A few years ago, I did an AMAZING wedding for a couple. They were very creative and open-minded...one of my favorite types of couples. They didn't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on their wedding, so they were open to some unique ideas.
Suggestion 1: Get married in the morning. This is where the open-minded part comes in. Most people want afternoon weddings. However, there was a method to my madness. I knew that a morning ceremony meant an early-afternoon reception, which would be much cheaper than a dinner event. We held an 11AM ceremony at the beautiful Duke Chapel in North Carolina. This is one of the most popular ceremony venues in the state and it was drop dead gorgeous. We didn't even have to spend money on flowers for the Chapel, because it needs zero decoration.
Suggestion 2: Hold the reception at a restaurant. We selected a restaurant that was closed during the day to diners on Saturdays, but they did allow private events. I selected this particular restaurant because the venue was beautiful and I knew that it was going to be MUCH more affordable than other area venues. Also, the food was INCREDIBLE. The chef was creative and allowed lots of menu flexibility. In addition, we had access to the restaurant's entire, very open floor plan. The site also boasted an enclosed courtyard with lots of foliage and a waterfall. Breathtaking.
We opted for lots of passed appetizer items in lieu of a plated meal. We wanted the event to feel like a social affair with lots of mixing and mingling. The menu included barbecue sliders, shrimp and grits in martini glasses, mini cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries, soup shots and various other items butlered by waiters. We also, offered limited alcohol...only white wine and sparkling wine.
The reception was extremely affordable. We used the restaurant's white linens and accented them with runners that complimented the colors of the wedding. The menu was approximately $20 per person.
Suggestion 3: Host an event after-party. This couple knew lots of people and wanted to celebrate with everyone. However, they didn't want the budget to get out of control. The groom, a graphic designer, created simple after-party invites in bulk that were distributed to everyone who attended the wedding and the multitudes of others who didn't make the cut for the wedding invite list. We secured a unique venue at an affordable cost...the general aviation terminal at our local airport. It was an unusual, modern space that (most importantly) allowed us to bring in our own alcohol. The groom secured the couple's favorite go-go band at a steal and we created some custom menus that featured the various options available at the event's martini bar. Oh...did I mention that this event took place during Memorial Day weekend? In addition to a chic, sexy venue, the guests all arrived at the after-party in white as requested on the invitations created by the groom. Love it!
Weddings can be so much fun. Instead of following the same wedding model that everyone executes, think about doing something unique that fits your personality AND your budget!
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Karen Clark is a celebrity wedding planner who publishes the "Perfect On A Penny" weekly e-zine. Get your FREE audio seminar: "5 Super Secret Tips That Will Save You $5000 On Your Wedding" at www.PerfectOnAPenny.com
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