Wedding Spaces that Don’t Break the Bank
By: Wendy Chan
Contrary to popular belief, having your dream wedding does not have to involve emptying your savings account. Because the venue is usually the most expensive part of the wedding, this is also the area that you can save the most on. Here are some cost effective alternatives to the traditional hall when searching for your great wedding space.
1. Backyard Wedding
Of course the best way to save money on your venue would be having your wedding in a place that you already own! Having your wedding in your own backyard doesn’t mean it has to be understated. It helps to have a theme that you can easily plan around, such a lemonade stand theme, or a carnival theme, or a nature theme to go with your surroundings. That way, you can get creative with the focal point of the ceremony and the type of decorations and seating that you want. Also consider renting a photobooth as a special way of having your friends and family help with documenting your special day and a tent in case of rain.
Take a look at these two simple but still beautifully done backyard weddings.
2. Public Park Weddings
If you feel your backyard maybe too small for the occasion, many public parks offer timed access for as little as $100 per event. While it may be a little less ‘furnished’ than you would like, having a wedding at a public park gives you the chance to create your own handmade setting. Consider getting your own wedding arch and decorating it with some handmade decorations or flowers. Not only will it have a more personal touch, you will also have an important keepsake from your special day. But, be sure to contact your local park or recreational authorities before you plan anything though. Some parks are stricter than others about what they allow to be done on their premises and you need to make sure that what you have in mind will be permitted.
In Philadelphia, one of the most elegant public places to have a wedding is the Water Works. Its classical architecture creates a lovely setting for a ceremony, and the Engine House provides an intimate dining room for the reception. If this doesn’t quite seem to suit your needs, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia’s park system, also provides a number of other park rental facilities that you can look into.
Take a peek at this gorgeous Water Works wedding overlooking the river.
3. Barn Wedding
You don’t have to have a country theme in order to have your wedding in a barn. Instead, think more along the lines of rustic-vintage. The trick to keeping a barn wedding from becoming thoroughly country themed is to have some fun or formal touches, such as an elegant chandelier or some twinkly lights, incorporated into the decoration. And while there are barns out there that are on the more expensive side, there are also places that offer lower pricing for a smaller, more intimate event. Need some inspiration? Check out this wedding held at Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster, PA.
There are many other cost effective places out there that can be found with a little more research. Just remember, you really don’t need to spend a fortune on the perfect venue; all you need is a little imagination and creativity to transform even the most unexpected (and affordable) spaces into the beautiful reception of your dreams.
Last month I was trying to explain the Danish concept of Hygge to my work wife (unfortunately cohesive thoughts were not my strong suit at the time). I’ve been in a totally nostalgic mood lately, which only increased when my Danish roomie, Mia, randomly called a couple weeks ago. I always know it’s her because she says accusingly, “AIMBAH, don’t you know who this is!!??”
Anyway, I’ve forgotten so much about my semester in DK (why didn’t I start blogging earlier!!), but I still distinctly remember my arrival. I thought I was pretty slick buying those space saving bags, which incidentally do allow you to pack more… but then make the suitcases VERY, VERY hard to carry. DIS, my study abroad program, kindly sent a bus to collect us from the airport and then shuffled us to the University of Copenhagen. Looking back I’m not really sure why they brought us there, but after a red eye flight without actually sleeping, I was very relieved when my roomie was the second person to arrive to pick me up. Happy to hand over one of my suitcases and pile into a cab with her, I remember trying really hard to 1) stay awake and 2) be really friendly.
Upon arriving to our cottage, Mia stressed the importance of staying awake that first day to get back on track with my sleeping. We had tea and chatted about our lives, and that’s when I first heard about hygge. “This,” she said, “is hygge.” I’m not sure I really understood at the time but it seemed like a good thing.
Looking back on it now, I understand. From the beginning Mia has always said how comfortable she felt around me. While she often drove me crazy (and vice versa I’m sure), I was completely impressed by her ability to welcome a new person into her home every few months. I figured you had to have a pretty strong sense of home in order to do that.
After a crazy semester in New York City, Copenhagen was exactly what I needed. I still had a lot of work, but I also had this feeling of ‘hygge,’ which is something I never really found the first time around in New York. My semester at the Institute was full of life experience, excitement, intense learning, and a ton of really focused work but Copenhagen allowed me to collect all of these things and apply them in a manner that made sense to me. The city was designed (at least the second time around) for people, comfort, and enjoyment.
Sometimes my current roomies laugh when they come in and see me sitting with 4 candles burning in a dimly lit room (I’d probably laugh too), but the candles remind me of my time in Denmark (the city of Copenhagen literally burned down 3 times because of candles!!) and of the importance of hygge. What more can you need if you have a beautiful space, lovely friends, and good conversation :)
Simplify, Save Money, Get Crafty
By Sonia Havens
Could you’re space use a little tender love and care? Is your space lacking visual appeal? If you’re a space owner, renter, or home-owner you know how difficult and expensive remodeling or revamping a space can get. You’re out of space and money, and you need to get creative to find solutions that will make your space more appealing to guests, renters, or buyers. Look around. You may notice that people are finding solutions that are both friendly to the environment and on their finances – they just might be onto something.
Save money by finding unique odds and ends and get creative. People often see discarded items lying on the side of the road or in a second hand store, observe for a moment, than continue on with what they were doing. There’s a reason those items are eye catching. Whether it’s the texture, shape, color, or all around uniqueness these items can be repurposed into something space saving and useful. One of the biggest trends in the design world today would be the use of salvaged wood or lumber. With a little bit of elbow grease and ingenuity individuals are creating furniture for pennies. Yes, you heard me correctly, pennies. Local businesses often have palettes left over from shipping and they need to get rid of them fast, so they are giving them away for free. These palettes have been used for everything from Adirondack-Style chairs to shelving solutions. With careful alterations to the furniture plans you could make foldable space saving alternatives. Throw a few pillows on these chairs and you have yourself modern extremely inexpensive furniture.
Lighting…. An integral part of any space is too often overlooked or left at a bare minimum. Economical reasons keep space owners or renters from exploring the potential for dramatic beautiful lighting. It is expensive and time consuming to call an electrician to come out and an install a new fixture and the fixtures are expensive too. Once again, we urge you to get creative and eco- friendly. What can you find around your area that is unique, eye-catching, and inexpensive to use in making your own fixture? One of the biggest benefits of creating your own pieces, besides saving money of course, would be the touch of warmth and personalization that your fixtures can add to the space. Your lighting would say a little something about you. Mobility comes as an added benefit, unplug and go. Basic lighting starter kits can be found at any home improvement store for roughly around $10.00. For example if you had old dishes lying around and you love the look and feel, but don’t really use them anymore, perhaps you can make a pitcher lamp or a light made from two bowls.
Putting it simply, more appeal equals more money when you’re renting or selling. If you just need a change in scenery, but you are low on cash and space, then consider up-cycling and getting creative. When you design and create your own solutions to revitalize your space, you end up with a space that has unique personalized touches and customized space saving solutions. Don’t overlook quirky items that are discarded or found in a second hand store, figure out how these items could save you time, money, and possibly make your space more appealing to buyers or renters. Simplify, get creative, make money.
Check out some of these up-cycling ideas:
The Making of a Great Space: Uniqueness and Memorability
by Sunkwon Bush
There are many features that define a great space. “The Making of a Great Space” miniseries will explore what makes the places we live, work and interact into awesome places to be.
What makes a place stand out in your mind? Is it a beautiful city skyline or a stunning natural landscape? An exquisite centerpiece in a room or elegantly arranged furnishings? While all of these things can be quite memorable and unique, one of the biggest factors of what makes a place memorable is the human connection to the space.
Though uniqueness and memorability appear to be somewhat subjective, a recent study done my MIT neuroscientists, shows consistent patterns in what we find most memorable. In the study, a series of images were shown to participants in the test, of which were repeated. Their task was to press a key on their keyboard whenever an image appeared that they saw already. Each repeated image was then measured by how many people noticed it repeat, and the contents of the image were analyzed.
The results showed with surprising consistency that the most memorable images were those with people in them followed by pictures of human-scale spaces, and the least memorable were generic natural landscapes. This study shows quite clearly that the more something relates to a human scale and experience, the more we remember it. Check out the full study here.
This concept of keeping human memory in mind translates well to the design of a space. Places that trigger a sense of strong meaning, emotion and sense of scale stand out the most in our minds.
In the blog, Sensing Architecture, architect, Maria Lorena Lehman has written numerous articles on the role played by the senses and memory in experiencing architecture. One of her articles talks about the importance of creating a “sense of place” where an occupant feels like part of the environment, rather than a passerby. A feeling of interacting and experiencing the environment reinforces the memory and uniqueness of the space.
What this means for those of us who strive to create a great space is that if we want our space to stand out, it should be designed around meaningful experiences and create feelings of belonging and interaction.
MORE JANUARY ORGANIZING TIPS
How is everyone doing on their New Year’s Resolutions? We all have a tendency to be less interested in keeping up with our commitments around the middle of this month, but keep going. You can do it!
Sorry that the January Checklist wasn’t easy to print. I won’t post checklists in artwork format in the future. If you haven’t already finished these tasks, here are some additional reminders that may be of help in getting you organized this month:
1. Protect and Store Holiday Ornaments + Decorations
2. Store Your Holiday China
3. Create a Daily, Weekly and Monthly Checklists of Things to Do In Your Home
4. Develop a Schedule for Seasonal Cleaning
5. Vacuum + Rotate Mattresses
6. Check Batteries in Fire Detectors + Clocks
7. Wash Chandeliers + Replace Light Bulbs
8. Clean the Fireplace
9. Clear out Gutters of leaves, twigs and other outdoor debris
10. Clean Out Books + Magazines
11. Discard Expired Medications + Food
12. Commit to Cord Control Everywhere in Your Home
13. Pair Down Your Wardrobe + Organize Your Closet and Drawers
14. Tidy Up the Toys - Get the kids to help!
15. Clean and Organize the Refrigerator - Replace Baking Soda
16. Clean, Rotate + Organize Contents of the Kitchen Pantry + Spice Area
17. Get the Laundry Room in Order
18. Organize the Junk Drawer
19. Never use the word “later” or file under “miscellaneous”
20. Get rid of anything that is followed by the words, “I will use or wear that IF…”
Don’t you just want a great and relaxing space to come home to?
Image Source: Better Homes & Gardens.