Virginia Beach, Virginia $10K Budget Wedding

Sure, we know the average wedding will run about $27,000, but that didn't stop us from asking planners all over the country to accept The Knot $10K Budget Challenge. Here, Antonia Christianson of Antonia Christianson Events shows us how to do it in Virginia Beach.

The Setting

Imagine a Sunday afternoon outdoor wedding overlooking the Chesapeake Bay followed by cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and dancing for 75 guests.

The Ceremony
Cut costs and make travel for your guests convenient by hosting the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception at one venue. The outdoor deck at Lesner Inn in Virginia Beach makes the perfect setting for a romantic beachfront ceremony. Because you'll already have a beautiful backdrop, you can keep the decor simple with hurricane vases filled with sand and votive candles lining the aisle. Exchange vows beneath a white arch rented from a local florist and covered with flowing fabric and flowers. Sea oaks, pampas grass, calla lilies, and gladiolas are great floral options that will tie in with simple, beachy feel. DJ Hire Astro Disc Jockeys for the entire event. Ask that they bring a small system so they can easily add your choice of music to the outdoor ceremony.

The Bouquets and Boutonnieres

Ask the florists at Fluttering flowers to design two bouquets (one for you and one for your bridesmaid) with a beachy theme in mind. Order boutonnieres for the guys and flower petals for the flower girl to scatter down the aisle during the ceremony.

The Officiant

Justice of the Peace, Al Sokolik, can create a customized ceremony according to your personalities and backgrounds for a minimal price.

The Stationery

Choose custom-printed invitations from RSVP Stationery in Virginia Beach. Get a two-layer invitation in the perfect color scheme for a beach wedding: pale blue and cream. Also have them handle the response post cards and return address printing.

The Attire

A beach wedding calls for a simple, sleek look. A great example: an embellished jersey knit halter dress by JS Boutique, available at is a perfect match for a casual Sunday afternoon wedding. Scour the web for more great buys. For him, a simple tan suit is classy and comfortable enough for a day-time soiree. He should pair it with a white dress shirt and a brightly colored tie. Check out Maya Couture for a plethora of mix and match options.

Find your kind of venue

From barns to ballrooms, discover reception venues that feel like you.

The Transportation

Surprise your groom with a vintage car for your grand exit. Unique Car Service offers models from the 1950's that are sure up the wow factor. These antique cars are more cost effective than limos and they don't require you to rent them for a minimum number of hours. Plus, because your ceremony and reception are in the same location, there's no need to transport the bridal party.

The Reception

The Lesner Inn rents out their reception hall in three-hour increments -- the perfect amount of time for a Sunday afternoon reception. Here, chiavari ballroom chairs and other rental items are available at no additional charge. While guests are enjoying the cocktail hour, advise the site to move the hurricane lanterns that lit the ceremony aisle to the reception space. The lanterns can accent the receiving table set with the guest book and escort cards or even outline the dance floor. For the centerpieces, the trick to cut costs is to buy in bulk. Rent tall cylindrical (both square and round) vases from a local florist or rental company and add fruit to such green apples or lemons for a punch of color. Toss in a few white gladiolas stems to really make them pop. And for a finishing touch, ask the venue to "flat fold" the napkin and then place a single flower that complements your centerpieces or color scheme at each place setting.

The Reception Meal

Opt to serve heavy hors d'oeuvres rather than a seated meal. A mix of hot foods and passed appetizers will encourage mingling among guests. Cater to your out-of-town crowd by incorporating some regional flair into their menu Serve crab cakes, mini beef wellingtons, a fruit and cheese display, salad and seafood creole. Instead of a full bar, serve Bloody Mary's, mimosas, and a limited bar of beer and wine. This is perfectly acceptable at an afternoon. Sparkling cider is also a nice twist on a traditional champagne toast.

The Reception Music

Astro Disc Jockeys will keep guests on the dance floor throughout the reception. Keep guests on the dance floor all night with the help of Astro DJs. Often, a Sunday afternoon reception during the off-peak season will mean a DJ's fee will be discounted.

The Photography and Videography

Professional photography is a must! Have James Christianson of James Christianson Photography cover TK-number hours of your wedding and provide you with a CD of images. offers a la carte services. Purchase a specific amount of hours and a disc of high-resolution images. With a pro like this capturing your day, you may want to opt of videography. Instead, have friends and family members capture the vows, toasts and other big moments.

The Wedding Cake

A simple fondant-covered cake in your wedding colors with a few dainty flowers added by the florist will complement your decor. Sweet Dreams by Stephanie creates simple yet classic homemade cakes -- and with a realistic price tag! Put your confection on a cake plateau for a extra, grand statement and help it stand out in a room with a tall ceiling.


In lieu of wedding favors, donate to a charity on behalf of your guests. It will feel good to give your money to a good cause -- and that the tokens won't be left behind at the end of the night.

Budget Breakdown

Ceremony: $100.00 (including tax)

Marriage License: $30 for info

Officiant Fee: $70
Al Sokolik,

Flowers (including tax): $748.99
Reception Flowers
14 centerpieces (7 with green apples and flowers; 7 with white flowers and lilac accents)
75 gladiolas for napkins
1 bridal bouquet
1 bridesmaid bouquet
4 boutonnieres (1 for the groom; 1 for the groomsman; 2 for fathers)
Flowers for wedding cake
Flower girl petals
Subtotal: $575.00

Ceremony Flowers
12 vases with sand and candles: $60.00
Arch with fabric, white flowers and lilac accents: $75

Debbie Pence, Fluttering Flowers

Ceremony & Reception Site (including tax and fees): $6,369.45

Ceremony site rental: $600
Lesner Inn,

Reception Site Rental: $500
Food: $3,000
Bar: $800
Bar service: $100
Linen Rentals (table cloths, overlays and napkins): $200
Lesner Inn,

DJ for reception: $475
Astro Disc Jockeys,

DJ for ceremony: $150
Astro Disc Jockeys,

Cake (including tax): $350
Cake: $350
Sweet Dreams by Stephanie,

Wedding Favors: $150
Charitable donation as favors: $150.00
Choose your favorite cause.

Photography & Videography: $1,000

Photography: $1,000
James Christianson Photography,

Stationery: $326.63

50 Invitations and 50 RSVP Postcards, $275.63
RSVP Stationery,

Postage (for invitations and RSVP cards): $51

Attire (including tax and shipping): $450.23

Wedding dress: $186

Bridal Shoes: $57.74

Headpiece: $26.95

Suit, shirt, shoes, vest and tie rental: $179.54

Transportation: $150

Unique Car Service,

Hair & Makeup (includes tax and tip): $ 132

Hair: $60.00
Makeup: $30.00
Salon Vivace,

Total: $9,777.30!

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