Sarah and Jason’s $3,500 Thorncrown Chapel Wedding

At a glass chapel in the woods of Arkansas, Sarah and Jason were joined at the altar by the bride’s daughter and the groom’s son as they became husband and wife, joining their two families together as one. The children even read their own vows, pledging to be a good brother/sister to each other in an adorable ceremony that ended with the family dancing down the aisle together to Pharrell William’s Happy.

The whole thing was beautifully captured by the couple’s friend and photographer Kari Nichols, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share the photos with you today!

Eureka Springs wedding

Sarah, 25 & Jason, 34

Eureka Springs, AR

Wedding Date:  May 18, 2014

Number of Guests: 36

Wedding Cost: $3,476, but keep in mind that Kari gave us a special price and shot the wedding on her own so that Caleb, her husband, could be one of my groomsmen.

Wedding Ceremony Location: Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs, AR

Wedding Reception Location: DeVito’s of Eureka Springs

painted mural bride portrait in the woods tattooed bride and groom bride and groom in front of mural bride and groom kissing bride and groom embracing bride and groom being goofy with kids

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

Well, we already knew that we wanted our day small and intimate since this was the second time around for both of us. I guess we just felt that since we are generally private people, this day should really be for us. And when we thought about it, we really only wanted our closest friends and family to come – basically, the people who had seen each of us through the good and bad times. Once Jason suggested the chapel and we looked at photos online, we just booked it. We never even visited Thorncrown until the day of. We liked that it was small (only seating a max of 100 guest) and we liked that it was two hours out of town. We’d both been to Eureka Springs before, so we knew how beautiful the area was, and we just took a chance with the chapel.

wedding dress hanging in tree
bride getting ready
bride putting on earrings
groom's daughter getting ready
bride's arm tattoo
bride tying her shoes
groom putting bow tie on his son
groom tying son's shoes
tattoed groom rolling up his sleeves
groom tying his tie

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

Finding a place for a reception. There are very few places for a reception in Eureka Springs on a Sunday and most of the places were designed for bigger crowds and really wanted you to book a ceremony and reception. Also, most traditional reception locations would not allow us to bring in an outside vendor for food and drink. Honestly, it was a little unsettling to lose so much creative control when we knew that we wanted a personally crafted experience . Initially, we got annoyed by all the restrictions that venues were trying to place on us that we just rented a big ten person cabin in the woods and we were just going to have one big wedding reception/house party. Eventually though, we found Devito’s and Teresa Devito bent over backwards to make us feel welcome. In the end, we liked her so much that we just let her handle everything. They printed personal menus for us and made and provided an Italian wedding cake that was great!

The other challenge was flowers. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on flowers for a glass chapel in the woods. But we did need flowers for the bride and bridal party and we wanted them to fit in with the natural beauty of the area. Our solution was to drive highway roads the morning of the ceremony and look for flowers to cut and arrange ourselves. We found a few nice irises (Sarah’s favorite flower) on the side of a particularly busy highway, and while cutting them, we were eventually noticed by a local. Steve the local was concerned that we would get hit by a car so he asked us to come and take as many irises from his yard as we liked. Steve mentioned he was going to mow them all down anyway! In the end, most of our flower arrangements were courtesy of flowers provided, for free, by some Eureka Springs’ local named Steve.

bride portrait
groom portrait
bride and groom portrait in town
bride and groom in front of mural
bride and groom kissing in front of mural
wedding portrait in park
bride and groom portrait
groom standing behind bride with his arms around her
bride and groom holding hands and looking away
bride and groom walking in park
groom with son
bride with daughter
bride and groom with kids
groomsmen portrait
bridal party portrait
bride and groom kissing in front of chapel

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? / Did you have any ‘issues’with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Honestly, it seems like it should have been, but it turned out to be a pretty smooth process. We knew that more then half of the people we invited wouldn’t be able to make it. Most of Jason’s family lives in Seattle and traveling to Arkansas would be unrealistic for them, and Sarah’s family is very small. Choosing a venue that was two hours out of town and placing the ceremony on a Sunday evening worked in our favor as well. We just went ahead and invited any friends who we thought would get offended if they didn’t get an invitation knowing most of them would probably not opt to drive out of town on a Sunday evening.

chapel sign glass chapel in the woods bride walking down the aisle groom waiting at the altar thorncrown chapel wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

Jason’s son Jude and Sarah’s daughter Penelope’s involvement. Apart from them getting to be the ring bearer and the flower girl, we also had them come up and do vows of their own, pledging to be a good brother and sister. I just remember them being so happy to be up front holding hands with us and each other  At the end we were announced as the Jason and Sarah Denney family….and then all four of us danced back down the isle to the tune of Happy by Pharrel.

groom wiping away bride's tears bride and groom holding hands during ceremony thorncrown  chapel wedding ceremony groom putting ring on bride's finger bride and groom's children at the ceremony bride's daughter participating in ceremony

What were the highlights of the reception?

Just being able to show up. The room was set up and the cake was cut. We just got to have dinner with close friends and family and not work or stress over anything.

Eureka Springs wedding
DeVito's sign
wedding menu

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

Not having to worry about pleasing other people. We were able just to focus on our day and our family. Having just close friends/family present was great, everyone there was truly focused on us, at that moment. They were fully there for the for of us, not the open bar.

restaurant wedding reception
bride and groom kissing at reception

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

Intimate weddings are just that, personal. Very personal. Our officiant (a long time family friend of Jason’s Seattle family) had to stop at one point because she couldn’t stop crying. If you’re more into celebrating this personal day, rather than the micro-managed bits of the day, DO IT. Enjoy your love as well as your loved ones.

bride and groom at reception


Photography: Cottonwood Studios

Ceremony: Thorncrown Chapel

Reception: Devito’s of Eureka Springs fine Italian dining

Invites: Wedding Paper Divas

Flowers: Steve the local, we did the arrangements ourselves

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7 Ways to Use Instagram in Your Wedding

instagram wedding ideas Instagram has replaced the humble disposable camera as a way to crowdsource your wedding photographs. Even with a professional photographer capturing the main moments, it’s nice to see the day through the eyes of your loved ones. By using a personalized Instagram hashtag the images are instant, saving the wait for printing and waiting for guests to send their pics to you. We’ve picked out 7 ways for you to get connected and use Instagram in your wedding.

1. Drink Stirrers

We are obsessing over these drink stirrers. You can print out your favorite Instagram pic and have your hashtag printed onto the other side. This is a great way to include social media if you only want to include your hashtag in a subtle way.


2. DIY Save-The-Date Stickers

Why not include Instagram in your DIY save-the-date cards?  You can print out an Instagram picture and turn it into a sticker. Affix them to your save-the-date cards with instructions for your guests to stick the photo onto their calendars. (Photo: Something Turquoise.)


3. Print the Hashtag

For a truly interactive wedding, you can keep track of the images that are uploaded onto your Instagram hashtag. The Instaparty Box prints out all of the uploads as they arrive. This is lovely as you can see what your guests are seeing. Then at the end of the night you can collect them up to look at before bed.


4. Mini Sign 

For a cute way to show off your hashtag, opt for mini signs displayed at each table. The small squares mimic the size of an Instagram shot which adds a nice detail. We love these mini signs as an alternative to having a larger one placed at the welcome table.


5. DIY Photo Blocks

With all of the amazing images that you will be collecting from your wedding, it’s time to think about what to do with them. Check out our tutorial for these fab DIY Instagram Photo Blocks. You can also make these before the wedding and display a few couple portraits.



6. Printable Sign 

The best way to show that your wedding is Instagram friendly is by having a prominently placed sign. This is also an opportunity to step up your decor. Here is a gorgeous sign for you to print out for free from Pretty Little Palace.


7. Photo Scavenger Hunt

Turn Instagram photography into a fun game for your guests. Give your guests a handout with a list of shots for them to capture on the day and upload onto Instagram. Different shots could include food, photobombing or photos with the bride and groom. Great activity for them and bonus behind the scenes photos for you.


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Incredibly similar to navy – just slightly darker in tone – midnight blue is an excellent color to play around with on your wedding day. Despite being as dark as it is, it’s quite a versatile hue, effortlessly switching between preppy and rustic palettes, and going from classic to modern without missing a beat. Truly a color for all seasons, here are five ways to use it on your wedding day.

Navy and pink are a pretty classic color combination, so it makes sense that midnight blue would pair equally well with both blush and magenta shades for a sophisticated spring palette.

midnight blue color palette

If pink isn’t your thing, perhaps this light and fun blue and purple palette is more your speed.

midnight blue color palette

We love the idea of using this color palette for a non-traditional winter wedding, but really it would work any time of the year.

midnight blue color palette

Two shades of blue and two different metallics make this color scheme an ultra modern choice for couples looking to step outside the box a little on their wedding day.

midnight blue color palette

How gorgeous is this fall color palette? Combined with midnight blue, orange and yellow have never looked prettier!

midnight blue color palette

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10 Stunning Table Runners

Table runners are a great addition to a wedding tablescape. Runners are a great finishing touch, that can work with a multitude of table designs. Bare wooden tables look lovely with them as do white tablecloths that need an injection of color; for a layered look. We’ve selected 10 table runners for you to be inspired by.

1. Bold and Bright

This table runner takes inspiration from the style of a Mexican blanket. The bold design will fit in perfectly with a bohemian wedding and accessorized with cacti and vibrant floral arrangements.

2. Thinking of Turquoise 

Patterned dinnerware doesn’t require much to make the table stand out. A turquoise runner with potted floral centerpieces will enhance the plates.

3. Black and White

You can’t go wrong with a monochrome palette. Black and white are a classic pairing and including stripes modernizes the look. The thin stripes on this runner are subtle enough to give the table another element that isn’t overwhelming.

4. String Art 

How cool is this! For the creative couple, look no further than a bit of string art on your table runner. A potential DIY project that is well worth it.

5. Oversized Flowers

Floral table runners are so gorgeous. The extravagance of the flowers means that you can get away with keeping the rest of your decor very simple. Tall candles and dark wooden tables are ideal companions.

6. Numbered Runners 

Table runners don’t just have to be about style. Give them some more substance by doubling them up as table numbers. Have your numbers printed on burlap for a rustic touch.

7. Sheer Romance

Draping a soft fabric over your tablecloth in a delicate pink will have your guests swooning.

8. Falling Blooms

We love the look of these flowers cascading from the end of the table. They are all the flowers that you’ll need in the space and will add to the overall decor of the venue.

9. A Little Lace

For quaint vintage nuptials, a lace runner with small jars of flowers is such a pretty way to decorate your tables. Mismatched plates and floral napkins will add to the tea party look.

10. In Love with Lemon

Lemons will give you a fresh and fragrant table runner. When combined with pink and white floral arrangements it has a Mediterranean style with a difference. This certainly proves that runners don’t always have to come in the form of a fabric!

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Jess and Destiny’s Michigan Lighthouse Elopement

Take one creative couple (and one amazing beard), throw in an 1800’s lighthouse overlooking Lake Superior, add a cookie cake, and you have everything you need to make up today’s magical Michigan elopement.

After 7 months of dating, Destiny and Jess decided to make things official atop the Big Bay Point Lighthouse with just their officiant, their talented photographer Jesse David Green, and their witness – the owner of the inn – present, in what can only be described as one of the most romantic elopements we’ve ever seen.

Michigan B&B wedding

Destiny, 23 & Jess, 28

Big Bay, Michigan

Wedding Date: May 23, 2014

Number of Guests: 0

Wedding Cost:  $2,500 with two nights in a lighthouse and outfits and cookie cake

Wedding Ceremony Location: Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast

Wedding Reception Location: Oh, we are having a party at our good friend’s diner in Atlanta, Georgia. Homegrown is where Jess used to have breakfast every day before we moved and they are the best folks around.

cookie cake bearded groom bride portrait bride and groom in porthole bride and groom fists with rings bride wearing groom's jacket bride and groom kissing groom carrying bride over his shoulder

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We wanted to focus on one another and not worry about trying to please everybody. As selfish as it sounds, we wanted this event to be about us and what we wanted to get out of it.

bride and groom going to the courthouse bride and groom getting marriage licence bride and groom getting marriage licence bride and groom kissing on courthouse steps couple jumping off steps bride in lace backed dress bride getting ready tattooed bride sitting on bed bride portrait bearded groom

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

Well Jess was already working in Michigan, and Destiny was still in Atlanta, Georgia so that presented some difficulty in planning. On top of that, finding a lighthouse that will let you in the top is tough, but finding a photographer and a minister locally (or willing to travel up to the only available lighthouse) made for a lot of phone calls. Big Bay is north of Marquette and was the closest courthouse to get our marriage license, but we ended up finding the marriage license laws and our awesome minister via my grandmother who once we put the word out started calling around. In fact, when we got out marriage license, Tanya at the Marquette courthouse said: “How is Lynda (grandma) doing?” and they had spoken six weeks prior.

first look first look first look


bride and groom portrait black and white bride and groom portrait bride fixing groom's hair groom embracing bride from behind bride and groom walking away lighthouse B&B bride and groom head to head looking down on bride and groom bride and groom climbing stairs

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

Surprisingly, no. We told our families together at dinner a few weeks before and they were very supportive; surprisingly supportive.

lighthouse elopement ceremony bride at elopement ceremony officiant passing rings

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Getting to yell that we were married from the top of the lighthouse. And Destiny got us a cookie cake as our wedding cake and we didn’t have to share it with anybody, ha!

lighthouse elopement ceremony bride and groom first kiss bride going to hug groom during ceremony happy bride and groom bride and groom kissing

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

We were relaxed and did things on our own time. Nobody had a schedule for us to adhere to.

bride and groom iphone photo bride and groom lighthouse portrait bride sitting on groom's lap bride and groom looing over lighthouse railing bride and groom portrait groom carrying bride bride and groom with large heart shaped cookie bride and groom sharing heart shaped cookie cake bride and groom eating cookie bride and groom walking by lake bride and groom portrait by the lake bride and groom feet bride and groom kissing at sunset

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

Make sure not to stress, and focus on creating the memories you want to keep with you FOREVER. And hire a good photographer to capture those memories, especially since you’ll need to share the moment with your friends and family.

bride and groom on cliff


Photographer: Jesse David Green

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3 Comments  |  Filed Under: Budget Weddings ($10,000 or less), Elopements, Inn and B & B Weddings, Real Weddings
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