Sibriena, 35 & Douglas, 30
Wedding Date: October 10, 2010
Number of Guests: 70
Wedding Cost: $4,700
Wedding Ceremony Location: We were married in an outdoor ceremony at Villa de Vistas, a stunning mansion overlooking Lake Travis in Lakeway, Austin, TX. The grounds had two levels, and the ceremony was held on the upper level in the gardens next to a beautiful infinity pool with the lake as a backdrop.
Wedding Reception Location: Our wedding reception began on the lower level of the grounds at Villa de Vistas, surrounded by a wall of water that flowed from the infinity pool above into a tranquil pond below. Tables were arranged in quaint intimate settings for easy conversations. As the sun set, the wedding party and guests moved back up to the upper level for dancing under the moonlight and for the cake cutting.
Why did you have an intimate wedding?
Doug and I both agreed that large weddings lack the intimate feel and elegance that we were looking for. We wanted to be able to enjoy ourselves and to have a chance to chat with everyone and not feel rushed. When we began looking for wedding venues, we had in mind a wedding of around 100-150 people, which is an average size, not too big. But when we found Villa de Vistas we fell in love with the venue. It is breathtakingly gorgeous and the owners were very gracious and accommodating. The only problem was that they would only allow up to 70 guests. So we had to compromise in order to have the wedding at the place we loved.
What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
Well, naturally, the biggest challenge was the guest list. It was also a challenge that I lived in Houston, TX and the wedding was in Austin, TX. And we planned our wedding in just over 2 months (we wanted that wedding date, 10-10-10)! So making sure that we took care of the details from a distance, and not being able to visit the venue more than a couple of times during the planning process wasn’t easy, but we didn’t sweat the small stuff. We kept our wedding party down to 2 (the matron of honor and best man), and because the venue was already so gorgeous, there wasn’t the need to provide too many additional decorations. Fortunately we have wonderful friends and family who are very talented, and who made the bouquets, floral arrangements, cake and some of the food. We were thrilled with the way everything turned out and wouldn’t change a thing.
Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
Yes, it was very difficult, but we have very understanding friends. It helped that it was sort of a destination wedding also (not everyone can afford hotel and other travel expenses) and that it was held on a Sunday afternoon (some of the invited weren’t able to come because they had to work the next day).
The fact that it was the venue (not us!) that limited the number of guests made it easier to explain. Some of our Houston friends also wanted to give us a party back home in Houston, so the weekend following the wedding we had a second reception of sorts, hosted by friends, where we were able to invite everyone else in a more casual setting. It worked out better for them because it was on a Saturday and it was local, and was a less expensive alternative for us.
The ceremony was held in the garden overlooking the lake. The day was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. The guests, seated in white chairs onthe lawn on either side of the aisle, watched as our parents, the wedding party and I (the bride) escorted by my dad walked from the mansion down beautiful, curved limestone steps covered in rose petals. The wedding discourse was touching, personal, and highlighted the sanctity of marriage and the vow that we were about to make to each other. The best part of the ceremony was the vows, where we looked into each other’s eyes and committed to be faithful to each other for the rest of our lives. And the kiss of course!
What were the highlights of the reception?
I loved our “introduction walk” as a married couple – the walk down the spiral staircase to the lower level of the grounds where our guests were waiting. We walked to the beautiful song from the “Young Victoria” soundtrack called “Letter from Victoria.” I get emotional each time I hear that song (really the whole soundtrack) because it reminds me of our special day. The dances with my dad (“I Loved Her First” by Heartland) and the first dance between my husband and I (“Over the Valley” by Pink Martini) were also very special, beautiful moments. The sun had nearly set when we began the dances, so the entire ambiance of the reception was very different from the wedding (which began at 4 p.m. with full sunlight). We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wedding day.
It wasn’t stressful, we had a great time and so did everyone else. And we didn’t spend a fortune!
Just do it! It can be a wonderful experience without breaking the bank. Think quality vs. quantity. You will always have someone who isn’t invited that will get their feelings hurt, but just remember the wedding is about you, the marrying couple, starting your lives together. Make it a day that you will treasure. A day you can look back at fondly and be able to say it was perfect (for you!) in every way.
Venue: Villa de Vistas
Hair: Spa at the Lake, Lakeway, TX
Makeup: Spa at the Lake, Lakeway, TX
Favors: Jordan Almond and chocolate covered almond favor boxes
Cake: Antonio Miller & Bonnie Patino, Friends of the Bride and Groom
Caterer: Blue Bamboo Thai Restaurant, Lakeway, TX; and Mother of the Bride
Photographer: Civic Photos, Houston, TX