Today, another beautiful and intimate wedding – just the bride, groom, and their twelve guests. Why such a small wedding? Says the bride:

Originally we wanted to have our wedding on the beach in Hawaii with our immediate family, but when it came down to planning we worried whether the older members of our family could make the trip. So we made the decision to have a wedding in Michigan in September – I grew up there and knew the scenery and atmosphere would be perfect for who we are as a couple: laid-back and casual. We also knew that all of our grandparents could make it easily.

I have to say that the entire day was a joy. Since the wedding was at sunset, we took casual family photos with Andy [Wakeman] and goofed around, then on my own time I got ready for the big moment. There wasn’t a timeline and someone pushing me to go, go, go. I was very relaxed!

My advice for other brides is that the dress is not everything and big weddings aren’t worth the debt if you can’t easily afford them. We walked away from our wedding debt free, and without feeling like we missed out on anything. And on top of it, we got to spend a whole weekend with our 12 family members – it was wonderful!

One of the greatest things about the day was that someone [not in our party] paid for our entire dinner at the Sagamore restaurant! They were completely anonymous and did such a wonderful thing. My husband and I decided that we will pay it forward in the future should the opportunity arise.

Photography: Andy Wakeman

Venue: The Inn at Bay Harbor in Bay Harbor, Michigan

Bride’s dress: Mori Lee

Groom’s suit: Banana Republic

Flowers: BLOOM Unique Floral Creations

Congratulations Dana and Zack – thank you for showing us that simple and sweet is a wonderful way to go! And thank you to Andy Wakeman for sending over these lovely photos.

17 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings
  1. Anna

    What a beautiful gown!

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    • Roni

      Dana, you and Zack make a beautiful couple! The pictures are gorgeous, thank you for sharing.

  2. Ann

    I love this wedding and what a cute story! Love it!

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  3. lizzie

    sounds like such a beautiful wedding…i can’t believe someone else picked up the tab! that happened to me once in Denny’s and i agreed i would pay it forward too…and that was Denny’s….ha.

    beautiful wedding, great photos!

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  4. Rita

    Wow, gorgeous wedding!

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  5. Prippy Handboook

    Words of wisdom and a stunning wedding.

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  6. Yvonne

    beautiful, classy wedding. i love it when couples have small, intimate weddings – what a wonderful way to share your most special day with those who are closest to you. the bride and groom look so lovely.

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  7. Jennifer @ Darling Notes

    Beautiful! The beach photos are so lovely and refreshing!

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  8. Jen

    Love these pictures! This wedding is just what I need as inspiration for my (11 person) wedding this summer!

    Where are those adorable shoes from??

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  9. Katie Kingman

    What a lovely wedding! This is a simple union of two people in love and their celebration has such sweet details! ~Katie Kingman | Brilliant Event Planning

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  10. Paper Moss

    Love how crisp and beautiful those photos are…

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  11. Rachel – theWeddingVine

    What a beautiful home and ideal place for a wedding! Also the brides gown is incredible, the way the dress is rouched is amazing!

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  12. Maggie

    I love the bride’s shoes! Where are they from??

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  13. Madison


    That is so sweet that someone payed for the wedding dinner…made me want to cry! If everyone was as giving (without wanting recognition for it) as that person, the world would be a better place.

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  14. Dana

    I got the shoes at Priscilla of Boston. And thanks for all the compliments!

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  15. Rene Forrest

    Might I add that my daughter gave her dress to someone who could not afford a dress. So in a way she has also paid it forward. I’m so proud of her.

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  16. Dotty Gans

    A beautiful wedding. My compliments to all involved in the planning. The pictures are so lovely. Captured so many beautiful monemts for happy memories.

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