One of the things I’m passionate about as a person and a photographer is intentional simplicity. In this day and age, people often fill their lives with a bunch of things, thinking that more things equals more ‘wow’ and more likes. But I think that ‘simple’, when done correctly and with thought and purpose, can be just as inspiring and even more refreshing.
SIMPLE, WHEN DONE CORRECTLY AND WITH THOUGHT AND PURPOSE, CAN BE JUST AS INSPIRING AND EVEN MORE REFRESHING
With that in mind, there were two things I wanted to accomplish with this shoot:
First, I wanted to get as close to the French countryside as we could without leaving Chicago. Mostly because the French are masters at blending simplicity and elegance, but also because I’m an unabashed francophile and will find any excuse to create a bit of France here 🙂 Local French restaurant, Bistro Campagne, was the starting point. I knew I wanted to incorporate their patio with those incredible green chairs, brick walls and wooden fence. Everything else was developed from there to ensure the colors and textures meshed well with the vibe of the space.
Secondly, and more importantly, I wanted everything to be done with intention. This wasn’t a shoot where we were just going to grab a bunch of pretty things and take photos. I wanted this to speak to a very specific type of couple. A bride and groom who value style, but are thoughtful about what they invest in and who prefer to celebrate with a small, intimate gathering. We wanted to show this couple that an intimate wedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on quality. You can still have the gorgeous, customized elements of a big budget wedding.
AN INTIMATE WEDDING DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO SACRIFICE ON QUALITY
As a team, we worked hard to put ourselves in the shoes of this couple, so every element we included had to pass a test of believability (i.e., would they actually spend their money on this?) and functionality. Here is a further look at the vision behind the different components:
Haviland Events created a tablescape that would wow guests and show that thought and intentionality was put into it while still being attainable and functional. By renting just a couple thoughtful pieces for the table, you can make the reception truly unique to you and memorable for your guests.
As a bride hosting a smaller wedding, you can still carry a big, beautiful bouquet of blooms with a premium silk ribbon. You can decorate your tables with floral centerpieces or garlands of flowers. The same design elements apply as they would to a larger event, but it is even easier to focus on quality over quantity when you are going small. Jackson Floral Design built a color palette of soft gray, silvery blue, and a touch of blush by using Early Grey Roses and White O’Hara garden roses as the focal flowers.
IT’S EASIER TO FOCUS ON QUALITY OVER QUANTITY WHEN YOU ARE GOING SMALL
For the tablescape, she wanted to showcase a large centerpiece filled with a single flower type in mass. Spirea (bridal veil) was the perfect choice as it is neutral in color and the tiny white blooms give off a romantic, airy feel. The stone vases were a nod to the architecture of old world chateaus you would find in France.
With intentionality in mind, we opted to forgo invitations, understanding that a couple celebrating with fewer than 20 guests would likely not need the formality of invitations. We instead wanted to add some elegant calligraphy to our tablescape. Four Hats Press wanted the table’s paper pieces to communicate thoughtfulness and personalization. At small gatherings, such detail can convey to guests how meaningful their presence really is, saying, I made a place at this table just for you! She chose imperfect, handmade paper with deckled edges and a soft grey/blue ink to capture the warmth and familiarity a host hopes guests feel when they’re invited to a small but special feast.
HAIR AND MAKEUP
Milian Bonillo embraced the French vibe: timeless, effortless elegance. She left texture and waves in the model’s hair with wisps framing the face for a light, airy style and kept the makeup light and fresh with a hint of a smokey eye. Even with an intimate wedding, your guests are going to be most excited to see you, the bride! Your hair, makeup, dress and accessories are a reflection of your inner beauty, style and vision and will be the center of attention no matter the size of the event!
We decided to spruce up the welcome drinks with handmade gold lollipops from Flour and Fig. It’s a simple, cost-effective choice that can take your beverage from ordinary to a conversation piece. For dessert, we wanted to embrace the restaurant’s natural offerings, showcasing their authentic crème brûlée. If you’re planning an intimate wedding reception at a restaurant, you’re likely already paying for dessert, so there’s no need to spend more on a cake! Pick a restaurant you love and your guests will not miss the ‘traditional desserts’ one bit 🙂
Friends, if you’re contemplating an intimate wedding, I encourage you to explore it further. You can still have a wedding full of gorgeous details (and likely better details than you could afford with a large event!) AND you get to spend more quality time with the people you love.
Embrace intentional simplicity and let your wedding be as memorable and special as it deserves to be!
**Planning & Design: Haviland Events
**Floral Design: Jackson Floral Design
**Calligrapher & Letterpress Printer: Four Hats Press
**Hair & Makeup: Milian Bonillo Beauty using MAC Cosmetics & Kenra Haircare
**Venue & Desserts: Bistro Campagne
**Lollipops: Flour & Fig
Linens: BBJ Linen
Rentals: Vintage Place Settings
Vow Books: Within And Without Co
Shoes: Bandolino from DSW
Earrings: Kate Spade
Film Processing: The FIND Lab
**I specifically chose these 6 vendors because they share this passion for intentional simplicity and for small, intimate events. If that resonates with you and you are interested in working with any (or all!) of us to create a stunning intimate wedding, please don’t hesitate to reach out!