When high school sweethearts Sarah and Zac decided to have a small wedding, they had a challenge on their hands.
“We both come from big families and grew up in the same small town where every knows everyone else. We sometimes joke that Zac is related to one half of our town and I am related to the other,” says Sarah.
The solution? Invite only close friends and family to the wedding, and invite everyone else to an informal celebration the following day.
Sarah, 24 & Zac, 23
Wedding Date: August 12, 2011
Number of Guests: 27
Wedding Cost: $7,000
Wedding Ceremony Location: In the backyard of Zac’s parents house
Wedding Reception Location: In the backyard of Zac’s parents house
Why did you have an intimate wedding?
We were high school sweethearts and both grew up in the same town. I was never one to dream about my wedding day but I knew I did not want a completely traditional wedding with a church and a banquet hall. I wanted some a little more intimate (I don’t like being the center of attention), and I wanted it to be in a place that was special to Zac and I. I wanted the day to be more about Zac and I, then about a schedule of events with tons of people sharing our intimate moment of marriage. We considered eloping, but we wanted our family and close friends to be there, and couldn’t imagine the day without them. We decided on a small wedding in Zac’s parents backyard. The bonus to having the wedding in his parents’ backyard is that every time we are back there it brings back memories of the day!
What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
If anything, I would say planning an intimate wedding is easier then planning a traditional wedding because typically there is a shorter guest list and less locations to travel between. Having an intimate wedding allowed me to to personalize every aspect of the wedding. We designed all the tabletops, the layout of the tents and tables, the altar we got married under, and even the aisle I walked down. The biggest challenge however was deciding who to invite.
Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
Like I said, figuring out who to invite was the biggest problem. We both come from big families and grew up in the same small town where every knows everyone else. We sometimes joke that Zac is related to one half of our town and I am related to the other. The only friends of ours we invited were the ones we had in our wedding party, and the family that was invited were our parents, siblings, and grandparents. We also allowed everyone to bring a guest.
Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?
I think at first some people where disappointed they could not be there but understood why we chose to have an intimate wedding. What we decided to do was have the intimate ceremony and reception on a Friday evening, and then the following day we had a large informal reception at a local golf course. We choose to do it this way so we could have the more private ceremony and reception we wanted, and still be able to celebrate our wedding with our extended family and friends.
What were the highlights of the ceremony?
The highlights of the ceremony for me were walking down the aisle and seeing Zac standing there; having the string quartet play music from our favorite bands (Oasis and “Mmmbop” by Hanson for me!); messing up the vows and saying “I do” too early, and getting to marry my best friend!
What were the highlights of the reception?
There were so many! Looking back on the day I remember it feeling like everything was a dream. For being the middle of August the weather was perfect, not to hot, not too cool, and no rain. The food was great; we had steak & lobster, a vegetarian option (for me), and guests could also choose to eat chicken or pork. The wine at our wedding was made by Zac’s grandparents, the music and dancing were fun, almost everyone was dancing, and the DJ was a friend of Zac’s stepmother. He even sang a Frank Sinatra song while we were eating. I think everyone would agree that the whole night was a blast.
What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?
Having it be the special day for me and Zac like we wanted, and having our closest family and friends there. Also, being able to have the exact wedding I wanted and not having to make compromises due to the budget.
What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?
Just do what YOU want for YOUR wedding. In the end the loved ones who didn’t attend will understand.