Apr 012017


One of the most satisfying days of your life could be your wedding.

Joy, beauty, celebration, and ritual, can all be part of the event.  Do you need to go into debt to pull off a gorgeous, memorable wedding?   Absolutely not.  You create a wonderful event that doesn’t leave you flat broke or in debt by using artful ideas.

First and foremost, location location location.  If you are fortunate enough to have a free or nearly-free venue, that saves a bundle of cash.  Think about friends, family, or even co-workers who might have access to spaces such as clubhouses, conference rooms, or open space.  If you can be satisfied with a smaller wedding, say 50 guests or less, you will have many more options available.

Once you find a location and set the date, the fun part begins.  Themed weddings might suit your fancy, or perhaps just a color scheme is more your taste.  I love indoor/outdoor themes.  Perhaps you have a place with indoor facilities with lots of windows or spectacular natural surroundings.  Pay attention to weather and have a game plan for rain in case you plan an outdoor venue.

Beach weddings can be challenging (be prepared to deal with sun, wind, rain, blowing sand, soft footing, and uneven chairs), but they are generally beautiful and peaceful.  Permits are usually required unless you have your event on private property, so think carefully when selecting an outdoor space.

Frame your event location using ribbons, flower arrangements, or perhaps a gazebo.  White lights can be spectacular and romantic.

Be an artist and make use of color as a theme, with soft and classy over bold and loud.  For daytime weddings, gray and pastels work beautifully for suits, tuxedoes, flowers, and dresses.  At night, a little more drama works well, so perhaps black and one bolder color such as rose, magenta, royal blue, greens, etc.

Use colors that work with your environment rather than against it.  If you have a tropical event, turquoise and ocean blues work well.

Repetition creates harmony and unity.  Party planners know to repeat shapes, colors, or textures throughout an event.

Expensive flowers are not necessary.  Make use of ones that cost less, and use more of them.  White goes with anything, so see what is in season when you have your event.  Perhaps your local florist can steer you toward budget blooms.

Greenery goes a long way, too, and you can use arrangements in the place where you have your ceremony, then designate a few friends to move the plants to your party.  You might even be able to rent potted flowering shrubs; check with a local nursery.

Photos can be done ahead of time if you prefer.  There are many good photographers out there just starting out who would like a chance to get some practice and exposure, so shop around.  Make sure you have friends taking random photos as well; sometimes the spontaneous shot ends up better than anything staged.

Of all the activities on your wedding day, photos (and hopefully your vows) will have the most longevity.  Cake and Champagne are temporary, but photos last a lifetime.  Take the time to find the right people to take your photos, and browse their samples.  Make sure their style fits with yours.

Sit-down meals are expensive and not necessary.  If you can feel good about a finger-food event after the ceremony, go for it.  Caterers or friends can help you decide on a tasty feast that does not include white tablecloths and formal dining.

Lots of choices and small bites might be more your style anyway, and many guests want to celebrate you and your event rather than spend hours eating rubber chicken and waiting for the cake cutting.

To find your cake, visit cake shops and ask for samples; you might need to make appointments.  Use Yelp or the like to find the best cake in your town.  You can trim your budget by ordering one dramatic cake that is not large, then serving most of the guests from a sheet cake.

This really saves money if you have a larger group.  The shape of the cake does not matter to the guests, and you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by altering your cake expectations.

Music can be traditional (organ inside a church?) or special.  Do you have musical friends?  A nice flute, acoustic guitar, or singing can set the mood for your celebration and/or party.  Think outside the box and see that you know, or network to find new sources.

One suggestion—when selecting your music, listen to the musicians live rather than to recordings.  People who perform live sound different than their studio sessions, and you don’t want to have “that wedding” with awkward, amateur musicians who wreck the mood.  Music should be background or uplifting, not shocking or theatrical.  Unless, of course, that IS your style.

What about a wedding in a theater?  That would be a fabulous location, conducive to an audience and set with lights and a stage.

If your wedding plan makes your heart sing, and your partner’s heart as well, go for it.  People like to have fun, and an unusual wedding makes most people smile.

Do you have to ride in a limo?  No.  Think about friends who might have classic cars or perhaps even a horse and buggy!  Use your creativity to make your special day unique, artful, and aligned with your style rather than just following what other people have done.

Celebrate in the way that reflects your style, taste, and way of moving through the world.

Tip of the Month: Research ideas by browsing photos on the internet and in magazines for new ideas on wedding venues, clothing, flowers, plants, and food.

Monica Hagen loves her life as a writer, artist, teacher and registered stock broker.  She loves to share thoughts and images that inspire, guide and heal.  Find her book, “Fit, Fueled and 50,” on Amazon.com  ContactLinkedInBooks

Photo Credit – kertayasa89