For Ross and Mallory, the best thing about having an intimate wedding was the freedom to go off the beaten path and do things their own way – and go off the beaten path they did! With rainbow colored cakes, thrifted and handmade decor, a dress fashioned from doilies and vintage tablecloths, and a ceremony filled with references to Lemony Snicket and Doctor Who, this fun couple’s wedding was about as far from conventional as you can get – and they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!
Special thanks to Sara Lynn Paige, who traveled all the way from Canada to photograph Ross and Mallory’s big day, for sharing it with us today!
Ross, 30 & Mallory, 27
Mont Alto, PA
Wedding Date: March 22, 2014
Number of Guests: 65
Wedding Cost: $3,000
Wedding Ceremony Location: The Dance Pavilion at Mont Alto State Park
Wedding Reception Location: The Dance Pavilion at Mont Alto State Park
Why did you have an intimate wedding?
My husband and I both consider ourselves somewhat reserved people, and neither of us liked the idea of having a large wedding; we’ve always been more comfortable in small groups. Our goal was to represent us as a couple, and in doing that, we felt it made more sense to keep the celebration small, so we could focus on aesthetics and mood. We knew from the start that what we were setting out to do was a bit off the beaten path, and that not everyone was going to understand it, but this was something we were only planning to do once, and we wanted to do it right.
What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
Finding a venue was certainly a challenge. We wanted something that felt personal but open, and I spent several months online digging through possible locales. I turned to searching state parks when I realized they would offer the kind of backdrop we wanted at a price point we could afford, and the minute I saw the picture of the pavilion (which was formerly a carousel), I was enchanted. My sister and I wound up driving through a blizzard to see it in person, and even through the snow, I could tell it was the perfect place.
Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
At first, we struggled a bit with deciding who to invite. The original guest list was somewhere between 150 and 200 people long, and that felt unwieldy. In the end, we realized it was more important to make ourselves happy than anyone else, and we decided to pare it down to only those people we felt closest to. This helped to take the stress out of the entire planning process, and I’m so glad we did it.
Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?
Luckily, our families were pretty understanding about our need to keep the guest list manageable. My pool of relatives is extremely large, and there was no way we were going to be able to include everyone, so in the end, we included just our immediate families as well as a few extraneous cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.
What were the highlights of the ceremony?
For me, the biggest highlight of the ceremony was the music. My friend Micah drove down from upstate New York, and his acoustic performance really helped create the relaxed environment we were looking for. My other favorite part was that we were able to include references to some of our favorite literature and television shows. Lemony Snicket played a large role in our vows, and the wedding wouldn’t have been complete without a mention of Doctor Who.
What were the highlights of the reception?
The highlight of the reception was definitely having all of our favorite people in one place. We had friends in from all over the country (and our wonderful photographer and my dear friend, Sara Lynn Paige, came all the way from Canada) to help us celebrate, and this made the whole experience that much more wonderful.
What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?
Having complete control over it! We were able to handcraft everything ourselves: the bunting, centerpieces, dreamcatchers, and assorted table décor, just to name a few. My husband and I are both thrift store junkies, so we gathered all of our plates, glasses, and linens from our local Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Community Aid, and a few yard sales along the way. We even wrote our entire ceremony from scratch. We also weren’t locked into the rules that a lot of conventional venues set out, and this allowed us to really express ourselves.
What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?
I know this is everyone’s advice, but I would say: stay true to yourself. There were certainly instances where it would have been easier to hand the reins over to someone else, or to simply give in to other people’s opinions of what a wedding should be, but we stuck to what we wanted, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.
Photography: Sara Lynn Paige
Venue: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at the Mont Alto State Park
Wedding Décor: Everything was either made handcrafted or sourced at thrift stores and yard sales in or around York, Pennsylvania. We spent a lot of time digging through bins and shifting things around on shelves – and then even more time at home washing and matching dinnerware, but it was worth it.
Books: Purchased second hand from the East Shore Area Library
Vintage China & Tableware: Resource York
Dress: My sister and I crafted it from a vintage corset, doilies, tablecloths, and lace scraps.
Food: My dad cooked dinner for all of the guests, and my sister was kind enough to make me seven different cakes, one in each color of the rainbow.