Real Weddings: Amber & Ben’s Encino Backyard Wedding

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Amber, 26 & Ben, 29

Encino, California

Wedding Date: September 18th, 2010

Number of Guests: 75

Wedding Cost: $13,000 (approximately)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Ben’s Aunt’s backyard

Wedding Reception Location: Ben’s Aunt’s backyard

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Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Ben: We both think that big weddings are kind of gross. Not the bigness, per se, but the fact that it just can’t be an intimate event once it gets to a certain size and once enough other people get their hands into planning it. Why would we have a wedding other people set up for us when, instead, we can have our ideal mega-fun party that is also our wedding?

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

Ben: Doing everything ourselves was a big challenge. Designing and printing invites, building our photobooth, doing all the location setup and decorating, we didn’t hire out for much more than our photographer and our caterer. It’s both the most fun and absolutely most stressful part of doing the wedding this way. At the worst, two days before the wedding, we looked at each other and said “Why didn’t we run off and elope somewhere? This is terrible.” The day after that, right before the wedding, it all kind of calmed down and it was smooth sailing after that. It was totally worth the effort and madness to make it happen. Because we did it all ourselves it was also exactly what we wanted, despite some minor head-butting about what we wanted to do and what tradition dictated. Our way won out, and it was super fun.

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Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Ben: Since my family isn’t local and are all spread about the Midwest, and Amber’s family is not huge, it was actually pretty easy. The guest list was quite a bit bigger than the list of folks who attended due to the distance.

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

None.

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What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Amber: Walking out with my father, to one of my favorite Wilco songs, and seeing so many friends and family standing there in the gorgeous backyard.  I loved having everyone standing because I got to walk through them in a much more intimate manner than if it had been an aisle in seating.  I got to see all the guests’ joyful expressions up close and that was amazing.  It was like I got to share a tiny personal moment with every guest I made eye contact with.

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What were the highlights of the reception?

Amber: The photobooth really stole the show.  It was adorable and awesome to see grandparents tugging on sleeves and herding people in there.  I love how it wasn’t just the young people who got excited about it.  Even the caterers had a blast taking pictures later in the night!  I feel like it’s got to be a special wedding if even the caterers are having a great time. It was even better for Ben, he and his brother built the photobooth for the wedding and seeing it go over so well was pretty great.

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What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Amber: It was wonderful having the time to really take part in everything.  Because we had a smaller guest list I was able to participate in everything and take time to really make memories with more of the guests, such as dancing with the preschoolers and cheering for the pinata batters.

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

Amber: Having a smaller wedding gives you a lot more freedom in really every aspect of what you are able to plan.  Because our wedding was small we were able to use a non-commercial venue, we weren’t tied to specific caterers and other expensive (and generic) vendors.  We got to have exactly the food, drinks, and DJ we wanted, all while saving a TON of money AND making our wedding more fun. Oh and whatever you do, get a good photographer!

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Vendors:

Wedding Dress: Made to order off of Ebay for $130 shipped.  (Simply search “custom wedding dress” to see many examples)

Shoes: Gabriella Rocha

Wedding Hair: Linda Drsata (Amber’s mom)

Wedding Makeup: Amber – makeup by Sephora

Engagement and Wedding Rings: Engagement ring mounting by Parade, custom head and shank by Philip’s Diamond Shop in Marion, IA. The diamond was also hand cut at Philip’s by Ben’s father, Phil High. Ben’s wedding band is by Fable Jewelry.

Menswear: Joseph Abboud at Men’s Wearhouse

Caterer: Loteria Grill

Wedding Cake: Auntie Em’s Kitchen – red velvet cupcakes. Homemade Guinness cupcakes and vegan margarita cupcakes by Ben’s Grandma and family.

Invitations: Amber & Ben

Florist: Linda Drsata (Amber’s mom)

Entertainment: Photobooth by Ben (you can rent it now!), DJ Scott T Sterling, pinatas, and candy.

Bridal Veil: Homemade by Amber and Sakura Minamida

Photography: Sherri J Photography

All other details: All illustrations (save the date postcards, coloring books, buttons, and stickers) by Amber, Sakura Minamida, and Amelia Cantlay.

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9 Comments  |  Filed Under: At-Home Weddings, Handmade Weddings, Real Weddings

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Comments

  1. Posted by shannon on February 8th, 2011 at 12:27am

    such a cute wedding! adorable details, fun colors and cute photography!
  2. Posted by Chin-Lu on February 8th, 2011 at 3:39pm

    Love the colors and the awesome detail shots!
  3. Posted by Kelly on February 8th, 2011 at 6:28pm

    I love this wedding. The couple looks beautiful and in love.
  4. Posted by gabrielle on February 9th, 2011 at 11:40am

    Love the photos - and I've been thinking about using very similar color scheme. Beautiful dress, too! I'd love to know which seller you used for your dress, and whether there were any hiccups in the process. Would you recommend them?
  5. Posted by Martha on February 11th, 2011 at 10:10am

    I love everything about this wedding.. Very intimate and cute! Thanks for sharing!!!
  6. Posted by Erin on February 19th, 2011 at 3:47pm

    What an offbeat wedding, and I mean that in a wonderful way! I love all the personal touches and it's 100% evident that this wedding was a reflection of the couple.

    Too, it's wonderful to see a bride taking advantage of eBay. I used eBay to find my bridal dress, too, and I couldn't have been happier!
  7. Posted by Springflower on April 9th, 2011 at 8:54am

    The Best part about this wedding is that the couple look beautiful and truly happy:)
    i feel totally inspired to have an intimate wedding!
  8. Posted by nathalielim on December 23rd, 2012 at 10:22am

    Very romantic and heartwarming wedding!
  9. Posted by Mimi on December 26th, 2012 at 7:59pm

    Such a beautiful wedding!! Love love love the colors!
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