Y’all – planning a wedding is a CHALLENGE. You may be overly excited about your engagement, only to discover when it comes to wedding planning all the fun seems to be leaching out of the process, leaving you languishing and overwhelmed. Sound familiar? I’m here to tell you that when it comes to planning a wedding, especially a destination wedding, that there are plenty of benefits to opting for a small, intimate micro-wedding. There are even more benefits when you start looking at venues and decide to go with a backyard wedding at a private estate. Katie and TJ did exactly that and hired me to be their Breckenridge wedding photographer for a hilarious, intimate, and absolutely perfect private estate wedding in Summit County, CO.
I tell couples this all the time – a small wedding signifies to me that you really focus on the most important aspect of the day, specifically, your commitment to each other. With a smaller guest list, you can prioritize the people who are closest to you and truly make the day about your relationship. You won’t have to worry about pleasing a large group of people or trying to make everyone happy – instead, you can focus on enjoying the moment and each other’s company. When it’s a destination wedding like Katie and TJ’s Breckenridge backyard wedding, it means that you get to spend the entire weekend with the people you love most, and instead of a one-day event, it feels like a vacation or weekend getaway. Katie and TJ spent the entire weekend surrounded by their best friends in the large private estate they booked. While their family stayed nearby in adjacent hotels and other airbnbs, the bulk of their friend group was able to all be on-site together for an entire weekend, leading to late nights of games and laughter and silliness – which is exactly what Katie and TJ were striving for.
A small wedding also allows you to be more creative with your decorations and to be honest, in most cases, you may not even need any! Rather than trying to transform a large, generic event space into something special, you can work with the natural beauty of a private estate to create a truly unique and intimate atmosphere. Katie and TJ decided to hold their ceremony in the backyard, flanked by aspen trees. Since it was fall, most of the nearby Aspen groves had bright vibrant yellow leaves that were absolutely breathtaking to behold. Not pictured? The random teepee that I cut out of most of their ceremony photos because maybe that’s YOUR cup of tea, but it wasn’t theirs. Ha! The point is – if you’re going to hold a destination private estate wedding the options are endless. Whether you choose a beautiful garden, a charming farmhouse, or a luxurious beachfront property, a private estate provides endless opportunities for customization. You can personalize every aspect of your wedding, from the flowers and décor to the music and menu, to make it truly your own.
Want a more relaxed and stress-free day? CHECK. Katie and TJ were balling on a budget and they made exceptional choices. They hired me for just a few hours, making sure that I was there just before the ceremony time for a few getting-ready photos, the first look, the ceremony, and ultimately the toasts. With fewer guests and a more intimate setting, you can take your time and savor each moment without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Tons of people overwhelm you? Want your privacy? A private estate wedding allows you to have a more secluded (read romantic) setting.
While large weddings can be costly due to the need for a bigger venue, catering, and other expenses, a small wedding allows you to be more budget-conscious. You can choose a venue that fits your budget and opt for simple yet elegant décor and catering options. Or, in this case, Katie and TJ have some chefs in the family and they spent the morning and day before the event meal prepping to create a five-star gourmet dinner experience (I know, I was there!) at a fraction of the price it would have cost to have catered.
At the end of the day, Katie and TJ hired me to be their Breckenridge wedding photographer for a small event that was specifically designed to be a more personal and meaningful experience for the small handful of guests they decided to invite. With a larger wedding, it can be hard for guests to really connect with the couple or each other, but in this case, the location and mere fact that everyone was staying on-site together meant that a sense of real community was built over the weekend. Even I felt incredibly included and special (but it could have been that I got my own place setting which ALWAYS makes me feel special). I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room during toasts and the small space was completely enveloped in love and laughter.