A Fairy Tale Wedding: Location, Flowers and Music

by Vicki Collins

I called around to price bouquets and found out that they START at $35 a piece, so if I was having a traditional wedding I would be looking at spending about $200+. Luckily I will not need a lot of flowers for a Renaissance wedding. I will use some dried wild flowers, but I plan to use more Ivy and herbs that are authentic to the period. To start with, I went out and picked up a bunch of small ivy plants on sale. I will grow them out for the next 6 months and then use the long strands of ivy to make wreaths for our hair, I will also put it in the bouquets with herbs and dried wild flowers tied bunches with streaming ribbons. Then I'll use the ivy plants and large candles around the room as part of the decoration. I can save even more money by growing my own flowers and herbs from seed.

The rest of my decorations will be banners and crests that I am making with the help of some friends. For the banners I will use brightly colored fabrics cut out into large shapes to be draped over the windows and hung on the walls. This is a easy no-sew project if you use stitch witchery or hot glue to attach the designs to the base material. The Crests are simply pieces of wood cut out with a jigsaw into a shield shapes, painted and stenciled with bright colors. They can be hung on the walls, or given to our friends or family to use as part of their costumes.

The Invitations/Announcements will be made on my home computer and by hand. Since I am not an artist, I asked around to all of my friends until I found one who is and was willing to make me a simple pencil drawing of a castle. When she is done, I will scan it onto my computer and print it out on a card stock. My daughter can do calligraphy, so she will help me hand write out the invitation or announcement part. Another idea that I had was to call the local high school art teacher and ask if they would be willing to do this as a class project, then I would have several pictures to choose from.

For the music, I found this tip on a web site, instead of hiring musicians at $500 an hour, simply curtain off an area and use a stereo with CD s or tapes, then explain to the guests that the minstrels are shy. I also recommend that before you start buying CD's, check with your library to see what they have that you can check to use or make tapes with. Also, I found some of the CD's I wanted on Ebay for about half the price of buying them new.

The photographer quoted me a price of $350 plus $25 per roll of film taken.......which is a great deal considering that it includes the engagement photo, the bride and groom portraits, all the other studio shots and the wedding, still it was over my price range and didn't meet my needs. I talked to her on the phone for a while and explained what I really wanted was not a wedding package, but more of a festival type photo shoot, and I didn't want any studio shots. She thought about it for a while and offered to do it for $100 plus $25 per roll of film. I saved myself $250 by spending 15 extra minutes on the phone, plus she is looking forward to coming to the wedding, and I wouldn't be surprised if she came in costume.

I have a few options for the location of the ceremony and reception, which I am combining to save money. The first one, and the most expensive one is a castle (my husband loves this idea), and its not bad for $325 for the day. The second choice is through parks and recreation, they have a large lake here that has pavilions to rent. For $100 I can get a large fully enclosed pavilion that includes a full service kitchen, indoor bathrooms, a huge common room with a stone fireplace for the wedding and reception, a large furnished porch with beautiful surrounding grounds that we can use for the entertainment. Some alternative ideas are to have the ceremony at a Botanical Garden or a Renaissance fair. I looked into the Fairs and found that several of them offer wedding packages, this is a more expensive alternative, but a good deal if you don't have a lot of time to be creative, plus all the package prices I have seen are less than 1/4 of the price of a traditional wedding.

Lastly, I am still working on entertainment. I have a few ideas of my own, including games, contests and dancing, but I also plan to contact my local SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), I am sure that they will have several suggestions and I have heard that some societies will volunteer to do the entertainment for a day.

I hope this gives everyone some ideas how to do a successful theme wedding on a frugal budget.

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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