Sure, we know the average wedding will run about $27,000, but that didn't stop us from asking planners all over the country to accept The Knot $10K Budget Challenge. Here, Antonia Christianson of Antonia Christianson Events shows us how to do it in Virginia Beach.
Imagine a Sunday afternoon outdoor wedding overlooking the Chesapeake Bay followed by cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and dancing for 75 guests.
Cut costs and make travel for your guests convenient by hosting the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception at one venue. The outdoor deck at Lesner Inn in Virginia Beach makes the perfect setting for a romantic beachfront ceremony. Because you'll already have a beautiful backdrop, you can keep the decor simple with hurricane vases filled with sand and votive candles lining the aisle. Exchange vows beneath a white arch rented from a local florist and covered with flowing fabric and flowers. Sea oaks, pampas grass, calla lilies, and gladiolas are great floral options that will tie in with simple, beachy feel. DJ Hire Astro Disc Jockeys for the entire event. Ask that they bring a small system so they can easily add your choice of music to the outdoor ceremony.
The Bouquets and Boutonnieres
Ask the florists at Fluttering flowers to design two bouquets (one for you and one for your bridesmaid) with a beachy theme in mind. Order boutonnieres for the guys and flower petals for the flower girl to scatter down the aisle during the ceremony.
Justice of the Peace, Al Sokolik, can create a customized ceremony according to your personalities and backgrounds for a minimal price.
Choose custom-printed invitations from RSVP Stationery in Virginia Beach. Get a two-layer invitation in the perfect color scheme for a beach wedding: pale blue and cream. Also have them handle the response post cards and return address printing.
A beach wedding calls for a simple, sleek look. A great example: an embellished jersey knit halter dress by JS Boutique, available at Nordstrom.com is a perfect match for a casual Sunday afternoon wedding. Scour the web for more great buys. For him, a simple tan suit is classy and comfortable enough for a day-time soiree. He should pair it with a white dress shirt and a brightly colored tie. Check out Maya Couture for a plethora of mix and match options.
Surprise your groom with a vintage car for your grand exit. Unique Car Service offers models from the 1950's that are sure up the wow factor. These antique cars are more cost effective than limos and they don't require you to rent them for a minimum number of hours. Plus, because your ceremony and reception are in the same location, there's no need to transport the bridal party.
The Lesner Inn rents out their reception hall in three-hour increments -- the perfect amount of time for a Sunday afternoon reception. Here, chiavari ballroom chairs and other rental items are available at no additional charge. While guests are enjoying the cocktail hour, advise the site to move the hurricane lanterns that lit the ceremony aisle to the reception space. The lanterns can accent the receiving table set with the guest book and escort cards or even outline the dance floor. For the centerpieces, the trick to cut costs is to buy in bulk. Rent tall cylindrical (both square and round) vases from a local florist or rental company and add fruit to such green apples or lemons for a punch of color. Toss in a few white gladiolas stems to really make them pop. And for a finishing touch, ask the venue to “flat fold” the napkin and then place a single flower that complements your centerpieces or color scheme at each place setting.
The Reception Meal
Opt to serve heavy hors d'oeuvres rather than a seated meal. A mix of hot foods and passed appetizers will encourage mingling among guests. Cater to your out-of-town crowd by incorporating some regional flair into their menu Serve crab cakes, mini beef wellingtons, a fruit and cheese display, salad and seafood creole. Instead of a full bar, serve Bloody Mary's, mimosas, and a limited bar of beer and wine. This is perfectly acceptable at an afternoon. Sparkling cider is also a nice twist on a traditional champagne toast.
The Reception Music
Astro Disc Jockeys will keep guests on the dance floor throughout the reception. Keep guests on the dance floor all night with the help of Astro DJs. Often, a Sunday afternoon reception during the off-peak season will mean a DJ's fee will be discounted.
The Photography and Videography
Professional photography is a must! Have James Christianson of James Christianson Photography cover TK-number hours of your wedding and provide you with a CD of images. offers a la carte services. Purchase a specific amount of hours and a disc of high-resolution images. With a pro like this capturing your day, you may want to opt of videography. Instead, have friends and family members capture the vows, toasts and other big moments.
The Wedding Cake
A simple fondant-covered cake in your wedding colors with a few dainty flowers added by the florist will complement your decor. Sweet Dreams by Stephanie creates simple yet classic homemade cakes -- and with a realistic price tag! Put your confection on a cake plateau for a extra, grand statement and help it stand out in a room with a tall ceiling.
In lieu of wedding favors, donate to a charity on behalf of your guests. It will feel good to give your money to a good cause -- and that the tokens won't be left behind at the end of the night.