We know that most engaged couples are on a budget. Of course, the budget varies from couple to couple but we see that most couples tend to have a number that they would like to stick below. With that in mind, we have come up with some handy tips to make sure you & your fiancé have a beautiful wedding, but stay within the budget!
A major way to cut the cost of your wedding is to cut your guest list. I know, I know, you want every family member & every friend you’ve ever met to come spend this special day with you, but this is one of the easiest ways to cut costs if you’re trying to stay within a budget. You can also look into having your wedding during the off-peak season. There are plenty of days in the early winter & spring months that would be beautiful for your big day! Off-peak months differ for each venue, but at Lesner Inn our off-peak months are January – March & November, so start thinking outside of those “normal” wedding months!
Elizabeth Friske Photography
Another idea for cutting costs & staying within your budget is to use in-season flowers. Talk with your florist to see which flowers match your colors, but are still in season. You never know, you may be surprised with some gorgeous flowers you never heard of! You can also discuss using more greenery than flowers for centerpieces & arch décor. Greenery is gorgeous & is a perfect go-to when you want to cut flowers, but still have stunning designs!
Nothing is trending more right now in the wedding industry than a DIY wedding for couples with a wedding budget. We know that you obviously can’t DIY everything, but there are a few things that you can DIY to keep costs low. Using wine bottles as vases for your centerpieces can be so cute & inexpensive (try dipping them in paint or glitter to match your color scheme)! DIY the seating chart or welcome message by finding an old window, mirror, or chalkboard to write on. If you’re up for it, you can make all of your own signs so your guests are turning every corner to see your creativity! These are only a couple of ideas, so hop onto our Pinterest board to see what other DIY projects catch your eye for your wedding day!
Caitlin Gerres Photography
Want pretty stationary but your eyes grew wide at the cost? Think about making your own Save the Dates & Invitations! This can be a super fun way to pull out your artsy side & customize your stationary. Don’t think you’re creative enough to make your own? There are plenty of websites that offer templates that you can use for a much smaller dollar amount than going through a company. You even get the perk of printing your own stationary & not have to wait for it in the mail! Save even more money by having your guests RSVP on your wedding website or an app instead of paying for all of paper & postage for the responses!
Reach Out to Talented Friends & Family
If you have any friends or family members that are talented in photography, baking cakes, or something else related to a wedding, you can keep costs low by hiring them instead of a professional! On the contrary, we know you want to save money but just keep in mind that if you’re super picky about something (which you’re allowed to be, because it is your wedding), then you may want to leave the vendor work to the professionals. Of course, if you’re totally confident in your friend or family member because they’re spectacular at what they do, then definitely ask them to help out to save some money! At Lesner Inn, we have a preferred vendors list that we give to each of our couples, but we always make sure you know that you can use whomever you’d like for their vendors, so a friend or family member is always an option!
You may not be able to use all of these ideas, but you can use one or two or even think of some of your own to stay within your budget! There are so many ways that you can save a few bucks but still have a beautiful wedding. The most important part is that no matter if you go over budget, take some “traditional” things out to save money, or don’t have professional vendors, at the end of the day, you get to marry your best friend & that’s what you will remember the most!
We’ll be honest. We think that we have the best job on Earth because every day is a party at Lesner Inn! Every Monday, we meet to recap the weekend’s events & have been keeping a running list of some of the most memorable weddings of 2017. At the end of each year, we sit down to go over all of these lists & pick our favorites to share with you, our past, present, & future couples!
We hope you enjoy scrolling through some of the most beautiful, touching & even comical moments from Lesner Inn over the past year!
Best Something Old
As the saying goes, you must have something old, something new, something borrowed & something blue on your wedding day. Courtney nailed it with her something old by altering her mother’s wedding dress for her own wedding. Her mom did not get to see the dress until the day of & the result gave us all chills!
Below: Love Simply Photography
Best Something Borrowed
Continuing along the path of something old, new, borrowed & blue, Liz’s something borrowed pulled at our heart strings when she wore a bracelet from each of her grandmothers. We love that she tied in both sides of her family on her wedding day!
Below: Beth Hamilton Photography
Best Something Blue
Elizabeth made sure not to forget a single bit of blue on her wedding day & we loved her take on a coastal wedding. They even kicked off the day with blue champagne!
Below: Echard Wheeler Photography
This amazing creation by Whipped Up by Mimi quite literally takes the cake for the year! We see so many different styles of cake but we were head over antlers for this rustic naked cake. Oh & those antlers…they’re pure white chocolate!
Right: Lee Yen Photography
Best Cake Smash
Tim & Kate cracked us up from day one & that didn’t stop after they said “I do”! These two have such a laid back style & didn’t feel the pressure of wedding planning one bit. Kate clearly wasn’t worried about what Tim’s white shirt would look like after she smashed cake into his face, and we found it hysterical!
Below: Echard Wheeler Photography
Best Dessert Alternative
Amanda & Surge aren’t big cake people so, instead of a traditional wedding cake, they brought in Confetti Gelato! We knew that we loved this sweet couple but, when they told us that they were skipping the cake & going for gelato instead, we knew that they were meant to roll with the coordinators at Lesner Inn!
Below: Wasin French Photography
Best Cake Topper
Justin & Ariel weren’t messing around when they picked out their cake topper! We got such a kick out of this one that we had to award it best cake topper of 2017!
Left: Ashley Peterson Photography
Best Bridal Bouquet
Kelly Gish, you are the florist of the year with this incredible bouquet! We loved Nelson & Nicole’s color palette for their wedding & the flowers were just the cherry on top of a beautiful day.
Check out those small pops of purple
nestled in the arrangement!
Below: Luke & Ashley Photography
It’s rare that a bride & groom can surprise us with something new, but we are pretty sure that this is our first couple to get married ON the water. Morgan & Jake sailed out into the Lynnhaven River with their immediate families to tie the knot while their guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the Waterside Deck. This beautiful moment is definitely the most unique ceremony of 2017!
Below: Lee Yen Photography
Best First Look
Mike, you HANDS DOWN had the best reaction of any groom seeing his bride for the first time when Alishia walked down the aisle. We are so glad Dustin Lewis captured this moment!
Below: Dustin Lewis Images
The moment that we saw this photo, we knew that it had to be awarded the best kiss of 2017. We love that this groomsmen got down on his hands & knees to give Jonathan a boost to his bride!
Right: Kelly Dier Photography
Cutest Ring Bearer & Flower Girl
Alright, so these two actually weren’t from the same wedding but we were so taken with them that we had to award them cutest ring bearer and cutest flower girl. Kayleigh & Wayne created this “Ring Security” badge for this little guy to make sure that everyone knew what his main job was. And even though it took a little nudging from their coordinator, Kyle & Amy’s flower girl strutted her stuff down the aisle once she realized that she was the center of attention!
Left: Jason Jarvis Photography - Right: Dragon Studios
Style Events did it again with one! Meghan & Craig had a beautiful wedding with long banquet tables, stunning linens from Waterford Event Rentals & romantic florals from Palette of Petals. Their use of creative floor plans & floating florals on the arch wins them the best décor of 2017!
Below: Echard Wheeler Photography
We will be the first to admit that we were a little confused when Tim & Kate told us that theme of their wedding was going to be America. But these two are the goofiest, most fun-loving people so we knew that we were in for a treat. They tied the knot on Memorial Day weekend & requested that all of their guests wear white with patriotic flair, had Statue of Liberty centerpieces, & danced to God Bless the USA for their first dance while their guests surrounded them waving American flags. Hands down, the best theme of the year!
Below: Echard Wheeler Photography
Best StationeryOne of the parts of the planning process that we rarely get to see is the invitation suite. Every once in a while though, a couple will bring them in so the photographer’s can snap a few photos of them. We loved Nelson & Nicole’s trendy invites with the agate textured background!
Right: Wasin French Photography
Best Traditional Wedding
We see all sorts of family, religious & cultural traditions at Lesner Inn. This year we were lucky enough to be able to learn about the Bengali culture during Trina & Greg’s wedding ceremony. They incorporated both of their traditions into their marriage ceremony & you can read much more about the traditions and customs in their wedding spotlight here!
Below: Chelsea Anderson Photography
Oh hello beautiful Lynnhaven River! We love when couples utilize the water for a boat exit or entrance &, even though it was a misty day, Thomas & Lauren still sailed away in style. This boat exit won the best exit of 2017!
Below: Dragon Studio
Best First Dance
Tyler & Rachael’s first dance gave us all the feels & when we saw this photo from Kelly Marie, we knew that they stole the spotlight for 2017. What is better than a handsome man in uniform spinning his new wife around the dance floor?
Right: Kelly Marie Photography
Lesner Inn is FAMOUS for the epic sunsets that you can catch every evening from the venue. While there were 365 contenders, Jon & Andrea win the award for the best sunset photo of 2017!
Left: Winston Veranga Photography
Best Party Crowd
Everyone looks forward to a wedding for the drinking, dancing, & love. Jordan & Nicole’s guests were no different but these guys REALLY came to party! Check out the top right photo, even Grandma got in on that open bar action!
Below: David Champagne Photography
This category is a liiiiittle deceiving, but it is going three years strong now! We aren’t quite sure what makes guests want to strip down on the dance floor, but anyone who does definitely deserves to win best dressed!
Below: Dragon Studios
Best Rainy Wedding
Rain on your wedding day isn’t what most couples hope for, but sometimes Mother Nature has another idea in store for us. Kent & Haley rolled with the punches so well when it started to pour right before their ceremony, but luckily our Sunset Deck is covered so you can still have your outdoor ceremony, even with a little inclement weather. Because of their positive attitudes all day, they get the award for best rainy wedding of 2017!
Left: Bryan Myhr Photography
Best Groomsman Photo
Guys can be goofy… but this crew really had us giggling! We love that they took posing into their own hands by stealing the bridesmaid’s bouquets.
Below: Jason Jarvis Photography
Best Squad Pic
Amanda & Matt got busted with their squad when the First Landing State Park rangers jumped in on the action. Nothing says a party like some flashing lights & sirens!
Below: Dustin Lewis Images
Best Personal Touch
Jamie & Jill hid a little personal touch inside of their wedding dresses. Here is what they told us when we asked about these blue hearts:
“One thing that we decided to do was create our own little memorials for those who couldn’t be with us on our special day. Jill’s father passed away several years ago, so she cut a heart out of one of his blue shirts… and, Jamie’s grandfather had passed away in February, so she cut a heart out of one of his favorite jean jackets. We pinned these inside our dresses – as our something old and something blue.”You can read more about their wedding on their wedding spotlight.
Below: Valerie Betz Photography
2017 came & went so quickly, & we cannot thank the people & vendors we worked with this year enough for making our weddings such a success! We can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store, & to meet all of the wonderful, beautiful couples who will tie the knot at Lesner Inn with us in the years to come!
A wedding is not complete without a guest book, because how else will you know who to thank for coming? But, how each couple presents their guest book can be totally unique, which we at Lesner Inn LOVE!!! So, for those of you unsure of what you want to do for your guest book, we wanted to help out and share some of our favorite guest book ideas!
For the Wine Fanatics
First off, who doesn’t love a little wine at a wedding? Many of our Lesner Inn couples use wine bottles in their décor, so why not use them as guest books too? Plus, you can save some money on a guest book by just recycling the wine bottles that were going to sit in your recycling bin anyways! Have a bottle or two on display for your guests to sign with a window marker, and let them share some kind words with you!
For the Music Inspired
Is music a huge part of you and your significant other’s relationship? Well, whether you play an instrument or just jam out to some soul music, we love the idea of having an acoustic guitar laid out for guests to sign or even having them sign some of your favorite vinyls!
Above: Chelsea Anderson Photography
For your Special Theme
There are lots of ways to have your guest book reflect the theme of your wedding! If it’s a rustic or woodland inspired wedding, you could use natural cut wood or a wooden letter of your new last name. If you’re more of a Gatsby gal though, add some black lace to a book or pillow and give the guests a feather pen to write their love with!
For the Wanderers
If you and your fiancé love to travel, this one is just for you! Put a map of the world in a picture frame and let your guests sign on their favorite city. You could even use a globe and let your guests have fun spinning it around to find the country or city they want to sign!
For the Crafty Originals
There are so many options with this one! Whether it be quilt pieces that you sew together after your big day, letters that guests write and place in a mailbox, or having guests take a Polaroid and place it in a scrapbook to reminisce on, any of these options will let you and your guests bring out their craftiness!
Right: Caitlin Gerres Photography
No matter what you choose for your guest book, your guests will be buzzing with excitement as soon as they walk in the door with all of these unique guest book ideas. Of course, you can always have multiple guest books if you love two or three of these alternatives. After all, it’s your wedding and you can do what you want!