Best Places to Get Married? Best Bridal Boutiques?

Updated on August 20, 2010
M.T. asks from Allen, TX
21 answers

Hello ladies,

So the time has come to start planning my very first ( hopefully the only one ) wedding.We are on a slight budget and would like to find some amazing places to get married at.I really want a beautiful fairytale wedding but it does not have to be some glamorous wedding.I am more of a small beautiful elegant wedding kinda girl.our budget would be between $10,000-$20,000 and we would prefer to keep things on the lower end.m also wanting to know if every wedding has a dinner reception. we really like the idea of a dinner but I hear thats where things get expensive.

Ladies I am open to all ideas and suggestions. The more affordable the better.

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answers from Dallas on

i don't think i've ever been to a wedding with a dinner reception. I think it's a much bigger deal in the north than down here. Usually there is cake and maybe some fruit at the reception.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm not sure of the cost, because I know they have lots of different packages depending on the size of the wedding and what you want, but The Guest Lodge at The Cooper Aerobic Center has absolutely beautiful grounds and does outdoor weddings. My hubby & I had our reception there. We had an appetizer buffet. You bring in your own alchohol - we got just beer & wine cheap at Sams Club. Arrange for your own cake, DJ, and flowers, so you have control over a lot of the costs. I would definitley contact them. It really is beautiful! Here's a link:

Even though you have control over the other aspects, they will help you and give you contacts with venders they trust and prefer that they deal with and know. They can even arrange for you to ride off in a horse and carriage if you like! And when you have your wedding there you get the honeymoon suite, which is very nice and comfy. And it is convenient for out of town guests because they can stay on the grounds. I know the girls in the office and trust them. My mother used to be the wedding planner there for years, but is retired now. Ask for Holly or Jeanette and tell them L. I. sent you, though I'm not sure who is taking care of the weddings now.

Also - I used Radford Cakery for my wedding cake, which after tasting lots of cakes found to be delicious and the best price per slice.My Mom had the best connections at the time and they really were my favorite. I have also found a girl who works independently who does awesome cakes for a fraction of the cost of a bakery - she did my child's birthday cake and did a stunning job, I believe she would do a wedding cake too - if you go to her website it is the Cinderella Cake that was my daughter's ! Her website is: Every Mom at the party was blown away my both the look and the taste. We had an auction at school shortly after with a gift certificate to her bisiness and it was one of the hottest items!

I would suggest a Sams Club membership or maybe Costco if they also have the same things for alcohol and flowers - it saves a ton of money.

Like someone else said DO NOT skimp on photography or the DJ/band. We had a "friend" be the DJ and sorely regretted it. It kind of killed the atmosphere in a way a proffessional would have kept the party going. I was going to have a friend to the pictures, but my sister is a photographer and thank goodness made a photography package her wedding gift to us! The guy that was going to take pictures did videography instead, which was fine, not as important, but after seeing his work was really glad he didn't do the pictures! :)

I would go with appetizers rather than a sit down dinner - appetizers seem more festive and keep the party moving and are usually cheaper, and you can usually control the cost by how many you choose to have.

Another cool outdoor place I've seen weddings done outdoors that probably isn't expensive is The Gazebo at Haggard Park in Plano. I have no idea what they allow as far as music, food, drinks, etc, but it is pretty (not as pretty as Coopers but surely less expensive) The link is

Obviously the best pace in town for an outdoor wedding is the Dallas Arboretum, but I have a feeling if you are on a budget, this might not be within it - though it is stunning and absolutely my favorite place in Dallas!

I don't know how much time you have to plan, but I would certainly reccomend going to the big Bridal Show in January at Market Hall. They have all the big Vendors there.

As far a dresses, I found my at David's Bridal, which I was surprised actually, but it was exactly what I wanted and had a small price tag.

Oh, and to answer your question, no not all wedding have a dinner. You can do anything form punch and nuts to a wine and cheese platter, to an appetizer buffet, to a full dinner and everything in between - I've been a bridesmaid 8 times - I've seen it all!

Good luck!!
you can message me if you have any questions - like I said, my Mom used to be a wedding planner and I've been in far too many weddings ! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Please please please consider checking into the Little Chapel in the Woods at TWU! There is an all inclusive wedding package that includes a reception. It's very affordable. or call ###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Check out the Rockwall Wedding Chapel. Ask for Linda. They seat up to 150 people. You can have a great package for $5000 or less. Occasions in Royce City is also nice... not sure the price. You didn't mention what side of town you prefer. All Aristide is an amazing venue.
I'm a Dallas area wedding photographer. I'd love a chance to show you our work. Our most popular package is priced at $1695.
Take you time choosing Vendors and try not to charge too much. Your new life together will be much less stressful w/out a tons of debt.
Good Luck and Congrats!

OH... If your open to a Friday or Sunday wedding you can save big time.
Also if your husband or you are military MOST vendors offer a discount for that as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

The more you can do on your own or have family and friends help with, the cheaper it is.

My husband and I got married almost seven years ago. Ceremony was in a church, reception was in a hayfield behind my parents house in a rented tent with a dance floor and a generator. We had a pig roast and made the rest of the food in advance. My mom made my wedding dress, a friend of the family tended bar while another took care of stocking the food buffet and desserts and we used an amateur photographer (1/2 the cost of a professional). My wedding with 80 guests cost about $5000. We had enough money left over for a week in Scotland!

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answers from Kansas City on

i've been to them where there are just appetizers and whatever instead of a dinner, or a nice buffet that isnt too pricey.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just got married last October. WE did it for less than $5,000.00.

We got married at our church. We have an amazing church family. They totally stepped up and helped out tremendously. We had about 250 guests at the reception and more at the wedding. We had 3 serving stations and rented additional chairs for the event.

The best advice I can give you when making the plans for your wedding: Don't let the vendors know you are getting married. When they hear wedding they hear $$$$. Just say you are planning a party. Then they will charge you party rates instead of $$ wedding $$ rates $$.

You may want to check your local museums, art galleries, small chapels or parks depending on the time of year you want to get married. We looked into some off beat places and decided that our church reception hall was the best place and it really was.

To avoid stress during this process remember the only things you really need on your wedding day is 1 groom, 1 bride, 2 witnesses, and 1 officiant. Everything else is optional (from the dress, tuxedos, guests, rings, food, entertainment, cakes, limos, decorations, flowers, etc.) When things happen because they will this philosophy will help keep you sane.


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answers from Dallas on

We got married on the beach at the Barcelo Resort in Playa Adventuras Mexico (just south of Playa del Carmen) and it was awesome. And cheap. They supply the flowers, decorations (not much...who needs decorations when you have the beautiful beach), mariachi band, dinner, minister, cakes, the whole shibang and I think it was $1,600 for all of it (this was in 2006). Of course you have to pay your way and your guests have to pay their way but all our closest friends and family came, we had 25 guests in all. All the ones we love the most were there and we had a blast with everyone. I still have people tell me what a great time it was being on vacation in a group like that and what a beautiful wedding it was. And NO STRESS for anyone!! I can't recommend it enough.



answers from Dallas on

congratulations! In terms of locations, there are so many but depending on the time of year, the botanic gardens in FW are spectacular. There is one location behind the main center that has a cathedral style gazebo that is breathtaking. to follow wedding protocol if you don't want to do a meal of any sort, it should be an early afternoon wedding and you can have passed or plated nibbles, cake and drinks of your choice.
The service should start no later than 3 and the reception wrap by 5 otherwise a meal is expected. If you have anything after 6 or 7 it is considered black tie and full meal.
Bridal boutiques I have heard are excellent are Stanley Korshack (sp). I would stay away from Mockingbird bridal. A typical favorite, but I have heard it is crowded, a bit overwhelming and rude staff.
Best of luck!



answers from Dallas on

In Dallas, to do a dinner and drinks reception I really don't think you can get away with less than 15K. Mine was about 20K, and, trust me, I felt like I was on a tight budget. The best thing I can tell you is this (and all my girlfriends experienced the same thing): The most expensive part of the wedding is the last two weeks before the event. So many little things pop up, and, if you've already spent your budget during the earlier planning stages, it will be really tight.

A friend of mine had her reception in the backyard of her and husband's new home earlier this summer. It was classy. They hired a caterer, a live band, waitstaff, etc. I don't know how much it cost, but it was beautiful and maybe something to think about.



answers from Dallas on

I know it's not the most romantic place in the world but my roomate and her fiance are getting married at a church in Ft. Worth and then having their reception at the Stockyards in Ft. Worth. I know they had a low budget so the Stockyards aren't too pricey and you might get a better deal if you have a smaller wedding. They have between 150 and 200 guests attending so everything is more expensive. They did a barbeque buffet dinner that was just under $8 a person. I know you can do just appetizers and dessert as well but keep in mind you would want the reception to be at a time of day when people wouldn't be wanting to eat a full say in the afternoon so people can have lunch first. She went to a couple bridal shops and had trouble finding a dress she loved in her budget (she's also pregnant so she had to be picky) so she had hers made by a seamstress. I suggest going somewhere that's either going to have a sale or has a lot of off the rack lower priced dresses. David's bridal has some that are pretty affordable and I know that Alfred Angelo had a sale when my roomate was looking for a dress so you might keep an eye out for their sales. Keep things simple and you'll have an easier time staying within a budget and spring only for a few things. You can do an amateur photographer but I would find one with good recommendations through a friend/family member. My roomate is having a co-worker who she knows well do her photographs and he did a nice job on the engagement pictures. She is also having a friend be the DJ at the wedding who is doing it for a cheap price/wedding gift to the bride and groom. She got the wedding cake from a cheaper bakery in Arlington...I can't think of the name off hand but they were reasonably priced and the cakes were tasty. You can do your own favors and flowers if you want and that can cut the budget but it can also be stressful so pick and choose what to take on yourself and what to delegate to friends/family members and what to hire someone to do. My roomate had a great time planning her wedding and she accomplished it in less than 4 months so it can be done! Best of luck to you both!!:)



answers from Dallas on

My husband and I got married closer to my hometown in Salado at the Inn of Salado. I worked with Nicole and they had great packages to choose from. It was a wonderful experience and the wedding/dinner reception was under $8000. They provided EVERYTHING! We were not suprised by anything, they were very upfront with cost. And hads lots of options. My only advice, don't skimp on your photographer. I have good pictures, but everyone else I know has GREAT pictures. I used someone just starting out and saved money but sacrificed quality



answers from Dallas on

Your budget is really going to depend on how many people you invite. You can do a small wedding easily for $5-10K, but if you want to invite 150 people that will be really difficult.

If you are keeping it smaller, City Club has wonderful prices and it is absolutely beautiful. It is on top of the tall green building in downtown dallas. Vicki, the wedding coordinator there, is amazing and really easy to work with.

I haven't been to a wedding that doesn't at least have a buffet of "heavy hors d'oeuvres" available. I've been to very few in Texas that have a sit down dinner...I think that is more common in the north.

Best wishes to you! What an exciting time!!


answers from Dallas on

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. How exciting!
I got married 4 years ago, and we also were on a budget. We decided to do brunch after our late morning wedding. We also did not have any alcohol other than champagne. We were still able to have mimosas this way which was a nice touch for a brunch reception. By doing brunch and only offering soft drinks, tea, coffee, and champagne we saved alot of money. Our reception was still elegant and classy. You can still have a wonderful wedding on a budget.
Best of luck to you!


answers from Dallas on

Self cater and have a REALLY good friend set stuff out for you!

Get those huge party subs from Subway, meat and cheese tray from Walmart, I am drawing a blank - many restaurants cater, or at least sell their goods in "bulk".

Don't worry about the "elegance" of it... the wedding day is over and done very quickly. Focus on saving your money and using it to live your lives together! Seriously. Don't let yourself get too caught up in the wedding day...


answers from Philadelphia on

You can save money in many areas, but do not skimp on the DJ or the Photographer!
Your DJ is the one who keeps everyone entertained and keeps everything on schedule, and your pictures will last forever.
Foodwise I would say it depends on what time you are geting married... if you plan to have the ceremony around meal time, then expect to serve a meal.... If you get married at sunset and have a late ceremony, then cocktails and appetizers are perfect.
Another way to cut costs, is to buy the liquor yourself, and have a friend or relative bartend for you, and use silk flowers. You can go to a silk flower warehouse, find exactly what you want, make the arrangements yourself, and they last forever. Fresh flowers are nice, but they wilt by the end of the day, and you spend twice as much on them.

Whatever you do.... don't worry so much about what is normal or proper... just do what makes you happy.... it is your wedding after all! Best of luck to you!



answers from Columbus on

We were married in Niagara Falls on the New York side. LOVED it! We stayed at the Red Coach Inn, a bed and breakfast/hotel type and made a weekend of it over the New Year Holiday. I had the big old beautiful church I always dreamed of and the small reception with just my family there. For us, it was our fairy tale!

Congratulations and Good Luck!



answers from Dallas on

We had a small, wonderful wedding. I spent my money on our wedding rings and honeymoon and spent less then 2k on the actual ceremony/reception. (My ring will be with my forever - the wedding itself is ONE DAY!)

We hired photographers from a photography forum I am part of. We rented out a section of the Japanese Gardens in the Fort Worth Botanical gardens. I hired a harpist to play beforehand and play our bridal march. My flowers were from Bice's Florist -- a local florist that has a few "wedding" package offerings. I believe my flower cost was under $300. The gardens provided a lot of natural beauty. Everything was dreamy, whimsical and gorgeous. I bought a dress that was under $300 (after alterations) from David's Bridal. (They have TONS of nice clearance $99-$300) and we had the reception at my parents with catered finger food from Market Street, some champagne, a small keg and a mixed punch alcohol drink, as well as some canned drinks. My friends husband is a DJ so he played music for our reception.

Our honeymoon was in Jamaica. We did an "all inclusive" trip for 5 days. Drinks, food, activities... I spent $1600 after the flight cost and hotel for both of us.

The wedding was gorgeous, and perfect. I wouldn't change a thing. My personal belief is that spending 20k on one day is a waste. (down payment for a house, college savings for kids?) It doesn't have to be expensive to be amazing.

Good luck to you.



answers from St. Louis on

wherever you chose, make sure you have plenty of twinkle lights & candles- it's what makes the event magical!



answers from Phoenix on

I'll qualify and say I've never been to a wedding in Texas, but I think it's funny people say they never been to one with dinner! I've never been to/heard of a wedding without a meal or at least heavy appetizers, and those range in size from 4-350 people. It might be lunch, following an 11am ceremony, which is much cheaper, not the least of which because the alcohol consumption is far less.

Other thoughts:
- Try a small local florist or a grocery store with a florist for flowers. Our small town florist was 1/5 the price of the "wedding florist" a friend referred me to.
- Don't scrimp on a photographer, but don't assume that more expensive is better. Do your homework, the range in prices is probably several thousand dollars. Try to go to a bridal show to see what's on offer in your area and compare prices/techniques/etc.
- Same advice on the DJ - you need a good one, but that doesn't mean most expensive.
- David's Bridal for dresses



answers from Dallas on

My DH and I got married at the Texas Rennasance Festival for about 5K you get the wedding, with minstrals and a parade leading you in a horse drawn carrage to the location, efficient, reception with food and cakes, 50 tickets to the festival for guests and The rest of the day inside the festival. We had a blast, if you know someone who can sew, you can easily make period clothes for the guys and girls, ask the men to wear black or kackie slacks and black or brown boots. We used a photographer so we have the memories on film. It was a day to remember. The drawback is that you don't get to choose your cake and you miss out on alot of the "traditional" bridal tasks, they have a coordinator that takes care of everything except your guest list, flowers and atire. I would visit this season and plan for next year, we used the chapel and it was georgeous. You can contact me at for more info and some pictures.

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