Courtney and Michael had an amazing, poolside wedding in Greensboro, NC.

Courtney’s aunt graciously offered up her home for the intimate gathering. The bride had spent her childhood at many glamorous parties hosted by her aunt & uncle and could not think of any other place that was filled with so much love and happy memories.

Keeping the guest list to close friends and immediate family gave the wedding a warmth and intimacy that wouldn’t have been possible with a large guest list.

“Seeing our families come together, enjoying one another, supporting and loving us. It brought us closer to one another and enabled us to genuinely feel and see how our lives would be joined together,” says Courtney.

Thanks to Almond Leaf Studios for the awesome photos!
North Carolina poolside wedding Courtney, 42 & Michael, 42

Greensboro, NC

Wedding Date: April 20, 2012

Number of Guests: 30

Wedding Cost: $15,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Home (backyard) of bride’s Aunt & Uncle, Sedgefield Golf Course, Greensboro, NC

Wedding Reception Location: same as ceremony (poolside)

bride and groom walking on golf course

yellow rose centerpiece

poolside wedding reception

wedding favors with thank you tags

paper doves wedding decor

peony wedding bouquet

bride in gold glitter flats

paper doves hanging in tree over wedding cakes

yellow flower boutonniere

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

We wanted a close family affair where everyone could spend time getting to know each other. We were not looking for a large, over-the-top, traditional wedding. We really wanted to make it “our” special day. The bride had spent her childhood at many glamorous parties hosted by her Aunt & Uncle and could not think of any other place that was filled with so much love and happy memories.

groom kissing bride on forehead

black and white bride and groom portrait

groom carrying bride's train

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

Because we lived out of state and hosted by family, many of the planning details were outside of our control. This was good and bad. Good in the sense that we knew it was in capable hands and it would be beautiful. Bad in the sense that our Aunt was under so much stress to make everything perfect for us. We hope that she was able to actually enjoy the day. Intimate really IS intimate in the sense that everyone is in your business … everyone wants a say in how things should be done. And because it’s family, it was difficult to express what we as a couple really wanted. We didn’t want to offend or hurt anyone, especially those that invested time and money helping make our day special. Other challenges … we had to set aside time to travel to the wedding site and really push hard over a couple weekends onsite to get things organized (caterer, flowers, cake, rehearsal dinner site, music, places to stay, etc.). The budget (who’s paying for what) became confusing, as well as changes/decisions being made outside “the plan”. This was mainly due to the “family” dynamic.

bride and groom shoes

groom carrying bride's ruffled train

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

Not really. We just kept it to immediate family and a few close family friends. There were a few close friends that we wish could have been there, but we stuck to our “immediate family” rule to avoid leaving anyone out or having an unruly guest list.

white tulip wedding centerpiece

silver wedding tea service at wedding


silver tea service set


wedding favor with thank you tag


salt and pepper in crystal set

hanging paper dove wedding decor

hanging paper doves in tree

paper doves hanging in tree at wedding reception

crochet tablecloth


crochet table runner at wedding

white wedding boutonnieres

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

We had some people that may have felt left out and wanted to be part of our wedding event. Having the wedding at a family home, outside our home city, helped. Many people wouldn’t have wanted to travel anyway. We had decided early on to host a reception in Chicago (where we live) to give everyone a chance to celebrate with us. This did help resolve the issue and it gave us a chance to have “fun” in our own environment with everyone.

gas light pool wedding reception

North Carolina outdoor wedding ceremony set-up


white folding chairs and yellow and white rose petal lined aisle


guitarist and violinist at outdoor wedding ceremony


wedding tables set up by pool

poolside wedding reception


pool with floating flower arrangements


floating flower arrangement in pool


floating flower arrangements in pool


wedding tables set up by pool

floating flower arrangement in pool


reception table with yellow tablecloth and white and yellow centerpiece


reception table set up by pool


poolside reception with floating flower arrangements

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

It genuinely was a blending of our families and a lovely, peaceful way to make our commitment to each other. The pastor was awesome – the prayers, vows, everything meant so much to the both of us, and he was the groom’s Uncle, who had also performed the groom’s sister and brother’s weddings several years earlier (he says ours was the last wedding he will perform … the last “Kearschner” wedding).

groom waiting at the altar


emotional bride walking down the aisle with her father

bride walking down aisle in ruffled gown

bride at the altar with her father


North Carolina backyard wedding

North Carolina backyard wedding reception

emotional groom at outdoor wedding ceremony


groom putting ring on bride's finger


groom putting ring on bride's finger


intimate backyard wedding ceremony


bride raising her bouquet as she walks down the aisle with her groom

bride and groom walking down the aisle


What were the highlights of the reception? 

Being able to see everyone having fun and spending time with each other. The food and service really fit our style and the event. The poolside tables, flowers and lights really made it a beautiful, unique, romantic setting.

wedding appetizers

piped rose wedding cake

white wedding cake with white sugar gardenia

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Seeing our families come together, enjoying one another, supporting and loving us. It brought us closer to one another and enabled us to genuinely feel and see how our lives would be joined together.

chocolate groom's cake with sailboat on top

sailboat cake topper

lemonade in punch bowl

outdoor bar at wedding

lemonade table at backyard wedding

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

Find a planner outside of the family to help make and keep those final decisions – and to ensure everyone has a good, stress free day. We may think it’s all about the bride, but in reality it’s about the family and those attending the event. The more you can separate yourselves from family drama, the better. If you’re sharing a budget, make sure what’s being paid for is clearly defined and made as simple as possible for the person paying the tab. Ideally, just get cash and let the planner worry about it. You will never stick to your budget – there is always some little (or big) thing that you forgot to put on the list. Hire a professional (non-traditional) photographer that is able to capture your intimacy and you as a couple. Be willing to compromise and take things off (or add things) to your list. Remember to love and support one another (set aside time for just the two of you before the big day). The day is about your love and commitment to each other. All those little details really aren’t that important.

bride and groom walking amongst trees

bride and groom backyard portrait



Flowers: Randy McManus Designs

Music: Allegro Music Inc.

Caterer: Sue Weed & Julie Gehling (private, part-time caterers),

Photographer: Almond Leaf Studios

Hair & Makeup: Chakras Spa

Rehearsal Dinner: Grandover Resort, Di Valletta Restaurant