Monday, February 21, 2011

Adventures In Wedding Coordination: Planning A DC Wedding On A Shoestring Budget

April 2011 is already special within the wedding world, which seems to be more abuzz each day with the latest details about William and Kate’s royal extravaganza, set for April 29. But it’s also important to me in my own personal wedding world, since that’s the very same week I’ll graduate with my wedding coordination certificate from Northern Virginia Community College!

But before I can start celebrating and doing even more coordinating, I’ve got a couple more courses to complete, along with the final capstone project of the program – coordinating a mock wedding, which I’m actually completing with my husband. Yes, you read that right. Stephen has decided to take this one class as preparation for assisting me with the two weddings I’ll be coordinating this fall. Isn’t that awesome of him? I definitely think so!

Now, I will admit that simply coordinating a wedding on paper is a lot different than actually carrying out the details the day of. However, I do think our instructor has done a great job in making the project as challenging as she can in a classroom setting by requiring each team to draw a wedding scenario at random, and then fully plan the day, choosing the theme, researching venues, interviewing vendors, creating a budget and itinerary, designing a program and invitation, and so on. Basically, every aspect of the couple’s wedding must be fully accounted for, and the couple themselves must have a back story and history that fits into the plans.


Two classmates drew a scenario that involves planning a Pakistani-Indian wedding for 300 guests, and another team is planning a $300,000 platinum wedding. As for our scenario, our theme must be at least loosely Thanksgiving-related. The wedding must be held in the DC area, must prioritize d├ęcor above everything else, and…must not exceed a total budget of just $5,000. I don’t know about you, but in my experience with wedding venues and vendors in the DC area, $5,000 won’t get you much! But what’s the fun in doing the project if it’s not challenging, right?

I’m excited to see what we can come up with, and we already have roughly nailed down a few ways we can flush out the theme and create a budget-friendly wedding that’s still classy in every way. I’ll share my thoughts and experiences with you as we complete the project, but first, I’m curious to know what you think! When you think of a Thanksgiving wedding, what themes, color schemes and settings come to mind? How would you work within a budget that was very tight in an expensive region?

(Photo Credit: Google Images)

10 comments:

  1. LOVE fall weddings ~ the colors that come to mind are browns and oranges and golds even reds! And setting ~ OUTDOORS! The scenery would be awesome!

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  2. oh my goodness this is seriously so fun!!!

    How sweet of Stephen!

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  3. Wow, $5,000 really isn't a lot to work with in a metropolitan area - I'm excited to see what you come up with! You could go traditional with oranges, reds and other fall colors or be a little different with creams, golds and those white Cinderella pumpkins. I can't wait to hear more about it. And your husband is awesome for taking this class with you!

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  4. This sounds like such a fun final project! I love the non-traditional colors of sage, gold and ivory. Definitely some white pumpkins incorporated in the decor and perhaps some gold leaves. Good luck!

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  5. All of the ideas sound challenging and fun. Good luck w your project. Would love to see how you 'pull off a $5000 DC wedding.' Now, that's something you could use to market your services to brides!!

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  6. pumpkins and leaves!!
    How sweet Stephen is helping you, you're a lucky girl!

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  7. That's such a cool challenge. I'm sure you'll do great with it. I'm excited to see what you come up with.

    That's amazing that your hubby is helping you out. He's a keeper! :)

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  8. Hi from Mexico! $5k is tough but you can do it!

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  9. That project sounds like fun. I had a downtown DC wedding in the Fall. We didn't want to be typical fall/harvest-y, so we chose a fall landscape: brown, taupe, burgundy, copper, champagne, etc. and played with colors along the spectrum of each so there was no pressure to make sure colors matched perfectly. Many of our costs were fixed regardless of guest count (license, officiant fees, suit/dress, rings, transpo/parking, etc.) so we couldn't get around them. We saved money on our reception by having it on a Sunday at a restaurant that is normally closed. We were able to negotiate a true per person price (inclusive of food, drink, tax, and grat.) which helped us trim our guest list. I also used ribbons, candles, succlents, lanterns (IKEA)m and some woodsey willow elements to stretch my flowers.

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  10. Oh, by the way...the budget was $14K. :)

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