Jackie and Marc have lost some of the most special people in their lives. Jackie lost her mother three years ago to cancer. Her aunt and grandma also passed away one year ago. Marc lost both his parents 7 years ago, 6 months apart. Despite the many losses they have faced, Jackie and Marc were able to experience a beautiful and intimate event with family and close friends.

“We both spoke of our missing family members in our speeches, and both cried. We were so focused on what we were saying, we didn’t notice the guests’ reactions. It wasn’t our intent, but there wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” says Jackie.

And although Jackie missed having her dear mom there, she still felt her presence.

“One of the pictures is a close-up of my flowers with a gold teardrop on it {last photo}. That is a necklace that was wrapped around the bouquet containing some of my moms ashes. I missed planning my wedding with her, but she was with me all day long,” says Jackie.

small wedding in canada

Jackie, 33 & Marc, 36

Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Wedding Date: May 22, 2010

Number of Guests: 45, and 8 after-dinner guests

Wedding Cost: $9,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: The Parish Church of St. Luke, Burlington ON

Wedding Reception Location: Paradiso Restaurant, Burlington, ON

ice cream truck wedding

Black and white brideWhy did you have an intimate wedding?

Mainly in the beginning it was to save money. During our wedding planning process, we changed our minds a few times. Originally we were going to do a destination wedding just the two of us, then we actually booked a large wedding hall for 100+ people. We canceled that and found an amazing venue to hold our intimate wedding with 45 of our closest family members and friends. The end result was amazing, and we wouldn’t change a thing!


black and white bride and groom

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

One of the challenges was trying to whittle down the guest list. There were some people who we couldn’t invite that we would have liked to have been there.

Another challenge was finding a venue that would work with a small intimate wedding. We found that to be a little harder than we thought it was going to be. We had to keep in mind that there were going to be guest that wouldn’t have an easy time with stairs, so the place that we picked had to be on the ground floor.

We decided that a restaurant venue was perfect for us, but we wanted a place that had no hidden fees. We found Paradiso Restaurant in the Village Square in Burlington and they didn’t have any extra fees at all, and the private room was beautiful!

small wedding church

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Yes it was. That is the main reason that we had originally booked a large wedding hall. I come from a large extended family, and in our family, you can’t just pick and choose who you really want to come. You can’t invite Sally, and not Jim and his kids. It was for that reason we went with immediate family and friends. My husband has a smaller family, so that allowed us to cap the list at 45. The room had a limit of 52, so that helped in not adding extras as time went on. I couldn’t invite my cousins to the dinner, and as hard as that was, it had to be. We decided to invite a select few for dessert and drinks afterward. That was really nice because we really wanted to share our wedding day with them too.

bride checking facebookgroom checking facebook

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family?

We received a few comments here and there from family but mostly we believe that we did a good job at deciding who was there. I lost my mother 3 years ago to cancer, and a few family members wondered if our wedding would be different if she was still here. I think she would have been very happy with everything.

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father walking down the aisle with bride

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

I don’t think there were any particular “highlights” for the ceremony. We both really enjoyed the service. The parish that we had our ceremony at is over 100 years old and completely made of wood. It’s a landmark here in Burlington and we really loved it and so did our guests. I guess you could say that the venue was the highlight of our ceremony.

couple leaving church

What were the highlights of the reception?

People also commented how it was their favourite wedding because of the intimacy of it. That made us feel wonderful! A lot of details were planned to make it perfect. From analyzing the décor to searching for the best deals, to the DIY projects, everything was perfect! We also made a set list of soothing/relaxing music that was heard on the speaker over dinner, and it was so perfect, and really set the mood!

The reception was in a separate room away from other patrons and it was something that my husband and I focused so much on. We wanted to make the room so warm, welcoming and intimate for our guests that we lost sight of whether the dinner was going to be good or not. Well, we got a lot of great comments from our guests that the food at Paradiso was absolutely delicious.

Another highlight of the reception were the speeches.

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What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Not spending $25k – $50k on a large wedding! Honestly, the lower cost of a small wedding was one of the best things about an intimate wedding. That being said, I think the fact that our guests felt much more relaxed being at a small venue was something that we made us happy.

couple dancing

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

JUST DO IT! Seriously…why spend so much money on a large wedding? I realize that some people have very large families and that a large wedding is the only way to go, but if you can get away with having a small wedding, do it. It’s going to save you a lot of money that can go to much more important things that you both can enjoy over many years…like a house!

Besides, the intimate nature of a small wedding will make it that more special for the both of you and your guests.

wedding bouquet with charm


Photography: Mike Hewis Photographic Art

Venue: Paradiso Restaurant

Church: St. Luke’s