Help Planning a Wedding!!

Updated on August 01, 2008
V.R. asks from Littleton, CO
13 answers

I am planning on getting married on Sept 26, 2009 and I am running out of ideas and money!
The big one is we are having trouble picking a reception hall. There will be around 200 guests, and I have been looking online, and can't find anything nice and large enough that's not ridiculously expensive. Does anyone know of a nice place that is affordable? It would be great to have setup/cleanup and possibly centerpieces included.
Also any recommendations for a caterer? Most places I'm finding are around $30.00 per person so that's priced at $6000.00 plus we have to pay gratuity! I am wondering if anyone knows of a more affordable caterer? Or is this standard pricing were going to have to pay?
So then there's the DJ, which I know is included with some halls, but I can't find one, and flowers. I'm thinking of just doing silk and doing them myself. I think it will be cheaper that way? Also I am looking at cakes and prices.
The only thing I have set up is a photographer because my cousin is one!! I don't even know where to start. ANY advice would be appreciated!

***A little add on***
Thank you so much to everyone who has given me ideas. I have started looking into the places mentioned already. I do have a notebook started with a ton of clippings and business cards and also a "Wedding" file on the computer. We are also very fortunate that my parents will pay for hall and caterer, but I want to find reasonable prices for them. We dont need anything fancy but the 200 people there is a neccessity! That is just aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends, and we're not allowed to run off and get married :) I wanted to give us a lot of time to plan which is why we're planning September of next year. Thanks again!

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O.L.

answers from Denver on

I had my (first) wedding & reception at First Unitarian Church near downtown. It was very reasonable (at least at the time) and is quite lovely. We did our own table decorations & I think we had matching napkins & stuff brought in. Can't remember for sure now.

What I do remember is our budget. Now bear in mind that this was about 17 years ago, but we had an entire wedding & reception for about 125 people for... $2K. Yup, just 2 grand. And it was nice. Not fancy, but we're not really fancy types, so it suited us just fine.

We spent the most money on the photographer since it's a once-in-a-lifetime event. There will be people there that you won't see for *ages* afterward...so we wanted to focus on all of that.

We did silk flowers and I put together a "party" of the moms and the women from the bridal party. We made the bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres while chit-chatting & drinking wine or something. It was a fun get-together and a good money-saver.

We also made our own invitations. Back then we just used a laser printer... there must be so many more options for beautiful invitations now!

And we had one of our favorite Mexican restaurants do the catering. It wasn't fancy, but we had mini-tacos & burritos & stuff. Yummy.

Be creative. And try to remember that the wedding is just one day... you can have a really nice party that's not too over-the-top and save your money for the rest of your lives. :)

Congrats & happy marriage!

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C.W.

answers from Denver on

My suggestions are this- keep it simple so you can enjoy it but not break the bank. I think people go way over board on weddings these days - you can have a beautiful wedding by keeping it simple too.

Many restaurants cater and offer packages at a discount if you plan early. I saw a commercial the other day that Martha Stewart is now offering a weddings line at Walmart. If you are the organizer - start delegating- put a wedding plan group together of people you like to work with. This will make it fun and keep you from becoming overwhelmed.

Hope that helps!

C.
ww.AHomeCareer.com

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M.B.

answers from Denver on

Have you tried your local rec center? I know it is not fancy but alot of them might have a space. Also, what about a receptiion with just appeteizers? Or how about this: A very small wedding with just family and then a reception/party at a later date that is less informal( and the kids could be there, your friends and family's kids too!). I guess I am not sure how to do 200 guests in an inexpensive way? That does sound overwhelming! Any help from parents at all? Good luck!

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L.T.

answers from Denver on

A coworker of mine runs a DJ business with her husband. I can guarantee that they are a wonderful couple and are outgoing and responsible folks. Here's their info:

Harold Benjamin and Donnna Vicars-Benjamin
Ben-Jammin Entertainment
###-###-####
###-###-#### (cell)
[email protected]____.com

They live in Aurora but do travel around the metro area for DJ gigs.

Good luck with the wedding planning!

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C.R.

answers from Denver on

First off, congratulations! We were married in a lovely place called Morningside which is located on 64th Avenue and west of Ward Rd. in Arvada. It is absolutely beautiful so that no decorating is needed at all. There are great places for pictures, a gazebo for an outdoor wedding, they used to supply chairs and tables, you had to bring the tablecloths, etc. As for catering, we used the culinary program through Warren Tech. They did an awesome job, our food was scrumptious, and because they are students learning and practicing, it was a steal. In addition, Das Meyer owns Morningside and so we used him to make our cakes, which were amazing! I think total (mind you, this was 1995!) was $2000.00 for the location, food, and cake. Hope this helps and best wishes to you all.

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J.P.

answers from Denver on

I don't know what your budget is, but hiring a wedding planner would be good. It'll take away some of the frustration or try looking into a hotel banquet halls. They'll include the food and decorations. It might be pricey to get either one but it'll ease the overwhelming feeling. If I could do it all over again, I would have done either one.
Good luck.

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J.M.

answers from Denver on

Not sure how "fancy" you are looking for or if you are willing to do the decorating? The Elks club in Littleton is a great place to have a reception. We did all of the decorating, along with our florist plus we had full access to the kitchen (along with the caterer). It was super reasonable and you can also rent your linens thru them. We had a little over 200 and it was PERFECT! Nice place and it was affordable.

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Z.G.

answers from Denver on

HI V., congratulations on your upcoming wedding. It's an exciting but extrememly stressful time. I have been married for 3 years and planned the entire thing, so I know where you're coming from. I have several resources that might be of some help to you. Send me a response and I will give you more information.

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B.H.

answers from Denver on

Hello V.! I have been married for some years, so I don't have too many ideas, however, most of my recently married friends chose the outdoors with a backup if necessary. It was just too expensive otherwise. Now for the catering, I can't help you with the actual wedding, but maybe for the rehearsal dinner I can offer some help. My husband caters a mean bbq dinner for a very reasonable price....depending of course on your chosen menu items, which of course include drinks and dessert. If bbq isn't your thing, no harm no foul. If you are interested, let me know and we can maybe help you out.

My only other piece of advice is that my husband and I scrimpt and saved and had a blast but modest wedding, however, it allowed us to have a wonderful honeymoon and a decent start for downpayment on a house. Weddings are wonderful, but a good finacial start on a marriage, for us, was even better. Have fun, good luck and Congratulations!! :)

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P.M.

answers from Denver on

Hi V.,

I understand your pain! I have planned weddings for a long time, right here in the denver metro area. Please call me if you need further assistance with any of the above areas.

Fellow Mom,
Pam Moore
Poonams By Design, LLC
###-###-####
Aurora, Co

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C.G.

answers from Denver on

Hi V.,

My daughter got married 3 years ago and had a beautiful large wedding for 10K. My first advice is don't get caught up in the hype! When she married, the average wedding was listed as 26K! We quickly informed her she'd have a very below average wedding. Keep in mind, below average monetarily has meant very above average in many other areas! The wedding caused NO debt, less stress, pride in frugality (hers was very HIGH cost to many of my friends!) and many blessings brought on by not having to have the biggest and the best! She really did have to reduce the number of invites - it's very difficult to do but often MUST be done. Again, it was truly beautiful and memorable!

Be organized: keep a notebook and compare prices. Cut out pictures and paste them in your notebook when you see an idea you like then recreate it according to your budget. Stay focused on one thing at a time. Make a budget and STICK TO IT - I cannot tell you how glad you'll be that you did! You have a young family to think about which is much more important than one day of bliss. Your marriage needs much more investment than your wedding. Also, being 'Bridezilla' will not encourage generous and kind people to be nicer or more generous. Remember, anyone that provides you with a service might be working for you but will be much more willing to help you if you treat them with kindness and respect. Some of them told me stories of their ill treatment and how they didn't go out of their way for the demanding bride.

Check out THE KNOT.com. Great ideas, invitations, etc. Using a restaurant for a buffet dinner can really help you save money. We used Johnny Carinos and it was great. She used the event center at Belmar for the balcony for 200 guests. You gamble on weather but it should be very nice in September to be outdoor anywhere. The Crystal Rose off County Line and Southpark in Littleton is a nice place too.

If your cousin is an experienced photographer, great. If they're not and you really love them, you may want to look elsewhere. I've talked to so many that were terribly disappointed in their pictures and there is just no going back. If you stick with your cousin, decide to be thrilled with the outcome, no matter what - your relationship with them is too important to be unhappy with them! No matter who you use, be sure to provide them with a list of shots that are very important to you.

Find out what your future husband cares about in this process. Some men just want to show up on the wedding day, others really do care about colors, etc. My husband had his attire picked out 10 years before we met and also informed me the week of the wedding we certainly would have little tule packets of birdseed for the guests to shower us with! Imagine asking someone to make 300 of those little treats at the last minute! He also made it clear that our reception would end in the early evening so we could be about the business of our honeymoon! This is an important day for him, too, so don't leave him out.

Include your children and take care of them first. Your son won't resent your busyness as much if he feels he is an important part of this day. Memories of this day for him will matter, too. Be sure someone has been designated to care for them well while you are busy with your reception. Some of my favorite wedding pictures include by two children decked out in their finest.

If you are active in church, you can use your home facility for the wedding (if you don't have that picked) and save money there. If they have a big hall, you really can have a beautiful reception,too. A few silk trees and white twinkle lights and tule can go a long way. Many close to you would be happy to decorate and make it special.

On your wedding day, roll with it. My daughter had planned her bride and bridesmaids pictures for outdoors - completely squelched by tornado warnings and torrential rain. Some guests turned home rather than deal with the weather. She had decided beforehand to deal with anything that went wrong with a smile and grace. What a joy to all around her! No one has memories of a crabby bride that day!

Lastly, you may be far along in your relationship but I cannot stress enough the importance of pre-marital counseling. You would be amazed at what kind of issues can be brought up and handled prior to becoming critical issues. There are many things we don't even think about but are important to a healthy marriage. If you want a lifetime commitment, begin by making the marriage a priority and build a strong foundation for your family.

God bless you in your efforts to plan this day. I'm sure with patience and a good attitude, it will turn out beautifully! When I think of you, I'll be offering up prayers for your family!

C. G.

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C.E.

answers from Denver on

V. -

Congratulations! A couple of ideas -

Reception: Golf Course Clubhouses, Community Center. We had our reception at a golf course in our area. They set it all up, fed everyone, and cleaned up. It was not overly expensive and it was great! Most of the expense is the menu, so stay simple and you've "killed 2 birds with one stone". (place and food).

If you can find a Community Center to use, it would be very inexpensive - however, then you have to decorate and clean up. This worked very well for a friend of mine as family helped with the set up and tear down so the Bride and Groom didn't have to do any of it. They also had more of a potluck type of meal - where the family helped bring food. Another idea for that would be to check into King Soopers, or another grocery for catering.

DJ: Call around and check out various ones. We were married almost 8 years ago and I don't remember the name fo who we used, but I called a few of them and found the least expensive. He worked out just fine, and everyone had a great time.

Flowers - again, if you don't want to do them yourself, call around. I found someone (from the phone book) who actually did them out of her home and we had real flowers with a few things duplicated in silk (my bouquet, our centerpiece) so they'd last forever. Silk is not necessarily cheaper. - again go simple. Usually simple is prettier anyway!

Okay... I've rambled enough! Good luck and best wishes-
C.

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H.M.

answers from Denver on

Congratulations!!! I just got married a year ago, August 24th at Hudson Gardens. We had our reception at the church I go to, which meant no DJ, which was fine with me, we wanted to talk with our guests and only have a couple of special dances and do a slide show on the big screens. I do have a friend who's a DJ and I can get his number for you. As for a caterer, I can see about getting you the guy who did ours - it was amazing and yummy and just what we were looking for! As for flowers, I did my own, with some help from some friends. They were simple bouquets using calla lillies, start of bethlehem, and greenery, wrapped with off-white ribbon and we ordered the flowers online! Sam's Club online is where we got the calla lillies and had plenty to do all flowers needed and had some extra for the chairs at the ceremony. They were simple and beautiful! Let me know if you want the other info! Have fun planning!

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