Thursday, May 14, 2020

Creative, beautiful, budget-friendly wedding options

Well, it's pretty obvious that due to the coronavirus, large weddings with formal sit down receptions may not be the best option for a long while. By now, most couples who had a big Spring wedding planned have had to put the celebration on hold, postponing or just cancelling altogether.

We've got some ideas on how to craft a smaller wedding that is unique, memorable, and perhaps more personal and intimate than the traditional big celebration. Most everyone's finances have taken a hit, so a site like may have helpful tips to help save money, and this page link has discounted wedding deals from a wide range of vendors. Here are more ideas which are also budget friendly and "green" as much as possible. Here we go ...

Consider an "elopement"
I put the word in quotes because it no longer means what you may think. This is also sometimes called a "minimony" and might have a virtual component for those who can't attend. Nowadays an elopement is a small wedding (perhaps with only the two of you - up to 25 or so guests). A smaller event means you can choose a unique setting - park, beach, mountain panorama overlook, rooftop, country chapel - let your imagination fly!

from a February elopement here at Loafer's Glory (thanks Annie & Josh for the picture)
You can skip the big caterer's bill (maybe opt for a BBQ, or casual format like a cookout), nix the wedding favors, and cancel the band (a play list from a cell phone with a speaker works just fine). Think about what's most important to you, and spend your cash on that (photographer and/or videographer, fancy attire, incredible honeymoon, for instance). If you just can't whittle down the guest list, maybe a ceremony just for the 2 of you, followed by a party at a later date is the answer. You'll have the ceremony pictures and video to share with everyone later. Another benefit to a smaller ceremony in a unique spot is that you can probably have guests stand for the I Do's. No chair rental needed.

Re-think the dress
Of course, if you've been dreaming of the perfect dress since you were 5, then that's a critical item and you need to find that dress! If you're open to ideas, here are some current trends:
- white pantsuit with a capelet or gorgeous wrap if it's cold (here are some capelet ideas)
- less expensive dress, maybe not even white, that you can wear again
- vintage (reused or recycled) dress - or check out to view or sell designer wedding dresses
- rented dress (yep, the internet makes everything possible)
- matching bridesmaids dresses are not necessary, they don't even need to be the same color - pick something that fits your color scheme and can be worn again - for example has some "convertible" dresses in lovely colors, many under $100
- for the groom - blue is the new black, so it may be cheaper to buy a suit that will get used again vice renting the tux. If it's a summer wedding, the jacket may not be mission critical anyway. Maybe a themed shirt style with slacks (hawaiian, Southwest, cowboy?), or a classic vest and shirt might be just the thing.

Flowers can break the bank
If you've chosen a gorgeous outdoor spot to say the "I Do's" a bunch of pricey florists' blooms may not be needed. You can browse for hours online looking at other ideas. Go to pinterest for example, and start your own wedding board to save the ideas you like most. (Here's our pinterest board).
- Wildflower bouquets are lovely and free if you pick them yourselves. Apple blossoms or dogwood blooms are unique - use whatever's in season, even a clutch of pretty Fall leaves and grasses.
- Most people have pine, cedar, boxwood or other green foliage in or near their back yard to fill out the arrangements or use as table decor. We're lucky - we also have lots of ferns.
- Consider a simply decorated wedding arch, or white draping on tree branches to make a backdrop.
Use what you've got - crates, wheels, wildflowers, grapevines
- Taller potted plants or garden shrubs (azalea, spirea, roses for example) can be effective as a backdrop (take them home and plant them). Or, pick a spot with a fence, pond, tall trees, boxwood hedge, rustic barn wall for your ceremony photo background.
- Most farm or barn wedding venues will have some things around which make great decor - apple crates, wooden wheels, bales of hay. Wineries and distilleries might have some barrels. Ask your venue.
- Hang a favorite family quilt on the wall behind you for the vows if you've got an indoors country theme in mind.
- Go bohemian - colorful rugs placed to make the promenade with various heights of lanterns and some greenery up front look great. The rugs will make a dance floor in a pinch, too. Here are some multi-use dress ideas. A recent bride rocked a unique creation by Meghan Fabulous.
- Lanterns work better than the tiny open votive candle holders which are hard to keep lit in an outdoor setting.
- Hang jars from varying lengths of twine or ribbon from a tree branch and fill them with flowers.
- Make a ribbon "curtain" to stand in front of for the vows.
- If you are having an evening wedding, lights make a bigger impact than flowers after dark. Mini string lights are very inexpensive and make a big impact.
- Don't splurge on the ceremony chair decor - you can even skip that. Aisle decor can be lovely with just small galvanized buckets and baby's breath or wildflowers or fall leaves at the aisle ends of every other row (put water in the buckets, and rocks so they don't blow over). Reuse these flowers for the reception. Likewise, bouquets can be used on the cake table or for reception decor. Have vases with water available for a quick set up.
Simple and lovely - the bouquets were used for cake table decor
- Hydrangeas and some other popular flowers don't last very long unless constantly in water. Silk flowers will last indefinitely, so consider high quality artificial blooms. You can mix silk with real. Nobody will ever know. Dried floral bouquets are currently back in style, too.

Let your friends and family help
Most everyone will value the opportunity to help make your dream wedding come true. Borrow decor, mismatched chairs, benches, request pictures for decor or a "wish you could be here" display. Ask your gardening friends what they've got blooming. Know a baker or cook? They'd probably love to help! The less you have to do on "the day of" the better for you. Have someone serve as coordinator to help things go smoothly.

Less expensive ideas for small wedding food might include a s'mores bar, donuts, pies or cupcakes in lieu of an expensive cake. It's possible to skip the dinner meal altogether, unless you need some food to soak up a lot of booze for a big party.

Registries don't have to be about appliances and dishes
Many folks have already blended their households by the time they get married, and don't need traditional wedding gifts with a store registry.
- Consider requesting honeymoon money, or pick a charity for donations. Maybe guests' presence is present enough.
- If you've got a private elopement planned, but want to have an after party to celebrate - gifts could be in the form of food or beverages (think pot luck if you're having a picnic or barbeque format), or assistance with party costs (alcohol is a big expense).
- If you're going the after party route - have a slideshow of your wedding, or the video, to play for party guests. If anyone has as projector - hang a screen or even a white sheet up and start the show! A popcorn bar or s'mores bar would be a great companion activity for the movie.

Music for the moment
Most folks' cell phones play music (make a personalized play list). Those work just fine with some inexpensive portable blue tooth speakers. Make your own play list, or choose some music and task a friend with playing tunes for the processional, during the ceremony if you like, and for the reception. Here's an example playlist . I got this off a good reference site .

Many of these ideas translate to our venue, most have been tried here at a prior wedding, and the pictures in this blog were taken here. We work hard to accommodate wedding wishes, within the couple's budget. The pricing schedule in 2020 varies from $100 per hour for venue rental to $1500 for rental of the whole 190 acres for the whole weekend, with lodging. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss how we might make your dreams come true!