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Little Luxuries: Intimate Weddings Are Here To Stay

With a reduced guest count, couples can focus their budgets on creating more once-in-a-lifetime experiences for their guests and themselves.

Intimate weddings have had and will continue to have a big moment. A customized, unique and experiential wedding has become the goal of many couples, who realize that hosting an intimate gathering means every moment is steeped in meaning, and no detail is spared. Scaling down the guest list gives couples the opportunity to simplify and eliminate stress without sacrificing style or luxury. Couples who opt for a microwedding or an elopement often find that what they sacrifice in party size, they gain in freedom. A short guest list allows more time to perfect every detail, maximize the budget and add more luxurious elements. When the guest list is composed of only your nearest and dearest, all the focus is on you and your spouse-to-be. Venue options are nearly unlimited when size isn’t a factor, and the bride and groom are able to bond with every guest. Elegant backyard gatherings, high-end restaurant dinner parties, gorgeous coastal destination weddings, intimate garden parties—anything is possible, and when it comes to décor and style, the sky is the limit.

BRANDON QUIROZ & KATIE MCKINNON

"When you plan a SMALL WEDDING, what’s most IMPORTANT to you comes to the forefront. Take time to consider what is actually ESSENTIAL to the day. For us, it was finding a good WEDDING PLANNER, which took all the stress and worry out of the day." ~ Katie McKinnon, bride

From the moment Brandon Quiroz proposed to Katie McKinnon, the Palm Springs couple knew they wanted to get married quickly, with minimum stress and maximum elegance. For Katie, the priority was making sure they didn’t lose focus on what mattered: each other. The couple worked closely with Shauna Timmons of Santa Barbara Elopement, who took the planning off their plate and brought their garden-party dreams to life in just eight weeks. With its abundance of natural flora and fauna, Kestrel Park in Santa Ynez was the ideal venue for their theme: to create an air of timelessness in a setting full of greenery with a bit of whimsy. After the two tied the knot in the venue’s wooded Sycamore Allée, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour in the garden, where they sipped drinks carefully crafted under Brandon’s expert bartender eye. Afterward, the
newlyweds and their closest family members shared an intimate alfresco dinner in the courtyard, accompanied by live music.


Bride’s Gown: ALYSSA KRISTIN 
Cake: ENJOY CUPCAKES 
Catering: FIELD TO TABLE CATERING & EVENTS 
Florals: CAMELLIA FLORAL DESIGN 
Groom’s Suit: EMPORIO ARMANI 
Hair & Makeup: SHEILA RAYE STONE 
Music: CHRIS FOSSEK 
Photography/Videography: CHRIS J. EVANS WEDDINGS
Rentals: THE TENT MERCHANT 
Restroom: MARBORG INDUSTRIES 
Transportation: ROCKSTAR TRANSPORTATION 
Venue: KESTREL PARK 
Wedding Planner: SANTA BARBARA ELOPEMENT 


LAUREN SWANBERG & AARON GWIN

Microweddings allow couples’ budgets to stretch much further. You can create an AMAZING and curated EXPERIENCE in an INTIMATE SETTING. Small events have reminded me what’s TRULY IMPORTANT: gathering with our CLOSEST FRIENDS and FAMILY, and being able to SLOW DOWN and actually spend TIME AND CELEBRATE with them. LESS STRESS, MORE ENJOYMENT!  ~ Michelle Garibay, Michelle Garibay Events

Lauren Swanberg and Aaron Gwin knew that a small wedding present the perfect opportunity to go big on details. Putting an emphasis on making the day feel true to their unique styles and personalities, the couple enlisted Michelle Garibay Events to bring their dreams of intimate glamour to life. The sweeping views from the couple’s La Cresta backyard served as a picturesque backdrop to the ceremony and the reception. Lauren and Aaron exchanged vows at the golden hour, with the Santa Ana Mountains in the background, as a small party of guests watched on from an intimate seating arrangement. To celebrate, the newlyweds and their guests took in the sunset as they ate dinner from their family-style tables, which were nestled beneath a lush canopy installation of tea roses, eucalyptus, other greenery and floating candles. Arrangements of pampas grass and a marquee monogram of the couple’s initials flanked the infinity pool, lending a contemporary touch to the dreamy atmosphere.




Bride’s Gown: WILLOW BY WATTERS 
Bride’s Shoes: CONVERSE
Cake & Desserts: LAURA MARIE CAKES 
Catering: ANGELO’S BRICK OVEN PIZZERIA 
Florals: SOIREE FLORAL DESIGN 
Groom’s Suit: DAVID AUGUST 
Linens: BBJ LINEN
Marquee Letters: MY MARQUEE SD
Photography: ALEXES LAUREN PHOTOGRAPHY 
Rentals: JAKE DUKE STUDIOS, SIGNATURE PARTY RENTALS 
Wedding Planner: MICHELLE GARIBAY 


HANH NGUYEN AND KENNY MARTIN

“Sharing a celebratory meal together in a small setting creates a very special experience. At Redbird and Vibiana, we FOCUS on the totality of the EXPERIENCE, so not only will the food be amazing, but the wine, cocktails, service and design will be top-notch as well. FOR SMALL WEDDINGS, we love to add an additional course or MINI CUSTOMIZED bottled cocktails, to HONOR special requests for foodie couples.” ~ Amy Knoll Fraser, co-owner of Redbird and Vibiana

IT MADE PERFECT SENSE FOR FOODIES AND ADVENTURERS HANH NGUYEN AND KENNY MARTIN TO GET MARRIED AT REDBIRD IN DOWNTOWN LA. The venue’s urban garden ambiance echoed the greenhouse atmosphere at Openaire, the restaurant where the two first met, and Redbird’s renowned worldly cuisine served as a symbol of the merging of the couple’s two cultures. The events staff at Redbird served as the busy couple’s planning team, coordinating the florals, rentals and string quartet, as well as sourcing photographers. When a rare LA rainstorm threatened the alfresco dinner party, the Redbird team quickly relocated the reception and cocktail hour indoors to the East and West rooms, which overlook both the garden and the open kitchen. After an intimate ceremony in the garden under the cover of olive trees, the bride changed into a pink party dress for the celebration and the groom into a casual suit. Between the cocktail hour and dinner, the couple shared a private first dance on the patio as the string quartet played the first song of the evening. The night continued as the two enjoyed a memorable feast with their chosen few while the quartet played on. 

Bride’s Attire: LULUS (bridal gown), NEEDLE & THREAD (reception dress)
Florals: LARK FARNUM DESIGN THE ORIGINAL LOS ANGELES FLOWER MARKET 
Music: CATTUS QUARTET 
Photography: KATIE PRITCHARD
Stationery: MINTED 
Venue, Coordination, Catering & Beverages: REDBIRD



SARAH WILLIAMSON AND OLIVER FRIES

FOCUS on your ultimate inner circle. Being surrounded by those lifelong besties will shower you in such sweet memories. Invest in a GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER and VIDEOGRAPHER. This may be a SMALL GATHERING, but it is still going to be a HUGE EXPERIENCE for you and your partner. To have every DETAIL CAPTURED meticulously will be an incredible record for your new chapter in life.”  ~ Chris J. Evans, Chris J. Evans Weddings

In an elegant elopement ceremony, Sarah Williamson and Oliver Fries said "I Do" as they stood barefoot on the beach, with ocean waves lapping on one side and the stately Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel rising on the other. To prepare for the relaxed wedding day, the bride, the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom sipped champagne while they eased into a full morning of pampering. The moments of mother-daughter connection didn’t end there: The tennis bracelet Sarah wore was her mother’s, a piece given to her by her own mother on her wedding day; Oliver’s mother drew on her wisdom as a yoga teacher to officiate the heart-felt ceremony on that sun-drenched day. The couple tied the knot in front of a unique formation of driftwood and dried delphinium, and surrounded by their closest family members. While they opted not to have the traditional wedding party, Sarah and Oliver made one important exception for Oliver’s niece, who tossed petals onto the sand as the couple’s flower girl while their other niece, a newborn, gazed around, taking it all in at one of her very first family gatherings. After the ceremony, the couple and their families celebrated dinner-party-style at Lucky’s Steakhouse, where lush greenery, tea roses and fresh, peach-colored fruits covered nearly every surface.

Bride’s Gown: ALYSSA KRISTIN 
Cake: LELÉ PÂTISSERIE 
Catering: FIELD TO TABLE CATERING & EVENTS 
Florals: CAMELLIA FLORAL DESIGN 
Groom’s Suit: EMPORIO ARMANI 
Hair & Makeup: SHEILA RAYE STONE 
Music: CHRIS FOSSEK
Photography/Videography: CHRIS J. EVANS WEDDINGS 
Rentals: THE TENT MERCHANT 
Restroom: MARBORG INDUSTRIES 
Transportation: ROCKSTAR TRANSPORTATION 
Venue: KESTREL PARK 
Wedding Planner: SANTA BARBARA ELOPEMENT


KELLY TRUEBLOOD & DANNY REES

“I LOVE going over the top with tablescapes for intimate weddings by MIXING RENTALS with familial china, crystal and serving ware. Creating
NEW MEMORIES while surrounded by FAMILY HEIRLOOMS can bring even greater meaning to your BIG DAY.”  ~ Anne Wilner, Anne Wilner Events

Kelly Trueblood and Danny Rees proved that you can still do small weddings with impressive style when the couple held an elegant ceremony below the stained-glass windows of Kelly’s home church in La Cañada Flintridge, where the bride’s parents once tied the knot. The formal ceremony was full of meaningful details, such as the groom’s cuff links, which matched the bride’s Tiffany necklace. To celebrate, the newlyweds took a classic vintage getaway car to Kelly’s parents’ home, where they swapped their formal attire for garden-party looks. The backyard fete had all the elements of a classic wedding reception—including a master of ceremonies, a DJ, a giant charcuterie board and monogrammed M&Ms—while retaining the intimacy of a backyard affair. The outdoor space was transformed into a Tuscan-inspired tableau in which blue-and-white china plates were paired with the mother of the bride’s own antique serving ware; sunny pops of yellow roses brought warmth to every corner, and string lights twinkled overhead. Guests enjoyed a casual cocktail hour followed by a three-course dinner, and the couple’s first dance to Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight” kicked off an all-night dance party.

Ceremony Venue: ST. BEDE THE VENERABLE 
Cake: SUSIECAKES
Catering: ANGELINI OSTERIA 
DJ: AMERICAN EVENTS NETWORK 
Florals: WISTERIA LANE FLOWERS 
Getaway Car: CLASSY CHASSIS RENTALS 
Photography: MIKI & SONJA PHOTOGRAPHY 
Rentals: TOWN AND COUNTRY EVENT RENTALS 
Wedding Planner: ANNE WILNER EVENTS 

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