7 Low-Key, Intimate Weddings That We Love

By Cathleen Freedman

In these times of social distancing, the thought of a big wedding with all of your family, friends, and their plus ones may not feel possible. Some brides and grooms may choose Zoom weddings (in which case, OTM has suggestions on how to make your Zoom ceremony as magical as possible). So far, the soaring 2020s will not feature extravagant, Jay Gatsby-level weddings. For the foreseeable future, wedding celebrations will likely be more intimate—think backyard weddings, court house ceremonies, fewer guests, and more wedding cake per slice.

How can low-key weddings be so sincere and intimate? Let us count the ways! You’ll spend less time planning and more time soaking up your engagement. You can take pictures with all of your guests and savor conversations with each of them. You can even choose wedding venues like a vintage solarium or the back-room of your favorite restaurant. And when the reception is over, you can spontaneously decide to move the party to the nearest tavern!

Glamorous couples have set a precedent for such laid-back nuptials. Here are a handful of our favorite intimate weddings from Over The Moon and Vogue.com. (And like the guest list at small weddings, there are so many more we could have included!)

Lolita Jacobs and Jean Baptiste’s Talbourdet’s Effortless French Wedding

This was the coolest wedding. (Instead of a wedding cake, they had a bridal tarte. Tres chic!) “Wabi-sabi, a Japanese phrase for simplicity and the beauty of imperfection, was the vision for the weekend. The invitations were sent 10 days before the ceremony, and the bride even managed to sneak in a bachelorette trip to Portugal. The bride’s mother served as the officiant at this St. Tropez wedding. All of the guests could fit on the terrace of their family’s home. The bride’s mother even directed a video that featured all of the wedding guests. 

Cara and Peter Brand’s New York Wedding

With the guest list being limited to only immediate family, the bride and groom were able to prepare a few surprises. They told their family the wedding would be “downtown,” creatively leaving out that the party bus would take them to the exact church Peter’s parents were married in. The whole party fit inside the back carriage house of West Village dream restaurant Palma. Cara’s 90-year-old grandmother even wandered around Palma, made friends with guests in another group, and brought several to the couple’s party downstairs. (Moral of the story: Small weddings mean more room for the strangers your grandmother befriends!) After the dinner, the couple went to the Soho Grand and met with friends they texted the day before. Spontaneity abounded all day long at this intimate wedding!

Hayley Magrini and Adam Houtz’s Italian Elopement

A true intimate wedding—an elopement on the Amalfi Coast. Since Italy is gorgeous and requires little to no decor, and the bride’s father’s side is from there, it was an obvious choice. They landed on a crumbling basilica overlooking the Amalfi Coast for their venue. On September 26th, 2018, the wind was still going strong. “The officiant was holding a giant stack of documents and had to keep chasing after paperwork! Brydie’s dress was almost blowing off her body, as she photographed us, and our violinist couldn’t even read his music and ran away,” the bride says. “It was crazy, but felt thrilling and romantic.”

Alice and Jack’s London Wedding 

Elegance and minimalism were the aesthetic aspirations for this wedding. The ceremony was held in the oldest church in London, St. Bartholomew the Great. Their reception was at their favorite spot in London, St. John Bar and Restaurant. The bride looked to Bianca Jagger’s wedding outfit for inspiration and immediately found a dress that was perfect and effortless. “I think I hit the record for, not only the world’s fastest wedding dress purchase, but also one of the smallest, as it folded up really small!”

Mieka Tennant and Jacq Pablo’s Canyon Home Wedding

Mieka and Jacq’s intimate wedding was spent with and helped by their friends. The wedding venue was at a friend’s newly-constructed home tucked in a canyon landscape. Their creative friends helped with the centerpieces, Mieka’s jumpsuit, the chuppah, blessings, and more. Their musically gifted friends provided several serenades that evening. The brides even walked down the aisle with their dog Larry. Intimate weddings like Mieka and Jacq’s let you celebrate all of the people you love.

Claire Fontanetta and Kyle Hamlin‘s Vintage Solarium Wedding

While the pictures may lead you to believe this was an immensely coordinated and highly designed wedding, this party was actually planned in 52 days for a mere 40 guests. The vintage solarium venue was perfect for the couple who loves the outdoors but didn’t want to do too much decorating. Claire says that “Since it was such a small party, we were really able to spend time chatting with every single person at the reception, which was so nice.”

Caitlyn Carlson and Charlie Oshman’s City Hall Wedding

Never has a city hall wedding looked so fun! (Plus, just look at those sparkly Chanel shoes!) Caitlyn and Charlie slow danced and took pictures while waiting for three hours at the courthouse. The wait was worth it. The two-minute city hall ceremony was followed with lunch at Ciprani and a reception in their loft for 65. The groom gave the only toast, and they spent the rest of the evening dancing to music from a six-piece band and eating hors d’oevures by their favorite chef and burgers from Shake Shack—it doesn’t get any better than that!