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Affordable Venue Alternatives

February 22nd, 2010 Posted in Planning

Six Suggestions for Ballrooms on a Budget

Hooray – you are engaged! Now, the search is seriously on. Besides setting the date, finding the venue will likely be your first big planning priority, and probably, the most stressful. Since every bride wants her wedding to be a perfect reflection of her personal style, be it classic, contemporary or romantic, it is important to find a room that just “fits.” However, venues that meet those requirements cost money – lots of it – and often, are just more than a couple can afford. Banquet halls and boutique hotels are seldom cheap, especially when they mandate the use of an expensive on site caterer. So, where is a girl to go? Read on for six venue suggestions that could very well lead to a ballroom on a budget.


Many colleges and universities have both meeting space and student centers that can be reserved for a minimal cost. These rooms, though sometimes lacking a little in style, often have built-in electronic equipment, and even sound systems, perfect for your Ipod plug-in. Additionally, some facilities may also have a dedicated culinary department that that can offer inexpensive food options for your special day.

Community Centers

Almost every community in the country, be it a big city or a tiny town, has a center available for its seniors, students or the public at large. Many of these facilities, in addition to their indoor pools and aerobics programs, provide reservable meeting rooms complete with tables and chairs. Because of their reasonable rental fees, they can be great contenders for the couple on a budget, despite their distinct chlorine smell and of course, the sound of splashing.


Libraries can be lovely venues; just think of Sarah Jessica Parker and “Sex and the City.” Although seldom as spectacular as the one in New York, they can still be charming, historic, and most importantly, cheap. Just be careful though, to find out about any open flame, food or beverage restrictions that may be in place to protect the books. There will be no refund of your damage deposit if you ruin a first edition of War and Peace during your wedding.


The local Elks or Masonic lodge may just be the perfect place for your wedding. Most come   complete with a formal dining room and a full kitchen, and sometimes, even a stocked bar. The clubs’ actual meeting rooms also tend to be quite elaborate, with paintings, platforms and even rows of seats suitable for the ceremony. Rates for the rental can vary, but are usually less for members of the lodge and their immediate family and friends.


Any city, state or national park has the potential to be a nice wedding venue. Their great landscaping, lush greenery, and/or magnificent views make for marvelous ceremony backdrops, and their onsite pavilions, complete with picnic tables, can be cute reception tents. However, to secure your special spot for the day, it may be necessary to obtain a one-time park permit at a nominal fee. This will grant you and your guests exclusive access to the area, and prevent the casual public from crashing your wedding.


Is your favorite local bar or restaurant the right location for your wedding? With its neighborhood charm and cheerful décor (not to mention its china, flatware and free linens), it definitely could be. Many bars and restaurants have private rooms that can be booked for just this sort of event, and dedicated wairstaff that will work to ensure that everyone is happy. Best of all, these services are standard practice, so the price will likely be little more than the usual tab.

Bachelor Parties: Who Are They Really Planned For?

February 15th, 2010 Posted in Planning

A Scapegoat Grooms Speaks Out

Ah, the bachelor party – a time for beers, boys, and presumably, breasts. For hundreds of years, this raucous ritual has been branded as the bridegroom’s last hurrah, his final night of freedom with his friends. Just as the majority of the wedding will be “for the bride,” this day marks the groom’s moment to be doted upon, to be plied with drinks and nearly seduced by strippers. Clearly, this sometimes-wild soiree is coordinated entirely to gratify the guest of honor. Or is it? Read on for one bachelor’s revealing opinion about who the bachelor party is really planned for – i.e., his “boys.”

Bachelor Party

Bachelor Party

In the late spring of 2009, James Foster, 33, of Denver, Colorado had the great distinction of being the guest of honor at h his own bachelor party. Having been a best man twice himself, James was already somewhat familiar with the night’s normal format, and was thus looking forward to the debauchery that was doubtless in his future. A big fan of the 1940’s and 1950’s, James was captivated by the concept of the “Rat Pack” bachelor party that was being planned by his friends. The evening would begin with a scrumptious steak dinner prepared by one of his groomsmen, then progress to drinks at a local tavern. It was at this point in the evening though, that all of James’ jolly preconceptions about the event would change. Forced by his friends to remove his crooner-style suit jacket, James was then required to don a black bow tie and a ripped button-down. Clad now as a cheap imitation of a Chippendale dancer, his buddies demanded that he collect the signature of every single lady in the locale. For James, a relatively reserved guy who had long since abandoned his need for attention, the task was terribly awkward, and one that left him with the lingering question, “Whose party is this, anyway?”

For days after the deed was done, James continued to ponder this thought, and to evaluate his real role in the evening’s proceedings. He reflected on all of the bachelor parties he had both attended and thrown, and how he too had tormented the man of the hour. Soon, a revelation struck him. At each event, James noted, the bachelor had become the buffoon, made to perform mortifying feats such as downing a dozen consecutive shots or suffering through an agonizingly public lap dance. And to what end – his enjoyment? Possibly, but more probably, for the amusement of those attending. For them, this was just a good guys’ night out, complete with their own personal public spectacle. It was a viable excuse for them to be a little wild, to live vicariously for a couple of hours, and of course, to have a good chuckle at the groom’s expense. This epiphany led James to exclaim, “The bachelor party isn’t for the groom. It’s for the groom’s friends!”

So brides, take heart – your husband-to-be’s big night out may leave him feeling less like a single stud and more like a fool for your love. All bachelors though, beware! An embarrassing public experience is likely looming in your future too, and your best buddies are sure to be the culprits.