One of the most common issues that we have when discussing wedding budgets with potential clients is the fact that they haven’t educated themselves on what a wedding can actually cost. A wedding is usually one of the first big investments that you & your fiancé will make together. It requires as much research & budgeting as it does to purchase a home! Before you give potential vendors a call to help you host a two hundred person wedding for $5,000, sit down with your fiancé to answer these important budgeting questions.
Who do I want to experience this with most?
Before throwing a random figure out there for your wedding budget, you MUST sit down with your fiancé & put together a guest list. This list should include everyone you absolutely cannot celebrate your marriage without! You should even have a second list of people that you may want to invite if your budget allows for it, or if people on your “A list” can’t make it. There is no shame in having a B list!
Right: Christina Vanta Photography
When do I want to say “I do” to the love of my life?
Most venues & catering facilities will have a required food & beverage minimum that you need to reach on specific days of the week, months of the year, & times of day. At Lesner Inn, your food & beverage minimum can be significantly less in the months of January, February, March & November compared to any other month of the year. However, keep in mind when selecting your date that Saturday evenings are the most coveted day & time for a wedding reception, so the minimum requirements are going to be higher than they would on a Friday or Sunday!
Where do we want to say our vows & celebrate with our closest friends & family?
Between, food, beverages, favors, desserts, & décor there is a lot to consider when adding another name to your guest list. To create a more educated budget, find out what your favorite venues offer & at what cost. If the cost per person of your wedding venue or catering company doesn’t match up with what you were expecting, don’t be afraid to ask how you can customize their menu to fit your needs. If you don’t want to offer a bar, speak up! As long as you are reaching their minimum for your selected date & time it doesn’t matter how you get there!
Above: Daissy Torres Photography
What do we need to make our wedding day perfect for OUR story?
A lot of people forget about the details that go into planning a wedding. We typically suggest budgeting at least $5,000 for things like cake, florals, DJ, & photographer. Of course the total cost of these vendors can be more or less, but it all depends on your vision. Lesner Inn is a one stop shop for food, beverage, much of couples favorite décor, wedding coordination & even desserts. We also have preferred vendors who offer discounts for couples who book with us if our services don’t quite fulfill everything that you & your fiancé want on your wedding day!
Will you help us make this day everything we want it to be?
After sitting down with your fiancé about the who, what, where, & when, talk to both of your families to find out if they are willing to contribute to your wedding celebration. If so, get a dollar amount so that you will know what you & your fiancé will be responsible for, & how much room is left in your budget to add that donut bar that you really wanted!
Above: Stellar Exposures PhotographyCreating a wedding budget after educating yourself on what you expect for your wedding day will make the whole planning process far less difficult & scary! If you’d prefer an expert opinion over trying to guestimate a cost by yourself, be prepared to answer some of the above questions for your wedding professionals. We want to make sure we are giving you the most accurate information to help you create the wedding of your dreams WITHOUT breaking the bank!
Contact one of our sales managers today to see how we can help with your budget wedding!
We are total fanatics when it comes to blogging about the wedding industry & giving our own insight, but we also love to give some insight from other vendors who specialize in different aspects of weddings. We want you to get to know the whole package when it comes to planning or designing your wedding, so we have asked Waterford Event Rentals to be a featured guest on today’s blog! Sit back & read about all of the wonderful things they have to say about their side of the industry!
Of everything you have available to rent, what would you say would help spruce up a wedding reception the most & why?
As little as it seems, napkins are a huge part of wedding décor! May sound silly, but they’re in every picture of the table-scape & can add a pop of color, fun print or just a little texture to the table. Napkins are an easy, budget friendly addition that can make a difference, even if the client is using linen that their venue provides!
Right: Echard Wheeler Photography
What items do you provide for clients to rent?
We are a full service linen rental company that specializes in allllll things linens! We of course offer the basics, but we have a big selection of specialty & even custom print linens. We’re always willing to order in something new! Not only do we specialize in linens, but we also rent chairs & plate chargers. We have gold, mahogany & white chiavari chairs, as well as white resin folding chairs. We also have both resin & glass beaded chargers. We are currently expanding our inventory, so stay tuned for our newest additions!
Would you say chair sashes or covers are necessary?
Chair covers & sashes are definitely important, but totally not a must have! We may think differently though ;) Let’s say there are 15 tables & 150 guests. A table linen will only be on 15 of the tables, while a chair sash will be on 150 chairs. Makes such a bigger impact to the room!
Have you seen a trend in a specific type or color of linen?
All the neutrals! We see a ton of ivory, blush & gold… but we’re totally not mad about it! Such a romantic color scheme that doesn’t seem like it will ever go out of style. Add a pop of sequins in there & call it a day!
Above: David Champagne Photography
What is your favorite part about weddings?
Hardest question ever… but we LOVE seeing the room transform! Walking into a completely empty venue & walking out a few hours later with lighting, linens, florals, music, etc., it’s such a surreal feeling. Knowing that Waterford has made a small impact in someone’s BIG day is such an amazing feeling. Definitely will never get old!
Left: Echard Wheeler Photography
We couldn’t agree more! We love seeing our wedding venue transform into each couple’s dream & see their eyes grow wide when they see their designs come to life. We adore Waterford Event Rentals & work with them all throughout the year, so if you love what you read today, contact them directly or ask us how to get in touch with them so we can help your wedding vision come true!
One of the many perks of going to a wedding are the favors that you get to take home. A little thank you from the couple is super sweet, but it can be stressful on the newlyweds if they don’t know what to give or how to keep the cost low. To help with some ideas, we’ve put together a list of five thoughtful & even useful favors that your guests will love & won’t break the bank!
We’re sure you’ve seen these at a wedding you’ve been to recently. They’re a huge hit with the guests & most likely will be used again! These work for both bottled & canned beverages, so you don’t have to worry about only some of your guests enjoying them. Best of all they can be purchased online at a fair price if you order them in bulk!
Right: Lee Yen Photography
Who doesn’t love an extra pair of shades? If you’re having an outdoor wedding, you can order custom sunglasses with your name & date on the side for your guests to wear. For most websites, it only takes a few minutes to customize the sunglasses & they get shipped right to your home!
This one might seem a little peculiar at first, but it is such a unique idea! To cut back on cost you can make these favor yourself! All you need to do is put ground coffee in little bags & time them off with a tag. Try coming up with something fun to make your guests smile when they go to use the coffee after the wedding like, “Love is brewing”. You can even make a few bags with decaffeinated coffee for those people who don’t drink caffeine!
Below: Kelly Marie Photos
Normally, couples will have the traditional cake & maybe a few other desserts for the reception, but the candy bar is becoming increasingly popular as not only a dessert, but as favors. This is probably one of the easiest & most cost effective favors that you can give your guests. All you have to do is buy the candy & to-go bags, use a few glass jars & bowls, & there you have it! It’s an easy, fun, & inexpensive favor that keeps giving even after they leave the wedding! To make it even easier, Lesner Inn can create your candy bar for you!
These little plants are so trendy right now! Everyone loves extra décor for their house, so this is a perfect favor for your guests that won’t go to waste. You can save some money by getting faux succulents or you can get live ones for a couple more bucks!
Below: Erika Mills Photography
These are just a few ideas for different, useful, & low-cost wedding favors for your guests. You will love how easy & cost effective this gifts are, & your guests will love that they get to continuously use them after they leave the party! There are a lot more options if you’re up for having a non-traditional favor, so just keep looking or head over to our Pinterest page to get some more ideas!
We at Lesner Inn, we know that sometimes wedding planning can get stressful & a bit confusing since you & your fiance probably haven’t planned a wedding before. Since it may seem like we are speaking a completely different language, Lesner Inn made a glossary of some of the most commonly used wedding industry words to help slim down that confusion between you & your vendors!
Bustle: After you’ve flaunted your train during your waterfront ceremony & for portrait shots, it’s time to pin that train up & dance the night away! “Bustle” is just a fancy way to say that you’re pinning your dress’ train up, so that it doesn’t drag on the floor & get damaged.
Above: Stellar Exposures Photography
Cake Cutting Service: After the ceremonial cake cutting by the couple, your caterer will cut the rest of the cake & serve it to the guests to enjoy. Lesner Inn includes cake cutting services & even lets you decide whether you would like to display the sliced pieces of cake, or if you would like our staff to pass them to your guests.
Cake Cutting Set: This one is so simple, yet can be so confusing. The cake cutting set is the knife & serving piece that you use to cut & serve during the ceremonial cake cutting for you & your spouse. Lesner Inn has a house set for you to use, but some couples prefer to purchase their own or even will use the ones their parents used on their wedding day!
Chargers: These may look like fancy plates, but they are actually used as tabletop decoration & are placed at the table setting before china are put on top of them. Don’t be the one who accidentally takes this plate up to the buffet… talk about social suicide.
Cocktail Hour: This is the period of time (not always an hour) between your ceremony & reception where your guests have an opportunity to mingle with one another & enjoy cocktails & hors d’oeuvres. It is most common that the newlyweds will take wedding photos during this time with their family & bridal party before being announced into the reception.
Day of Coordinator: A day of coordinator (not to be confused with a wedding planner) is basically a wedding assistant who takes over once the wedding is a few weeks away. The coordinator’s main focus is to confirm the details that you have planned with your vendors & to tie up any loose ends. They will also be there for rehearsal & the day-of your wedding to make sure everything from set-up to overall execution goes smoothly. Lesner Inn offers day-of coordination & wedding design services to our couples, so feel free to reach out to us for more details!
Left: Brittany Sue Photography
Food & Beverage Minimum: This is the amount of money that you are required to spend on all food & beverage items. This amount varies from venue to venue but is always the amount that you will be meeting, & possibly exceeding, for any sort of food & beverages for your guests.
Hors D’oeuvres: This is just a fancy word for appetizers. They are made for everyone to enjoy during your cocktail hour, which Lesner Inn includes the hor d’oeuvres for in our base pricing!
Matron of Honor: Most people know that brides have a maid of honor & grooms have a best man, but brides can also have a matron of honor. This bridesmaid is just as special as your maid of honor, but the title changes since she is already married!
Memory Table: Just like any other side table, this one is completely optional for the couple. This table normally holds picture frames of loved ones who have passed away, so they can be remembered on your special day.
Toast: These are short speeches to the bride & groom generally done by the best man & maid/maitron of honor. Of course, there are others who can do them like the father of the bride, siblings of the bride or groom, or anyone who is special to you! Regardless of who speaks, toasts are generally done with champagne which Lesner Inn provides for each guest!
Above: Vinluain Photography
Venue Manager: A venue manager is there the day-of your wedding to make sure all runs smoothly with the venue & the food & beverage side of things, if they do in house catering like Lesner Inn does. They will make sure your floor plan is correct, any sort of décor items rented through the venue are set, & that the timeline for all food & beverage is followed accordingly. At Lesner Inn, you will always have a venue manager on site the day of your wedding, but they do not act as coordinators with your other vendors or personal details.
Wedding Planner: Your wedding planner will be there throughout the entire process from choosing your venue & vendors to saying “I do”. They will help with designing your wedding, choosing vendors & finalizing contracts with them, & setting up & managing the details of your wedding on the day of. They will also be there the day-of from start to finish to make sure things go smoothly & that everything is handled correctly. Lesner Inn offers wedding planning to all of our soonly weds, so if you’re looking to sit back through the planning process & have a stress free wedding day, then our wedding planning service is the way to go!
We want to make the wedding planning process as stress free as possible, so we hope this glossary of “wedding words” helps out! Of course, there are many other terms we use that may be a little confusing, so just reach out to us if you need some insight!
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!