|This couple married at UVA’s chapel. The venue
is free to alums!
Dear Engaged Couple:
Believe it or not, it IS possible to marry on the cheap, keep your friends (if some of your friends are actually too shallow to value glitz over depth), and have a memorable, spirit filled, joyful wedding.
Consider the date and time of your wedding. The prime time for weddings is, of course, Saturday late afternoon and evening. Most venues, most wedding professionals (including moi) are not so busy the rest of the week. You want to cut costs? Why not get married on a Saturday morning and then serve lunch at your reception? For that matter why not get married on Friday evening and then extend the celebrating over the course of the weekend? Or, why not get married on Sunday evening, but start the celebrating on Friday? You see where I’m going with this. Avoid a Saturday late afternoon or evening wedding and bingo, you cut your costs big time.
|This wedding was at lake Anna
the couple rented a house on the
lake for their reception–and for
Venues can cost a mint. Some vineyards in the Charlottesville area charge thousands of dollars rent for just a few hours. Of course they do an excellent job of providing for your every need. Many of them provide chairs and tables and they will setup, move and take them down, too. Some of the biggest venues have an on-staff wedding coordinator who serves as liaison between you and your wedding vendors (i.e. caterers, dj, etc.). However, if you don’t mind doing the coordinating of vendors yourself, then you might consider other venue options. Colleges often offer their chapels for free to their students or alums. UVA for instance, holds a lottery for chapel space in its sanctuary. Winners get the chapel at no charge. Outside weddings at a non-official wedding venue can be cheap, too. Just this evening I was at a wedding rehearsal for a wedding which will take place at an overlook in the Blue Ridge Mountains. That couple, by the way, will be getting married on Friday, rather than Saturday (see above). What a view they and their guests will enjoy! I have officiated at weddings at public parks, at couples’ homes (or at the homes of a relatives), and at an orchard. Ok. Have I got your creative juices flowing?
Wedding dresses ain’t cheap. If you are fortunate enough to be a size 6, you may be able to take advantage of a wedding dress sale. Some wedding dress shops have cut rate sales of their on-the-rack display dresses.. If the dress fits, and if you like the style, have it dry cleaned and voila, you have a cheap but gorgeous wedding gown!
|cupcakes on display at a
a wedding at Glass House Winery
Wedding cakes can cost a lot. When my daughter and I were shopping for wedding cakes two years ago, we talked to several bakers who charged $4.00 a slice—you do the math. Who eats wedding cake anyway? You can just as easily order a little cake for those photo ops, and then serve wedding cookies, or wedding cupcakes for half the price. That’s just not a cost saving measure, though. Often wedding cakes are baked days in advance, then frosted the day of, or the day before. Cookies and cupcakes just may be fresher.
Skip the wedding programs. Used to be that ushers handed out wedding programs/bulletins to guests as they entered the church sanctuary minutes before a wedding. Today many couples do not choose to be married in a church and they eschew programs, which can become litter if the wedding is outside. Really, what is a program good for anyway? Most times, the “flow” of the service is obvious and if you are a close friend or a family member of the couple, you already know the major players in the wedding party. A program is a keepsake, you say? That is true. But I am betting that very few people other than the bride and groom actually keep those programs.
|One wise bride created some of her printed paper products from doilies!
That’s it! Enough for now. Bottom line is—you really don’t have to take out a loan to finance your wedding. Use some creativity and common sense. Your wedding can be beautiful without your having to break the bank! Good luck and happy wedding planning.
Your wedding preacher.
|This couple married at Carter’s Mountain
Vineyard in Charlottesville, The venue was free!
Look at that backdrop!