Let’s normalize getting married in our favorite coffee shops, shall we? Aerin and Ben’s intimate coffee shop wedding at Basecamp Coffee Co. in Fayetteville, AR was absolutely whimsical and cozy. I’ve known Aerin since college and it was an absolute honor to photograph her wedding. Fayetteville, AR is only 5 hours from Memphis, so it was a sweet getaway weekend for all of us there!
If you’re not sure that a traditional wedding setup is for you, but eloping on your own is definitely not your thing- a micro wedding can be the best happy medium. And when you have connections with local businesses like this couple did, so many more locations open up for your wedding day. The intimate wedding plan brings so much more opportunity to do what you want to. And that’s what Aerin and Ben did. Find yourself and intimate coffee shop for your wedding and you’ll be well on your way.
Some people aren’t down for extensive getting ready coverage, and that’s completely okay. To be honest, I’m not completely sure why we need hours and hours of coverage as you get your makeup applied :) BUT, I am always interested in the candid moments that I can document along the way, so the amount of time I’m there to photograph is completely up to you. Aerin and Ben both got ready at separate AirBnb’s, with their small bridal party (2 people each). It was a really sweet and special time. When Dylan (my husband and trusty second shooter) and I walked into Aerin’s space, she had the chill music, coffee, and lots of laughter. They had made their bouquets together the night before, which is a total budget hack! Buy your flowers either wholesale, or from places like Costco or Sam’s Club, and do your bouquet yourself!
I LOVED how they tied in their love and passion for coffee, with the coffee beans and mug in their detail shots. Basecamp Coffee Co. holds so much history for Aerin and Ben, so it was only fitting that the day had this theme. Once the details were shot, Aerin’s best friends prayed over her and shared some sweet moments together. And don’t even get me started on the photos with her mother… so, so sweet.
Aerin and Ben chose to do a first look before their ceremony, which always ideal in my opinion. This gives so much more time for us to accomplish all of the portraits you want. And it takes away so much stress. Especially with an intimate ceremony, cutting out as much stress as possible is not a decision you’ll regret :)
I chose to do their first look in the middle of the street, since the house Ben was staying at was in a wooded and private neighborhood. The street with the overgrown houses all around gave their photos a whimsical look, while still being slightly urban and raw.
Once we arrived at Basecamp Coffee Co., we hid Aerin and Ben away with their bridal party and family. This gave us time to grab details inside the coffee shop, as well as capture more moments of prayer, laughter, and amazing friendship. The coffee shop provided such a vibey, warm and inviting environment for the ceremony. Boho rugs, greenery, and the casual nature of the space was absolutely perfect. Before and after the ceremony, Basecamp served their menu to the private party, as well as a few custom drinks specifically for Aerin and Ben’s special day. Be encouraged to find local vendors and local businesses who are open to hosting your elopement or wedding– it changes the whole experience!
There was live music, worship, coffee, kombucha, and so much laughing and love. The intimacy of this day was perfect. Aerin’s dress was made by Evie Young Bridal, purchased at Violets Bridal in Springdale, AR. She looked stunning.
Speeches closed out the day, which was only about 5 hours total. Yes, you can absolutely have an intimate wedding day and keep it on the shorter side! That’s the beauty of the wedding and elopement concept– it’s yours to create. If you need help with planning an elopement or intimate wedding, check out this elopement checklist for all of the necessary details in how you plan!
All of Aerin’s vendors were local, except for photography and friends from Memphis coming in to celebrate and play music. All refreshments were provided by Basecamp Coffee Co., and cakes by Rymolene’s Pies in Fayetteville. Their cake cutting was quick and sweet- no need to make it a huge deal if that’s not your thing! The intimate wedding is intimate for a reason :) Only share what you want to.
Lots of people are on the fence about this idea of doing a private last dance…but I love it. I say skip all of the traditional expectations and have that final private moment to tie in your whole day. I’ve photographed a few of these intimate moments, they are so special. How does it work? You send all of your people out to prepare for a grand exit, while you and your new life partner share a dance. That’s it! Aerin threw on a leather jacket over her wedding dress and the two of them took in the day before leaving the building.
There was so much love and encouragement as Aerin and Ben walked out of the coffee shop together. Since it was such a small group, there was time for them to say goodbye and really soak in every second with their closest people. I know that they will remember this day, not just because they had a wedding photographer, but because they took their time. The day gave space for relationship; it did not go by in a blur.
Why not? Reach out to your local coffee shops, or anywhere that you love to hang out! You will be shocked at how many locations are willing to be an intimate wedding venue. They take care of their people! And if you’re still not sure if this is right for you, I have some other non-traditional ideas for getting married! Here to help you :)