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Wedding Chapel Ceremony? 5 ways to save money on venues, dresses, cakes and more

Can your dream wedding cost less than $10K? 

It’s officially wedding season. That means it’s also wedding planning season, given that ceremonies can take a year or more to map out: The average engagement now lasts 15 months, according to the Knot.

If you’re thinking about getting hitched any time soon, the first question you’re probably asking is, “How can I save money while still keeping it classy?” After all, the average cost of getting married is staggering, now more than $35,000, according to the Knot, not including a honeymoon.

That includes an average dress price of more than $1,500. And, while median prices are more reasonable, you’ll still likely end up paying more than you want to — particularly in a pricey spot like Manhattan: The Knot says average costs there can be more than $78,000. “Couples [are spending] more per guest to create an unforgettable experience for those closest to them,” Kellie Gould of the Knot said in a press release. “From invitations to the reception band, couples are spending more to put their personal stamp on every detail.”

No surprise, then, that tech professional Sarah Schacht published an article on Medium last year titled “Happy Bride: How I Dumped the Wedding Industry” about planning her nuptials on a budget of less than $10,000. The post went viral, and Schacht, who has worked in events planning, says she is now writing a book about how to think about saving for a wedding. She has also given a talk — video embedded below — in which where she discussed how aggressive the “wedding industrial complex can be,” noting she received critical and defensive comments like, “Your guests will get food poisoning, because you’re so selfish,” and “We charge more because brides expect perfection and flip out if they don’t get it.”

Feeling determined to make your day special — but not destroy your credit in the process? Mic spoke with Schacht and reviewed other expert advice to find out how to break the mold a bit and plan a wedding that actually works for you and your budget. These five moves will save you serious coin.

 

Choosing a venue is the one part of the wedding you’ll want to think longest and hardest about. According to the Knot, the wedding venue is the most expensive part of the wedding, with an average cost of more than $16,000.

The key to saving on your venue is doing your homework and picking your battles. You might be surprised: If you think getting married at home will save you money, the Knot warns it may not.

“Between rentals on everything from tents to portable toilets, creating an event where they usually aren’t hosted (whether it’s a home or a bare-bones space) costs a lot more than a traditional venue,” Amy Levin Epstein writes. And contrary to popular belief, you can actually have a destination wedding for a reasonable price — if you just keep everything in the same space. Focus on choosing a site “that can do double-duty for your ceremony and reception.”

“Not only will you save on venue fees, you’ll also cut costs on transportation and possibly flowers,” Epstein writes. Those costs can climb to up to $4,000, according to Jennifer Stiebel of Soco Events in Washington, D.C.

Schacht says she saved money by booking two adjacent venues for her wedding — an antique shipyard on Lake Washington with sweeping views of the Seattle skyline, and a docked Edwardian ship that holds two dozen guests. These two venues served as makeup and staging area, wedding and reception place, after-party venue, wedding night stay and Sunday brunch spot.

Booking the venues also allowed her to save on decorations, which she argued was the most superfluous expense most weddings incur.

Other couples may save money by renting out a large home or lodge that can handle both a wedding ceremony and overnight stays for guests. Wedding-Spot.com has a huge inventory of wedding-ready homes that can be sorted by budget — ones that can be had for just a few thousand dollars a night.

Weddings at state parks are also increasingly common. “They are perfect for outdoor ceremonies and breathtaking receptions,” says ProEventDecor.com, though they note you might decide to spend a bit extra to transform the space. Farms, barns and ranch weddings also increased from 2% in 2009 to 12% in 2016, according to the Knot, while historic buildings and homes rose in popularity from 9% in 2009 to 13% in 2016.

“You really need to sit down with your fiancée and decide what do you really want and need, and what do you feel like is an [outside] expectation you have that might be hard to meet within your current budget,” Schacht said.

After all, if you manage expectations by broadcasting to friends and family the plan for the day through your invitations and wedding website, most guests won’t even notice the choices you make that involve cutting costs. “It becomes a much easier process of separating what people tell you that you need, from what people actually want,” Schacht said.

So first prioritize what’s important to you — splurging more on the food or music and spending less on the venue, for instance — and you’ll save money, while still being true to yourself, your partner and your relationship.

 

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5 Traditional Wedding Vows for Non-Denominational Weddings

5 Traditional Wedding Vows for Non-Denominational Weddings

A wonderful series about Wedding Vows. These can be used for a Non-Denominational Wedding Ceremony from Brides.com!

Here is the first in the series.

 

5 Traditional Wedding Vows for Non-Denominational Weddings

Having a nonreligious wedding doesn’t mean you have to write your own vows. If you’re looking to take the pressure off yourselves, consider some traditional phrasing — that’s also easily customizable — that pledges your love and devotion to each other. Whether you want to go spiritual, make it short and sweet, or celebrate what it is that makes your love special, these traditional wedding vows will get you to that first married kiss.

1. *I, (name), commit myself to you, (name of significant other), as (wife/husband) to learn and grow with, to explore and adventure with, to respect you in everything as an equal partner, in the foreknowledge of joy and pain, strength and weariness, direction and doubt, for all the risings and settings of the sun. We tie these knots to symbolize our connection to one another. They represent our trust in each other and our combined strength together. *

2. *Today, surrounded by the people who love us most, I choose you (name of significant other) to be my partner. I am proud to be your (wife/husband) and to join my life with yours. I vow to always support you, push you, inspire you, and above all, love you, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, as long as we both shall live. *

3. *I, (name) do pledge to you (name of significant other), my love, for as long as we both shall live. What I possess in this world, I give to you. I will keep you and hold you, comfort you and tend to you, protect you and shelter you, for all the days of my life. *

4. *I, (name), promise to love, honor, and trust (name of significant other) in sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, and to be true and loyal as long as we both shall live. *

5. *I, (name), take you, (name of significant other), as my wedded (wife/husband) from this day forward. I give you my deepest love and devotion. I humbly open my heart to you as a sanctuary of warmth and peace, where you may come and find a refuge of love and strength. I will weep with you in heartache and celebrate life with you in joy. I pledge my heart to you, for all the days of our lives. *

 

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The path to an honest ceremony

Wedding Chapel or Church?? – An honest ceremony

Wedding Chapel or Church?

We restored Old Church Chapel, the Wedding Chapel, in order to provide a wedding venue that is non-denominational and non-discriminatory, available to all faiths, as well as civil ceremonies.

Here is an excerpt from a very interesting article written by Lois Heckman.

The path to an honest ceremony

Customs, values, mores and traditions… they all change over time. If we didn’t expand our horizons, we’d still be living in caves. For some people the tradition of marrying in a house of worship is absolutely the way they want and need for their wedding ceremony. And that is great, if that is who you are. But people do change, and what about those who no longer connect to their faith tradition, or those who are secular?

Frequently, couples I work with tell me they consider themselves a part of a religious tradition, but do not follow the dogma or strictures of their faith. Other say they believe in God but not the institutions that seek to represent Him. And there are many other ways people identify themselves, using terms such as non-practicing, secular, spiritual, atheist, agnostic, humanist or secular humanist. I’ve heard it many times: ‘we’re not getting married in the church because we don’t attend and we’d feel like hypocrites.’ That is straightforward and sincere, but not always an easy decision.

So, to my point today: What do couples do if they are not taking their vows within a faith tradition? Some go to a courthouse, and in most states Judges and Justices of the Peace (here in PA they are called Magisterial District Judges), can perform weddings.

It differs widely state to state. Some states have a licensing system and others do not (PA does not license officiants). Massachusetts offers a license for a day, and in California you can get deputized for a day, so anyone can legally perform a wedding ceremony. In Florida, a notary can perform a ceremony!

Everyone deserves a ceremony that accurately reflects who they truly are. Life’s milestones deserve your careful attention. Wherever your path has led you, I hope you can celebrate it with clarity and honestly.

Courthouse Weddings no longer available

Several Florida Clerks of Court Cease Marriage Ceremonies

Courthouse Marriage Ceremonies in Ocala County have the same fate as the 1908 Courthouse!  GONE!!!! 

At Old Church Chapel, we have put together a “pop – in” package that is far superior to a Courthouse Ceremony.  Please take a look at our pictures and available options for your ceremony.  We believe that every wedding ceremony should be special and elegant. We are non-denominational and we welcome all couples who are looking to celebrate their love and commitment to each other.

A 2015 Article published by WUFT 89.5 explains Marion County’s reasons for discontinuing this service:

Marion County is one of many North Central Florida counties where clerk of court offices chose to stop offering marriage ceremonies. Offices in Duval, Clay, Bradford, Lake, Citrus, Baker and Pasco counties also discontinued their services.

They sympathized with couples who wanted to be wed by Marion County Clerk of the Circuit Court David Ellspermann before he discontinued his office’s marriage ceremony service in November.

Ellspermann said he chose to stop performing all marriage ceremonies — a service he said is not required by Florida Statute — after a conversation he had with staff members last summer before the same-sex marriage ban was lifted.

One employee added that she could not issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple due to religious beliefs and would resign should the decision be made by the court to lift the ban, Ellspermann said. That employee resigned on Jan. 5, the day before the ban was officially overturned.

Regardless of the reason some clerks decided to stop performing all marriage ceremonies, same-sex marriage supporters throughout Florida have expressed disappointment in the choice to do so.

Florida’s clerk of court offices are now required to provide marriage licenses for same-sex couples after the same-sex marriage ban was lifted last mont. Some, however, chose to stop performing marriage ceremonies altogether, forcing couples to find alternative options.

Though many Florida supporters of same-sex marriage are dissatisfied with their clerks of court, others, such as Jacksonville pastor Avery Garner, are focusing on the positives.

“The misguided actions of a few officials won’t overwhelm the light of this moment,” Garner said. “What they have done out of fear will be undone by justice, by love. Love wins out.”

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wuft.org

 

Wedding Invitation example for small wedding at Wedding Chapel

Ceremony at our Wedding Chapel – Don’t forget the Wedding Invitations!

Whether you are planning a small wedding held in our Wedding Chapel in Orange Lake, Florida or a huge formal affair held at the largest Wedding Venue there is, you will still want to send out invitations to your friends and family for your own very special wedding ceremony.

Wedding Invitation styles and fashion has changed over the years.  The basic etiquette has remained constant – here is a wonderful article from Brides.com which gives examples of wording the invitation for everything from the most formal affair to a more casual, smaller wedding such as you would expect to see at our Wedding Chapel.

 

The good news is that wedding invitation etiquette rules aren’t that complicated, after all. The rules are actually much simpler and straightforward than you think. And no matter the case, they’re there to serve as guidelines. The most important rule of all is that you create a beautiful wedding invitation that represents you, your love and the big day to come (and communicates the vital details of the wedding) – so feel absolutely free to riff off these wedding invitation wording rules to create your own.

To help guide you, we’re breaking down what each line means and what it typically includes.

All wedding invitations should include the following elements:

  • Who’s hosting
  • The request to come to the wedding
  • The names of the bride and groom
  • The date and time
  • The location
  • Reception information
  • Dress code
  • Separate RSVP card

There you have it: Everything you need to know about wedding invitation wording etiquette, complete with twenty-two example of how brides handled their own wording. Hopefully these real invites will help guide you as you create your own. No matter what you choose, keep it true to your own tastes and you’ll come up with a wedding invitation you’ll treasure forever!

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Just Engaged? Your First Wedding Planning To-Dos

Just Engaged? Your First Wedding Planning To-Dos

Wedding Planning???

Here is a great article from TheKnot that provides a list of things to consider prior to the nitty-gritty of actually planning your wedding day.  Hope you find it helpful.

 

Once the initial shock of being engaged wears off (and you take a second to peel your eyes away from the new ring on your finger!), you’ll need to start making decisions. Here are the 11 most important things you need to do to really kick off your wedding planning.

Set a Timetable

Dream Up Your Style and Pick a Location

Set Your Budget

Draft a Guest List

Register (Before Your Engagement Party!)

Insure Your Engagement Ring

Choose Your Wedding Party

Consider a Consultant

Book a Venue (and Set Your Date)

Hire Priority Vendors

Shop Dresses!

Share Your Proposal Story

Link to full article theknot.com

10 Tips for How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows

A Wedding Chapel Ceremony? Here are 10 Tips for How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows

At Old Church Chapel, a Florida Wedding Chapel, we want each couple to have a wedding ceremony unique to them.

Your wedding officiant will have some great ideas to help you get started, but here is a list of 10 tips to get you thinking and planning from Brides.com.

1. Talk about Your Vows Together

One of the hardest parts about exchanging vows is worrying over how people will compare your words to your fiancé’s. Were hers longer? Did he get more sentimental? Did she make everyone laugh? Did he make everyone cry?

Instead of considering vow writing a competition, get on the same page about your expectations. You don’t have to share what it is you’re going to say, but come to an agreement about the following:

How long will the vows be?

Consider these starter questions—but don’t hesitate to ask your significant other if you’re stuck on anything else. Once you two have a game plan in mind, writing will be easier.

2. Find a Quiet Place to Reflect on Your Feelings and Write from the Heart

Don’t plan on writing romantic vows while your fiancé is in the other room with the TV blaring or when you have a work deadline on your mind. Find a time when your stress level is low and you can really spend a few quiet minutes thinking about your relationship. To help the ideas start flowing, consider propping pictures of you and your fiancé from throughout the relationship around your writing space as inspiration.

3. Make a List

You don’t have to try to put everything into sentences right away. The first step to writing your vows should be creating a list. Jot down all the things you love about your fiancé, what you’re looking forward to most in your marriage, and what promises you want to make to your future husband or wife. Set the list aside for a day or two, then go back and highlight your favorite items on the list. Use those as the starting point for your vows.

4. Write Up to Three Drafts

Once you’ve made your list, done your research, and written your first draft, walk away. Take a few days—even a week—to give you and your vows some space. After you’ve taken time apart, go back and reread what you wrote. A little separation from your words will do a whole lot of good and allow for you to fix anything with a clear head. If needed, do this one or two more times. But after three times, stop. The bottom line is that you wrote from the heart, and continuously rewriting will drive you crazy! Don’t put that pressure on yourself.

5. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Plan to have your vows written at least three weeks before your wedding. This will give you time to write without the added pressure of the approaching day and also give you time to practice reciting your vows in front of the mirror. Trust us: You’ll be thankful for the rehearsal when those wedding day jitters kick in!

6. Say “I Love You”

This seems like a no-brainer, but Monique Honaman, wedding officiant and author of The High Road Has Less Traffic, says she is often shocked at how many couples leave out this little three-word phrase from their vows. “Isn’t that why people are getting married?” she asks. “Yes, we assume that’s a given that we must love someone if we are willing to stand by them through thick and thin, but it’s always nice to hear and emphasize.”

7. Tell Your Partner You’ll Be There Through Thick and Thin

Almost every vow we’ve ever heard touches on sticking around through sickness and health, through good times and bad times, and for richer or for poorer. They’re sentiments are repeated so often, Honaman says, “We can become immune to what they really mean.” So when you express your intent to stay by your spouse’s side, it’s smart to say what that means to you and how you’ll go about it. “The reality is that all marriages have their cycles of peaks and valleys, not always based on huge dramatic changes in life, but just because life gets busy,” Honaman says. “It’s nice to communicate your intent to get through those valleys together.”

8. Acknowledge You’ll Need Help and Support of Others

You’ve gathered your friends and family to celebrate your wedding, but the truth is, you’ll need them just as much during your marriage. So, Honaman recommends you “use your vows to acknowledge that you need others to help your marriage be successful,” she says. “This may mean acknowledging the role of religion or God in making your marriage work, or the role of family and friends who will help support you when times get tough. I believe it’s helpful to know the two of you aren’t in this alone.”

9. Get Inspired with Books, Songs, Movies, and Poems

If you have a favorite line from a movie or song that expresses your feelings, use it as a starting point. Also, browse through some children’s books, like Maurice Sendak and Ruth Krauss’s I’ll Be You and You’ll Be Me and I Like You by Sandol Stoddard. Kid’s books often have a way of communicating deep, complex emotions in simple sentences, so they can provide some inspiration.

10. Use Other Vows as a Template

It can be helpful to start out with a set of standard vows and then personalize them. If you’re looking for a good starting place, 15 Traditional Wedding Vows to Inspire Your Own offers vows from different cultures and faiths around the world. They can be a helpful guide for anyone who is struggling to write their own wedding vows.

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