With only a month and a half to plan and her military fiancé Dawson out at sea, bride-to-be April decided that an intimate wedding made the most sense logistically. To keep costs manageable and stress low, they chose to invite immediate family and a few close friends – for a total of 20 guests – to their Mast Farm Inn wedding in the North Carolina Mountains. Despite the practical nature of their choice, April and Dawson’s wedding day proved to be an incredibly beautiful and meaningful affair for the couple focused on the things that mean the most to them: their love, their commitment, and their future.

Special thanks to Heather Barr of Revival Photography for capturing and sharing all the beautiful moments with us!

nc intimate wedding

April, 29 & Dawson, 25

Valle Crucis, NC 

Wedding Date: January 4, 2015

Number of Guests: 21 (including bride and groom)

Wedding Cost: $4,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Mast Farm Inn (outdoor ceremony)

Wedding Reception Location: Mast Farm Inn (inside the restaurant of the B&B)

mast farm inn

log cabin

nc wedding

bride and groom hands intertwined

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

To be completely honest, we went with an intimate wedding for logistical reasons. My husband is in the military so everything had to be planned around when he could get leave to come home. He had been in Alaska the six months leading up to the wedding and was actually out to sea the two months prior to the wedding. We had a total of about 1.5 months to plan it due to the short notice of his leave being approved. So, I made the executive decision to keep it small and intimate. It was easier on me to plan so quickly and it kept the expenses manageable.

wedding dress hanging

bride having dress zipped up

bride getting dressed

mast farm inn

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

The guest list was definitely the biggest challenge. It wasn’t so hard deciding who we would invite, – immediate family and a few friends – the difficult part was breaking the news to everyone that we were keeping it small. Everyone was very understanding, but it was hard seeing people be disappointed that they couldn’t be there.

mast farm inn

mast farm inn

bride sitting by window

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

I didn’t think so. We decided to invite roughly 20 guests due to the constraints of the venue so we just stuck with immediate family and we invited a few friends to cap off the remaining spots. We decided it would be easier to not invite any extended family so as to not offend anyone. Though I’m sure family members were disappointed, they were understanding and didn’t give us a hard time about it. We will likely have another party/family gathering at a later date for extended family to meet and mingle.

mast hill farm

mast hill farm

mast hill farm

mast hill farm

intimate wedding mast hill

mast hill farm nc

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

Not so much. We were just honest in our explanation that due to the constraints of the venue, limited amount of time for planning, and to keep costs manageable, we were unable to invite a lot of people that we would have liked to have been there.

outdoor wedding ceremony
outdoor wedding ceremony
What were the highlights of the ceremony?
Our officiant passed our rings around to every guest. I thought the symbolism in this was really nice and unique. This wouldn’t have been something you could have done at a large wedding.
outdoor wedding ceremony
Outdoor family wedding portrait

mast hill farm

mast hill farm weddingWhat were the highlights of the reception?

I think the highlights for me were just being around people who mean a lot to us. I’ve been to a lot of weddings and most brides and grooms don’t get a chance to relax at their receptions. From taking photos and entertaining many guests, there’s not much time to just breathe and enjoy the moment. So, for me, it was nice to be able to relax, enjoy the food, and have good conversations with everyone present.

bride rainboots

wedding in nc intimate

mast hill farm wedding

intimate nc wedding

wedding guests on the porch


What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

There were so many good things:

1. Low stress. I was able to work with the wedding planner at the Mast Farm Inn and she communicated with all of the vendors and was my point of contact for any issues. Also, less people equals less stress. The more people you invite, the more opinions you have to deal with.

2. Budget friendly. By having an intimate wedding, you can still have a very nice wedding without having to go into debt.

3. The people who are there are the ones who matter most.

4. At the end of the day, it helps emphasize what matters most. It’s easy to get lost in all of the little details but having an intimate wedding helped me focus on our relationship, commitment to one another, and future together.

 bride mast hill farm
mast hill farm bride

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

Do it! The guest list is always going to be the hardest part, but just be honest with your family and friends in letting them know what you want. Otherwise, enjoy the planning experience and remember that it’s just one day.

Bride and groom holding hands


Hair & Makeup: Shear Shakti; Boone, NC

Flowers: Peggy Mendel

Dress: Oleg Cassini

Venue: The Mast Farm Inn, Valle Crucis, NC

Wedding Planning Services: Danielle Deschamps — The Mast Farm Inn

Photography: Heather Barr of Revival Photography