When it comes to wedding size, sometimes the larger the family, the smaller the guest list. Such was the case for today’s couple Ashley and Nick. Not wanting to share their wedding day with 200 guests – and knowing they couldn’t invite one cousin without inviting all of them – the couple quickly decided that their’s would be an immediate family only affair. With only 30 guests  – including a handful of their closest friends – the bride and groom were able to have the kind of stress-free and budget-friendly wedding they were after with a quick, casual ceremony at the Palace of Fine Arts and a fun relaxed reception catered by Tacolicious at the bride’s best friend’s apartment. A taco catered wedding reception, you say? Now, that sounds like our kind of party!

Special thanks to Milou and Olin Photography for sending along all the photos so we could share them you today!

Wedding portrait

Ashley, 27 & Nick, 27

Location: San Francisco, CA

Wedding Date: October 10, 2014

Number of Guests: 30 of our nearest and dearest!

Wedding Cost: $10,000 all in – including an entire weekend of gatherings and meals.

Wedding Ceremony Location: Palace of Fine Arts

Wedding Reception Location: A close friend’s apartment

photo of bride and groom on fridge

bride and groom's hands intertwined

portrait of bride during ceremony

bride and groom portrait in San Francisco

bride and groom portrait in San Francisco

portrait of bride and groom dancing

bride and groom portrait in San Francisco

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Nick and I both have very large families, and there’s no inviting one or two cousins without inviting them all. Although big weddings are lovely memorable gestures, we weren’t prepared to celebrate with 200 people. We decided very quickly that we would get married in the company of immediate family and a handful of good friends each. Although we missed our extended families, the day was stress-free on both our abilities as hosts and our wallets.

shot of bride's metallic shoes

bride holding lush wedding bouquet

portrait of the bride

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

Almost none! Our friends and families all stepped up in various ways. My best friend Megan made my bouquet and offered up her apartment for the afterparty; my wedding dress was handmade by a seamstress with the help of my mother; and the San Francisco Parks and Recreation department was super easy to work with when it came to obtaining a permit.

bride and groom kissing in San Francisco street

bride and groom kissing in San Francisco street

bride and groom portrait

portrait of bride and groom kissing

Bride and groom portrait

Bride and groom portrait

Bride and groom portrait

Bride and groom portrait

Bride and groom portrait

Bride and groom portrait

Bride and groom portrait

Bride and groom portrait

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Yes, but we sent special gifts and announcements to those who wouldn’t attend the ceremony. We were also thrown a second reception in the groom’s hometown a month later.

Palace of FIne Arts outdoor wedding ceremony

Palace of FIne Arts outdoor wedding ceremony

bride smiling at groom during ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

Our facilitator, Ken, was so much fun and extremely generous. Our ceremony was quick, casual, and reflected what we wanted to say more closely than traditional vows. He also did a great job acknowledging Nick’s sweet grandmother who traveled from Omaha, NE.




bride hugging mother-in-law

bride hugging mother

What were the highlights of the reception?

Tacolicious delivered tacos and everyone ate them on the back deck or roof. It also happened to be Fleet Week, so we were able to have the Blue Angels air show as a backdrop to our reception.

home sweet home sign with scrabble tiles

monogrammed wedding napkins

wine glass sign

succulent wedding deor

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

We were able to address every single one of our guests in a meaningful way, and spent time with each other instead of “entertaining”. We were also able to feed our friends extremely well throughout the weekend’s festivities, which can be trickier at celebrations where food is prepared in bulk.

cupcake towers

wedding cupcakes

bride talking to guest

wedding guest at buffet

wedding tacos

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

Don’t let traditional examples of what a wedding should be complicate or overshadow what you and your partner consider the perfect day. There are numerous other, less expensive ways to celebrate with your extended circle that don’t involve blowing the down payment on a house. There will be a few uncomfortable conversations in the planning, and little moments that will feel selfish, but when all is said and done you’ll have few regrets.

wedding guests at backyard reception


Catering: Tacolicious and Beretta

Flowers: San Francisco Flower Mart

Photography: Milou and Olin Photography