A Fairy Tale Wedding

by Vicki Collins

I am planning an elaborate Renaissance style wedding in September for 50 people, and my budget for the combined wedding and reception is around $1,500.

The budget includes the garb (costumes) for myself, my husband and my two children; All the food, including a nice (period) sit down dinner, individual cakes, and the drinks; Invitations/Announcements; Decorations; A professional photographer; Flowers; Rental of the place where it is to be held; And my husband's wedding gift, a "real" sword.....

First I researched my subject a little and decided to call the caterers, thinking I would get a good deal because of the simple menu I had planned...wrong! First off, no one wanted to even talk to me, as soon as I said Renaissance, I could detected a wary tone in their voices, and after I explained the menu, they were all sorry, but they couldn't help me, until the last one. After her initial misgivings, she became excited about the project, and I thought, finally.......Well, when she called me back a couple hours later to give me the price I found out why she was so excited. For 50 guests, and the menu consisting of: 10 Whole roasted chickens, 25 Smoked turkey legs, 15 lbs. Roast beef chunked (not sliced), Bread, Cheese, Stewed vegetables, and Whole apples, apricots, plums and grapes, not including drinks mind you, I was quoted a price of $2,000. Yes, that is $40 a plate for simple fare. I could have gotten Filet Mignon and escargot on the menu at a better price.

Well, since that went way over my entire budget, I called around some more and discovered a good Bar-b-que place that offered a catering service. Not only did they think my idea was "Great", they told me what they could prepare all the meats and provide 18 lbs. of an exceptionally good quality cheese, and with small delivery charge it came $275 plus the gratuity, possibly less because turkey legs are cheap and she is going to try to buy an entire case for me at a discount. They couldn't help me with the rest of the menu, but I figured that it will be easy and inexpensive to put together with some help from friends. I chose seasonal fruit and vegetables, and I always get good buys on bread rolls in quantity at Sam's club..so I am figuring maybe another $100+ for the food that I will have to get myself.

Next I called about cakes. One bakery, after I explained that instead of one big cake, I wanted 50 individual cakes for each guest (traditional for that time), said I was looking at $500. I thought to myself, good grief, here we go again.....that would be $10 per guest to have a little piece of cake. So I made some more calls. Another bakery offered to make 5 dozen 2"x2" Petit fours for $12.50 per dozen, that is $62.50, good, but I made a few more calls just in case and found another bakery who was willing to do 5 dozen, petit fours for $8.50 per dozen, that is only $42.50. Bingo, I found my bargain.

For the drinks, I plan on keeping in period by serving a fruit grog and ale, I figure that we'll need to spend between $50 - $75. I should be able to get the ale from a bottling company, Sam's club or the commissary, depending on who gives me the best price for what I want, and the grog consists of fruit juices and tea with spices......

Lets see, just on food alone I saved over $2,000.

Vicki is the 33 yr. old wife of an Army Officer and mother of two beautiful daughters, ages 7 and 12. They are currently stationed at Fort Hood, TX where she is the Family Readiness Group President for the 410th Military Police Company.

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