In May 2006 I wrote a blog called "Jelly Belly Wedding!", about the unique and fun wedding of Lori Woolery and her fiance Daymon Tracy in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. It caught my attention because the couple decided to have their wedding at their local Jelly Belly Candy Store - as not every bride walks down the aisle with a human-sized red jelly bean in a top hat and gold bow tie! Themed weddings are as popular as ever, and it's not surprisingly when you see how much fun everyone has.
This week I had the very good fortunate to speak to Lori, after she had spotted my blog on the internet. I asked her so why Jelly Belly? Lori said:
"It’s a fun place. It’s a happy place. It’s a different place. And it fits my and Daymons personalities perfectly. We are both fun loving, happy people. Why stick with traditional when you can have slightly different? Sure, weddings are happy occasions but most are the same. Ours, was memorable for everyone. We made Jelly Belly history by being the very first wedding ever held there. But mostly, we made the beginning of our own history by starting our lives off on a very memorable note."
She went onto comment how great the The Jelly Belly factory were:
"The Jelly Belly factory did a fantastic job of decorating and hosting the wedding. I hope many other people decide to get married there as well. It was a fantasy wedding. Who doesn’t dream (as a child) to get married in a candy store?"
In fact Lori has been kind enough to allow me to print an article she wrote based on her wedding experiences. Its a great read and really shows you how to have an incredible wedding day without breaking the bank!
How To Have A Caviar Wedding On A Cheeseburger Budget
So you and your fiancé have finally decided to set the date. But then you start looking at all the bridal magazines and realize that you simply don’t have the kind of money they are talking about. Not to worry. I am going to show you how to have an absolutely incredible wedding for just a small fraction of the cost.
Chances are, the date you have chosen is on a Saturday right? Now, I want you to back that up to the Wednesday prior to that. Why a Wednesday? Because it's in the middle of the week and most ministers don’t have that day totally booked up. Also, you will get more specialized treatment from your caterers as well because you are the only one they are taking care of that day. Saturdays are insane for ministers and caterers alike.
Now, find out what your state requirements are for your marriage license. This needs to be done no less than 2 months in advance. Make sure you have all your paperwork together 3 weeks prior to your wedding.
Also, while you are at the 2 month prior mark, email all your family and friends of the date. Tell them to mark their calendars and save the date. This gives them plenty of time to make arrangements with their jobs to have that day off.
For the formal invitations, go down to your local Kinko’s. Tell them what you want and find out what they can do for you. Believe it or not, they have samples of invitations. They do all the printing and typesetting. And it comes out incredible.
Time to look at dresses. The first thing you want to do is throw out those bridal magazines. All they will do is depress you. The bridal magazines show these glamorous, high priced gowns and bridal party gowns. Go to an outlet store, Good Will, or Amazon.com and check out the dresses there. Go for something different. If you have your heart set on a white dress, think cocktail dress or an oriental style dress. Those 3 areas will have exactly what you need for the budget which you have figured. And you don’t have to have your bridesmaids all dressed the same either. Their dresses should compliment the colors or patterns you have chosen. By telling them what style you would like, this gives them the opportunity to choose their own dress that they can wear more than once.
Flowers: go silk. For one, they last forever. Secondly, they are a lot less expensive than real flowers. You can go to a dollar store or a craft store and pick out exactly what you want and the decorations you want on them and make them yourself in a matter of minutes.
The venue. Where do you want your wedding to be held? Again, if you want it in your church, a weekday wedding is extremely easy to book. Or, try something different. I had my wedding at the Jelly Belly Factory. Make sure you have got all the approvals from the place you want it at. Again, 2 months out. Greenhouses make an outstanding venue for a wedding and are relatively inexpensive. You also get the bonus of having the fresh floral scents. An outdoor wedding held indoors. This is especially good if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
The food: talk to your friends and family about this one. Is someone you know a great cook? Have them prepare the food. Let your fingers do the walking in the yellow pages. But, steer clear of the big ads for caterers. The smaller companies will give you delicious food at a fraction of the cost. And their service is often better than the bigger companies in that they tend to try harder. The same goes with your cake. And get a sheet cake. They are way cheaper than the tiered cakes. Yes, the tradition is to save the top of the cake to eat a year later but lets face it, it really doesn’t taste good after a year in the freezer. Find a bakery that will deliver and you wont' have to worry about a thing. And don’t go for the roast beef either. Go simple with ham, rolls, and salad. Simple is often better and just as elegant. Have everything served buffet style. And do NOT get your plates and utensils from the caterer. They charge much higher prices for that. Just go down to your local dollar store and you will find the colors you want. Now, the drinks: skip the champagne. Skip alcohol period. Remember that if someone gets drunk at your party and then gets into an accident on their way home, that YOU are responsible. Instead, go for sparkling white grape juice. Everyone can drink it including the kids (who never get to take part in a champagne toast otherwise) and no one leaves your party intoxicated. Go to your local grocery store and get a variety of store brand soda and waters. Now everyone has their favorite. Total price of all the food, etc, is around $400-$500 vs. $1500 for approx. 30 people.
Where would you like to have your reception to hold all this wonderful food that you have just chosen? Well, since no alcohol is involved, you can have it practically anywhere. The church hall, a back yard, your basement (yes, I said basement. We had ours there. All we had to do was clean it up and decorate and voila, a reception hall.), or a park. Keep your decorations simple. A few streamers, some wedding bell balloons, and nice colored table cloths is all you really need.
Pictures. Everyone has to have pictures of their wedding. Don’t go near the professional photographers. With digital cameras, you can have all the pictures you want and the way you want them. Is there anyone you know that loves to take pictures? With a digital camera they can snap away. Then, after they are downloaded you simply upload them to Walmart, Target, or Walgreens and choose the sizes and amounts you want. They come out exactly like the professional pictures but again, much cheaper.
Wedding favors. You have to have these. They are something that everyone loves. But where do you find something nice but within your budget? Very simple. Go to your local Hobby Lobby and look at their wedding section. With some inexpensive tiny champagne glasses or tiny baskets, some candy in them and wrapped in white material mesh, you have your fancy wedding favors. And the guests just love them. And instead of throwing rice have them blow bubbles. You can get mini bubble bottles for about a dollar for an 8 pack.
Music. Is there a teenager or a friend that loves working with music? A simple cd player is all you need for your music then. Just tell them what you want, when you want it, and you have all the music you need. And if you give them a few dollars, you have just made a very inexpensive investment in the music you love and the fun you want.
Expenses. The old standard was that the brides family takes care of all the expenses. But lets get realistic here. The grooms family can also help as can the maid/matron of honor and the best man. Divide things up to where everyone is spending what they can afford and it can substitute as their gift to you.
Grooms clothing. We cant forget the groom now can we? A simple black suit is very appropriate. Guys don’t need that much and by having them dress in a simple suit will please them all.
The rings. Talk to your friends and find out where the good sales are at. Skip the high priced jewelers. Just drive right past them as you are going to K-Mart or Walmart. Both stores have very beautiful jewelry at prices which fit the average persons wallet.
Hair and makeup for the big day. If you want to have your hair cut or colored, do so at least 4 weeks prior to make sure it has relaxed and grown enough. Call a local beauty school. They do the fancy up-dos at about ¼th the cost of a regular beauty shop. Have a trusted friend or family member apply your makeup for you.
The day has arrived. Everything is now set in stone and you are a nervous wreck. The biggest thing to remember is to eat SOMETHING in the morning. Trust me, you will regret it later if you don’t. Brides nerves and an empty stomach just don’t mix. It doesn’t have to be much either. Something as simple as cheese and crackers will make your nervous stomach happy. Avoid caffeine at all costs. Your adrenaline is high enough without you bouncing from caffeine. And drink water. Lots of water. Its better to have to empty your bladder before you walk down the aisle than to empty your stomach. Your bridal party is now with you and you’re nerves are really going now. Let them know you are nervous. They will keep things going smoothly and keep you calm at the same time. By the way, when WAS the last time you took a deep breath? At this point, you have forgotten how to breath outright. Take a deep breath in the nose and release out the mouth slowly and it will help you to relax. All you have to do now is meet your groom.
So, we have covered the clothes, the venue, the food, the music, the photography, the license, and the reception. A caviar wedding costs around $10,000. Yours has just cost you under $1000 and its incredible. And your guests will never know the cost. They will think you spent tons of money.
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