With the bride’s family living in Russia and unable to attend their nuptials, Sonya and Jonathan decided early on to keep things simple and small for their wedding day. And while their original guest list ended up more than quadrupling in size during the planning process, the couple still managed to keep their Texas ceremony and celebration at Chapel Dulcinea intimate, with just 30 guests – including the bride’s mother and sister, all the way from Russia – and a wonderful “family get-together” vibe.

Special thanks to Kat Bevel for sharing their gorgeous photos with us today!

Chapel Dulcinea Wedding

Sonya, 26 & Jonathan, 22

Austin, TX

Wedding Date: April 3, 2014

Number of Guests: 30

Wedding Cost: $6,500

Wedding Ceremony Location: Chapel Dulcinea

Wedding Reception Location: Chapel Dulcinea

Texas bride on tulle dress and flower crown

groom wearing anchor socks

groomsman playing guitar

groom in suspenders and pink boutonniere

bride and groom hugging at wedding ceremony

bride and groom walking hand in hand

intimate moment between bride and groom

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Because my entire family lives in Russia and none of them were going to make it, I wanted to elope. But then we decided that we want to share this day at least with Jonathan’s immediate family and our close friends. As we were planning, it turned out that my mama and one of my sisters were able to come and be there as we said our vows.

groomsman tying groom's tie

groom getting ready

groomsmen holding hands in prayer

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

The guest list kept growing and our original number of 20 ordered invitations just weren’t enough. Also, as we were planning cake and champagne, we did not know how many people would toast and eat with us on the actual day.

bride putting on shoes

bride putting on flower crown

bride getting ready

bride with pink garden rose bouquet

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

For us, it was more difficult to keep it from growing. Even though we love everybody from our family, school, church, work etc., we did want to elope in the first place. Our original list of 6 turned into 16, and by the day of the wedding we had 30 guests. One of the decisions we made that helped keep the list small was to have the wedding in Austin instead of Dallas where we live. And also the fact that it was on a Thursday kept a crowd of a hundred people from driving over.

bride portrait

bride with her mother and flower girl

groom portrait

groom and groomsmen portrait

bride and groom hugging on dirt road

bride and groom hgging tightly

bride and groom embracing

bride and groom walking along dirt road

groom with arms draped over bride

intimate wedding portrait

bride and groom walking away hand in hand

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

After everything was said and done, the closest and the dearest people to us were there. Everyone else was happy for us from a distance, sending tons of sweet-sweet texts our way.

Chapel Dulcinea sign

groom waiting at the altar

bride walking with flower girl

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Well, other that the best man forgetting our rings in his car… It was just beautiful. We kept the ceremony short. The best man played “What Makes A Man” by City and Colour, as my little sister walked me down the aisle. Everything went like a dream. It couldn’t have been any better.

bride and groom at the altar

bride and groom holding hands during ceremony

groom smiling lovingly at his brde

bride and groom first kiss

happy bride and groom at the altar

bride and groom exiting the chapel

brideand groom exiting the chapel

What were the highlights of the reception?

We were just so excited to finally be together after the entire day of not seeing each other. We hugged our friends, toasted, cut the cake, danced to “I Wanna Be Yours” by Arctic Monkeys, laughed, and simply enjoyed the couple of hours that we had worked so hard on for the last few months.

wedding gest book

wedding cupcakes

wedding candy

laughing groomsman with chapagne

bride laughing with groom during reception

bride and groom raising their glasses

bride and groom kissing during reception

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

I loved being able to hug and to talk to every single one of our guests. It was one big family get together, and I’m happy everything turned out the way it did.

bride and groom cutting cake

groom feeding bride cake

wedding guests catching the bouquet

groom getting ready to toss the garter

guests catching the garter

tin cans tied to car

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

Don’t worry about not inviting your second cousin’s boyfriend’s sister. This day is about you. People who matter will never hold a grudge, but rather be happy for you! Plus, you can do more on your budget, if you choose an intimate wedding.

bride and groom kissing in car


Photography: Kat Bevel Photography 

Beautiful Flowers: Verbena Floral

Cake: Polkadots Cupcake Factory