Stacy and Jared wanted an elegant wedding, but knew that executing their vision with a large guest list would send them thousands of dollars over budget. They decided to cut their guest list down to immediate family only, and in doing so, were able to host the wedding of their dreams for only $4,000. That sounds like a dream come true to us!

Thanks to Melissa Biador for sharing all the beautiful photos with us!

Intimate California Park wedding

Stacy, 31 & Jared 

 San Diego, CA

Wedding Date: October 10, 2013

Number of Guests: 10

Wedding Cost: $4,000. (Our vendors were so amazing and really worked within our budget.)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Presidio Park

Wedding Reception Location: The Prado Restaurant

blush pink and white wedding bouquet

crystal earrings

close-up bridal portrait

bride with cathedral veil

Black and White wedding portrait

bride and groom kissing

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

We were on a tight budget to begin with, then encountered unfortunate financial setbacks during the planning process. The wedding I originally planned for was $8,500, but after several setbacks, we were down to $4,000, less than half our original budget.

wedding dress hanging on tree

gold wedding shoes

bride getting ready

bride having her make-up done

bride getting ready

bride putting on earrings

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

The guest list.

bride wither maid of honor

bride and groom with flower girl and ring bearer

family wedding portrait

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

I ran the numbers over and over to figure out how to accommodate 50-100 people for dinner. Now it is *possible* with the budget we had, but I couldn’t create a worthwhile experience to justify guests flying in from out-of-town. So we stuck to immediate family.

smiling bride and groom

bride and groom portrait beneath tree

outdoor wedding portrait

bride and groom kissing beneath a tree

close-up bridal portrait

bride and groom embracing

bride and groom portrait with flowing veil

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

We had a few family members that really wanted to come to the wedding and we had to remind them that we were on a limited budget.

Family and friends may not be too happy that they’re not invited, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop talking to you. Family and good friends will still love you no matter what.

outdoor ceremony set-up

bride escorted down the aisle

outdoor park wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

The video from our amazing videographer, Mellow Entertainment. (The video is included at the end of the post.)

outdoor park wedding ceremony

bride and groom holding hands during ceremony

bride and groom first kiss

bride and groom recessional

What were the highlights of the reception?

The reception was just a dinner, but it was so lovely to be able to sit with just family and relax and eat.

favor table

table setting with cameras

white and gold table setting

cake table

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

I was able to get a sophisticated look and feel for the wedding. I wanted our wedding to *look* expensive without being expensive. I had beautiful flowers, cake, chairs, and stationery. Since it was just immediate family, I didn’t have to multiply these costs. If we had our original guest list with the vision I wanted, this wedding would have sky rocketed from $4,000 to $40,000!!!

I was also able to enjoy the wedding with family without the obligation of entertaining so many guests. As a former wedding photographer, I worked with couples that barely had time to sit and breathe. For our own wedding, I was able to relax. I didn’t have to *do* anything, just eat, drink and be married.

cutting the cake

close-up of cake cutting

bride and groom eating cake

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

1. It’s not stress-free, but definitely less stressful  2. Just because it’s small doesn’t mean you don’t need a DOC! I had a ton of details that needed to be taken care of at the ceremony site. I’m so glad I hired Liz from W.E.D. San Diego 3. More budget ideas from my blog post

groom smushing cake into bride's face



Day of Coordinator: WED San Diego

Hair & Makeup: Meredith Andree

Photography: Melissa Biador

Videography: Mellow Entertainment

Cake: Hey There, Cupcake!

Flowers: Root 75

Rentals: Raphael’s Party Rentals

Stationery: Stacy Barnes Creative

Officiant: Shawn Kennedy