In order to avoid the expense and stress that can accompany a large guest list, Jennie and Chris opted for a small wedding with big personality. In order to spend quality time with each guest, Jennie and Chris kept things simple by limiting travel and planning their day to maximize their time with loved ones.
Did we mention that their day was overflowing with breathtaking details? Not only did they host a brunch reception (yum), they infused their day with gorgeous DIY touches, like antique doors that Jennie refinished and the table numbers holders made from branches from their backyard to make the whole event feel like cohesive and personal.
Kat Bevel Photography caught their dazzling day on film.
Jennie, 31 & Chris, 30
Wedding Date: February 16, 2013
Number of Guests: 40
Wedding Cost: $9,000
Wedding Ceremony Location: The Old Pecan Street Café
Wedding Reception Location: Same as ceremony
All of our guests were out-of-towners from California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, New Mexico, Connecticut, and other cities in Texas. Since we don’t get to see them very often, we wanted to be able to spend quality time with each of them. Keeping the guest list down let us plan a full weekend of small special events. Friday and Saturday night we went to out to dinner and drinks with our friends and siblings. On Sunday we had a post-wedding brunch with our families. We also wanted to keep things simple and relaxed and a smaller event made everything easier. Lastly, it was also important to us to pay for it ourselves, and this helped us keep the budget reasonable.
What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
The biggest challenge was the guest list (see below).
Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
This was very difficult. I have a very large, close, extended family that lives near-by (my mom’s side is 60+ aunts, uncles, and cousins). Chris has a decent sized family as well, and he was the first grandchild to get married so everyone was excited. We love our extended families and missed having them there, but if we opened it up to all of them it would have more than tripled the guest list and completely changed the feel of the wedding. We didn’t want to get in to deciding which family members would be invited, so we took a hard line and limited it to each of our immediate families and Chris’ grandmother.
Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?
We got some flack from our family for limiting the guest list so strictly. It was tough to hear and there were some hurt feelings. In the end, we found other ways to include the extended family. Both sets of parents hosted parties prior to the wedding, so we got to celebrate and spend time with dozens more loved ones over the course of a few months.
What were the highlights of the ceremony?
Our event was held late-morning and the weather was beautiful, so everyone was able to mingle and relax with drinks on the private outdoor courtyard prior to the ceremony. Chris and I decided to be present and greet everyone before the ceremony, so it didn’t have the pressure of a “grand reveal”. Neither of us are religious, so we stripped down the ceremony to the core elements that were important to us: a parents blessing, a community blessing, the vows, and the ring exchange. In keeping with the theme of simplicity, we didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen. The ceremony space was simply a colorful rug from our home with some rose petals strewn around. Our friend Nick officiated. We wrote our own heartfelt vows that included stories from our relationship.
What were the highlights of the reception?
Again keeping it simple, we had the ceremony and reception at the same venue so there was no traveling. We took family photos before everyone else arrived to avoid any delay in spending time with the guests. Before and after the ceremony our guests had fun choosing from a variety of handpicked drinks at the full bar set up for us in the courtyard (Chocolate Glazed Martinis, Poinsettias, Fruit Loops, Floradoras, and more). After drinks and appetizers, we went indoors for a seated brunch. Chris and I sat at a table for two. Since most of our day was spent mingling, we wanted to make sure we had some time built in where we could just focus on each-other. Another thing I liked was that I was able to incorporate a lot of DIY. One of my hobbies is refinishing and repurposing old materials and furniture, so I made a screen for the entrance out of three antique doors that I found and hand scraped down to a distressed finish. I hung some lights and prints on it for the wedding. I also made a sign for outside of the cafe with some of our old fence boards and made table number holders from a branch in our backyard. It felt like little pieces of home were all around us.
What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?
Everyone was able to relax and have enough time to really enjoy each other, including us! With a small wedding, even the little things are so much easier. For instance, we didn’t need to bother with microphones during the ceremony since everyone was able to be close in. It was really great to be able to focus on the people with us rather than the all of the other additional things you’d have to take care of with a larger wedding.
What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?
Keeping things simple is as important as keeping things small. By limiting wedding “clutter” you’ll make it infinitely easier to keep your focus on the two things that the day is really about – the love and commitment between you and your partner and the connections to those around you.
Photography: Kat Bevel Photography
Flowers: Petals Ink
Venue/Catering: The Old Pecan Street Café