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How to Plan the Perfect Small Intimate Wedding

Featuring Vail & Damon’s Multi-Day, Multi-State Wedding: Learn how Vail & Damon planned the perfect, small intimate wedding without compromising their shared vision of their wedding day

Small Intimate Wedding: 3 Essential Planning Tips So You Don’t Miss Out

Planning a small intimate wedding can be a truly magical experience. From the cozy atmosphere to the meaningful connections, there’s something incredibly special about celebrating your big day with your nearest and dearest. If you’re dreaming of a wedding that’s filled with love, joy, and cherished moments, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to plan the perfect small intimate wedding. Whether you’re envisioning a backyard gathering or a romantic elopement, our tips and advice will help you create a day that is unforgettable. So, let’s dive in and discover how to make your intimate.

"We kept things as non-traditional as possible. These days were about us and we made sure it felt that way." - Vail & Damon

Determine Your Priorities

Discuss your wedding day priorities with your partner. Write down 5-10 important aspects such as setting, guest count, vendors, and budget. Focus on how you want to feel and remember your wedding day. Prioritize accordingly, whether it’s a lively dance party or intimate conversations with guests.

Discover how Vail & Damon planned their own perfect small intimate wedding:

After 10 years together, Vail & Damon were ready to take their next and most exciting adventure together as a couple and wanted to get married. First, they seriously considered what they wanted their day to look like. Not just the aesthetics but their experience as well as their family and friends.

They wanted a day that was exclusively for them, but also an experience they could share with their family and friends. So, they did both!

Originally from Arizona, they wanted to hit the road for a few weeks and explore the Pacific Northwest and planned to spend time in both Oregon and Washington. Olympic National Park was high on their bucket list, specifically the Hoh Rainforest, and they ultimately decided to start their adventure there.

Olympic National Park Elopement

They opted to spread their celebration into a multi-day event, starting with an elopement-style adventure in Olympic National Park, followed by an intimate ceremony at Hoyt Arboretum’s Redwood Observation Deck in Portland, Oregon’s Washington Park, ending with a small reception complete with food, games, and music. They also made time between their ceremony and reception for a pit stop of ice cream at Portland’s iconic Salt and Straw *if you know, you know*.


from the Blog

Best Places to Elope in Oregon
The Best Places to Elope in Oregon

Taylor & Gaurav celebrated both of their unique cultural backgrounds during a breathtaking sunset engagement session in Hug Point. Check out this location and many more in this article detailing the best places to elope in Oregon.


Create Your Vision and Craft Your Experience

Next, craft your experience on your wedding day. Look for ways to make your day feel personal and specially curated to your unique qualities as a couple by making decisions that transcend trends. Vail & Damon adopted “quality over quantity” when planning their small intimate wedding. Since their wedding was a destination wedding for them and their guests, they wanted to truly experience all that the PNW has to offer without missing out on time with family on their actual wedding day.

Redwood Observation Deck Wedding

They spread out their wedding into a multi-state, multi-day affair, reserving one of the days exclusively for themselves to explore Olympic National Park, a top must-visit location on their travel bucket list. By carving out this day exclusively for themselves, Vail & Damon were able to spend quality time with their guests on their wedding day without losing out on their priorities – experience and adventure.

“We wanted all the adventure we could get! The two of us played with the idea of eloping but ultimately decided we should have our family present for our ceremony. That being said, our adventure session was for us and us only. By planning our wedding/adventure session in different states, we were able to really drag out our experience and had more time to enjoy together and make memories!”

Portland, OR Wedding
The first time we met Vail & Damon in person was in a parking lot in Forks, WA. Being from AZ, Vail & Damon trusted our judgment and leaned into the ideas we laid out for them. We also very much appreciated their flexibility as the weather forced us to change our plans at the last minute, as it usually does on the peninsula!

Our day consisted of visiting multiple beaches on the coast, starting with Second Beach. Next, we traveled inland to check out Hoh Rainforest, made a pit stop for lunch in Forks, cooked s'mores on the beach at Kalaloch, and caught the last light of the day at Ruby Beach.


Bring Your Vision to Life

“We spent every second of our day with one another. From our early morning ceremony set-up to getting ready, to leaving our reception – we didn’t leave each other’s side for a moment. We really just valued having uninterrupted time together.”

Portland, OR Wedding


Vail + Damon’s wedding day truly felt like a celebration. They planned an epic day in Olympic National Park and also a packed wedding weekend with their families to draw out their experience, making more time to enjoy together and make memories (escape rooms, the zoo, pool party, etc.)

On their wedding day, they got ready together, did a private vow exchange, created a custom jeopardy game for their families to play in the evening, and even made an ice cream pit stop in the middle of the day.


When it’s all said and done, all you will have left of your wedding day are your memories. When planning a small and intimate wedding, plan out your priorities and think of the experience you want to have that will create the best memories for you and your partner, and get creative in finding ways to bring your vision to life.

Get back to the basics of what’s important and celebrate your first and most exciting adventure as a couple in a way that is unapologetically you. Vail + Damon wanted adventure but also the experience of making memories and time spent with their families. They were able to get both by dragging out their wedding into a multi-day, multi-state affair. They made their experience and wedding day truly about them by getting ready together, exchanging private vows, and stopping for a mid-day ice cream break at Salt and Straw. Each small and intimate wedding will look different, as it’s unique to you.

“We had so many opinions thrown at us, and at the end of the day, we had fun because we didn’t listen to anyone else.”


At the end of the day, planning the perfect small intimate wedding requires determining your priorities, creating your vision, and bringing it to life. By understanding what matters most to you and your partner, you can tailor every aspect of your special day to reflect your unique love story. From the venue and decorations to the menu and entertainment, each detail should contribute to the overall experience you want to create for yourselves and your loved ones.

Remember, this is your chance to celebrate your love in a way that truly represents you both. So, take the time to plan thoughtfully and make it a day to remember. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

Words From the Heart

Kind words from Vail + Damon

“We can not say enough nice things about Adventure Story Films. We wanted adventure and they gave it to us! They were open to all of our ideas and were flexible in creating a package that was perfect for us. They were wonderful at communicating with us and filling in any gaps that we weren’t sure about (helping pick locations, build a timeline, suggesting vendors, etc.). We had two sessions with them and for both, they created such a beautiful experience. The experiences were authentic and completely candid. They offered us guidance while shooting, but never had us do anything that felt uncomfortable. We both had such a fun time while shooting with them.

Megan and Vishnu are so kind and welcoming; it truly felt like a group of friends just hanging out! We would recommend them to anyone, a million times over. They made our experiences everything that we wanted and were by far, our best investment. When it comes to photographers/videographers, there are numerous options to choose from and they are all talented, but the unique experience that Megan and Vishnu are able to give their clients is unmatched. They work as a team to create timeless art and we will always appreciate the memories they captured for us!”

Check out Vail & Damon’s full gallery

Vail + Damon’s Full Wedding Film

Small Intimate Wedding: 3 Essential Planning Tips So You Don’t Miss Out

Yes, we're wedding photographers and videographers, but most importantly, we're artists and storytellers first. The genuine connection and trust we'll build together makes this more than a job to us - this is why we do what we do.

We're Megan & vishnu


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