our eyes to this. If I had to guess, I’d say about $18,000.

Wedding Ceremony Location: Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Wedding Reception Location: Supper Restaurant

grey wedding invitations

Magic Gardens chandelier

bridal party holding bouquets behind their backs

groom boutonniere

black and white bridal portrait

groom portrait at the Magic Gardens

bride and groom portrait

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

For a lot of reasons! Our journey towards an intimate wedding began when we realized that we couldn’t afford to have the kind of wedding we wanted (awesome locations, special details, amazing food and drink, one that felt like us – not a cookie cutter reception hall affair) if we invited everyone that we know and love. As we started to explore options that would allow us to have the kind of wedding we wanted we realized “Oh! We should have chosen a small wedding all along!” You always hear people say “we didn’t even get to eat at our own wedding” or “take a minute to step away from the craziness and enjoy the day”. That’s crazy! We wanted to enjoy all our guests, eat all our food, and relish every single minute. Inviting 45 people instead of 100 or 200 allowed us to do that. It felt like we were hosting an awesome party, not like a crazy chore. We enjoyed every second of our amazing day.

black and white bride portrait

bride with bridesmaids

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

Just the obvious one, I guess, which is that inviting 45 people instead of 145 means there are 100 people who you love who you don’t get to share your day with.

groom portrait

groomsmen portrait

wedding party portrait

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

Of course! You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, ever. But I think at the same time, once we realized why we wanted an intimate wedding, we were also able to see why and how we needed to pare down our guest list. No matter how many people you invite to a wedding – 10 or 100 or 500 – you have to cut the list somewhere. Once you accept that, it becomes easier to pare the list down. You’ll disappoint people no matter the size of the wedding, so you might as well get the type of wedding you really want!

bride portrait

groom portrait

bride and groom portrait at the Magic Gardens

bride and groomportrait

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

Not really. I think that people understood our vision for the day (small, intimate, personal, special) and they understood that to achieve that, we’d have to keep the guest list small. I also think it was helpful that our venues had a limited capacity, so we really couldn’t have too many more people than we invited, even if we wanted to.

wedding ceremony sign

magic gardens wedding ceremony

groom waiting at the altar

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

We wrote the entire ceremony from scratch and it was totally and completely us. Besides the obvious highlight of getting married, the highlight was that this was our ceremony. It was so personal. One of our best friends married us and our parents read our chosen readings, and that was so special too. There were no strangers at our wedding. These were the people who mean the absolute most to us in the world. Getting to vow to love each other forever in front of the people who love us most was an experience we’ll never forget.

magic gardens wedding ceremony

magic gardens wedding ceremony

bridesmaids at wedding ceremony

magic gardens wedding ceremony

bride and groom first kiss

What were the highlights of the reception? 

The food! I’m only partially kidding. The food and drink were incredible, but the real highlight was being in a room with our closest family and best friends all at the same time. I can’t imagine that we’ll ever have all those people in one room at the same time again and we relished every second of it. It felt like we were having a really fancy party at our house, which is exactly what we wanted. It felt so special but was also laid back, intimate, and personal. It was perfect.

seating chart

paper airplane place card

paper airplane wedding favors

table setting

wedding flowers

wedding cheese plate

restaurant wedding reception

bride and groom at reception

restaurant wedding reception

orange wedding cake

bride and groom cutting the cake

wedding cake slices

bride and groom first dance

bride and groom hugging on the dance floor

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

I remember every second of my wedding, which is something that I don’t think every bride can say. I enjoyed every moment too. I never felt rushed or busy or like there were too many people to greet while all I wanted to do was drink champagne with my husband. I also never felt stressed in the planning process once we decided to have a small wedding! It was all so manageable! The cherry on top is that we were able to plan the exact wedding we wanted within our budget by choosing an intimate experience.

bride and groom outside of restaurant

bride and groom crossing the street

bride and groom in front of bus

bride and groom embracing

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

Do it! It’s so worth it. I think if your real struggle is with who not to invite, confront the issue head on.  Explain to the people you can’t invite – especially family – why you’re choosing an intimate wedding and I suspect you’ll find that they respect your decision. Don’t let the pressures from family and friends (and worse, society) to have a huge wedding change your feelings. It’s so worth it to be able to relax through your planning process and enjoy your wedding day to the fullest.

bride and groom walking down the street


Venues: Philadelphia Magic Gardens, Supper Restaurant

Photographer: Adachi Pimentel Photography

Food: Supper Restaurant

Cake: Global Dish Caterers

Flowers: PURE Florist

Hair and Makeup: Parlour Salon

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10 Cake Toppers We Love

cake toppers we love If you’re looking for ways to add some personality and uniqueness to your wedding cake, then a topper is all you need. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite Etsy cake toppers for you to transform your cake.

This gorgeous birch topper by BetterOffWedRustics, will certainly let your guests know how you feel.


Bring some romantic mystery into your decor with this silhouette cake topper by TheCeremony.


Who needs a fancy car when you can cycle off into the sunset? This cake topper with a bike silhouette by SilhouetteWeddings is beyond adorable.

Say it with glitter with this sparkly Mr and Mrs topper by ChicagoFactory.


This Love You More cake topper by ThePinkOwlDesigns is ideal for a black and white theme.


This custom birch topper by BetterOffWedRustics will make for a lovely keepsake too.


Add this pearl and rhinestone topper by HotPinkHannah into your decor for some extra sparkle.


Love quotes are such a lovely decor idea. This laser cut cake topper by LAVISHLASER will certainly add to the mood.


Bring out your inner cupid with this arrow cake topper made by LeRusticChic.


A simple buttercream cake is easily elevated by this glitter love topper by EmilySteffen.


*This post includes Etsy Affiliate links. 

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Intimate Weddings at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory


Does the thought of getting married amidst tropical plants, waterfalls and butterflies sound dreamy? The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge, ON, brings the beauty of a tropical wedding indoors. No matter how snowy, rainy or window outdoors, you and your guests will be immersed in a 75 degree tropical paradise.

cambridge butterfly museum

Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory offers a customizable wedding, allowing you to choose from a variety of packages.  A ceremony package includes a live butterfly release and exclusive use of the conservatory. For the reception, you have use of the galleries, dining room, bridal suite and front foyer. You can choose from a four course dinner, buffet, cocktail or brunch reception -and you can customize the menu. To make planning a breeze, a wedding coordinator is on hand to help you with the planning of the day.



You can find more information on having your wedding at the magical Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory here.

Photo one and three: Foster VisualsPhoto two: Catherine Mombourquette

Sponsored Post 


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DIY Wedding Favors: Rice Krispies Treat Hearts

DIY Wedding Favors: Rice Krispie Treat Hearts

Is there a living soul who doesn’t love Rice Krispies Treats? Although they might be a bit too plain to serve on their own at a wedding, a heart shaped cookie cutter and some chocolate will transform them into wedding-worthy treats! Give them as favors, or add them to your dessert table.

rice krispie treat hearts

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 250g or 1 package (about 40 regular) marshmallows or 5 cups miniature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
  • Melted chocolate wafers or chips (we used Belgium wafers in strawberry and vanilla)

Gather your ingredients to make Rice Krispie Treats.

rice krispies treats

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.

rice krispies treats hearts

Stir in vanilla. Stir in Rice Krispies cereal until well coated.

rice krispies treats hearts rice krispies treats

Using a lightly buttered spatula, press into a buttered 3.5 L pan.

rice krispies treats hearts

Turn pan over onto a cutting board. Mixture should release easily from pan.

rice krispies treats hearts

Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make Rice Krispies Hearts.

rice krispies treats hearts rice krispies treats rice krispies treats hearts

Melt pink chocolate wafers using a double boiler.

rice krispies treats hearts rice krispies treats hearts

Dip half of Rice Krispies Heart into chocolate. Give it a tap to remove excess chocolate .

rice krispies treats hearts

Place chocolate covered hearts onto a waxed paper lined baking sheet.

rice krispies treats hearts

Melt white chocolate wafers using a double boiler.

rice krispies treats hearts

Drizzle white chocolate over dipped portion of Rice Krispies Heart.

rice krispies treats hearts

And there you have your gorgeous Rice Krispies Treat Hearts!

rice krispies treats hearts rice krispies treats hearts
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Ben and Mallory’s Handmade Texas Barn Wedding

Despite facing some serious challenges when it came to planning their nuptials, Mallory and Ben refused to let a short engagement and a tight budget get in the way of having the most wonderful and whimsical wedding possible. The playful couple let their childlike personalities shine with a ceremony and reception filled with children’s books, golden oldies, handmade details, and tons of personal touches. Most importantly, the couple filled their day with family, friends, and love, making all of Mallory’s romantic wedding dreams come true.

A huge thank you to Keely Yount for sharing all the beautiful details and tender moments with us!

Intimate Texas barn wedding

Mallory, 27 & Ben, 33

Decatur, TX

Wedding Date: October 12, 2013

Number of Guests: about 65 or 70

Wedding Cost:$7,300

Wedding Ceremony Location: Flying V Ranch — outdoors under a big, beautiful tree

Wedding Reception Location: Flying V Ranch — inside the barn

room interior baby's breath bouquet dress dummy with floral crown portrait with magnifying glass bride portrait bride and groom dancing in field bride and groom kissing at sunset

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Even as a child I remember going to weddings and wondering why they seemed so unromantic. I always said mine would be small, romantic, and I wouldn’t have any bridesmaids. That’s about all I knew. My feelings toward it didn’t change as I grew up. I only wanted people there who we truly loved and who truly loved us.

wedding dress hanging on porch wedding accessories bride getting her hair done bride reading book while getting ready bride getting her make-up done bride getting ready bride getting dressed bride sitting on settee groom's shoeson suitcase groomsmen getting ready groom tying bow tie

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

I think being on a tight budget was the most challenging thing we faced. I wanted a small wedding, so the budget didn’t dictate that, but weddings are just expensive no matter what. I did as much as I could DIY, and I had a small team really help me put it all together. My dad’s partner knew a little about flowers, was able to get them at a great price and did a phenomenal job.

bridal party portrait groom and best man portrait bride and groom with daughter close-up wedding portrait bride and groom with yay flags texas-barn-wedding-flying-v-ranch-ben-mallory-27 close-up wedding portrait wedding portrait on the farm bride and groom dancing in a field

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

I want to relive my ceremony over and over. There was something transcendent about it for me. We were only engaged 3 months, and even in that short time, my vision for my ideal wedding certainly evolved quite a bit. A month before my wedding, I decided to change dresses and surprise my Mimi by wearing the dress she wore in the 1950s when she married my grandpa (we called him Oscar). At the time, Ben and I were listening to a lot of oldies stations on Pandora and really loving it, so our wedding turned into this 1950s event, full of whimsy and charm. The music during the ceremony and the reception was exclusively the golden oldies. Three of my great friends (Laney Sprague, Jenny Moscoso from Seryn, and Mimo Morreale from Fox and the Bird) sang during the ceremony (“Bushel and a Peck” while Ben walked in, “I Only Have Eyes for You” when I walked in, “You Send Me” during the ceremony, and “You Make Me Feel So Young” when we walked out).

Typically I think ceremonies are painfully boring. That sounds horrible. But I’m being vulnerable with you right now. Ours was anything but. We had our best friend, Jeremy, marry us — he’s not actually ordained, but we found a loop hole. He opened with the cutest monologue, performing the “twitterpated” speech from Bambi. Then Benji and I read the children’s book, “I Like You” to each other aloud. We’re super playful and childlike with each other, and this was such a fun part of the ceremony. Then, it was important to us that our guests take some time to connect with someone they love, whether it be by hugging, praying together, or reminiscing on when they first fell in love. Everyone got out of the white, wooden pews and crossed the aisles to love on their children, their parents, their spouse, their grandmother, their in-laws, their partner, their boyfriend. It was beautiful. Ben and I used the time to sit down and pray together and take the moment in. More than anything, I wanted to be present on my wedding day, and this allowed us to stop and breathe. After this, we delivered our written vows. Ben’s to me was funny, as to be expected, but also so tender and personal. After I gave him mine, I leaned to the right to look at Indigo, his daughter (9 at the time), and give her my vows as well. After I regained my composure, we exchanged rings, sealed the deal with a foot-popping kiss, and walked out to “You Make Me Feel So Young” as our guests waved cute little flags made by a dear friend.

outdoor farm wedding ceremony outdoor church pews with cushions yay flags for guests DIY altar made from doors bride walking down the aisle groom watching bride walk down the aisle outdoor wedding ceremony outdoor wedding ceremony emotional groom at wedding ceremony bride and groom first kiss bride and groom walking down the aisle

What were the highlights of the reception?

The reception was filled with personal touches. A really great friend, Kathleen, made all of the decorations that we strung from the ceiling, my dad’s partner Clinton created all of the flower arrangements (which were to die for), my treasured unicorn and children’s book collection were strewn about, and we had different cute activities for people to do. We had custom fake tattoos for people to put on, personalized crossword puzzles about us and our wedding day, and I sketched out a picture of Ben and I in our wedding best for people to color. We are super playful and childlike, so this was a great reflection of who we are as a couple. We also love sweets! I had friends and family bring a few of my favorite desserts. My Mimi’s banana pudding, my aunt’s lemon bars, my sister’s puppy chow, my mom’s peanut butter dream bars, and my sister’s mother-in-law’s Texas State Fair award winning pumpkin bundt cake. I take sugar very seriously.

chalkboard wedding sign guest book table decorated mantle for wedding wedding caramel apple bar wedding sign rustic wedding centerpiece wedding dessert table wedding fried chicken wedding banana pudding unicorn cake topper

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

The best thing about having an intimate wedding is that I was completely present. There was no whirlwind to get lost in. I didn’t spend $250,000 or have any sort of bridal meltdown. It was grounded, sacred, and romantic. Just what I wanted.

bride and groom at barn reception bride and groom drinking through Mrs. and Mr. straws bride dancing with her father groom kissing his daughter bride and groom dancing sparkler send-off

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

To each their own. I have two sisters (I’m in the middle), and we all three got married within ONE year. Actually, within eleven months, if we want to get technical. As similar as the three of us are, all three weddings looked completely different. There’s no right or wrong answer. Listen to you heart (cue the music).

sparkler wedding send-off


Photography: Keely & Aaron

Venue: Flying V Ranch

Dress 1: Cachet

Dress 2: My Mimi’s Lorrie Deb San Francisco vintage 1950s wedding dress

Dress 3: H&M

Shoes: Nine West

Groom’s Attire: Nordstrom

Hair & Makeup: Zsanae Panquerne

Flower Crown: Serenity Crystal on Etsy

Flowers: Clinton Kemp

Musicians: Mimo Morreale (Fox and the Bird), Jenny Moscoso (Seryn), and Laney Sprague

Decorations: Kathleen DeSouza

Cake Topper: Melabo Wed

Cake: Mary Flo Ridley

Mr & Mrs Straws: Krazystraws

B&M Tattoos: Straytats

Pillows: Society6

Activity Sheets: Wedding Chicks

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Leave a Comment  |  Filed Under: Barn Weddings, Budget Weddings ($10,000 or less), Real Weddings
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