20 Budget Weddings - #4

{Budget Wedding #4} : Blair and Clayton’s $4,000 NC inn wedding.

Blair, 29 & Clayton, 32
Hot Springs, NC
Wedding Date: May 2, 2012 (It was a Monday evening!)
Number of Guests: 7 (Bride’s three best girlfriends, groom’s brother and three of his close friends)
Wedding Cost: $4,000
Wedding Ceremony Location: Mountain Magnolia Inn, Hot Springs, NC. (Our goal was to have a low-key weekend away with our closest friends who we don’t get to see as often as we like. We wanted everyone to have fun, laugh, drink, relax and genuinely enjoy one another’s company. We rented a cabin 20 minutes outside of Hot Springs, NC, where we got married. We purposefully did not make a lot of plans for the weekend and just let things unfold. We ended up renting kayaks and floating the French Broad River. The day was sunny and beautiful and we had some great laughs.)
Wedding Reception Location: Mountain Magnolia Inn, Hot Springs, NC

Why did you have an intimate wedding?
We really wanted to focus on what we felt the day should be about – our love and commitment for one another. I knew that if we invited 100+ people it would become more of a production and less about us. I wanted to truly enjoy the day and weekend and not be so stressed that I couldn’t eat or sleep.

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?
Of course, our wedding was a little more “intimate” than others since we didn’t even have our parents there! I do think the number one thing that was difficult for me in the beginning was being at peace with the idea of my mom not being there. My mom is my best friend. Her opinion matters more than anyone’s, so coming to that decision was tough. We talked about it and she was content to spend the weekend keeping our sweet 14-month-old son. As long as we had a blast and came home with great memories, she was ok with it and I realized, so was I. Her parents, my loving grandparents, and all of their friends went away with friends to get married and had fond memories. She wanted us to enjoy our weekend and not be affected by other people’s energy and stress. Letting go of all the things we are taught or programmed to think about getting married takes some focus!

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?
Yes and no. Once we were able to decide our parents weren’t coming, everything else was simple. The people that were there are people that we always enjoy being around and that are a part of our lives on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean there were not dear friends who weren’t invited. We have several of them all over the country, but we knew they would be happy for us and not concerned with not being invited. I would say there were a handful of people that we were like, “hmmm, should we have them join us?,” but you have to ask yourself, how are they going to fit with the rest of the group? The girls I had there I have grown up with, so if another one of Clayton’s friends came and brought his girlfriend, then I would have felt the need to make sure she didn’t feel excluded from conversations, etc. I didn’t want that added pressure.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?
We’ve had a little fallout since we returned. Some people were upset and said, “It was fine we weren’t invited, but we would have at least liked to have known you were getting married.” Clayton and I aren’t the type of people that enjoy attention or want people to celebrate us. We weren’t going to pick up the phone and call people (especially those we only talk to a handful of times throughout the year) and say, “Hey, we’re getting married and wanted you to know,” because we felt that was asking people to acknowledge the occasion with gifts and such. This is not what we wanted it to be about. I received some sweet emails and phone calls from old friends and at the end of it all, I had to remind myself that if there are friends that are upset and after some explanation if they still didn’t understand, then maybe they aren’t true friends anyway. We weren’t trying to be harsh, but at the end of the day, we are two people who feel super lucky and grateful to have found one another and we hope that people can just be happy for us. Lastly, people can’t really say much when you say, “Look, my mom wasn’t there!”

What were the highlights of the ceremony?
Our ceremony was short yet very sweet. We were married under a very old black walnut tree and wrote our own vows. There was something very special about standing under that tree, surrounded by the people that have seen you at your worst and your best and committing to spend the rest of our lives with each other. There were quite a few tears shed.

What were the highlights of the reception?
The food! The chef at the Inn prepared our dinner and it was amazing. The Inn uses local and fresh foods when available. Honestly, it was some of the best food I’ve had in a while and I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed the dinner.

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?
Actually enjoying it! That might sound awful, but we’ve all been a part of weddings where people spend a lot of time, energy and money and then can’t relax until it is all over. They don’t remember half of what happened throughout the day. The bride is too worried about the color of the cake to enjoy getting to marry her best friend. The bride nor the groom eat at the reception and so on and so on. We had a blast all weekend. We laughed a lot and shed tears of happiness. I think everyone really enjoyed themselves and there was no resentment about having spent $250 on a bridesmaid dress that you will never wear again.
The other benefit of having an intimate wedding was that it allowed me the time to focus on small details that meant a lot to both of us. Clayton and I have a beautiful little boy who is the brightest part of our life so I knew I wanted to acknowledge him in some way. I used his newborn hat from the hospital and cut two hearts out of it and had one sewn on the inside of my dress and the other on the inside of Clayton’s jacket. I also had one pale pink flower in the back of my bouquet in memory of my grandmother. She was a very strong yet gentle woman that I think of everyday. I know she would love Clayton and our son so much and is thrilled that I am happy. I wanted to remember her and acknowledge her in some small way on this special day.

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?
Let go of all the stuff you see in wedding magazines and movies. Stop and ask yourself, how will that affect my day and my memories of that day? If there is someone that you don’t enjoy being around on a normal day, why have them be a part of something so intimate and meaningful? Allow yourself time during your day or weekend to reflect on your joy.

Wedding Venue: Mountain Magnolia Inn, Hot Springs, NC
Wedding Photographer: Graham Terhune Photography
Dress and Suit: J Crew
Florist: The Enchanted Florist

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