Small Non-Traditional Wedding Ideas: A Beautiful Intimate Ceremony in a State Park

Small Non-Traditional Wedding Ideas: A Beautiful Intimate Ceremony in a State Park


Despite the challenge of planning everything in just two months, newly-wed Kalyn and her husband managed to pull it off and had their dream wedding. They chose a beautiful state park in Florida as their venue and had incredible vendors like a vintage cocktail camper bar, a VW photo booth bus, and a wood-fired pizza food truck. The bride’s favorite vendor was their photographer, which shows through their breathtaking photos. The couple advises future brides not to be afraid of doing things a little untraditionally to make their wedding day more intimate and stress-free. Kudos for sharing with brides-to-be how to plan a small wedding. Read on for unique small non-traditional wedding ideas and the bride’s perfect wedding dress for a small wedding.


In middle school, they were just friends. In high school, they started dating. And after years of love, fun dating, and commitment, he proposed to Kalyn at a stunning hotel on the Gulf of Mexico just a few days before they moved across the country. Their wedding planning was different than most. They only had two months to plan everything before the big day, which took a lot of work. They were determined to have vendors they truly respected and liked, and they pulled it off.







The couple had always dreamed of having an intimate wedding ceremony with only their immediate family present. When it’s your dream to have an intimate wedding, you must quickly become an expert on how to plan a small wedding. Questions start swirling in your head, like, “how to plan a small wedding?” “How much does a small wedding cost?” “Where to have a small wedding?”


“When we knew I needed to get a dress and get one fast, I thought it wasn’t an option. Luckily I could get a standard-size gown right in time for our event.”

The couple chose a beautiful state park in Florida, Anderson Park, Tarpon Springs, as their venue. It was a hidden gem in their hometown, surrounded by beautiful woodland. For her dress, the bride had always loved the Dawn dress she saw on Pinterest and Instagram a few years ago before she was engaged. To her surprise, she found the perfect shop, Dreamers & Lovers. She made an appointment in the Venice, CA, location, just an hour from where she lived. She tried on several dresses but fell in love with the Samantha dress, which made her and her mother emotional. The perfect wedding dress for her small wedding pairs with the venue beautifully, and the sleeves and fit are incredibly striking on Kalyn.



Their vendors were unique and perfect for their special day. They had a vintage cocktail camper bar, a VW photo booth bus, a wood-fired pizza food truck caterer, an event stylist, and a ceremony photographer who understood the assignment of capturing once-in-a-lifetime dreams. The bride’s favorite vendor was their photographer. She went above and beyond to capture their day perfectly, exceeding all expectations.



Their wedding day had too many beautiful memories to recall, but the one that stood out the most to the bride was seeing her husband at the end of the aisle. (It’s refreshing to hear this from Kalyn because we listen to it consistently from brides when describing the most unforgettable part of their day) She felt blissful and at peace on her special day, surrounded by her loved ones. They had written their vows, which were sweet and personal, making them both cry as they read their promises to each other.




The couple advises future brides to be confident in doing things a little untraditionally. Having only their immediate family present for their ceremony made it much more intimate and special, allowing them to be fully present in the moment without any stress. As for what’s next for them, they have an adorable ten-month-old baby and are enjoying parenthood. They hope to have a honeymoon after the 2023 football season ends, continuing their journey together as husband and wife. Thanks to the couple for sharing how they planned their small wedding and their non-traditional wedding ideas. What a stunning couple and family! We wish them continued love and pure joy.





PHOTOGRAPHER: Charlotte Hoos Photography

DRESS: Dreamers & Lovers Samantha Bell Sleeve Wedding Dress

VENUE: Anderson Park, Tarpon Springs

BAR: Vintage Cocktail Camper


FOOD TRUCK CATERER: Corvo Bianco Wood Fired Pizza

EVENT STYLING: The Orange Styling




Walking on Clouds: Low Heel and Flat Comfortable Wedding Shoes

Walking on Clouds: Low Heel and Flat Comfortable Wedding Shoes


Are you a bride-to-be on the hunt for comfy wedding shoes? When it comes to your wedding day, comfort is key! At Dreamers & Lovers, we craft our business model around comfort. All of our wedding dresses must pass the comfort test. The funny thing is when you think of a wedding dress or shoes, the tradition is anti-comfort. The famous saying comes to mind, ‘beauty is pain.’ The reality is brides no longer have to suffer from being beautiful. Modern brides have choices. As a bride, you want to enjoy every moment of your special day without worrying about sore feet or blisters. Having the best day requires you to find the perfect comfortable wedding shoes that will keep you feeling good from the walk down the aisle to the last dance of the night.

The shoe should be the ideal accessory that looks great in wedding photos and pair well with the dress, but you shouldn’t be aware of them. In the perfect pair, there is no rubbing or breaking in, or blistering. Some brides will opt for a higher heel for the ceremony and later switch to a more comfortable pair. If you get lucky and find a comfortable pair, such as a comfy flat wedding shoe that looks incredible, you can wear it for the ceremony, reception, and even your honeymoon. During fittings in our wedding dress studio, we often see brides with flats they hope won’t show underneath their dresses. They either are not fans of walking in heels, are taller than their fiance, or just never like stilettos. We usually encourage these brides to choose beautiful flat wedding shoes because even though the dress covers the shoe, it does show as you take steps. Why not find the perfect pair? Remember how we mention that comfort is our business model? Yup, we designed both the ideal low-heel wedding shoes and comfy flat wedding shoes in three colors..


Dreamers & Lover’s Luna Lace-Up Low Heel Wedding Shoes for Comfortable and Unique Bridal Style

A low-heel wedding shoe is perfect if you’re not used to walking in high heels. Low heel wedding shoes provide just the right amount of lift without sacrificing comfort. The Dreamers & Lover’s Luna lace-up style dotted mesh shoe is an excellent option for brides who want to add a touch of elegance to their look while still keeping their feet comfortable.
The dotted mesh material looks beautiful, allows your feet to breathe, and prevents them from getting too sweaty or overheated. The lace-up design of the shoe ensures a secure fit and prevents your foot from slipping forward. The low heel makes it easy to move around and dance the night away without discomfort. Whether you wear a bohemian or a traditional wedding dress, this shoe style works excellently. Many non Dreamers & Lovers brides have worn the Luna and loved it with their wedding dresses. This thoughtfully designed pair boasts leather soles, upper, and cushioned insole. It is literally the ultimate comfortable wedding shoe for a bride. Available in both off-white and nude colorways. Brides generally pair the off-white with a white or off-white wedding dress, regardless of the liner color of the dress. Many brides choose the nude color with dresses with champagne or flesh-colored liners. The nude is neutral and will go with any color wedding dress you select because of its versatility.





Satin Flat Wedding Sandals with Ankle Wrap Ribbon for Comfortable and Stylish Bridal Footwear

A satin sandal with ankle wrap satin ribbon is a perfect option if you prefer a flat shoe. Flat wedding sandals offer the ultimate comfort and ease of movement, making them an excellent choice for beach weddings or outdoor ceremonies. While some flat leather sandals can come off as being too casual, a luxe fabric like Italian satin will elevate the look.
The satin material of the Dreamers & Lovers Arielle flat wedding sandal is soft to the touch and gentle on your feet. The ankle wrap satin ribbon provides extra support
and ensures the sandal stays securely on your foot. The security the wide satin ribbon straps offer is critical if you plan to dance the night away! It’s your wedding and a big party, so we’ll vote that you will dance the night away. Your feet will thank you for this. The flat sole also provides a stable base for walking, allowing you to move gracefully and confidently throughout your wedding day. While the sole is flat, there is more support than in a satin slipper. The sole is leather, so it is a substantial shoe that will have excellent wear. The simple and elegant design of the satin sandal with ankle wrap satin ribbon complements any wedding dress. Whether your wedding dress is minimalist silk, tea-length, or romantic lace, you will wear the Arielle in dreamy shoe territory. The shoe’s versatility means you can wear it again for other special occasions. We suggest wearing it on your honeymoon and to all the fun dinners you will have. Available in various colors, you’re sure to find the perfect flat wedding sandals to suit your style. r.




-Ivory satin
– Nude-colored satin (think champagne colored)
– Off-white satin
Price at time of writing: $135
Available sizes US 6-11.








-Ivory-dotted mesh
– Off-white dotted mesh
Price at time of writing: $168
Available sizes US 6 – 11.

Both pairs are available to purchase on Dreamers & Lovers website.




Dreamy Bohemian Destination Wedding in Taos, New Mexico: A Couple’s Dream Comes True in an Outdoor Ceremony and a Magical Lace Dress

Dreamy Bohemian Destination Wedding in Taos, New Mexico: A Couple’s Dream Comes True in an Outdoor Ceremony and a Magical Lace Dress


Andrew and Amanda met in Albuquerque and married seven years later in Taos, New Mexico. Their wedding is epic! Browsing their photo gallery was like being transported into a bohemian wedding dream. The wedding fits the couple’s personality perfectly. From the cake to the bride’s hair to the venue. What an amazing venue! It’s filled with divine colors, textures, and an earthy Spanish vibe! Amanda found her dream bohemian wedding dress on the Dreamers and Lovers website. Their ceremony was quick (because it had to be), with the couple writing their vows and a close friend officiating. There were 150 guests, a 3-tier cheesecake (yummmm) made by Amanda’s mother and grandmother, and a close friend playing guitar. Dream wedding alert! The biggest challenge for the couple was planning the wedding from 2000 miles away without a wedding planner, but they managed to overcome it. They planned the wedding while living in Oregon. The couple plans to move back to New Mexico. Amanda and Anthony’s marriage proves that while a destination wedding can be challenging to plan, it can also be fun and adventurous.


Andrew & Amanda Met at a Bar

Andrew and Amanda met at a bar on a Tuesday night in Albuquerque. It was Amanda’s first night out after moving to the city to attend graduate school, and they had just finished their first day of classes. Amanda celebrated with two classmates, who eventually became their best friends and bridesmaids at their wedding. Andrew claims it was his 1001st night at the bar, and he finally found what he was looking for. Yay, the bar visits paid off. The two of them bonded over their love for Taos, and seven years later, they got married in Taos.





The Couple Gets Engaged on Scenic Drive in Portland

The couple got engaged in December 2021 while driving to Amanda’s parent’s house to celebrate her stepdad’s birthday and later attend a holiday party with college friends in Portland. Andrew preferred taking the scenic route, which added two more hours to the trip, but Amanda agreed due to the excitement for the weekend of celebrations. After the first big snow of the season, they stopped at a parking lot to hike out to a waterfall, but due to the heavy snow, they decided to visit a closer one. Amanda turned around as the sun was setting and shining through the clouds to see Andrew down on one knee in the snow, proposing. It was a perfect moment, made even better by the opportunity to celebrate with their family and friends over the weekend.





A Personal and Intimate Wedding Dress Fitting Experience

Amanda started searching for her wedding dress online after her engagement. She had a specific vision. She was looking for a lace dress with an open back and not a high neck. Her search led her from Pinterest to Etsy and eventually to the Dreamers and Lovers website. Initially, Amanda was planning to try on dresses at home, using D&L home try-on service (Yes, that’s a thing) but decided to use flight credits to make a trip instead. The fitting process ‘exceeded her expectations,’ as it was personal and intimate, just as she had hoped wedding dress shopping would be.




Their Dream Wedding Comes to Life with the Help of Talented Vendors and Family Members

The couple’s photographer David Jesse and his second shooter were terrific and resourceful to have the day of the event. The photographer team helped Andrew and Amanda keep things moving, get the photos they wanted, and ensure the day went well. The couple had a local distiller (Rolling Stills) who did their bar and provided an excellent bar while keeping everything within their budget. Amanda raved about the fantastic bartenders, and the couple was happy to have them there. Our wedding cake was a 3 tier cheesecake made by my mom and my grandmother. The wedding toppers were handmade dolls that resembled the couple to replicate those Amanda’s parents had on their wedding cake. What a tremendous sentimental touch! The pair had a close friend play guitar for the ceremony. They sent him some songs, and he created his rendition, which was perfect. Most of the flowers for the wedding were from Amanda’s grandmother’s neighbor. She has a Dahlia farm and used to sell flowers at the farmers market but has stopped doing that for the past couple of years. She gave the couple ALL of the flowers, which was just amazing. Wow, that is an incredible gift!


Amanda’s Advice to Other Brides

“The small details probably don’t matter. Find the meaningful things to be there and spend money or time on those. The little kitschy thing you pick up at Target and spend more than you should probably isn’t worth it.”

MORE INSPIRATION: Laura and Ryan’s Countryside Wedding


Planning a Destination Wedding and the Challenges of Distance and Lack of Professional Help

The biggest challenge for the couple was trying to plan a wedding that was 2000 miles from where they lived without the help of a wedding planner. Andrew and Amanda showed up in New Mexico a week before the wedding, and there was a TON of stuff they had to do really quickly. Amanda admits some of the tasks did not get done, but in retrospect, those things really just didn’t matter.



The Next Chapter Unfolds in New Mexico?

The newlyweds are currently living in Oregon. They are hoping to move back to New Mexico to be closer to their family and community and start to build a family of their own.





PHOTOGRAPHER: David Jesse Photo

Taos, New Mexico Distiller: Rolling Still




A Boho Wedding at a Working Ranch in Wine Country

A Boho Wedding at a Working Ranch in Wine Country


Emily and Chris met in high school, their first day of freshman year in the first period. So many firsts! Chris held the door open for Emily, and she was smitten. “I instantly thought he was so cute, and we crushed on each other since,” Emily said. As fate would have it, they never dated in high school. It wasn’t until seven years later, after Emily had moved from their hometown in California to Hawaii, that they made dating official. They reconnected, and Chris visited her in Hawaii and sparked flew. The couple got engaged less than two years later. Ahhhh, the magic of Hawaii!

Most of their relationship has been long-distance. Since Chris is in the military, the two wouldnt see each other very often at the beginning of their dating relationship. After he visited her in Hawaii for a few weeks, they didnt see each other for six months. Good thing Emily moved back home to California. Did that mean they saw each other regularly? Unfortunately, no. Chris was stationed in California, but they were still a 2.5-hour drive away from each other.  Consequently, they saw each other only on weekends, not all, but most. 2 weeks after they got engaged, Chris was sent on a 7-month deployment. By now, you probably think Emily & Chris is the most patient couple ever. The things we do for love, and all so worth it. 

Wedding planning was a challenge for these two lovebirds. Trying to plan their wedding while working and going to school full-time, paired with the time difference from California to Guam, made it a challenge. Conversations themselves were difficult. There were financial stressors, and “going through all the emotions of deployment and not having each other was very tough, but we got through it!” Emily stated. Their faith brought them closer together. They would regularly pray together and help to keep each other laughing and optimistic for the future. FaceTime was their saving grace! “Thank God for technology!”

The two had their dream bohemian ranch wedding at a working ranch in California Wine Country. Love does conquer all. You know what else? Emily sprained her ankle 10 minutes into the wedding reception, but that did not cause her to take a seat at her ranch wedding. She still danced the night away. Now, that’s a Dreamers & Lovers girl!



The Proposal

Emily set up a beach photo shoot; she planned to take family pictures for their friends before their men headed out to their deployment. One of their favorite beaches in SoCal- is Carlsbad. Chris tagged along since they were going to get dinner afterward, and Emily’s friend offered to take photos of the couple. While the friend was snapping away, Chris fell on one knee at sunset.  Emily was so surprised and described it as “the perfect moment. I felt like I sort of blacked out (LOL), but I was on cloud 9. The man of my dreams gave me the ring of my dreams, and it was extraordinary!”




Wedding Vendors & Moments that Made the Day Magical

The couple had 165 guests present to witness their love story unfold. Much of the couple’s vendors were a family affair.  Emily’s dad was the officiant. The couple was also elated with Emily’s Aunt Monica. She is the owner of Sweet Makery, an event company specializing in event styling + design and custom dessert tables. “She is simply the best and made my dreams come true with our cake and dessert table,” Emily noted. The couple is also happy with their chosen venue, a working ranch in Wine Country. Most of their family and close friends stayed on the property, making it a fun rehearsal dinner. They got a headstart on dancing the night away, even before the wedding! Chris’s brother tattooed lots of the wedding party in the groomsmens bunker, including Chris and Emily. Emily got her first tattoo! “It was small but significant, especially since he did it,” Emily noted.

Emily decided to DIY her flowers, and they are stunning. She does admit, “flowers were probably my biggest headache, LOL.” “I also think I slightly have OCD and wanted to make my bouquets and my nine bridesmaids and my groomsmen and three mini groomsmen.” She got dried flowers from small businesses through a flea market and Etsy. The day before the wedding, the bride and friends bought loads of eucalyptus and carnations from Trader Joe’s. She admits that even though she is a strict planner, some things, “I just wing it!” The morning of their wedding, while all the girls got ready together, they built their bouquets with a mix of dried boho flowers and pampas and mixed them with fresh eucalyptus, carnations, roses, and babies breath. It turned out way better than Emily expected, and it was a fun way to get creative with her girls. “A special shoutout to my girls Emma and Rachel for making the bouquet of my dreams; I am such a blessed woman!” the bride notes.

MORE INSPIRATION: Megan & Scott’s Dreamy Bohemian Ranch Wedding.

Finding her Wedding Dress

Dreamers & Lovers was only the second place Emily looked for a dress. She did not have a great experience at the first dress shop she visited, but at Dreamers and Lovers, it was “truly the most special time,” Emily added. She went dress shopping with her mom and now her mother-in-law. Emily feels very blessed to have such a great relationship with both her moms and their bond with each other. Win, win! The Caroline dress was the first one she tried on after stalking the website because she immediately fell in love! The bride said, “It was everything I loved about wedding dresses such as these.” She loved they were elegant, romantic, and a little different! She wanted an off-the-shoulder dress with the kind of lace Caroline had. She tried a few more to be sure, but the bridal consultant told her she could tell that Emily was in love with the Caroline dress. She was right! Emily said yes that day! She says it was the “best decision ever.”





The Wedding Vows


The couple wrote their vows! Emily’s favorite lines from Chris’s vows were:

I promise to put God in the center of our marriage and to rely on Him and to seek wisdom and strength in our relationship.” 

I promise to watch Iron Man 2 with you and let you quote every line. The couple are Marvel fans..


The Bride’s Favorite Memory of the Weddings

This was a difficult question for the bride because there were so many memorable moments. She did come up with two. For Emily, the first dance as husband and wife was incredible. She recalls looking around the room and seeing their loved ones surrounding them. It was special having them all in one room and witnessing all the smiles and happy tears. “It was an indescribable feeling, full of love and joy and bliss all in one,” she said.  Emily was also pleasantly surprised when Chris became emotional. “Before the wedding, Chris said he would not cry, but he cried about four times throughout our wedding ceremony; that was pretty sweet too! Love ya, honey ;).”

Emily’s Advice to Other Brides

“Wedding planning can be very stressful, but don’t forget to have fun! You only do this once, so enjoy it. Another tip is to remember the focus of the day; you are marrying the love of your life. That is such a gift! Don’t get caught up in the little things; some people will try to get their way at your wedding, but it’s YOUR wedding. Don’t feel bad about making decisions that are a little bit selfish. Enjoy the moment, and don’t you dare to look at your phone- I didn’t even think about mine. Best thing ever.”

MORE INSPIRATION: Laura and Ryan’s Countryside Wedding


Emily & Chris’s Next Chapters

Congrats to the couple. They purchased their first home in Florida two days before their wedding. Chris’s military job has led them to Florida, and they bought their home without ever seeing it. Emily has mentioned it’s crazy, but this couple has proven that it all works out. Love conquers all. They took a leap of faith, and the deal closed the morning of their wedding! How meant to be? They love their home, and they now have a dog they love. Emily is finishing school and working. They are hoping for many kids in the future. Thanks to Emily for sharing their beautiful love story.





PHOTOGRAPHER: Wildlands Photo


TATTOO ARTIST: Art By Adrian Martin




Small Wedding Ideas: Alison, Matt and their Pug, Rhino

Small Wedding Ideas: Alison, Matt and their Pug, Rhino

Alison and Matt planned a small wedding in California, where they are from, that felt right for them. They had 50 guests and their adorable pug, Rhino.

We asked Alison to share the details of her small wedding with only 50 guests. “It allowed us to be present with each one there to celebrate us. It also allowed guests who didn’t know each other before to mingle and get to know each other; it was perfect.”

We are obsessed with their style and how they look as if they were made for each other. Alison shares how they met: “Matt was a regular at a cafe I was managing. We progressed from customer to friends, to dating to now husband and wife. We always had a serendipitous feeling, so we just rode the wave and knew.”



How Matt Proposed

Initially, we were supposed to have our proposal in France, but Covid had other plans for the world. He pivoted and booked a room for us at La Valencia in La Jolla, CA. He knew I wanted to have a boho picnic, so he planned one at the park overlooking the ocean, and he proposed there; it was so sweet.

Fun Nice-to-Haves for your Small Wedding

    “I absolutely loooved our photobooth, our phone guestbook, After The Tone and we purchased disposable cameras for each table to help capture the candid moments. But really, every vendor helped to create my full vision.”

Wedding Cake or Cupcake?

“We had mini cupcakes for our wedding and a small cutting cake for us. I loved the idea of having cupcakes because it allows everyone to pick a flavor or flavors that they want. I’m also gluten-free/dairy free so to be able to have regular cupcakes for our guests but also cupcakes/cutting cake for me was important.”

Finding a Dress for Her Small Wedding

  “I had been following Dreamers & Lovers for yearsss! I knew when the time came I would find my dream dress here. I knew I wanted long sleeves and had one particular dress in mind but after trying on the Willow, I knew that was “the one.”

Shop More Lace Wedding Dresses

Their Wedding Flowers

“I wanted an October wedding to lean into the fall color palette but not overtly fall. I definitely wanted a more wild look for my bouquet and I wanted it to be quite substantial because I just love flowers. Our florist nailed my vision and I was soo happy with the end result, fall but not in your face fall, it was lovely.”



Wedding Vows & Readings for a Smaller Wedding

“We specifically selected an officiant who would curate the perfect non-religious ceremony. She spoke mostly about love and what it means to everyone, and how it’s our universal language. It was exactly what we envisioned; we couldn’t have been happier.”

When asked about their vows, because we LOOOOOVE vows. “We did write our own vows! My favorite line was actually the last line of my vows – “and I cannot wait to laugh out the rest of this lifetime with you.” I truly believe that laughter can heal anything, and I’m so happy I found someone who makes me deep belly laugh daily.”


Alison’s Advice to Future Brides

“Stay true to who you are as a couple, don’t let outside voices influence you. We wanted an authentic to our wedding and that’s exactly what we had and we couldn’t have been happier!”

Alison’s Favorite Detail from her Intimate Wedding

“My favorite detail was being able to celebrate with all of our loved ones and being able to include our dog Rhino into the first look and ceremony.”

What’s Next for Alison, Matt & Rhino

“We’ve been together now for 7 years, we’ve been through so much already as a couple but now we’re ready to really settle in as husband and wife and continue working on creating a beautiful life for us and Rhino.”

Photographer: Kristina Joy Photography

Bride’s Dress: Willow Lace Wedding Dress