Amanda, 28 and Casey, 29

Cortes Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Number of Guests: 4

Wedding Ceremony Location: Hollyhock Centre, by the beach.

Wedding Reception Location: We had more of a celebration than a reception. We stayed at Hollyhock Centre and enjoyed the ocean view deck, fire pit, and solar hot tub.

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

A few reasons, all equally important. I wanted to avoid potentially difficult family tension that could have spoiled the magic of our wedding day, as well as the stress a bride often feels on a typical wedding day schedule which, while exciting, is actually pretty grueling. Lastly, I also wanted us to experience the tranquility and beauty of our chosen location without distraction and hurry. I felt we could best do that if it was just our attendants and us. And it was perfect! We went with our instincts and had a spirited, beautiful wedding.

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

See below.

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

We didn’t include our parents or siblings and that was the hardest part. But we’re completely at peace with our choice. Plus it helped that we had a post-wedding reception weeks later for our family and friends. In essence we got to have two weddings! (Which was a lot more work so I know all about that kind of wedding too.)

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family?

My mom and one of my sister’s had a hard time accepting that they weren’t included until they realized how happy it would make us to get married on our own terms.

If so, how did you address them?

I just explained to them that it was our dream to get married this way and that we knew they wanted us to be happy. They couldn’t argue with that. They became very supportive. We had the ceremony videotaped and we made a photo album of it for them afterwards so they could see it moment for moment.

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

When we read our vows, with the ocean in front of us and birds calling above us, and when our JP pronounced us husband and wife.

What were the highlights of the reception?

It was so relaxed and full of joy. Because it was so intimate, we were able to simply have fun and revel in the moments. There was no crowd to worry about. We changed out of our formals and got comfortable. We were able to let our instincts run the show… ‘Who wants to go in the hot tub?’ It was so great.

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

The freedom to express our feelings during the ceremony, particularly the groom. That made for an especially personal and lovely experience. I know he didn’t want to “get it over with” like some grooms who feel the pressure of a big audience.

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

It can definitely be simpler than planning a bigger wedding, but you can still pull out a few stops. If you want to wear your dream dress, do it. You only get married once {well, not always} and it feels amazing to appear how you truly want to on your wedding day, no matter the size of the guest list.

Vendors:

Erin Wallis Photography (AMAZING!)

Photos: Erin Wallis Photography