Venue

5 Crazy Places to Tie the Knot

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Roller Coaster WeddingSure, a church wedding can be absolutely gorgeous. A beach wedding is fantastic. Even a trip to the justice of the peace has its appeal. But don’t you think all of those traditional options are just a little bit…dull? A little too safe? If the idea of having absolutely no risk of death or injury on your wedding day just doesn’t excite you, perhaps one of these extremely crazy ideas will fit the bill. After all, I’m sure you can hold a great reception in the Emergency Room.

Skydiving

If you and your significant other are really into adrenaline, Las Vegas Extreme Skydiving has the dream wedding for you. In fact, there are three ways to tie the knot: you can get married on the ground and go skydiving afterward; you can skydive first and get married at the drop zone; or for the most adventurous, say your vows as you get up to altitude in the plane, and take the leap into your new life together as the preacher pronounces you husband and wife. Though there is the risk that after you’ve gone through free-fall together, no other experience will quite measure up.

Underwater

If you want to make sure there won’t be a dry eye in the house–or a dry anything, really–break out the SCUBA gear and go for an underwater wedding. Plenty of resorts across the world offer the ability to do the whole ceremony underwater, complete with a soggy minister. You can get married near a reef, near a sunken ship, or in shark-infested waters for an extra kick. Granted, you’ll have to write your “I Do’s” on a slate–there’s no talking in the fathoms below–but it’s definitely a way to have a memorable ceremony.

On a Roller Coaster

For a safer adrenaline rush, trade in the music of a string quartet for the click-clack of cars on a track. Instead of a reading from Scripture or a bit of poetry, how about excited screams? A roller coaster wedding gives you the opportunity to have an outdoor wedding that’s truly unforgettable. They’ll even take your wedding photo at the bottom of one of the drops! It’ll really prepare you for the ups and downs of marriage.

Near an Active Volcano

If the thought of a beach wedding seems too tame for you, take a trip to Hawaii’s National Parks and get married next to a live volcano. A mere $150 will get you a permit to hold a wedding in the park. You’ll need to keep the wedding party small, and you’ll have to do a lot of clean-up afterward, but how many people can say they said their vows next to a genuine natural wonder?

In the Sky

If you’d like a sky wedding, but skydiving doesn’t really appeal to you, Marriage in the Sky can hook you up–literally. They’ll bring in a crane, attach a platform with plenty of safety features, and hoist it 150 feet into the air. They even have an aisle to walk down! You can have your reception 15 stories off the ground, too–they’ll add a second platform with dinner service or to hold a string quartet. The only thing they can’t do, apparently, is add a dance floor.

If you want to test that whole “‘’til death do we part” bit of your wedding vow as quickly as possible, there are plenty of high-adrenaline wedding options for you. Just make sure you get your SCUBA certification, skydiving license, or theme park admission before the day of the wedding. And if you’re asking your best man and maid of honor to go twenty feet underwater or 150 feet in the air, consider splurging on those wedding party gifts.

How to Have a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

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Wedding MusicWith the current state of the economy, the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a wedding ceremony might seem daunting. This is especially true now that the tradition of the bride’s family footing the bill is giving way to the couple financing the ceremony themselves. With a little creative thinking, a little bit of planning, and some elbow grease, it’s possible to have the perfect day you’ve always dreamed of without breaking the bank. Here are ways to save money with a frugal (but not cheap-feeling) wedding, enabling you to keep some money in your savings account for that first year of marriage.

Venue

Sure, that dedicated wedding venue, towering cathedral, or privately-owned mansion is gorgeous, but that beauty comes with a substantial price tag. What’s more, you may have to find a different location for the reception, meaning you’ll be paying to rent two facilities instead of one.

Instead, try an outdoor venue like a state or city park. You’ll pay a lower facility fee, and you can have your reception outdoors as well. For an indoor wedding, try a local fellowship hall or even a V.F.W. Any space can be decorated for a dream wedding, so those cheaper options can still be gorgeous.

Catering

Instead of using a dedicated wedding catering business, find a local family-owned restaurant you love and ask the owner personally about catering the wedding. You’ll get food you love at a much lower price than a professional catering outfit can provide. There’s also no shame in having family members or friends prepare the meal–provided there are enough volunteers and sufficient kitchen facilities to cook for a large number of people.

Another option most couples don’t even consider is a potluck wedding reception. It’s definitely unconventional, but in this writer’s experience, it makes for a wonderful dining experience. Each guest is encouraged to bring a dish to share and the couple provides a salad or a few main dish options. The end result is a table groaning with lovingly homemade food, with far more variety than a caterer or restaurant could provide. Even your gluten-free vegan cousin can find something to eat at a potluck.

Music

For chamber music during the ceremony, call up your local university’s music department and see if there are students who would be willing to perform at a wedding. The student will get valuable experience, and you’ll pay far less than you might for a professional musician.

For the reception, rather than hiring a DJ, put together a playlist of danceable songs on your MP3 player and hook it into the venue’s sound system (or rent just a couple of speakers for the dance floor).

Your best resource for planning a wedding on a budget may just be your friends and family. If you’ve got a friend who is an amateur photographer, help him or her build a portfolio by hiring them for the day (don’t ask them to donate their time, of course–but they may volunteer). Those friends who are always posting their homemade decoration ideas to Pinterest? Conscript them to help decorate the hall. Your friends and family will be happy to show their love and friendship by helping make your special day special without breaking the bank.