How to Plan an Intimate Wedding | New England Elopement Photographer | New Hampshire Intimate Wedding Photographer | Intimate Adventure Wedding in Rockport, MA
This blog aims to be a resource to those planning their intimate wedding. Here, you will read:
- What an “intimate wedding” means (to me) in 2023
- Reasons to consider a backyard wedding
- How to combine your elopement and wedding dream
- Plus: a beautiful gallery for inspiration
First: What is an intimate wedding in 2023?
To me (everyone has beautiful and equally worthy definitions of intimate weddings), intimate weddings in 2023 mean:
- A smaller guest list. To me, I offer intimate wedding packages for up to 80 guests
- A balance of focusing on the couple’s experience while including intimate moments with their closest loved ones
- Less rigid timelines / events within the wedding day
Elopements, micro weddings, intimate weddings, full sized weddings…it’s a LOT of vernacular to familiarize oneself with when first planning one’s marriage experience. An easy way of viewing intimate weddings is a middle point between private elopements and full sized weddings.
For example, my packages view the difference in marriage celebrations as such:
- Elopements: up to 20 guests (my primary expertise)
- Intimate Weddings: up to 80 guests (my secondary expertise)
- Full Sized Weddings: beyond 80 guests (only offer 5 per year)
Reasons to Consider a Backyard Wedding
My reasons to consider a backyard wedding come from real life families. To be honest, some of my FAVORITE wedding experiences and venues have not been at all…they have been in backyards. Backyard weddings I’ve been blessed to document have NOT been: tissue table coverings, hamburgers, and jeans (although you do if that’s the vibe). Rather, they have been experiences that prioritize what’s most important to a couple. For many of my intimate wedding couples, their priorities have been:
- Top quality for vendors they care most about (photographers and catering mostly)
- Less emphasis on parts of a traditional wedding they don’t feel connected to (elaborate settings, size of venue space, etc)
- Sustainability and financial freedom
- Time alone mixed with celebration
- A more relaxed flow of the day
- Adventure: sneaking off to a favorite nature experience 🙂
- Commute friendly for their closest loved ones
My reasons to consider a backyard wedding:
- Finances are allocated to what you care most about
- More control over what you want the space/layout to look like
- Ease in accessibility for loved ones
- Relaxed experience
- Timeline can be exactly what you want/need it to be; more flexible start/end time
- Lodging: those who need to stay over (older family members, etc.) can with ease
Backyard Weddings do NOT need to compromise on beauty and quality
Backyard weddings have been nothing shy of jaw-dropping, gorgeous, quality experiences in my time as a wedding photographer. I have seen intentional decorating that means something to the couples, favorite foods and traditions incorporated, STUNNING homemade work (arbers, gifts, you name it), all in the comfort of a home that has emotional ties to the couple.
Tips for Planning a Backyard Wedding
When planning a backyard wedding, I HIGHLY recommend establishing your team of people to help you with logistics (that’s what I’m here for as your partner, too!) Think of designating these items to your specific team members to oversee (I have seen this work with incredible success):
- Who can help us with layout?
- Are we using a tent? Lighting service? Dance floor?
- If so, are we renting? Do we know anyone with any of this equipment already?
- Catering: are we outsourcing, or are we working with friends/family to create our culinary dreams?
- Recycling, trash, compost: who will lead this?
- Decor: how can we intentionally incorporate our artist friends/family members and make them feel included?
- Photo album / polaroid table
- Aisle decor
- Table settings
- Pictures of couple/family used throughout space
How to combine your elopement and wedding dream
After envisioning what you MOST want to spend your time doing on your day, you may feel torn between an elopement vibe (more privacy/adventure) and an intimate wedding (celebration with closest people). SO, you can ABSOLUTELY do both.
I will use A + K as a beautiful example. Their timeline was a perfect balance of both an adventure elopement and intimate wedding feel.
- Getting ready: in airbnb with closest friends (elopement feel or intimate wedding feel)
- First look: alone overlooking the water in Rockport, MA (elopement feel)
- Private vows (elopement feel)
- Ceremony: family backyard with family incorporated into each part (intimate wedding feel)
- Adventure portraits: at the Headlands in Rockport, MA (elopement feel)
- Dinner: inside tent at family home (intimate wedding feel)
- After party: at family home (intimate wedding feel)
- Weekend celebration in airbnb with closest friends (elopement feel or intimate wedding feel)
An Intimate Adventure Wedding on the coast of Rockport, MA
For the ceremony, A + K’s loved ones performed a ring warming ceremony where each person held their rings, gave them love, and a warm wish for the journey ahead.
These two truly hold a sacred place in my heart for their openness, kindness to all their loved ones, and care for the other. ALL MY LOVE, YOU TWO 🙂