Did you miss any of the previous posts in this series? Check them out here:
- Frugal, Fairy Tale Weddings, Part 1
- Frugal, Fairy Tale Weddings: Rehearsal Dinner (Part 2)
- Frugal, Fairy-Tale Weddings: Early Preparations (Part 3)
- Frugal, Fairy Tale Weddings: Invitations, Dresses, & Tuxedos (Part 4)
- Frugal, Fairy Tale Weddings: Flowers and Decorations (Part 5)
Our series continues…
The Location of your Ceremony:
Many wedding ceremonies are conducted in church, but outdoor weddings, destination weddings, and other creative locations for weddings are popular today as well.
- Does your area have a landmark like a lighthouse? When my sister was married last year, she and her husband had a beautiful outdoor wedding at a lighthouse for a fraction of the cost of other venue options. Her reception was in a large room of a nearby restaurant.
- Consider an all-in-one place for the ceremony and reception: rent a barn, a large home, etc.
- Consider having your ceremony on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon: it is much less expensive and becoming more common.
Here are some questions to ask when deciding on a venue for your wedding:
- What is the fee for the use of the church, facility, or property?
- May we bring in our own pastor or officiator for the ceremony?
- If it is a church: Do you require pre-marital counseling in order to use your facility for our ceremony?
- Does the church provide (or require) a wedding coordinator? What is the fee?
- Does the church require you to use its musicians? What are their fees?
- Is there a Bride’s Room?
- Is there a room in the church available for our reception? What is the fee?
- Does the church have caterers who work with its weddings?
- Is there a custodial fee?
- Is there help with set up and take down?
- When can we start decorating?
- When must we be out of the building the day of the wedding?
- If you are having the reception at the church, check on the availability of the following items:
- Tables and chairs
- Serving pieces and dishware
- Table cloths
- Table centerpieces
The church my family was attending at the time that my husband and I were married was not large enough for our wedding, so we had to find another church in town. We ended up at a Lutheran church that boasted the very longest center aisle in town, the most glorious pipe organ, and the most beautiful sanctuary. That’s the style my husband and I preferred. We worked our way through the questions I just listed and discovered the following information:
- The fee for the use of the church was $200.
- We would be allowed to bring in our own pastor and musicians.
- A brief pre-marital counseling session with the pastor was required, but was free.
- We were required to use the church’s wedding coordinator. She was paid a flat-rate fee, and after a certain number of hours, she was to be paid per hour ($15/hour, as I recall). By the way, she was worth her weight in gold both during the rehearsal and the day of the wedding. It’s worth it to hire a wedding coordinator!
- We would be given dressing rooms for the bridal party.
- There were a few decorating items we would be able to use without charge.
- We were not allowed to use flash photography during the ceremony.
- The church had banners hanging from the ceiling, and they could not be changed, but it just so happened that the colors during that season of the church year coordinated nicely with our color theme.
- Be sure to think through all the expenses related to your ceremony. You must pay your pastor or officiator, your musicians, your wedding coordinator, and possibly a custodian. Talk with each person to negotiate their rate of pay. My husband is a church organist and has been paid everything from $100-$350 for a wedding. Depending on your area, $150 is the minimum you should expect to pay an organist or other musician. If you require a large amount of music, you might need to up the anti a bit.
- We designed and printed our own wedding ceremony bulletins. I designed the bulletin and my brother, who works for a printing company, gave us the gift of the printing.
- Because the church was beautiful, we didn’t need to spend a fortune on decorations.
- We did several price comparisons before selecting an aisle runner. Look for deals and ask for discounts.
Remember: your wedding day is a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully!) event, but it should not break the bank! At the end of the day, you will be just as married, whether you had your ceremony in Westminster Abbey or on the beach, and whether you a three-course meal or cake and punch at your reception. Your goal should not be to impress your guests, but to get married! Keep this in mind throughout your entire planning process, and let it inform all of your purchasing decisions.
Coming up next: The Reception
P.S. TheKnot.com is having a sale on Bridesmaid gifts right now: you can save up to 70%. Plus, today is the last day of FREE shipping on orders over $99.
This particular deal stuck out to me for bridesmaids gifts: $5 Tote Blowout Sale! That’s an awesome price for a fun bridesmaid gift.
What ways did you find to cut the cost on your wedding venue and ceremony? Leave a comment!
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