Real Weddings: Jessica & Joshua’s California Restaurant Wedding

california restaurant wedding

Jessica & Joshua

Maggianos Little Italy, Santana Row, San Jose CA

Wedding Date: September 4th, 2008

Number of Guests: 28

Wedding Cost:  $5,500.00 (TOTAL!!)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Maggianos little Italy, Santana Row, Barbera Room

Wedding Reception Location: Maggianos little Italy, Santana Row, Barbera Room

california restaurant wedding

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We had multiple reasons. First we had a budget and had to stick to it.  Secondly, we wanted to be able to share our day with people we really cared about and actually remember seeing them and talking to them!  We also felt weddings were meant to be a “production”- big or small. We were thrilled to be getting married, and didn’t want to get carried away!

california restaurant wedding

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

Finding a wedding location that would accept a minimum  number of people  was more difficult than expected! Most had a minimum seat requirement, or a minimum purchase requirement which limited our possible locations.  Also, most wedding accessories, such as invitations, favors, and even escort cards come in bulk packages!  We ended up having a lot of leftovers- which while it raised our overall budget, to some extent was nice as we were able to keep at least one of everything for a scrapbook.  

bride with red bouquet

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Yes and no.  We had a pretty clear idea of who was a must attend- family and our very close friends.  There were a few moments of doubt and flip flopping between some people, but all it took was a list and some discussion.  We actually did such a good job or narrowing our list our limit of 30 people only ended up being 28!  It actually worked well, as it made the room and tables seem roomier- people weren’t stuffed into tables. (We only had three tables!) Almost everyone understood our need to keep the budget small and took the explanation that it was “just a small wedding.”  What we did do though was after the wedding (ours was an afternoon wedding with the reception until 7), the entire wedding party went out to the local wine bar and we met up with  about 15 other friends and celebrated with them then!  It was a great success as we got to once again socialize with our friends in a small situation- and were actually able to mingle with everyone!

bride and groom kissing

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

As I mentioned above,  not really!  What few issues we did have we remedied them by either inviting them to the “after party” or promising to schedule a dinner or lunch with them at a later date to celebrate together.

bride and groom on balconey

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Josh and I are a “free spirited” couple-  while we both come from a catholic background,  neither of  us wanted a long stuffy ceremony.  Our minister helped us put together a great ceremony that was full of life, and fun. We had some unconventional sayings, such as instead of “you may now kiss the bride” he said “have at it!.  We included a brief moment of silence for out departed relatives, and if you’re familiar with the movie “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”  we even had a joking moment  about how the rings  signify a “never-ending  circle”!

happy groom

 What were the highlights of the reception?

The whole things was really a ball.   It started off with the toasts, where about 7 people stood!  It was a long, laughter filled process.   The food was out of this world. It was served family style, and probably the best ‘non-standard’ wedding food we ever tasted.  Instead of having a Dj or band, we made a playlist on our IPod and used that for our wedding music!  It allowed us to play our favorite songs in the order we wanted, and eliminated any of those horrid embarrassing songs!

wedding reception apple

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Hands down  the best thing  is being able to  really spend time  enjoying your wedding and the people that you  choose to have  around you.  Instead of feeling stressed about greeting everyone,  you can take that extra minute and talk, get everyone in photos, and take a minute with your new hubby and breathe!  There are other tremendous advantages too. You can have a more glamorous wedding on a smaller budget and you can choose what is most important to you.

bride and groom dancing

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

Just because  it’s a smaller wedding doesn’t mean it won’t be stressful!  Take your time,  do your research, try alternative venues or favors- great things DO come in small packages!  Make it personal.  In a small wedding you can tailor everything to you and your guests – and that’s what makes an event more memorable. Above all, ENJOY IT!!!

bride and groom kiss


 Photographer: TinyWater Photography

Officiant: Kiss the Bride  (Officiant)

Wedding Venue: Maggianos Little Italy

Wedding Cake: The Cake Works

Favors and Supplies: Party City

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6 Comments  |  Filed Under: Budget Weddings ($10,000 or less), Real Weddings, Restaurant Weddings

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  1. Posted by Angelina on September 28th, 2009 at 4:27pm

    YAYA for Sailors! I love that he wore his dress Blues. Congrats your wedding was beautiful!
  2. Posted by Dina on September 29th, 2009 at 6:57pm

    Wow...$5500 total for the wedding! Well Done!
  3. Posted by Rona on October 2nd, 2009 at 8:55am

    I love the photos.
  4. Posted by stephanie on December 8th, 2009 at 2:21pm

    i love the brides star ring. any idea where she got it? I can't seem to find any
  5. Posted by Crystal Foster on March 13th, 2011 at 8:21am

    Wow, I live here in San Jose took, and I didn't even know that they did weddings!
    Was the $5000 for just the venue and food?
  6. Posted by Jazmin Kim on May 10th, 2011 at 3:40pm

    Hi. This is jazmin and I am thinking to get married on October with about 30 people. And I am having difficult time to find a venue and a reception place in San Jose where I do not even live. But most of our family live in San Jose. So it seems impossible to do destination wedding. However, your wedding look perfect. That is exactly what I wanted and the budget is amazing. If you do not mind, would you give me an idea how you pulled out whole wedding?
    If you help me that will be my wedding saver. Here is my email address
    Thank you very much and again so beautiful wedding.
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