After seven years and two children, Natalie and Justin decided it was finally time to make things official and tie the knot. Wanting to keep the focus of their wedding on what is most important to them – their family – they eloped at the San Diego Courthouse in an intimate ceremony with their adorable four-year old daughter and six month old son by their sides.

The couple celebrated their nuptials with a fun photo shoot with their photographer Bryan Miller,  beer, and a well-deserved romantic (kids-free) dinner. Simple and sweet, and just the way we like it!

San Diego elopement

Natalie, 29 & Justin, 30

San Diego, CA

Wedding Date: April 17, 2014

Number of Guests: Besides our kids, there were only 2; our cousin Valerie was our witness and our amazing photographer, Bryan.

Wedding Cost: $5,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: San Diego Court House

Wedding Reception Location: We went to Modern Times Brewery to have a celebratory beer and then had a lovely dinner just the two of us at The Hake in La Jolla.

urban wedding portrait

elopement portrait

bride and groom in San Diego


Why did you have an intimate wedding?

There were so many factors that went into our decision to have an intimate wedding. We’ve been together for nearly 7 years now, we’ve had two kids together, and I think our wedding ceremony was about making all that official to each other and for our children. We toyed around with the idea of having a big wedding, but the more I thought about it, the more anxious I got with spending our entire savings on a production that would have taken away from what the day was really about.

San Diego apartment

paper flower bouquet on record player

cute toddler

groom hanging up bride's wedding dress

groom getting ready

daughter helping groom get ready

groom adjusting his tie

groom with children

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

Planning the wedding was pretty easy and quite fun, but if I could complain about one thing it would be how difficult it is to run errands (dress shopping, ring shopping, alterations, etc) with two small kids. We have a four-year old little girl, Evelyn, and a six month old son, Parker, so when the meltdowns come, they come in full force at any time.

bride with baby

bride getting ready

bride doing her make-up

bride sitting on bed

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

No not at all. We made the decision with our wedding that it was either everyone or no one, and once we made the decision that it was no one, I felt like I could breathe easier.

bride portrait

groom portrait

first look in San diego

first look session

first look session

elopement portrait

bride and groom in front of old building

bride and groom under scaffolding

wedding portrait under scaffolding

bride and groom portrait

cose-up portrait on bride and groom's hands

close-up bride and groom portrait

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

Everyone was really supportive, but there were a few people that were more disappointed than others, which we completely understood. We took the disappointment as a compliment that people only loved us and wanted to witness our special day. Ultimately everything ended up being okay.

San Diego City Hall elopement

San Diego elopement ceremony

bride and groom holding hands during ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

The ceremony was very simple, short and sweet. Our daughter, Evelyn went totally crazy and was running in circles around us, because she has no concept of what “getting married” means.  We are never ones to take anything too seriously so it was nice to see the officiant cracking up at our curly headed crazy kid not caring about what was going on.

bride during wedding ceremony

exchanging rings

first kiss

What were the highlights of the reception? 

We didn’t have a traditional reception, necessarily, but after the ceremony our photographer walked around downtown San Diego with us and we had a rad photo-shoot. Just spending that quality time with Justin without the kids is a real treat, and something we rarely get to do.  At the courthouse during the actual ceremony we were only allowed to do traditional vows so when Justin and I went to Modern Times Brewery to grab a beer, we exchanged our own written vows to each other there. It didn’t matter to us that it wasn’t during the ceremony that we exchanged those words, all that mattered is that we made a promise to each other in the most intimate way, and those words mean everything to us.  After the brewery we grabbed an amazing dinner at Hake, again without the kids.

family wedding portrait

groom holding baby son

bride and groom's daughter

bride holding baby son

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

The total lack of stress and the freedom.  Not having to pay for a huge get up gave us the freedom to spend a bit more on certain things that we may have otherwise skimped on.  It was about quality not quantity. And of course the focus being on what is most important to us, our family.

bride and groom crossing street

bride and groom walking on train tracks

bride and groom on train tracks

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

Make the decision on what is best for you and your future spouse. When you start stressing yourself out considering how someone else might feel about your choices, then you’ve already started to lose focus on what that day is all about.  When I talked to other married couples about our plans to elope at the courthouse, a few of them admitted to me that they wished they had kept it more simple.  Also, invest in a good photographer, those pictures will mean the world to you.

bride and groom kissing on train tracks


Photographer: Bryan Miller

 Wedding Dress: Galina

Bridal Pillbox Hat: Custom made by Jill Courtemanche Millenery 

Jewelry: Famulare Jewlers and J.Crew

Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss

Bouquet and Boutonniere: HelloMrsBrown from Etsy

Kids’ outfits: D.Liles Collection and SewLovedBaby both from Etsy