There’s nothing like attending a ton of weddings to really throw your own nuptials into perspective. Monique, who spent time working in the wedding industry, spent many weekends attending multiple weddings. Not only did this made her acutely aware of the things she wanted at her own wedding, but also the things she didn’t want which included unnecessary traditions, debt and stress.

In an effort to simplify their nuptials, Monique and Wilbert cut their guest list, deliberately keeping the budget small. In doing so, they were able to enjoy the day to the fullest and dance the night away without a care in the world.

Their day was captured beautifully by Stefanie Kapra Photography.

waterford intimate wedding

Monique, 23 &  Wilbert, 21

Waterford, Connecticut

Wedding Date: July 7,2013

Number of Guests: 75 guests

Wedding Cost: $3,500 (This does not include photography, which was a gift to the couple. Also, the couple did not have to pay for the photo booth rental because Monique works for the company that rents them.)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Harkness State Park

Wedding Reception Location: Bride’s house in Manchester, Connecticut

wedding rings on coral wedding bouquet with seashells intimate bride and groom portrait bride and groom kissing bow tied groom on vintage sofa bride and groom hugging bride and groom at backyard wedding

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

The main determining factor was that I recently had been to a few weddings and I had also started working for a photo booth company over the past year. I was going to 2-3 weddings each weekend and I observed the craziness of it all – going through all the ‘traditions’ we think we need; going into debt; not even dancing at their own weddings. I made a vow that I would not let myself fall into that trap and I would enjoy my wedding day; and to do that you have to simplify.

bridal bouquet with hanging seashells groom in blue paisley bow tie bride in tiered gown groom in pale blue suit

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

Time and money were the biggest challenges. Truthfully, there is never enough time to create/find/daydream of what you want for your day! Money is an obvious factor that has semi-control over what you envision for your day, but the inner thrifty side of me accepted the challenge to create or find everything that I would need or want! And of course having friends and extended family that couldn’t be invited due to cost was a hard thing to handle, as I’m sure you hear all the time.

bride and groom embracing bride and groom portrait bride and groom walking hand in hand

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Most definitely! But when you sit back and think of who is really current in your life and who has been there for you, then it is surprisingly easier to pare down the guest list. Of course a lot of people thought they were entitled to be there, so handling that as graciously as possible was a feat!

bride and groom walking in harkness park bride and groom kissing in the park bride and groom in park gazebo

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

My then fiancé is so great with words and he mostly took care of soothing people’s hurt feelings. On my end, I tried to convey the fact over and over that we just couldn’t afford to have EVERYONE. So for a few family members and friends, we made sure to spend some extra time with them before the wedding, and even made them dinner! Also for the Jack and Jill we invited literally everyone so that no one felt left out, and they could feel apart of the festivities in a sense.

Harkeness park wedding ceremony site wedding guests with umbrellas at outdoor wedding ceremony bride and groom at outdoor wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

There was a long walk down to the actual ceremony site, and it was comforting walking with my dad, sharing his final words of wisdom before he let me go.

groom saying his vows bride and groom saying their vows bride putting ring on groom's finger bride and groom recessional bride and groom recessional

What were the highlights of the reception?

From the moment I stepped out of the car and walked around my house I was so excited! It was so rewarding seeing all the hard work I had done, and all the help I received from my family…they are indispensably awesome! And finishing the night with dancing for as long as my neighbors would allow us to play the music was amazing. I made sure I danced all night.

boat filled with beverages at wedding reception glass bottles of water for wedding guests vintage storm lantern light wedding cheesecake hanging mason jar candles wedding guest with food

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

I enjoyed myself that day. I remember every moment and I spent it with the love of my life. No fuss, no stress, no taking pictures through the reception, just fun!

backyard tented wedding reception blue wine glass wine glass name tag vintage blue bottle weding decor white and green wedding centerpiece green and white wedding centerpiece vintage binoculars as table decor mercury glass planter as wedding decor msaon jar candle holder and vintage tin on reception table long wedding table covered in burlap sweethearts table bride and groom at sweetheart table groom dancing with wedding guests

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

Don’t get caught up in everyone else’s idea of what your wedding day should be. Take a moment, take multiple moments to create in your mind what really is important for you. Stick to your guns, because people will give you advice or their opinions, but you have to stay true to your vision!

bride and groom dancing



Hair and makeup: Naomi’s Studio and Salon, West Hartford, CT

Dress: BHLDN

Photography: Stefanie Kapra Photography

Suit: Savers (thrift store)

Table decorations/design and flowers: Tami Attella owner of Creme Joli of Hartford, CT

Photo booth: Alter Ego Photo Booth


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4 Comments  |  Filed Under: At-Home Weddings, Budget Weddings ($10,000 or less), Real Weddings

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  1. Posted by Monique Begin on January 17th, 2014 at 10:18pm

    Thank you so much Intimate Weddings for putting our story on your blog, we are so honored! We would like to just add that another major reason why we had a simple wedding is due to the bible principles we have learned. Leading a balanced life has enabled us to truly be happy!
  2. Posted by Sally on January 21st, 2014 at 3:57pm

    Oh my gosh, I want that reception!!! Beautiful couple, beautiful wedding,
  3. Posted by daniela on February 4th, 2014 at 3:43pm

    I feel like i say this ALL the time, but this is one of my most fav weddings ever! it looks so fun and laid back while still being elegant and unique. I absolutely love it! And what a gorgeous couple, they kind of remind me of myself and my SO (maybe i'm biased!) LOL
  4. Posted by Janna on April 11th, 2014 at 3:04pm

    I love these pictures. Harkness is my dream wedding location and I'm also in an interracial relationship. I love the decor, too.
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