For Cynthia and John, the decision to host the wedding at John’s parents’ house was an easy one. It helped keep the guest list small (they could only fit 75 people on the patio), and made their big day even more personal.

“Pick a venue that will be a part of your life after the wedding day. Whenever we visit John’s parents, we’re reminded of our favorite day and can see it all again.”

Thanks to Let’s Frolic Together for capturing this beautiful at-home wedding.

Cynthia, 27 & John, 30

Location: Vista, CA

Wedding Date: June 24, 2017

Number of Guests: 72

Ceremony Location: Groom’s parents’ home and garden

Reception Location: Groom’s parents’ home and garden

Why did you decide to have an intimate wedding?

We were so excited to have the opportunity to get married on John’s parents’ property that we easily made the size of our event fit what would be doable in that space. We’re so grateful they were willing to open their home for our wedding day to all our closest friends and family. We also both have a relatively small amount of family that lives locally, so we were able to keep the numbers under 75 without feeling like we were excluding close friends or family.

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

Since we decided to have the ceremony and reception at a family home, we had the luxury and the challenge of being able to use any vendors we wanted. It took a lot of research to narrow down rentals, florals, catering, etc. (whereas a venue usually gives you an approved list), but in the end it was amazing that we got to choose exactly what we wanted for each vendor. Another challenge was having to withhold plus ones from some, but people were understanding; 72 chairs fit on the deck, and that was it!

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?


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

No issues.

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

John’s uncle married us and his humor and kindness will be in our hearts always. It meant so much to us to be married by someone who knows us so well and who will be in our lives forever. We also let our dog Wolfrick and John’s parents’ dogs Zoey and Sam run free and they stole the show at certain points. I had many people ask me after the ceremony if we trained them to follow their owners up and down the aisle, but the truth is we had planned to keep them in the house during the ceremony. We changed our minds at the last minute because they were so calm and happy as people arrived. They just knew how to join in!


What were the highlights of the reception?

Literal fireworks! Either it was a crazy coincidence from another event or someone we love is keeping a very big secret because we still don’t know where they came from, but a firework show lit up our dance party.

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

It meant a lot to us that we got to talk to everyone who attended. We really wanted to avoid the “I didn’t even get to say hi to so-and-so!” that you often hear from big events. We wanted to be able to sit down and interact with all the people we love so much.

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

It may not be possible for everyone, but if you’re lucky like us, pick a venue that will be a part of your life after the wedding day. Whenever we visit John’sparents, we’re reminded of our favorite day and can see it all again.

at home california intimate wedding


Photography: Let’s Frolic Together

Catering: Ciao Restaurant

Florals: Native Poppy

DJ: C Squared Events

HMUA: Hair Drezzers on Fire 

Rentals: Witty Rentals and Allie’s Party Rentals

Dress: Dress Theory

Stationery: Minted