by: ELD Team

Alexa of Alexa Kritis Events stated that this intimate San Francisco City Hall wedding was one of her FAVORITES she has ever done in her career. Robin reached out to Alexa to plan her intimate city hall wedding with her fiance, Brandon, and you are in for a treat with this beautiful small wedding!

Robin and Brandon’s intimate wedding was small on guests but BIG on carefully curated details. Robin’s impeccable eye for detail led her to choose a color palette of burgundy & gold, and November was the perfect month to show off those shades throughout the flowers, invitation suite and details. Robin & Brandon got ready at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel with their family and friends before heading to San Francisco City Hall for the wedding ceremony. Following the intimate ceremony at the courthouse, guests hopped on the San Francisco classic- a cable car! After a fun ride around the city, Robin and Brandon’s 28 guests gathered around a beautiful long table at Wayfare Tavern for dinner.

Clara Rice Photo captured the day beautifully- take a glimpse below, and then head over to the post on Alexa’s blog to see the rest!

An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via
An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding via

Go read the post on Alexa’s blog to hear more about this gorgeously intimate San Francisco City Hall wedding!


Vendors who made it all happen…

Planning & Design – Alexa Kritis Events // Ceremony Venue – San Francisco City Hall // Reception Venue – Wayfare Tavern // Getting Ready Location – Sir Francis Drake Hotel // Photography – Clara Rice Photo // Videography – IQ Photo // Florals – Nigella SF // Ceremony Strings – Starlite Strings // Dinnerware Rentals – Theoni // Invitations – Minted Weddings

Exclusive ELD Vendors

Like the post above? Here are the Every Last Detail vendors that participated making this post beautiful! Featured vendors are hand picked and approved by Lauren. Get more information by clicking on them below:

by: Lauren

After writing a post about why weddings cost “so much“, it brought something to my attention- that there are a few myths that continue to be perpetuated about wedding costs. When I say “wedding costs”, in a nutshell I mean budget and/or pricing. And now I would like to attempt to dispel these myths. Why? It’s what I do. ;) And I want you all to know the truth- because I didn’t know when I was planning my wedding!

Myths About Wedding Costs via

So what exactly ARE these myths that have to do with budget/pricing?

Wedding cost myth #1:  You should barter and/or ask wedding vendors for discounts.

I’ve SEEN this said on blogs and forums before. The only way that a barter miiiiight work is if you own a company that the vendor could SERIOUSLY benefit from. (Like if you’re a floral wholesaler and you barter with a florist, or if you own a camera company and you barter with your photographer.) My question for you is this: do you straight-up ask your server at a restaurant or your doctor for a discount? Or tell them you’ll give them (insert-your-product/job/hobby/whatever-here) in exchange for food or a blood test?

[Personal wedding experience side note: The funny thing about this is that in looking back on planning my own wedding, I seriously asked my dad (who is a dentist) if he would barter veneers with my event decor company. The event decor company of course said no, because nice teeth don’t translate into anything beneficial for flowers or rentals. OMG, so embarrassed. I totally forgot about this!]

Wedding cost myth #2: Things are marked up just because they have the word “wedding” in them.

Ah, I was a believer in this one. Wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, wedding cake, etc etc etc. And I also have seen this one- plus a viral video or two- perpetuated among brides. The truth is, it is what it is- and it’s also what you’re asking for. A venue is perhaps cheaper to rent for a meeting because that meeting is occurring on a Wednesday, not on a Friday or Saturday. And that said meeting isn’t consuming as much food and beverages as a wedding does. Or a wedding cake- it might not be the same price as the cake on the shelf at a bakery, but that’s because that cake is literally just cake and icing and a single sheet. Chances are that wedding cake you’re wanting is probably a few tiers, has all sorts of designs, and requires hours of work. I could go on and on with this one… perhaps I need to just do a whole separate post just for this myth?

Wedding cost myth #3: It’s cheaper if you do it all yourself.

Okay, SOME things are cheaper- but keep in mind that you’re also paying someone to do it FOR you, thus paying them for your time. That’s why it’s cheaper to do it yourself. Just ask yourself how much of your own time you actually want to take up doing things yourself to save a few bucks. (Note: I’m not hating on DIY, just stating something.)

[Personal wedding experience side note: I wanted to make my own menus. Because I was clueless and ordered run-of-the-mill invitations from a big giant book and didn’t have someone custom design paper products for me. And I did make my own menus- until about 3 am the night before my wedding. When I had to wake up at 7 am to start getting ready. Missing out on those hours of sleep during my 18 hour wedding day? Um totally would have PAID someone to do them.]

And here are a few more myths that fellow wedding professionals shared with me via my lovely friend Twitter… (names have been withheld juuuuust in case…)

“That you can save a ton of money by having Uncle Charlie photograph the wedding with his new Canon 7D!”

“Spectacular weddings for 150 or more being $5000. Total.”

“You need to spend tons of money on the venue! If you are creative & stick to your wedding style you can have a gorgeous wedding in a reasonably priced venue!”

“(MYTH) Catering over $50/person is a rip off – I can go to Outback for $50/person!”

“You can get a good wedding videographer for $500”

“That invitations should be $1 (myth) yet you pay $4 for a crap card from Hallmark.”

“Rent a linen for $50? I can buy one for that!”

“That beautiful flowers for ceremony and reception are only $1500 ….”


These are all myths, being spread wrongly by inexperienced people. Don’t believe them! They could be true in some cases, but that chance is very slim. Slim meaning that if we’re talking percentage, it’s a single digit. And I will have you know that I myself thought of and/or said every SINGLE one of these things when I was planning my wedding. Now you know, and it’ll save you a lot of heartache, pain, blood, sweat, tears, hemming, hawing, etc etc! If you have any other things that you’ve heard that you might think are myths, put it in the comments! I’ll let you know! :)


Editor’s note: A version of this post was published in March 2011. It has since been updated and revamped. 


Click here for more info about wedding costs 

by: Lauren

My 11 year wedding anniversary was this weekend, and while looking back on my wedding day, I of course also started reminiscing about planning my wedding. Now, if you don’t already know, here’s my story in a nutshell:

I was absolutely clueless about all things weddings when I was planning my own. I wasn’t in the wedding industry yet, and because my husband and I were married right out of college (high school sweethearts here!) I didn’t have any friends to tell me what to do or what not to do. Oh, and did I mention that wedding blogs were brand new, and Pinterest neither Instagram existed?! Needless to say, I had a really hard time finding information about planning a wedding! And this was one of the main reasons that I started a blog and got into weddings. I wanted to help other couples and prevent them from making the same mistakes that I did… mistakes that could have been easily prevented if I had only been better educated about weddings and what to expect.

So in honor of my anniversary, I’m reviving this post about ten things that I wish someone had told me about planning a wedding. I hope that some of these tidbits might help some of you in your own wedding planning journey- because after all, here at ELD, we exist to HELP you! :)

10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Planning A Wedding via

1. Your vendors don’t all have to be based in the same location that your wedding takes place.

I got married in my small hometown, and for some strange reason, I thought that wedding professionals from the surrounding larger cities wouldn’t travel an hour to an hour and half for my wedding. So I limited myself to searching for vendors that were based in my small town, and as a result, my options were few and far between. Most cities have other cities/towns that surround them, right? It didn’t even occur to me that, since I actually *lived* in one of those larger cities, a lot of my meetings with vendors would have been a lot easier had I hired where I lived instead of where my wedding was occurring. Oh, and also… in most cities, it takes about an hour to get somewhere anyways right?! What was I thinking? DUH!

2. You want to hire vendors who feel like your friends.

You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your wedding vendors- so of course you want to be comfortable and have fun with them! I myself didn’t even consider this when hiring my vendors… BIG mistake. Now having been on the other side as a vendor, I totally understand this. You’re emailing them, calling them, texting them, and then, spending time with them on your actual wedding day. Planning a wedding is so much better when you’re having fun, and a big component of that is WHO you’re with! 

3. When researching vendors, you can’t compare “apples to oranges”.

All wedding vendors are different. Everyone has different levels of experience, different services, different packages. Yes, it makes it tough to make a decision, but if you end up trying to compare exactly, you’re doing yourself a disservice, because you’re most likely going to end up with the short end of the stick. Like me. I hired a photographer because they were the cheaper option out of everyone I met with. And guess what? By the time everything was said and done, I ended up paying an amount that most definitely was not cheap! Knowing what I know now, it kills me to know the quality of photography that I would have been able to get for the amount I spent. But I was comparing “apples to oranges”, and I didn’t look a little deeper into what should have mattered- quality and personality.  

4. Know your options! 

It’s totally fine to meet with a few different vendors- you need to know your options so you can make an informed decision! Don’t feel bad about it. But at the same time, don’t get too carried away with the options. A good rule of thumb: do your research first, and then schedule consultations with your top 3 options. (Oh, and then once you’ve made a decision, don’t forget to let the others know that you won’t be able to work with them!) 

5Having a huge bridal party isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. 

Oh yes, I’m going there. I had 9 bridesmaids… and I expected them all to help out with things. The more, the better, right? Well, needless to say, people have their own lives going on too, and sometimes they’re really not all that interested in wedding events. Plus, having to organize and deal with several girls was kind of nuts and stressful. If I could do it again, I would definitely have a small bridal party. 

6. Read your contracts! 

Yeah, I know- it’s kinda boring. But I didn’t do it, and I ended up not having a photographer for the last 2 hours of my wedding. Make sure what you’re expecting is what you’re actually getting. Which leads me to…

7. Communicate with your vendors. 

I don’t think this is as much of a problem today as it was when I was planning, but “back then”, email still wasn’t quite the norm that it is today. You still had to call vendors to get a hold of them. <<gasp, shocking, right?!.. Today, email is a beautiful thing. Utilize all the means of communication that we have today, and communicate with your vendors about everything. Share what your vision is for your wedding, what you are expecting out of them, and how you want your wedding day to be. There’s nothing wrong with communicating these things- but for some reason, I was NOT good at doing this. And you know what? If anything, it helps everyone involved in your wedding so they are on the same page. Because after all… no one can read minds! 

And on this note… it’s okay to ASK! Friends, you will never know anything if you don’t ask. This pertains to everything- vendor pricing, help, etiquette, opinions… just ASK! Lucky for you, we are here to help… but if you don’t want to ask us, definitely ask your vendors! They WANT to help you and educate you about weddings. You’ve never planned a wedding before, right?! No one expects you to know everything about planning a wedding.  

8. Don’t be afraid to do things differently. 

Do what you want- what reflects YOU. I was afraid to go outside of the “norm” for some of my details- like menus and favors. Even though I was afraid of doing something different, I still did them- and they’re still my favorite details from my wedding. They were my vision, and I knew that they were 100% reflective of ME. My only regret is that I didn’t apply that same concept to the rest of my wedding! 

9. Custom wedding invitations are the way to go. 

I know it’s an odd thing to bring up, but wedding invitations are a huge part of your wedding, and they don’t always get the attention that they deserve. In my instance, I didn’t even know that custom invitations were possible- nonetheless that they would be about the same cost as what “customizable” invitations were. The difference? Custom invitations are designed for your wedding and your wedding only- unique and one-of-a-kind. Unfortunately, by the time I found out about the amazingness of custom invitations, I didn’t have enough time to get them designed and printed- but I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did! 

10. First looks are GOOD things. 

Seriously. I know I say it all the time, but I SO wish I had done a first look! I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to hug and kiss and talk to my husband when I saw him- but alas, I was walking down the aisle to him, and then we had 45 minutes of a full Catholic mass to sit through! Oh and let’s not forget that I ugly cried allllllll the way down the aisle. And then, when it was time for our portraits, it rained- and as a result, we have about 3 decent photos of the two of us on our wedding day. I mean really- why didn’t anyone tell me these things?!

I think we all know that I could probably write a book about everything I wish I had known about planning a wedding. And who knows- maybe I will one day! But for the time being, these Tips & Advice posts will have to suffice! And don’t forget- if you have a question, please don’t hesitate to ask! You are welcome to message me over on Instagram and I will get an answer to you!

So have any of you learned anything so far in your planning that you wish someone had told you? Or maybe you’re already married and you have some of your own lessons to add about planning a wedding? Please share in the comments so you can help other couples! 

by: Lauren

What is a “small wedding” anyway?

Valerie Gernhauser, for Every Last Detail

[Editor’s Note: We recently talked about what weddings will look like post COVID-19, and one of the major aspects of events moving forward is going to be a lower guest count. This is where “small weddings” come into play, and I wanted to shed more light on this concept (and the different types of small weddings), so my friend Valerie Gernhauser of Small Wedding Society is here with us today to share her expertise!]

With so many changes on a daily basis in regard to social gatherings, engaged couples everywhere are weighing their options for alternative solutions for their original wedding plans that are affected by today’s current socially distanced climate.

If you are planning a wedding during the time of COVID-19, you are certainly not alone! Many couples are forced to make difficult choices about their wedding plans during this uncertain time, opting to cancel their plans altogether, postpone their original plans until a vaccine is in place and proven effective, or otherwise seek an alternative allowing for some version of their wedding to take place on schedule while postponing the “big” celebration to a later date. This is where small weddings are having a big impact.

Considering a Small Wedding? Heres What You Need To Know! via

Small weddings have certainly been around as long as folks have been getting married. Now more than ever, couples are turning to small weddings as a viable option where anticipated CDC regulations and government phasing out of stay-at-home orders keep gathering numbers extremely limited. It is a very real possibility that weddings of 100 people or more will not be able to take place in many locations until well into 2021. As a result, small weddings of 100 or fewer people provide an opportunity for couples to continue with their plans to marry this year, even if that means their original wedding day plans might look a bit different than before.

Did you know that there are different types of small weddings?


It’s important to understand the different classifications of small weddings, and the parameters that are in place for each.

Here are the key terms and specifics for identifying which kind of small wedding is a good fit for you:



Elopements are generally limited to the couple and officiant only, and possibly two witnesses (if required). Elopements can be spur-of-the-moment endeavors, with details known only by the couple themselves and very few key players. The ceremony is the focus of the day, consisting of an exchange of vows and rings, without readings, songs, or a processional. Because there is no reception, typical traditions like toasts, cake cutting, and first dances usually do not take place at an elopement.

Friends and family members are not usually in attendance at the ceremony, as the couple announces their newlywed status after the fact to friends and family members by word-of-mouth. A photographer may or may not be present to document the moment. These kinds of small weddings take place at any location that may have particular meaning for the couple, like a special destination abroad, at home, or at the courthouse. Attire is simple, comfortable, and understated, and florals are kept to a minimal adornment for the couple (some combination of bouquet and boutonniere), if at all.

Elopements are also a great opportunity for couples looking to “do the damn thing” – get married, and get on with their lives, without having to further delay personal goals like purchasing a home together or starting their family, among others.


Micro weddings

Micro weddings bring the couple together with a limited number of friends and family members for a planned, abbreviated ceremony and reception celebration, usually with 30 or fewer guests in attendance. The formalities of a micro wedding typically take place any time of day, and any day of the week, usually in an hour or two. The micro wedding structure consists of a 10-15 minute ceremony with the couple in the presence of immediate family members and a few very close friends, then a quick champagne toast, a bite of cake, first dance and parent dances (with songs played on an iPod or mobile speaker) followed by a send-off.

Although there are generally no wedding party attendants or processional, photography, florals, and a dedicated venue spaces are key elements here that enhance the micro wedding experience. Couples are also enlisting the help of videography teams to capture their micro weddings, including a set up for live-streaming capabilities so those unable to attend the event can still watch the special day take place while toasting from afar. Other than possibly offering limited passed hors d’oeuvres, food and beverage is not a focal point of the micro wedding celebration at the venue, although couples and their group of VIP guests often opt to continue the celebration with a pub crawl or restaurant reservations after the send-off.

Micro weddings offer couples the opportunity to pool their financial resources with other couples getting married on the same day, allowing access to exclusive venues, stellar photographers, and beautifully designed ceremony floral décor that the couple might not otherwise be able to (or be interested in) investing on their own.


Mini weddings

Mini weddings are a more traditionally structured ceremony and reception, with a max of 50 guests (or fewer). The ceremony starts with a processional, including wedding party, family members and friends and family in attendance. After the couple recesses down the aisle in as newlyweds, the couple and their guests take in a meal at the venue, complete with all the courses one would expect for any larger event. Live entertainment is a cornerstone of a mini wedding just as it would be at a larger wedding, with a dance floor surrounded by tables and lounge seating areas as well. The duration of the celebration would take place over several hours throughout the late afternoon and evening, and would typically take place on a Saturday (though Friday and Sunday dates are also good candidates for mini weddings). After the reception is over, the group can move on to an after party and carry on the revelry until the wee hours or the morning!

Mini weddings are an excellent opportunity for couples to maximize their per person spend on each guest, personalizing the experience more than they’d ever be able to do with larger guest counts. Having fewer guests means any couple’s overall budget goes much farther, allowing engaged couples to invest in all the experiences they want for their big day – the live band, a great photographer, upgraded linens and elaborate florals, to start – without having to sacrifice because of budget limitations (which are driven by higher guest counts).


Although the climate for engaged couples right now is undoubtedly challenging, small weddings offer solutions to those seeking viable options to get married now under our current socially distanced circumstances. For many, small weddings offer opportunities that larger, more elaborate celebrations often prohibit.



Wedding planners around the country are pivoting their business models to support engaged couples looking for solutions to “marry now, party later.” Amy Nichols, Beth Bernstein, Gretchen Culver, Valerie Gernhauser, and Wendy Kay created their own independent small weddings brands to serve an immediate need for engaged couples in the wake of the coronavirus disruption in the wedding industry. As founding members of the Small Wedding Society, a collective of planners and wedding professionals alike, these five seasoned planners launched the group to provide a resource to engaged couples looking for creative teams ready and able to serve.

Coming together from markets around the country, including Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Dallas, and New Orleans, the founders of the Small Wedding Society believe it is imperative to bring awareness to small weddings as an option by creating a common narrative and a standard of practice for the benefit of engaged couples everywhere. We are offering support to other members of the wedding community that are interested in learning how to pivot their current offerings toward serving small weddings, and are interested in joining the Small Wedding Society of vetted professionals offering this service. To learn more, visit the website

Considering a Small Wedding? Heres What You Need To Know! via