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

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Julia and Bobbie’s Intimate Ontario At-Home Wedding

Living in the Yukon, where weddings are large and very laid-back, Julia and Bobbie wanted to bring some of that Northern spirit to their own intimate Ontario wedding. Quality time with family and friends being a top priority for the couple, the days leading up to and the morning of their wedding were spent prepping for the big event with their nearest and dearest. After a ceremony in the living room of the bride’s family home – a space full of memories for not only Julia and her family, but also for Bobbie and many of their guests – the couple and their loved ones celebrated with a relaxed dinner party style reception on the screened-in porch, complete with a local pig roast, a moving musical performance, dancing, and a late-night bonfire.

Special thanks to Jennifer Moher and Hugh Whitaker for beautifully capturing the spirit of day and sharing it with us.

Ontario at-home wedding

Julia, 30 & Bobbie, 32

Lang, Ontario 

Wedding Date: October 5, 2014 

Number of Guests: 50 (including bride and groom and 2 photographers) 

Wedding Cost: $11,000 (including Bobbie’s new wedding jeans and Blundstones!) 

Wedding Ceremony Location: Family living room  

Wedding Reception Location: Screened-in stone porch at the back of the house  

simple wedding bouquet groom portrait bride with dog wedding musicians bride holding grandma's hand bride and groom at wedding reception outdoor fall wedding portrait

Why did you have an intimate wedding??  

Bobbie and I knew we’d most enjoy the experience if we kept the wedding small, just family and close friends. We loved the idea of gathering together those nearest and dearest in our lives, and wanted the day to feel more like a big, relaxed dinner party than a traditional wedding. We live in northern Canada (Dawson City, Yukon), where weddings are typically large, but incredibly laid-back. We tried to bring the spirit of a northern wedding to our little Ontario celebration.  

pruning bushes

prepping wedding flowers outside

wedding flower prep

pushing wheelbarrow full of lumber

groom tending to barbecue

casual bride and groom before wedding

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

I’d say the biggest challenge was trying to sort out logistics for the day. While the overall goal was for the wedding to feel very casual and relaxed, 50 people is a large enough crowd that a bit of organization was necessary. We were determined to have our meal on the screened-in stone porch of my family home, which was always going to be a very tight fit. After several creative table-arranging attempts, we managed to make it work. Trying to stick to a schedule throughout the day was also a bit of a funny challenge. It all worked out well in the end thanks to our very helpful, organized family and some close friends, and our very laid-back wedding guests.

wedding dress hanging up

bride getting hair done

bride getting ready

bride getting makeup done

bride getting her dress zipped up

bride getting sash tied

bride looking out window

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

Yes and no. Those who came to the wedding were all on the original guest list, which was easy to settle on. Hoping for an intimate atmosphere, we decided not to include plus-ones on invitations unless we knew our guests’ significant others – we weren’t keen to meet anyone for the first time at our wedding. 

That said, when it came to the guest list there were a number of friends we’d have loved to invite if having a small wedding hadn’t been such a priority.

bride and groom portraits

bride and groom walking

bride and groom embracing

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom walking in country

intimate black and white wedding portrait

bride and groom looking out on the lake

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

Other than my own sensitivity to how those not invited might feel, it really was ok. Friends, extended family, and neighbours were very understanding of what we were trying to do.  

bride walking down the aisle grandmother watching wedding ceremony bride and groom laughing during ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

Originally we had planned for the ceremony to take place at the Millpond – a widening of the Indian River – just across from my family home. However, our chilly, windy afternoon had us re-think the setting, and at the last minute we decided to get married beside a roaring fire in the living room of the house instead. It was a perfect alternative. Many of our guests, and especially Bobbie, myself and my family, have years of wonderful memories in that big room. The cozy, more intimate space was a very special place for the ceremony – there were lots of happy tears, big smiles, laughs, and sporadic baby/toddler noises! 

smiling bride during ceremony tearful wedding guest bride putting ring on groom's finger tearful bride and groom bride and groom first kiss

What were the highlights of the reception? 

The reception was fantastic – a really fun relaxed rest of the evening. Up until the ceremony we’d had chilly overcast weather. Just afterwards we were treated to sun, and guests mingled in and around the house. There was a lovely spread of appetizers and hot apple cider, and people helped themselves to the wine bar and beer from a cedar-strip canoe. For dinner we tucked into local roast pig (roasted that day by Bobbie and his brothers) and a delicious seasonal spread of salads, sides and bread, made with local ingredients by our fantastic caterers. 

During the meal, speeches were a free-for-all and my brother and dear friend Kate performed a very moving song, followed by dancing and playing music around a bonfire late into the night. It was a really wonderful evening. 

house fro wedding reception

wedding pie

wedding buffet

bride at reception

wedding speech

bride crying at reception

groom crying at reception

bride and groom hugging at reception

bride and groom kissing at reception

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

Having a small wedding allowed us to easily spend time with all of our guests, many of whom traveled very long distances to help us celebrate. We didn’t feel overwhelmed at any point throughout the day. Most importantly, it was a very unique opportunity: to be surrounded by those we love most, from the various corners of our lives, all at once.

And with small numbers, it was fun to splurge on delicious wine, beer and food! 

outdoor wedding reception

wedding musicians

bride and groom first dance

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

Stick to your guns! Bobbie and I were so happy after it was all over to realize we’d had exactly the wedding we’d hoped for. For us, the key to achieving this was to focus on what was most important to us – family, friends, food, drink, natural local elements – and to not over-think the whole thing. Some traditions were nice to follow, but only the ones that held meaning for us. A wedding really can be whatever you want it to be, there are very few rules you need to follow.  

bride and groom first dance


Photos: We were so lucky to have the incredibly talented duo Jennifer Moher and Hugh Whitaker as our photographers. They so perfectly captured the spirit of the day. 

Wildflowers: They were picked the day before from fields around the house, and arranged by my sisters-in-law, mother-in-law and cousin. My sister-in-law Sasha also arranged my bouquet. 

Food: Bobbie and I care very much about local food, which was reflected in the delicious meal. Bobbie and his brothers roasted a pig from a farm up the road, and our caterer, BE Catering made a delicious spread of salads, side dishes and pies for dessert.  

Cake: My great-aunt Sharon made our 3-tier cake (a family fruit cake recipe), my aunt Julia iced it, and my sister-in-law Sasha decorated it with local wildflowers.  

Dress: I wore a custom wedding dress by Vancouver designer Patty Nayel of Pure Magnolia. Patty is an amazing artist and was lovely to work with. I really admire her business model – creating unique gowns from recycled and sustainable fabrics.  

Groom’s Jacket, Shirt and Tie: Brooks Brothers

Hair: Kelly Fisher of Kouture Hair Studio  

Makeup: My dear childhood friend Kate Suhr 

Live Music: my brother and friend Kate Suhr performed a song during the reception, one of the highlights. Kate Suhr is a gifted singer/songwriter and can be booked for events at:

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10 Fabulous Elopement Ideas

Eloping has always been an option for couples,  but right now it’s more popular than ever.

Not only does eloping save money, it’s a lot less stressful than planning a wedding. Running away from it all can also be uber romantic, allowing you to focus on the love and commitment part  instead of the matching napkins and letterpress name cards. Another perk is that you have complete freedom in deciding how to spend your special day. Whether you want to run away to the courthouse and celebrate at a local restaurant, or  say I do on the side of mountain followed by a gourmet picnic lunch, your elopement is all about the two of you.

Here are 12 elopement ideas that we love.

1. Tipi Time

If you want some post-ceremony downtime with style then this is for you. A tipi tent complete with lanterns, a gourmet picnic and relaxing on cozy blankets is ideal.

Elope1_mini 2. Love Letters 

Write each other little notes that will also be keepsakes of the day. You can also write down your memories after the ceremony. This a great idea as you won’t have invitations, programs or stories from guests as reminders over the years.


3. Dinner for Two

If you’re a foodie on a budget then a fine dining experience for a lot of guests might be impossible. But for two people, it is less so. You can go to an amazing restaurant or set up a table with a centerpiece, and hire a chef to prepare a meal to remember.


4. Skype Guests

There are various reasons for why couples decide to elope. One reason could be because of the distance between family members. If you still want to include your family or friends in some way then set up a laptop with Skype, so your ‘guests’ can have a live stream.


5. Dessert on the Go 

The fun part of eloping is that there doesn’t need to be a schedule of events. What we’re trying to say is that there won’t be anyone there to judge you if you go on a post-ceremony dessert crawl.


6. Getaway Car

Hire a vintage car to drop you off at the courthouse. It will guarantee that you make a stylish entrance.




7. Play the Tourist

Jump on the subway or put on some flat shoes for a long walk to city hall or the courthouse. Take in the sights and stop for photos to create even more memories.


8. Props 

Chances are there won’t be any guests in your photographs, so get creative and incorporate a few props. We love balloons, elopement announcements and cheeky signs.


9. Ceremony At Home 

If you want privacy and a space to relax, then a ceremony at home is a lovely idea. If you want the homely feel but in a different environment, then why not rent the apartment or house of your dreams for a night. Saying your vows in front of a candlelit fireplace couldn’t be more intimate.


10.  Sentimental Venue

A big bonus of opting for an elopement is that there are more ceremony options available to you. If you’re just having a photographer and an officiant then many spaces will be able to accommodate you. The restaurant where you had your first date, the tree under which you had your first kiss or a place that holds special memories for you both. They can all be wonderful options that would otherwise be impossible if you had 100 guests.


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Intimate Weddings at 3 West Club

3 west club

For a classic wedding that’s reminiscent of vintage glamour, take a trip back in time to old New York. With stunning chandeliers, a marble fireplace and Art Deco details, 3 West Club is the ideal venue to host an elegant affair. There are different areas within the venue to choose from, so you can customize your wedding to suit your style.

3 west club

The Grand Ballroom with its high ceiling and balcony offers more than enough space for a night of dancing. The Grand Salon’s picturesque windows and marble fireplaces make it the perfect setting for a romantic intimate wedding. If you want to get the most out of the midtown Manhattan location, the rooftop Solarium has an outdoor terrace with a stunning view. To really capture the unique feel of an historical house, the Lounge with its baby grand piano and antique furniture will have your guests swooning.

3 west intimate wedding

Because 3 West Club only hosts one wedding at a time, you can expect a truly memorable and intimate occasion. We’re thinking of weddings filled with antique details, classic decor and romantic touches. Just think of how photo-worthy it will be to walk down the marble staircase in a sweeping vintage-style gown.

If you’re looking for a New York City venue filled with gorgeous details and the option of having your ceremony and reception in one place, you can find out more information about 3 West Club here.

Photos: Charlie Juliet via

Sponsored Post 

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DIY Escort Cards: Easy Paper Butterflies

diy butterfly escort cards

These bright and cheerful DIY butterfly escort cards will set your heart a flutter – especially when you discover how simple they are to make! In fact, no origami skills are required for this DIY wedding project. If you can do an accordion fold (you probably mastered this in kindergarten), then you are good to go!

Here’s how to make DIY Butterfly Escort Cards:

You will need:

diy name cards diy butterfly decor

Cut out a square measuring 8 cm x 8 cm, as well as a circle that is 7 cm in diameter. Place the square and the circle on a piece of cardstock. The circle should overlap the bottom right corner of the square as shown in the photo below. Trace the circle and the square and cut out the shape. Place the template on a piece of origami paper and trace it. Cut out the shape from the origami paper.

diy escort cards diy escort cards

Starting at the circular end, make a small fold. Turn the paper over and make another fold. Continue folding (accordion style) until you have reached the end of the paper.

diy name cards diy escort cards diy escort cards butterfly diy name cards


diy name cards

Take a piece of string and place it in the centre of your piece of paper. Tie a knot.

diy place cards

Trim the ends of the string as shown in the photo below. These will be your butterfly’s antennae.

diy name cards

Gently unfurl the ‘wings’.

diy name cards

There you have your lovely butterfly!

diy butterfly name cards

Place your adhesive stencils on the bottom of a piece of 3.5″ x 2.5″ watercolor paper, spelling out the name of one of your guests. Place your table number stencil at the top of the paper. Use watercolor paint to fill in the letters and number. Let dry (using a hairdryer speeds up the process.) Remove stencils.

diy escort cards

Using a glue gun, place a dab of glue in the centre of the butterfly (on the back) and adhere to centre of watercolour paper.

diy name cards

That’s it! Mix and match patterns and colors for a striking DIY wedding display.

diy name cards



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